01192017Thu
Last update: Thu, 19 Jan 2017 05am

Global Business & Economy

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German businesses in year-end confidence boost FRANKFURT AM MAIN: German businesses rounded off 2016 with a stronger-than-forecast increase in confidence, a closely-followed survey showed Monday, despite fears for the future over Brexit and Donald Trump.The Munich-based Ifo institute's headline business confidence index hit 111.0 points in December, an increase of 0.6 points over November's reading.Analysts surveyed by financial data provider Factset had predicted the index would see a smaller rise of 0.2 points."The German economy is in a festive mood," commented Ifo head Clemens Fuest, hailing a "strong finish to the year".A sub-index covering current business conditions rose by one full point to 116.6 -- the highest level since February 2012 -- while one covering the future outlook also brightened slightly.The Ifo survey has painted a resilient picture of German businesses' mood over the course of the year.Its lowest point came in February amid fears of a slowdown in China -- a key customer for many ...

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China govt researchers see 2017 GDP growth slowing, yuan falling BEIJING: China's economy will grow around 6.5 percent in 2017, while the yuan will continue to fall, government researchers said in Beijing on Monday.The China Academy of Social Sciences' (CASS) GDP forecast comes after China's top leaders held a key meeting on the economy last week, where they vowed to keep China on a path of stable and healthy growth next year.China's economy has grown at 6.7 percent for the first three quarters of 2016 ...

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Japan eyes record spending, less new debt in FY2017/18 budget TOKYO: Japan's government plans an initial budget of a record 97.45 trillion yen ($830 billion) for fiscal 2017, while keeping new debt issuance just below this year's level, a draft of the budget seen by Reuters showed.The planned budget poses a challenge to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to streamline spending and proceed with fiscal consolidation to rein in the industrial world's heaviest debt burden.It presents a test of the premier's resolve to achieve a ...

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EU sees Japan free-trade deal in early 2017 BRUSSELS: The European Union said on Saturday it is close to an agreement with Japan on a free-trade deal that has taken on greater significance after President-elect Donald Trump announced US plans to withdraw from a separate pact with Pacific nations. In a statement, the EU's chief trade negotiator with Tokyo said a deal was possible by early next year if Japan opens up to EU farm goods and Europe can agree to granting unfettered ...

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Vivendi mandated BNP, Natixis in its all-cash Mediaset raid PARIS/LONDON: Vivendi mandated BNP Paribas and Natixis in an 800 million-euro ($835 million) raid on Mediaset to seize a 20 percent stake in the Italian broadcaster earlier this week, according to two sources close to the matter.The French media giant, led by billionaire Vincent Bollore, first asked BNP in mid-November to gradually buy up to 3 percent of Mediaset shares on the market, resulting in a first mandatory disclosure after market close on Monday, the ...

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Morocco Jan-Nov trade deficit rises 18 percent year on year RABAT: Morocco's trade deficit rose 18 percent to 166.03 billion dirhams ($16.43 billion) in the first 11 months of 2016 compared with the same period a year ago, the foreign exchange regulator said on Friday citing increased imports. Equipment imports rose 25.5 percent to 106.71 billion dirhams, while auto imports were 31.8 percent higher at 12.92 billion dirhams, the data showed. Wheat imports also jumped as bad weather hurt the local harvest last year, rising ...

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US 30-year mortgage rates rise to highest in over 2 years NEW YORK: Interest rates on US 30-year fixed-rate mortgages extended their recent rise with bond yields, reaching levels not seen in more than two years, mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac said on Thursday. The borrowing cost on 30-year mortgages, the most widely held type of US home loan, averaged 4.16 percent in the week ended Dec. 15, the highest since 4.19 percent in the week of Oct. 2, 2014. Last week, 30-year mortgage rates averaged ...