A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Jun 01, 2011 1:24 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 _ Stocks slid after surprisingly weak U.S. economic data stoked fears that the world's largest economy was slowing down sharply, while the euro remained near three-week highs against the dollar on hopes Greece will get more help with its debts.

The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares fell 1 percent. Germany's DAX and the CAC-40 in France both dropped 1.1 percent.

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TOKYO _ Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent after Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said in a speech that supply and electricity disruptions caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami were easing. The economy could stage a moderate recovery starting in the second half of fiscal 2011, he said.

Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi index slipped less than 0.1 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index drifted 0.2 percent lower and mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.3 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 closed flat.

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SHANGHAI _ China's manufacturers suffered sluggish growth in orders in May as widespread power shortages and inflation-fighting curbs on credit dampened demand.

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ATHENS, Greece _ Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou will hold emergency talks with a top eurozone official on Friday as an international review of the country's finances is expected to usher in more drastic cuts needed in exchange for new rescue loans.

The meeting was announced by the office of Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the group of 17 eurozone finance ministers and recently criticized Greece for being slow in cutting debt and reforming the public sector.

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FRANKFURT, Germany _ Investors outside the U.S. expect politicians in Washington to solve their partisan wrangling over whether to raise the government's debt ceiling, though longer-term worries remain about when the world's largest economy will cut down on its borrowings.

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CANBERRA, Australia _ Unprecedented flooding and storms that hit key exports shrank Australia's economy by 1.2 percent in the first quarter. It was the largest contraction since 1991, during Australia's last recession.

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MADRID _ Spain's exports of fruit and vegetables have ground to a halt, causing major financial losses for farmers, due to Germany's now-retracted accusation that Spanish cucumbers were the source of the E. coli outbreak that killed more than a dozen people.

A Spanish official said the government is considering legal action against German authorities for saying without proof that the bacteria had come from Spanish farms.

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MINSK, Belarus _ Belarus asked the International Monetary Fund for a loan of up to $8 billion to stabilize its plummeting economy. The government is struggling to manage the country's most severe financial crisis since the Soviet collapse.

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SEOUL, South Korea _ South Korea's inflation rate eased in May for a second straight month, though remained above a level the central bank finds worrisome.

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BERLIN _ The number of people reported sick in Germany from a foodborne bacterial outbreak that has already killed 16 spiked over the last 24 hours, with nearly 100 more people suffering from severe and potentially fatal symptoms.

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LISBON, Portugal _ Portugal paid a record high interest rate in an auction of 3-month Treasury bills as investors continue to worry about the country's economic health.

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CANBERRA, Australia _ Germany signed a resource cooperation deal with Australia, the world's largest coal exporter, only days after committing to shut down its nuclear reactors by 2022.

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SAO PAULO _ The World Bank and 40 cities from around the world joined forces Wednesday with a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.