A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: May 06, 2011 3:10 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

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

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LONDON _ A forecast-busting U.S. jobs survey eased concerns that the world's largest economy was slowing down, sending stocks and the dollar higher.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 1 percent, Germany's DAX rose 1.6 percent and the CAC-40 in France ended 1.3 percent higher.

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TOKYO _ Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index slid 1.5 percent. Investors worried about the renewed strength in the yen and its impact on exporters, which are already struggling with destroyed factories, severe parts shortages and power outages since a devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi index dropped 1.5 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed 0.4 percent, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 ended 0.2 percent lower and China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3 percent.

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BEIJING _ China is ready to discuss its currency controls at talks in Washington next week, a Chinese official said, but he gave no sign Beijing will act on U.S. pressure to speed the rise of its yuan.

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ATHENS, Greece _ Greece categorically denied an online report by a German magazine that says it is considering abandoning the euro _ a report that sent the currency tumbling.

The report added that the eurozone's finance ministers were holding a secret crisis meeting in Luxembourg Friday night to discuss the issue.

A spokesman for the EU's monetary affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn, said he didn't know anything about the emergency finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg.

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TOKYO _ Japan urged a power company to suspend all three reactors at a coastal nuclear plant while safety measures are taken to ensure damage from a major earthquake or tsunami does not cause a second nuclear accident.

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BEIJING _ China's government said it fined consumer products maker Unilever for disrupting efforts to cool surging inflation by talking to Chinese media about expected price hikes for soap and triggering a buying rush.

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TORONTO _ Canada's economy created 58,300 jobs last month. The unemployment rate fell to 7.6 percent, matching the lowest jobless level since the early months of the recession.

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SHANGHAI _ General Motors Co. and its joint ventures sold 203,367 vehicles in China in April, down nearly 5 percent from a year earlier as growth cools in the world's largest auto market.

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ATHENS, Greece _ Police clashed with protesting doctors in Greece and civil servants staged a 24-hour strike in Portugal to protest government cutbacks enacted in response to Europe's financial crisis.

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MADRID _ The Spanish economy grew just 0.2 percent for the second quarter running during the first three months of 2011. Exports helped prop up an economy hit by soaring unemployment and other woes.

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ROME _ Commuters in Italy scrambled to find the few buses and subway trains running during a one-day nationwide general strike that also affected air and rail travel, banks, public offices and schools.

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SEOUL, South Korea _ South Korea's president has reshuffled five government ministers in an apparent effort to restore public confidence after election defeats last month. President Lee Myung-bak's office said Labor Minister Bahk Jae-wan was nominated as the new finance minister.

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JAKARTA, Indonesia _ Indonesian's central bank banned Citibank from issuing new credit cards and hiring debt collectors for two years after a customer's death.

The major U.S. bank also cannot receive new Citigold clients, those depositing 500 million rupiah ($58,000) or more in one year.

The bans were imposed after a customer was allegedly interrogated roughly by Citibank debt collectors in March at a Jakarta bank branch and died. Also in March, a senior vice president with Citibank Indonesia was arrested over a $1.7 million embezzlement of customers' funds.

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GENEVA _ Swiss prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into suspected money-laundering after a U.S. investor claimed that Russian tax officials used Swiss bank accounts to engage in fraud.

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LONDON _ Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC reported a larger than expected loss for the first three months of the year. RBS, which is 83 percent owned by taxpayers, reported a net loss of 528 million pounds ($866 million).

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FRANKFURT, Germany _ Buoyant banking conditions in the fast-growing German economy and better results in eastern Europe helped Commerzbank increase profits in the first quarter.