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Report: China to Merge Scores of Major State Firms

China is considering merging scores of its biggest state-owned enterprises to create around 40 national champions from the existing 112, the official Xinhua news agency said Monday.

The report said state firms would be merged or acquired, but gave no timelines or details about which companies would merge. 

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Fitch Cuts Japan's Credit Rating by One Notch over Debt Fears

Fitch on Monday cut its credit rating on heavily indebted Japan by one notch, saying it has not done enough to plug a budget gap left by its decision to delay a sales tax rise.

The move saw Japan's rating trimmed to "A" from "A+", several months after rival credit agency Moody's also downgraded Japan's credit rating.

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Spain: PM Says Economy on Track to Grow 2.9 pct this Year

Spain's prime minister says the country's economy is on track to grow 2.9 percent this year and expand an additional 2.9 percent in 2016.

Mariano Rajoy gave the upbeat assessment a month before his party is expected to face a tough challenge in nationwide regional and local elections from the main opposition Socialist Party and two new parties attracting huge voter interest.

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Deutsche Bank to Cut Costs by 3.5 bn Euros by 2020

Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, unveiled Monday details of a massive strategic shake-up as part of which it plans to bring down annual costs by 3.5 billion euros ($3.8 billion) by 2020. 

The restructuring programme will also entail the flotation of the bank's Postbank unit at the end of next year, the closure of up to 200 high-street branches by 2017 and a "re-focus" of its geographical footprint whereby it would exit or reduce its presence in some countries, the group said in a statement. 

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Growth Pause, Greek Crisis could Keep Fed Mum on Rate Rise

The Federal Reserve dropped its reference to staying patient before raising interest rates in its policy statement in March.

But signs are, that could be its stance on Wednesday, when it concludes a new two-day monetary policy meeting amid a U.S. growth slowdown and a potential financial eruption from the Greek crisis.

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Britons and Greeks Reviving Cyprus Tourism

A surge in British and Greek tourists ensured visitors to Cyprus rose more than a quarter in March, helping its bailed-out economy battle a three-year recession, official data showed.

Tourism arrivals to Cyprus soared 25.7 percent to 97,479 compared with the same month of 2014, according to the state statistical service.

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Greek Parliament Okays Controversial Cash Reserve Transfer

Greece's parliament on Friday adopted a controversial decree ordering all public institutions to hand over their cash reserves to the central bank to help Athens meet its financial obligations.

The decree was adopted by the ruling Syriza party and its junior partner ANEL by 156 votes in favour and 104 against in a noisy debate.

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Swiss Business Team to Make First Iran Visit in Decade

A Swiss business delegation will go to Iran this weekend in the first such visit in 10 years to try and expand trade ties, the finance ministry said Friday.

The team, comprising executives from the pharmaceutical, green energy and services sectors, will be led by Livia Leu, who served as Swiss ambassador to Tehran between 2009 and 2013, it said.

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Britain Sells More of Lloyds Bank before Election

Britain's government has sold another tranche of state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group as it seeks to further cut the deficit in the run-up to next month's general election.

The state cut its stake to just below 21 percent by selling another 1.0 percent of the bank's shares. 

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Damascus Fair Encourages People to 'Buy Syrian'

Syria's entrepreneurs, suffering from crippling losses after four years of civil war, have launched a drive to encourage consumers hit by burgeoning inflation and a shortage of imports to "buy Syrian".

A first instalment of the "Made in Syria" fair in Damascus this month attracted around 60 local companies to showcase products that are both easier to acquire and far cheaper than whatever imports are available.

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