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Indonesia allows Freeport to resume exports from Grasberg mine
Indonesia on Friday granted a permit to allow the local arm of US mining giant Freeport McMoRan resume exports, six months after the government applied a controversial ban, the company told AFP. It is one of a raft of economic policies that critics have dubbed "resource nationalism", and which are pushed by politicians who argue that Indonesia is losing out by allowing foreign firms easy access to lucrative industries. Copper concentrate, a major export for US giants Newmont and Freeport McMoRan, was exempt from the ban but the companies still faced paying the new, higher taxes on shipments of the product. "This is a good news, and we hope that our production will return to normal soon," Rozik Soetjipto, head of Freeport Indonesia, told AFP.
Global stocks and euro hit by German data, U.S. results
By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - Some disappointing U.S. earnings, including those of Amazon.com, and weak German economic data pressured world stock markets on Friday, while the euro clung to an eight-month low against the U.S. dollar. "The earnings season overall has been in line, but when companies with rich valuations disappoint, you're going to get crucified," said Lawrence Glazer, managing partner at Mayflower Advisors in Boston. Germany's Ifo survey showed a hefty fall in business confidence over the last few weeks, prompting concerns that Germany could be stuttering.
Argentina says to continue talks with debt mediator
Argentina will continue to talk with the mediator in its battle with holdout creditors over the coming days, the country's economy ministry said on Friday after its delegation left face-to-face negotiations in New York. "Continuing the process of dialogue underway, we went into further depth into the different aspects of the dispute and diverse alternatives," the ministry said in a statement.
U.S. business spending data gives mixed signals on growth
By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A mixed reading on the health of U.S. business investment on Friday suggested the economy may not have rebounded as strongly in the second quarter as previously believed, but it offered hope for the rest of 2014. Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, rebounded 1.4 percent after declining by a downwardly revised 1.2 percent the prior month, the Commerce Department said. Core capital goods shipments are used to calculate equipment spending in the government's gross domestic product measurement. "The weak performance in core capital goods shipments during the quarter suggests that this segment of the economy is unlikely to contribute much to economic activity," said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York.
European stocks fall on weaker German confidence
Europe's stock markets dropped on Friday as a fall in German business confidence offset positive British growth data, while traders reacted to a huge tie-up of the continent's pay-TV sector. In Paris, the CAC 40 shed 1.82 percent to 4,330.55 points after poor company results following three consecutive days of gain. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index dipped 0.44 percent to stand at 6,791.55 points at the closing bell, with investors shrugging off the British output data that were in line with analysts' expectations. Wall Street opened on a weak note off the back of poor company results, in turn dragging European stocks down.
Russian central bank lifts rate to counter sanctions bite
The Russian central bank moved on Friday to shield the country's economy from tightening Western sanctions over Ukraine, raising its main interest rate in a bid to forestall a resurgence of capital flight. It said that "inflation risks have increased due to a combination of factors, including, inter alia, the aggravation of geopolitical tension and its potential impact on the ruble exchange rate dynamics." The increase was the third since March as the central bank began to tighten monetary policy when the Russian economy was buffeted by the uncertainty generated by the Ukraine crisis and Western sanctions.
Russian execs fear lasting damage from plane crash
MOSCOW (AP) ? Having for months dismissed Western sanctions on Russia as toothless, business leaders here are now afraid that the downing of the Malaysian jetliner will bring about an international isolation that will cause serious and lasting economic damage.
EU edges to economic sanctions on Russia but narrows scope
By Adrian Croft and Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union reached outline agreement on Friday to impose the first economic sanctions on Russia over its behavior in Ukraine but scaled back their scope to exclude technology for the crucial gas sector. The sanctions on access to capital markets, arms and hi-tech goods are also likely to apply only to future contracts, leaving France free to go ahead with the controversial delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers being built for Russia. After months of hesitation, the 28-nation EU toughened its stance toward Moscow after last week's downing of a Malaysian airliner, killing 298 people, in an area of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists. After a discussion that lasted all day Thursday and part of Friday, ambassadors asked the executive European Commission to draw up a legal text setting out economic sanctions for possible agreement as early as next week.
Britain's recovery pushes economy past pre-crisis peak
By William Schomberg and Andy Bruce LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's economy is now bigger than it was before the financial crisis struck six years ago after strong growth in the second quarter that keeps it on track to lead the way among developed countries this year. Prime Minister David Cameron credited his government's focus on fixing the country's public finances for the turnaround. The opposition Labour party, which has a narrow lead in opinion polls ahead of next May's election, highlighted how slow Britain had been to regain its pre-crisis economic peak, something the party blames on government austerity measures. Some economists said Britain could yet suffer a "lost decade" given how far the economy remains from where it would have been if the financial crisis had not hit.
World stocks fall on US earnings, Russia sanctions
LONDON (AP) ? Global stock markets turned lower on Friday after weak earnings from Visa and Amazon and as European countries planned a range of sanctions against some Russian businesses.
Argentina debt negotiators leave meeting with mediator: witness
Argentine debt negotiators left their meeting with a U.S. court-appointed mediator in New York after barely one hour on Friday, declining to make any comment as they left the building, a Reuters reporter said. It was the shortest meeting yet held between Argentine officials and Daniel Pollack, raising more questions over the likelihood of the country striking a deal before July 30 with the "holdout" investors suing it for full payment on their bonds. If Argentina fails to either fulfill a court order to pay the New York hedge funds $1.33 billion plus interest or reach a deal, Latin America's No. 3 economy will slide into its second default in 12 years.
Turkey's Erdogan trumpets high-speed rail link as election looms
By Daren Butler ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated a $4 billion high-speed train link between Istanbul and Ankara on Friday, the latest in a series of "mega projects" he hopes will help him win a presidential election in a few weeks time. Turkey's economic development - driven partly by major infrastructure projects - has been the foundation of Erdogan's popularity despite deepening discontent among his opponents at what they see as growing authoritarianism. The launch - which comes just over three weeks ahead of the presidential election but a year before the line will be fully operational as it currently runs only to the outskirts of Istanbul - was delayed by a few months due to what officials described as sabotage and a test train crash on July 3.
EU will exclude gas technology from Russia sanctions-sources
EU leaders seeking to agree sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine are expected to include oil technology but exclude technology for Russia's all-important gas sector, EU sources said on Friday. The scaling back of the EU's ambitions shows the difficulty of agreeing forceful sanctions against Russia without risking damage to the bloc's fragile economy. Concerning sanctions on sensitive technologies, the letter from EU Council President Herman van Rompuy says one of the principles emerging is that restrictions on sensitive technology would only affect the oil sector, not the gas sector, because of "the need to preserve EU energy security," the sources said on condition of anonymity.
Anglo American shrugs off S. Africa platinum strikes
Anglo American on Friday announced a tripling of first-half profits as the global miner shrugged off disruptions caused by strikes at platinum mines in South Africa. Currency fluctuations helped to offset cost inflation, platinum strike action and lower prices for commodities, said chief executive Mark Cutifani. "The first six months of 2014 for the mining industry have seen ongoing soft demand and declines in average realised prices for most of the commodities Anglo American produces... reflecting uncertainty surrounding global economic growth prospects in the developed and developing economies," he added in the statement. Anglo American unit Amplats, the world's biggest platinum producer, said this week that it would offload some of its South African mines following a debilitating five-month wage strike which cut annual production by 40 percent.
Iraqi chaos seen slowing, not scuppering Turkish export drive
By Nevzat Devranoglu ISTANBUL (Reuters) - The chaos in Iraq could cost Turkey some $2-2.5 billion in lost trade this year, slowing efforts to boost exports and rebalance the economy, but the long-term impact will be negligible unless the situation deteriorates sharply, economists said. Exports to Iraq, Turkey's second largest foreign market, fell 19.3 percent to $745 million in June, data from the Turkish Statistics Institute showed on Friday, a sharp decline but broadly in line with expectations. A lightning advance by the Sunni insurgent group Islamic State, which swept through north and west Iraq last month, raised fears of a collapse in demand for Turkish goods and a sharp rise in Turkey's energy import bill, with Iraq its biggest crude oil supplier. Oil is now trading back below $108 a barrel, easing Turkey's fears.
Argentina's Kicillof says cannot pay in full to holdouts by July 30
Argentina's Economy Minister Axel Kicillof said on Friday it was impossible for the government to fulfill a U.S. court order to pay out in full to "holdout" investors whose legal action has left the country teetering on the brink of another debt default. Kicillof said Argentina was ready to negotiate under "just conditions," standing firm on the government line with just five days to go until a July 30 deadline by when it must either pay or cut a deal with the New York hedge funds to stave off a default.
China approves three private banks
China has approved the setting up of three private banks, including one by Internet giant Tencent, the industry regulator said Friday, in a long-awaited economic reform aimed at bringing competition to state banking giants. Previously, China had just two privately-owned banks, Minsheng Bank and Ping An Bank, according to state media. The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said it had approved private banks in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, the northern port city of Tianjin and the eastern city of Wenzhou, which is known as the cradle of private enterprise in China.
Overgrown Beijing slaps new limits on industry in bid to cut smog
China's overgrown and smog-hit capital Beijing has passed new rules banning the expansion of polluting and resource-intensive industries, the local government said on Friday. In a list of restrictions published on its website (www.beijing.gov.cn), the municipal government said it would ban the further expansion of a wide range of industries, including food processing, textiles, construction materials, paper making, chemicals and oil refining. It said in an accompanying statement that the list had been drawn up to serve the capital's plans to restructure its economy and promote integrated development with the neighboring regions of Hebei and Tianjin. Beijing has been under heavy pressure to end its obsession with industrial growth, which has not only left the city choking with smog, but also deprived poverty-stricken surrounding regions of the opportunity to improve their economies.
UK economy grew 0.8% in second quarter, above pre-crisis level
Britain's economy grew strongly in the second quarter, overtaking the size it achieved before the global financial crisis, data showed on Friday in the latest sign of robust recovery. Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.8 percent between April and June from the first quarter, when it grew by the same amount, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed in a statement that matched market expectations. The data was published one day after the International Monetary Fund forecast Britain, a member of the European Union but not of the eurozone, would outpace the world's major advanced economies this year. The economy is now 0.2 percent bigger than before its pre-crisis peak in early 2008, the ONS added, lifting Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government, which has pursued austerity and tax-raising policies since it won power in 2010.
UK economy grows to surpass pre-crisis peak
LONDON (AP) ? Britain's economy has grown to surpass the peak it reached in 2008, before the global banking crisis caused a deep recession, official figures showed Friday.