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UAE Projects Small 2012 Budget Deficit

The United Arab Emirates announced on Tuesday a 2012 federal budget showing a small deficit, increased revenues and only minor adjustments in expenditures.

Spending levels are projected at 41.8 billion dirhams ($11.4 billion) while revenue is estimated at 41.4 billion dirhams ($11.3 billion), leaving a deficit of just over $100 million, according to the official WAM news agency.

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World Bank Revises Downward Lebanon Growth to 4%

The World Bank has revised economic growth in Lebanon downward to four percent from a January forecast of seven percent for 2011 and forecast a fiscal deficit of 5.5 percent of GDP.

The projected growth rate still makes Lebanon the seventh fastest growing economy in the Middle East and North Africa, which is expected to reach 4.1 percent growth in 2011, according to a World Bank report published by Lebanon's Byblos Bank this week.

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Emirates NBD Takes over Troubled Dubai Bank

Emirates NBD Bank, the largest lender in the United Arab Emirates, has taken over the troubled Islamic lender Dubai Bank on orders of the ruler of Dubai, a government statement said on Tuesday.

"Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, in his capacity as the ruler of Dubai, has given orders that Emirates NBD take over Dubai Bank," the statement said.

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Putin Arrives in China after $7bln Deals

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Beijing Tuesday for talks with Chinese leaders, a day after his gas-rich nation signed deals worth over $7 billion with the world's top energy consumer.

Putin is due to meet his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao on his two-day visit -- his first abroad since he announced plans last month to reclaim the Russian presidency.

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Crude Output Resumed at South Iraq Field

Crude output is back to normal levels at the southern section of Iraq's biggest oilfield, a spokesman said on Monday, after being temporarily halted by two bombings at a pipeline over the weekend.

"Oil production from the Rumaila field has resumed at the rate of output before the explosions," oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said.

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U.S. Duo Win Economics Nobel for Macroeconomic Work

U.S. researchers Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims won the 2011 Nobel Economics Prize on Monday for their work on macro-economics and government economic policymaking, the Nobel jury said.

This year's laureates "have developed methods for answering ... questions regarding the causal relationship between economic policy and different macro-economic variables, such as GDP, inflation, employment and investments," the jury said.

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Egypt Stock Exchange Bourse down 5% after Deadly Clashes

Egypt's stock exchange dipped 5% within minutes of opening on Monday, following deadly clashes between protesters and security forces that left 24 people dead, most of them Coptic Christians.

The main EGX-index shed 207.31 points to reach 3,821.40 -- a drop of 5.15% -- a day after the deadliest clashes since a popular uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February.

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Strike of Kuwait Customs Officers Brings Country to a Halt

More than 3,000 customs employees in the oil-rich Gulf state of Kuwait went on strike on Monday demanding better pay and paralyzing exports and imports, a trade union official said.

"The strike is total as all of the more than 3,000 customs employees have stopped work. We are on an indefinite strike until our demands are met," Fahhad al-Ajmi, board member of the customs trade union, told Agence France Presse.

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Qatar to Acquire Luxembourg's KBL Bank for 1.05 bn Euros

Belgian bank KBC announced on Monday a deal to sell Luxembourg unit KBL to a Qatar investment group for 1.05 billion euros ($1.41 billion), finding a new buyer after a deal with India's Hinduja group fell through.

KBC group chief executive Jan Vanhevel said the sale will allow the Belgian bank to release capital, reduce its risk profile and further focus on its core markets in Belgian and Central and Eastern Europe.

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Paris, Berlin Agree on Banks' Recapitalization

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday that Paris and Berlin were agreed on a recapitalization of banks, at a joint news conference with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Merkel said the two capitals were "decided on doing what is necessary to recapitalize (the) banks in order to assure the granting of credit to the economy". Sarkozy said the "agreement was complete".

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