A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
|
Posted: May 02, 2011 2:28 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

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

___

LONDON _ The death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden gave stock markets a brief fillip, but the gains were muted as traders positioned themselves for a raft of key economic news in the coming days.

President Barack Obama's announcement that the man who inspired the deadly Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States had been killed in a special forces operation in Pakistan prompted an increase in investors' appetite for risk. That usually manifests itself in stock market gains and dollar declines.

However, the sheen wore off over the day as investors turned their gaze to the week's economic news. Trading levels were also fairly muted because stock markets were closed in Britain, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

In Europe, the CAC-40 in France closed up 0.1 percent while Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent.

___

TOKYO _ Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 1.6 percent to 10,004.20 _ the highest closing since an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 decimated the country's northeastern coast. The Nikkei, Asia's largest market, will be closed Tuesday through Thursday for Japan's annual Golden Week holiday.

South Korea's Kospi index, meanwhile, advanced 1.7 percent to a new record high of 2,228.96, bringing the Seoul benchmark's gain so far this year to 8.7 percent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed up less than 0.1 percent.

___

BRUSSELS _ The EU's top economic affairs official said a restructuring of Greece's massive debt is not on the table.

Monetary and Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said proponents of restructuring _ cutting the total amount of money Greece owes or giving it more time to repay _ appear to be unaware of the risks to overall financial stability such a move would entail.

European officials have warned that a restructuring of Greece's debt could lead to panic on financial markets similar to the turbulence following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and drag down banks and other struggling eurozone countries.

___

BRUSSELS _ A preliminary deal on an international bailout for Portugal is likely to be announced in the coming days, a European Union official said.

Experts from the EU's executive Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank who are currently in Lisbon are close to agreeing on the fiscal and economic adjustment program that will accompany the rescue loans, the official said. He was speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions are still under way.

The rescue package _ which will likely contain some 80 billion euros in loans _ faces a difficult path because of the tricky political situation in Portugal and growing opposition to bailouts in more prosperous eurozone countries.

___

ATHENS, Greece _ Greece's cash-strapped government promised to raise an additional 11.8 billion euros ($17.5 billion) by the end of 2013 via a crackdown on tax evasion, and indicated it could seek a second extension of its bailout loan repayment.

Greece was rescued from the brink of bankruptcy last year by a 110 billion euro ($164 billion) bailout package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

___

TOKYO _ Japan's parliament passed a $48 billion tsunami recovery budget that will only start to cover the cost of what was the most expensive disaster ever.

___

SEOUL, South Korea _ South Korea's consumer price inflation eased in April from its highest level in more than two years, but it remained above the central bank's comfort zone for price increases for the fourth straight month.

___

FRANKFURT, Germany _ Chancellor Angela Merkel's former economic adviser signaled an uncompromising anti-inflation stance as he takes over as president of Germany's Bundesbank.

Jens Weidmann's comments as he formally succeeded Axel Weber pointed to continuity at Germany's central bank, which is traditionally hawkish on inflation.

Weidmann will represent Europe's biggest economy on the European Central Bank's governing council.

___

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates _ The AFL-CIO is urging Washington to suspend a free trade pact with Bahrain in response to the Gulf nation's crackdown that includes purging union leaders accused of supporting pro-reform protests.

Washington has urged Bahrain's Sunni monarchy to seek dialogue with protesters and publicly condemned violence and mass arrests, which include journalists, activists and trade union leaders. But U.S. officials have stopped short of taking more direct action against Bahrain's rulers.

___

MEXICO CITY _ Mexico's central bank said the amount of money migrant workers sent home in the first quarter of 2011 increased 5.5 percent compared to the same period last year to just over $5 billion.

Remittances in March totaled $2 billion, a 4.8 percent increase over the same month last year. It is the sixth consecutive month that the bank has seen an increase in remittances after a drop that began in 2008.

Remittances are Mexico's second-largest source of foreign income after oil exports. Nearly all the money comes from the U.S., where nearly 12 million Mexican citizens live.