A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Jul 05, 2011 3:01 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

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

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GENEVA _ The World Trade Organization ruled that China was unfairly protecting its domestic manufacturers by limiting the export of nine raw materials that are used widely in the steel, aluminum and chemical industries.

A WTO panel sided with the United States, European Union and Mexico, which had each filed complaints saying China was driving up the prices they pay for raw materials such as coke, bauxite and zinc by setting export duties and quotas on them.

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LONDON _ Retail sales in the 17 euro countries dropped 1.1 percent during May, a further sign that the eurozone economy is slowing sharply.

European stocks traded in narrow ranges. Germany's DAX fell less than 0.1 percent, the CAC-40 in France was 0.6 percent lower while the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 0.1 percent.

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BERLIN _ German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned against putting too much weight on rating agencies' assessments of new bailout proposals for Greece that would have private creditors share part of the burden.

Merkel told reporters that the troika of institutions lending money to Greece _ the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the EU Commission _ should make their own assessment regardless of what the credit rating agencies say.

Her comments came a day after Standard & Poor's said the current French proposal to have banks rollover their Greek debt holdings "would likely amount to a default."

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LONDON _ Ratings agency Moody's downgraded Portugal's government debt, citing the growing risk the country will need a second rescue package and concerns it will not meet its debt reduction targets.

Moody's Investors Service cut its rating on Portugal's debt on Tuesday by one notch to Baa2 from Baa1.

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KARLSRUHE, Germany _ Germany's finance minister defended the rescue packages for Greece and other eurozone countries at a supreme court hearing. Opponents argued that the bailouts violated both German and European law.

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TOKYO _ Japan's embattled government received a fresh blow when the new disaster reconstruction minister resigned a week after his appointment because of criticism he was rude to officials on a trip to the tsunami-ravaged coast.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose less than 0.1 percent. In other Asian trading, South Korea's Kospi rose 0.8 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.1 percent to 22,747.95. China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent.

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RIO DE JANEIRO _ Brazil's finance minister said he's taking further measures to slow down the appreciation of the country's currency.

This week the Brazilian real hit its highest mark against the dollar in 12 years, despite efforts made last year to weaken the currency.

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STOCKHOLM _ The Swedish central bank raised its key interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 2 percent to keep inflation in check as the Swedish economy grows.

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GENEVA _ The United Nations said world food production must increase by up to 100 percent by 2050 and focus on greener methods to sustain a global population expected to reach 9 billion.

The U.N.'s annual World Economic and Social Survey recommended that governments help small-scale farms.

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MILAN _ Premier Silvio Berlusconi withdrew a measure buried in Italy's euro47 billion ($68 billion) austerity plan that would have allowed his family investment company to avoid paying a heavy fine, at least temporarily.