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Syria Currency Reserves to Run out Soon: Western Diplomat

Syria will exhaust its foreign currency reserves in three to five months, sparking crisis in an economy reeling from sanctions over its crackdown on protests, a Western diplomat said Wednesday.

"Foreign reserves are down, probably hemorrhaging up to $3 billion (2.3 billion euros) a month," the diplomat told reporters in London.

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Moet Hennessy to Produce Red Wine in China

Moet Hennessy, the wine and spirits arm of France's LVMH luxury group, said Wednesday it will make red wine in China where a taste for the better things in life has boomed along with the economy.

Moet Hennessy said it had joined forces with VATS, a Chinese wine firm, to develop a vineyard of 30 hectares (74 acres) in Yunnan province, southeastern China.

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Peugeot and GM Discuss 'Strategic Partnership'

Leading French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen is in talks with US giant General Motors on forming a "strategic partnership", French Labour Minister Xavier Bertrand said Wednesday.

Peugeot shares surged almost 15 percent on the Paris exchange in morning trading as news of a possible huge tie-up between two industry giants spread.

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Oil Prices Slip on Poor Eurozone Data

World oil prices dipped on Wednesday as weak economic data and fears over Greece sparked demand concerns, overshadow eding geopolitical concerns surrounding key crude producer Iran, dealers said.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April fell 11 cents to $121.55 a barrel in London midday deals.

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Centrica Buys Total Oil and Gas Assets in North Sea

British energy provider Centrica said Wednesday it had agreed to buy oil and gas assets in the North Sea from French peer Total for $388 million (292 million euros) in cash.

The portfolio includes seven producing fields, Centrica said in a statement.

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Iraq Eyes Options in Case Hormuz Closed

Iraq is mulling options to boost oil exports through Turkey or to reopen disused pipelines in case Iran blocks the strategic Strait of Hormuz as threatened, the planning minister said on Wednesday.

Iran has threatened retaliation for fresh Western sanctions over its nuclear program, including a possible disruption of shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, a Gulf chokepoint for global oil shipments.

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China's Geely to Assemble Cars in Egypt

Chinese automaker Geely said Wednesday it will begin assembling cars in Egypt this year with a local partner, marking its latest push overseas as domestic demand hits the brakes.

Geely Holding Group, which owns Swedish nameplate Volvo, will work with GB Auto to assemble passenger vehicles for distribution across North Africa, the Chinese company said in a statement.

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Egypt to Provide 22 Megawatts to Struggling Gaza

Egypt is to provide 22 megawatts of electricity to the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, where the sole power plant has shut down after running out of fuel, the electricity minister said on Tuesday.

Egypt "will begin boosting the Gaza Strip with around 22 megawatts of electricity at the start of next week, to confront the crisis there and ease the suffering of the Palestinian people," Hassan Yunes said.

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Euro Bounces, Stocks Seady After Greek Rescue Deal

The euro bounced close to $1.33 on Tuesday, but European stock markets held steady as investors gave a cautious welcome to another Eurozone bailout for Greece.

In morning deals, London's FTSE 100 dipped 0.07 percent to 5,940.87 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 slid 0.06 percent to 6,944.17 points, reversing earlier gains. The Paris CAC 40 meanwhile added 0.08 percent to 3,475.01.

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Paris Hotels Post Record Year

The number of nights spent in Paris hotels hit a record in 2011, the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau said Monday, with a big jump in visits from China.

In total, visitors spent 36.9 million nights in the City of Light last year, a 3.1 percent increase from 2010.

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