A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Apr 21, 2011 3:03 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

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

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LONDON _ Upbeat U.S. earnings supported stock markets around the world, while the euro neared a one-and-a-half-year high against the dollar.

In Europe, Germany's DAX closed 0.6 percent higher, the CAC-40 in France rose 0.4 percent and the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares ended down 0.1 percent.

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TOKYO _ In Asian trading, Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.8 percent, South Korea's Kospi rose 1.3 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended 1 percent higher and China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7 percent.

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TOKYO _ Japan should as much as quadruple its sales tax rate to deal with a crushing deficit that's bound to grow as it spends on reconstruction from last month's earthquake and tsunami, the OECD said.

Economists for the association of wealthy, industrialized nations said in a report that Japan's public debt of more than twice its gross domestic product leaves it little choice but to gradually raise its sales tax, now 5 percent, to as high as 20 percent.

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FRANKFURT, Germany _ A closely watched index of German business confidence slipped for the second month in a row in April as managers' outlook for the next half-year eased slightly, but overall sentiment remains historically strong.

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GENEVA _ The head of the World Trade Organization issued a stark warning that decade-old talks on a new global commerce deal risk failure unless countries find a way to overcome seemingly unbridgeable differences over cutting tariffs on industrial goods.

After weeks of consultations with the WTO's 153 member states, Pascal Lamy said the so-called Doha Round of trade negotiations is at "serious risk" because developed and developing nations can't agree on how to reduce duties on manufactured products such as chemicals and electronics.

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LONDON _ Britain's government borrowed a lower than expected 18.6 billion pounds ($30.7 billion) in March, closing the fiscal year with a deficit below the official forecast.

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SHANGHAI _ Police clamped down on a protest by hundreds of truck drivers upset over rising fees and fuel prices in China's busiest port city, the latest display of public resentment over surging inflation.

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BEIJING _ China's Cabinet ordered authorities across the country to step up their battle against illegal food additives following several recent tainted-food scandals.

So far this year, authorities have uncovered sales of drug-tainted pork, bean sprouts treated with a carcinogenic chemical compound, and old bread treated with sweeteners and dye to make it seem fresh.

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MUMBAI, India _ India's top outsourcer Tata Consultancy Services said quarterly profit rose 23 percent as global clients ramped up spending.

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BEIJING _ China defended its often-criticized role as a foreign aid donor, saying its assistance boosts developing countries and provides an alternative to Western donors who impose more conditions on recipients.