A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Jun 06, 2012 6:13 PM

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

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FRANKFURT _ The European Central Bank has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged as it increases the pressure on eurozone leaders to tackle a government debt crisis that threatens the global economy.

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BRUSSELS _ The European Union's executive branch proposed a system of centralized banking regulations that would ensure that taxpayers would never again have to bail out ailing banks that threaten the wider economy.

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LONDON _ A rally on Wall Street, where investors were betting that the Federal Reserve will offer new stimulus for the economy, helped global markets higher after the European Central Bank indicated it was not planning to provide more help to the eurozone.

Germany's DAX closed 2.1 percent higher while France's CAC-40 gained 2.4 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain, where markets were closed Monday and Tuesday for Jubilee celebrations, ended 2.4 percent higher.

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TOKYO _ In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.8 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.4 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.3 percent.

Markets in Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan also moved higher, but those in mainland China fell. Markets in South Korea were closed for a public holiday.

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BERLIN _ Industrial production in Germany dropped by an unexpectedly sharp 2.2 percent in April compared with the previous month, official data showed, sending a downbeat signal about the economy's ability to shrug off the eurozone debt crisis.

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BERLIN _ Moody's rating agency downgraded seven banks in Germany, citing risks from the eurozone debt crisis and prospects of weaker global economic growth.

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MADRID _ Spain's borrowing costs edged lower on hopes that the European Union may be moving closer toward adopting measures that could alleviate the country's financial crisis.

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LISBON, Portugal _ Portugal says it has sold (EURO)1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) in short-term debt at interest rates lower than comparable bond auctions last month.

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CANBERRA, Australia _ Australia's economy rocketed to 4.3 percent growth for the year through March, its fastest expansion since the global financial crisis as Chinese demand for iron ore and other commodities masked difficulties outside the mining industry.

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