A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Jan 23, 2012 3:20 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

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

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BRUSSELS _ European finance chiefs put pressure on Greece's private creditors to voluntarily cut the country's massive debt load, with the Dutch minister warning that bondholders may be forced to take losses.

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BRUSSELS _ The European Union and Iran raised the stakes in their test of wills over the Islamic republic's nuclear program, with the bloc banning the purchase of Iranian oil and Iran threatening to retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world's crude is transported.

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LONDON _ Hopes that Greece will reach a deal with private creditors on lowering its debt _ despite a delay in talks between Athens and banks' representatives _ supported European markets and sent the euro up to three-week highs above $1.30.

The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 0.9 percent, while Germany's DAX rose 0.5 percent. The CAC-40 in France ended 0.5 percent higher.

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TOKYO _ In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average fell 0.01 percent.

Markets were closed in mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines for the Asian New Year.

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BERLIN _ Europe's stronger economies should do more to boost growth and beef up the defenses against the continent's debt crisis, the head of the International Monetary Fund said.

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FRANKFURT, Germany _ The European Central Bank cut its purchases of government bonds to $2.9 billion last week as countries found it easier to borrow.

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BERLIN _ Germany's chancellor says her country is prepared to speed up its payments to boost Europe's new bailout fund.

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MADRID _ Spain faces more unemployment misery and needs serious labor market reforms, the country's central bank warned as it slashed its economic forecasts for this year.

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MILAN _ Truck drivers in Italy angered by an increase in gas prices introduced as part of the government's austerity measures have blocked highways near Milan in the north and Naples in the south.