A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Sep 01, 2011 4:15 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

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

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LONDON _ Better-than-expected U.S. economic indicators helped European stocks trim losses, offsetting some concerns about a downturn in the global manufacturing sector.

Still, manufacturing activity retreated in the countries that use the euro and in the U.K. Industrial production has been one of the key pillars of growth in the eurozone, particularly in big exporting economies like Germany.

Britain's FTSE 100 ended the day 0.5 percent higher, France's CAC-40 gained 0.3 percent while Germany's DAX closed down 0.9 percent.

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TOKYO _ Earlier in Asia, traders pushed most indexes higher. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 advanced 1.2 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed up 0.2 percent, South Korea's Kospi ended nearly unchanged, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent. Taiwan's benchmark gained but Singapore's declined. China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.4 percent.

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BEIJING _ A monthly survey of Chinese manufacturing showed a slight gain in August, a sign that the economy is stable despite the uncertain global outlook.

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ATHENS, Greece _ A top Greek budget researcher resigned after making a dismal economic forecast that angered the country's Socialist government.

Stella Balfousia had headed a panel of experts appointed by parliament in March to provide lawmakers independent economic assessments on the progress of Greece's major austerity program.

The panel warned that Greece would likely miss 2011 budget targets because of months of austerity delays by the government and sluggish tax collection.

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PARIS _ U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged EU leaders to press ahead with plans to ban the sale of Syrian oil to EU members, officials said, after Britain expressed hope new sanctions would be agreed to within days.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands _ The Dutch finance minister said the Netherlands will continue to support the bailout package agreed for Greece on July 21 despite difficulties in nailing down its final terms and reservations about whether it is the right course of action.

Jan Kees de Jager also said he blames Germany and France in large part for Europe's sovereign debt crisis because they violated rules laid down at the creation of the euro by running larger-than-permitted budget deficits in the early 2000's.

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MADRID _ Spain easily raised euro3.6 billion ($5.2 billion) in 5-year bonds, and at a lower interest rate, in the first test of investor appetite since a proposed constitutional amendment limiting future deficits was unveiled last week.

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SEOUL, South Korea _ South Korea's monthly inflation rate rose to its highest level in three years in August as price gains accelerated despite a series of interest rate hikes and slowing economic growth.

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BRASILIA, Brazil _ A surprise lowering of Brazil's benchmark interest rate has analysts expecting more cuts in the future. The central bank cut Brazil's Selic interest rate to 12 percent from 12.5 percent.

The bank says it's an effort to stimulate the economy ahead of potential economic shocks coming from the U.S. and Europe.

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BERLIN _ Chancellor Angela Merkel said she is confident that Germany's parliament can be given a say over future decisions by the eurozone rescue fund without endangering its effectiveness.

Merkel's Cabinet this week approved expanding the scope and powers of the euro440 billion ($638 billion) fund, sending it to parliament for lawmakers to finalize legislation ahead of a vote Sept. 29.

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MANILA, Philippines _ The Asian Development Bank said emerging East Asia's local currency bond markets continued to expand in the second quarter of the year, albeit at a slower pace.

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BEIJING _ China appealed a World Trade Organization ruling against its curbs on exports of industrial raw materials, in a case Washington and Europe hope will lead to an easing of restrictions on rare-earth sales.