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Kuwait Urges Gulf Reforms as Oil Prices Fall

Kuwait's finance minister on Saturday called for economic reforms by energy-dependent Gulf states to cope with a drop in oil prices that has hurt their public finances.

Anas al-Saleh urged steps to tackle rising public spending, mainly on wages and subsidies, as well as efforts to boost the role of the private sector.

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Impact Fund Signing Ceremony: A Milestone Event

Lebanon’s largest Venture Capital fund, the first to comply with Banque du Liban Intermediate Circular 331, now set to boost Lebanon’s profile as a launching pad for global High Tech success stories, a press release said on Saturday.

The signing ceremony of the IMPACT Fund occurred on October 24, 2014, representing a major milestone for Lebanon’s Venture Capital scene, the press release added.

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French Unemployment Hits New Record

Unemployment in France hit a new record in September, with official statistics published Friday showing 3.43 million people claimed jobless benefits.

The figures showed a rise of 19,200 people joining the jobless queue and come as President Francois Hollande marks the midway point in his troubled mandate.

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IMF Fights Negative Interest Rates

The International Monetary Fund on Friday announced a minimum interest rate on its unique SDR currency as it fights off the impact of sagging interest rates and deflation from major economies.

The IMF said that from Monday it would maintain a floor rate of 0.05 percent, or five basis points, on its special drawing rights or SDR currency, which represents a basket of the currencies of its largest members.

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Australia, U.S.: Momentum Building on Pacific Trade Deal

Momentum is building towards a pan-Pacific trade agreement, representatives of Australia and the United States said Saturday as talks between trade ministers began in Sydney.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would encompass 40 percent of the global economy and include 12 nations, has been the subject of negotiations for years.

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Renault Chief Sees Europe Auto Market Slowing in 2015

French carmaker Renault chairman, Carlos Ghosn, said Saturday that he expects slower growth in Europe's auto market next year as it continues to recover from the global economic crisis.

Ghosn, who is also Renault's chief executive officer, said the European market was growing at six percent so far this year -- the best since the 2007 crisis.

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British Economy Slows Down in Third Quarter

Growth of the British economy slowed in the third quarter of this year, official data showed on Friday in a context of concerns over the uncertain global outlook.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 0.7 percent between July and September from output in the previous three months, the Office for National Statistics said in an initial estimate.

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Russian Ruble Plunges to New Low as Economy Suffers

Russia's ruble slumped to a new all-time low on Friday as the economic fall-out from the Ukraine crisis and lower oil prices caused the finance minister to call for a "back-up" 2015-2017 budget.

For the first time it took more than 53 rubles to buy one euro, and the rate against the dollar topped 41.92 with speculation swirling that Standard and Poor's could cut its rating for Russia to a "speculative" level.

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German Consumer Confidence Stops Falling

Consumer confidence in Germany has stopped falling, as households appear to be no longer fazed by concerns about the economic fallout from geopolitical crises, a new poll found on Friday.

Following the recent declines, "consumer sentiment rose again somewhat in October and the downward trend has come to an end," market research company GfK said in a statement.

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China, 21 other Countries Initiate New Asian Bank

China and 21 other Asian nations signed on Friday to a new Beijing-backed international bank for Asia that Washington opposes as an unnecessary rival to established institutions such as the World Bank.

Representatives of the 22 nations signed a memorandum of understanding at the Great Hall of the People in the heart of Beijing to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

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