A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Mar 29, 2011 1:39 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

A look at economic developments and activity in major stock markets around the world Tuesday:

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LISBON, Portugal _ Rating agency Standard & Poor's has downgraded debt-stressed Portugal's credit worthiness, deepening the country's financial plight as it fights to avoid a bailout.

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ATHENS, Greece _ Standard & Poors downgraded Greece's credit rating again, saying it was "highly likely" the country would need to take further bailout loans beyond the ones it already has.

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TOKYO _ Japan's government vowed to overhaul nuclear safety standards once its radiation-leaking reactor complex is under control, admitting that its safeguards were insufficient to protect the plant against the March 11 tsunami.

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LONDON _ European markets closed higher despite new ratings downgrades of Portugal and Greece and more bad news from Japan. Britain's FTSE ended 0.5 percent higher at 5,932.17, Germany's DAX was down less than 0.1 percent to 6,934.44 and France's CAC-40 rose 0.3 percent to 3,987.80.

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TOKYO _ In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.2 percent at 9,459.08. China's Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.9 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was narrowly down. South Korea's Kospi was 0.8 percent higher and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent.

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BERLIN _ A closely-watched survey shows German consumer confidence is down amid worries about unrest in North Africa and the Mideast, and fears of inflation.

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BERLIN _ Germany's inflation rate held steady at 2.1 percent in March due largely to higher oil and energy prices, an official estimate showed _ underlining prospects of an imminent rate hike by the European Central Bank.

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LONDON _ Britain's economy shrank by half a percent in the last quarter of 2010, not quite as bad as previously thought, official statisticians said Tuesday, though their final figure did little to ease apprehension about the course of the recovery.

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TOKYO _ The government says Japan's unemployment rate in February fell to 4.6 percent, the first decline in two months.

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TAIPEI, Taiwan _ A senior Taiwanese official says the recent Japan earthquake may cut Taiwan's economic growth by 0.2 percentage point this year.

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