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Economic developments around the globe

Fri, 08/06/2010 - 12:31pm
Manufacturing.net

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

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LONDON - Part-nationalized Royal Bank of Scotland reported a profit of 257 million pounds ($409 million) in the second quarter, due to large one-time gains, although losses from bad loans increased.

Results for RBS, a once-swaggering giant which became the biggest British casualty of the credit crisis, were boosted by gains of 1.05 billion pounds on redemption of own debt and the bank's participation in the government's Asset Protection Scheme, a program to help lenders deal with bad loans.

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BERLIN - Industrial production in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, slipped slightly in June after posting healthy rises in the preceding months.

Production fell 0.6 percent on the month, the Economy Ministry said. In May, production increased by 2.9 percent.

The figures came a day after a separate report showed that German industrial orders returned to healthy growth in June after a slight decline the previous month.

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BEIJING - Regulators tried to reassure financial markets about "stress tests" ordered on Chinese banks' real estate lending, saying they do not represent official views of where the market is headed or any impending policy change.

Chinese shares rebounded, led by banks, ending the week up by 0.8 percent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4 percent.

Stock prices of Chinese banks and real estate companies had fallen earlier this week following reports lenders tested the impact of a possible drop of up to 60 percent in real estate prices.

Banks were told in May to test the impact of possible declines of up to 30 percent in prices, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.1 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.6 percent while South Korea's Kospi was little changed. Markets in India, Thailand and Indonesia gained while Malaysia and Singapore dropped.

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BERLIN - In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed down 0.6 percent, Germany's DAX fell 1.2 percent and the CAC-40 in France dropped 1.3 percent.

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MADRID - Spain's economy took a further step out of recession by growing in the April-June period, the second consecutive quarter of expansion after nearly two years of recession, the Bank of Spain said.

The central bank said gross domestic product rose 0.2 percent from the previous quarter. GDP rose by 0.1 percent from January to March.

Spain is the slowest of the major European Union economies to emerge from recession and prior to January it had shrunk for six straight quarters.

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LONDON - Manufacturing output in Britain rose 4.1 percent in June compared to a year earlier.

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TORONTO - Canada's strong economic recovery lost steam in July as the country dropped 139,000 full-time jobs and the unemployment rate edged up to 8 percent.

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MUMBAI, India - In India, 17.8 million metric tons of wheat - almost as much as France consumes in a year - is at risk of spoiling because the government lacks proper storage facilities, according to an internal government estimate obtained by the Associated Press.

That grain could help feed the poor in a nation where one in two children are malnourished. Instead it is going to the dogs. As it wastes, it promises to drive global wheat prices, up about 80 percent since June, even higher.

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LAGOS, Nigeria - Nigerian regulators removed two leaders of the West African nation's beleaguered stock exchange, hoping to restore faith in a one-time darling of foreign investors.

The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission fired the director-general Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke and pushed Aliko Dangote, the nation's wealthiest man, out as president of the exchange. In a statement, commission leader Arunma Oteh said the moves came after "several allegations of financial impropriety and corporate governance lapses" in the market's operations.

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MOSCOW - A dense smog from raging wildfires shrouded Moscow on Friday, grounding flights at the city's airports, plunging its iconic Red Square into a sea of dirty mist and stinging eyes and throats across the city.

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