A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Jan 18, 2012 4:13 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

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

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BRUSSELS _ The International Monetary Fund said that it's aiming to increase its financial firepower by around $500 billion so it can give out new loans to help mitigate a worsening financial crisis in Europe.

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ATHENS, Greece _ The Greek government resumed stalled talks with private creditors in Athens in the hope of sealing a $128 billion debt relief deal needed to avoid a disastrous default this spring.

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LONDON _ Markets were volatile as Greece resumed talks on a crucial debt write-off deal and the International Monetary Fund said it would raise new money to increase its financial firepower. The CAC-40 in France closed down 0.2 percent while Germany's DAX rose 0.3 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares ended 0.2 percent higher.

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TOKYO _ In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 1 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.4 percent, while the Shenzhen Composite Index dropped 2.7 percent.

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BERLIN _ Germany's government cut the country's 2012 growth forecast due to a faltering global economy and Europe's debt crisis, sparking fears that the region's largest economy could tip into recession.

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LONDON _ Official figures show that Britain's unemployment rate spiked to 8.4 percent in November, its highest level since 1995.

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BEIJING _ The World Bank warned Wednesday of a possible slump in global economic growth and urged developing countries to prepare for shocks that could be more severe than the 2008 crisis.

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PARIS _ President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a $550 million plan to drive down unemployment and restart growth, a move criticized as an attempt to boost his popularity three months before France's presidential election.

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DUBLIN _ Ireland's trade surplus hit a record monthly high on the back of unexpectedly strong exports and continued weakness in imports.

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NICOSIA, Cyprus _ Air traffic controllers in Cyprus walked off the job for four hours to protest a two-year government worker wage freeze and other deficit-reduction measures.

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PRAGUE _ The Czech Republic's prime minister has ruled out the possibility that his country would contribute $4.5 billion to the International Monetary Fund as part of EU efforts to get a grip on the debt crisis.

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TEHRAN, Iran _ Iran's national currency fell by six percent against the dollar as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad refused to sign off on a move to raise bank interest rates.

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KIEV, Ukraine _ Ukraine's finance minister resigned as the government's support falls in the wake of a weak economy and the slow pace of reforms.