A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: May 18, 2011 12:58 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

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

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LONDON _ Strong earnings from computer maker Dell supported stock markets but concerns about the pace of the U.S. economic recovery limited the gains, particularly on Wall Street.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed 1.1 percent higher while Germany's DAX rose 0.7 percent. The CAC-40 in France ended 0.9 percent higher.

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TOKYO _ Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 1 percent, on indications that factory production is recovering following the slump in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi climbed 1.6 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent Australia's S&P/ASX 200 inched up 0.2 percent.

Mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7 percent and the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index advanced 0.5 percent.

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LAGONISI, Greece _ The European Central Bank's chief economist said a Greek debt restructuring would be a "recipe for catastrophe" as he blamed "vested interests" in Britain and the United States for fueling market pressure on the country.

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LONDON _ Britain's unemployment rate dipped slightly to 7.7 percent in the first three months of the year, official data showed, but officials said the number of people claiming unemployment benefits rose in April and the number of female claimants reached the highest level since October 1996.

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TRIPOLI, Libya _ Another high-ranking Libyan official has defected and fled the country amid a widening NATO campaign of bombings as well as leafletting and other psychological warfare to persuade Moammar Gadhafi's troops to stop fighting.

Shukri Ghanem, the Libyan oil minister and head of the National Oil Co., crossed into neighboring Tunisia by road on Monday, according to a Tunisian security official and Abdel Moneim al-Houni, a former Libyan Arab League representative who was among the first wave of Libyan diplomats to defect.

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AMMAN, Jordan _ President Barack Obama says the United States will provide Jordan with several hundred millions of dollars in aid.

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HONG KONG _ Hong Kong's new commodity exchange backed by China's biggest bank and a Russian tycoon began trading Wednesday as the Asian city attempts to challenge established markets in Europe and the U.S.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia _ Malaysia's central bank unveiled plans to further liberalize foreign exchange controls to boost business competitiveness amid slowing economic growth.

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GENEVA _ The Swiss government says it is imposing sanctions against Syria because of the country's continued violent repression of peaceful protesters.

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SHANGHAI _ Ailing European economies are getting their houses in order and the euro remains a trustworthy currency, the European Union's president said, describing the region's recovery as "not bad at all."

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WARSAW, Poland _ Poland is planning a major investment in shale gas, a potentially huge source of energy _ but one that uses environmentally dangerous chemicals _ to break free of dependence on Russian imports and boost its economy.