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EU Aiding Greece to Dig Out Unpaid Taxes in Swiss Banks

The European Union said Thursday it is helping Greece negotiate with Switzerland in a bid to claw back some the 60 billion Euros in unpaid taxes believed to be hidden in Swiss banks.

The first feedback from a team of European Commission experts seconded to Athens produced "few concrete steps" forward, said Horst Reinchenbach, the German head of a task force trying to help Athens reform its economy.

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Monti Says Future of Euro also Depends on Italy

New Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said Thursday that the future of the euro also depended on Italy during his first speech in parliament, in which he unveiled a plan to tackle the crisis.

"The future of the euro also depends on what Italy will do in the next few weeks," he said, adding that his new technocratic cabinet would implement "austerity measures" which would be balanced by "growth and equity."

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European Markets Drop Amid Bond Tension

Rising tension on Eurozone bond markets with record pressure on France and Spain hit stock markets on Thursday, as Germany warned Italy's new prime minister to move fast to avert even deeper crisis.

Investor sentiment was already under pressure after ratings agency Fitch warned overnight that US banks could be exposed if the Eurozone crisis intensified.

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Gold Industry Upbeat Despite Consumer Slump

Global economic uncertainty will fuel the current surge in investment demand for gold, even as record prices force a slump in the jewelry market, the World Gold Council (WGC) said Thursday.

Global demand for gold was 1,054 tons in the three months to September, up 6.0 percent year-on-year -- equal to a record high of $57.7 billion in value terms, the WGC said in a report.

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Airbus, Boeing Tie at Dubai Air Show

Airbus and Boeing concluded Dubai Airshow Wednesday head to head after bagging big orders, while the European producer widened the gap with its U.S. rival in promoting eco-friendly, single-aisle jets.

The prestigious show was kicked off with a record order by Dubai's Emirates for 50 Boeing long-range 777-300ER jetliners, worth $18 billion. The American manufacturer topped its single largest dollar-value order with the sale of two 777 freighters to Qatar Airways for $560 million.

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EU Strides Out with Call for Control over National Budgets

EU leaders called on Wednesday for Brussels to have power to rewrite national budgets to ensure the euro survives amid concerns that such discipline could clash with democracy.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Brussels would have to be given the power to scrutinize national budgets and demand changes before they are adopted.

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New York Oil Tops $100

Oil prices in New York topped the $100 level for the first time since June 10 as traders anticipated tightening supplies at the beginning of winter.

The main New York contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery, topped the $100 level shortly after opening and pushed up to $101.33 at around 1515 GMT, compared with Tuesday's close of $99.37.

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Debt Shy European Banks Steer Clear of Eurozone Bonds

Reeling from their exposure to the Eurozone debt crisis and needing to bolster their capital base, European banks are slashing their government bond holdings but risk making matters worse.

Top banks announced recently they are cutting their portfolios of bonds issued by such weak Eurozone members as Italy, Spain, Greece, Ireland and Portugal, aiming to minimize the risk to profit and to their capital.

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Syria Stops Oil Payments to France's Total

Total said Tuesday the Syrian government has stopped paying for oil the French energy giant produces in the country, which is the target of a European Union ban on oil exports.

"We are no longer being paid," a Total spokesman said, confirming media reports. He said the company had since late September "slightly" reduced its production in Syria but was continuing to produce oil and gas there.

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Turkey Threatens to Cut Power to Syria, Halts Oil Search

Turkey said Tuesday it has halted joint oil exploration with Syria and threatened to cut energy supplies to its neighbor as relations sour over the Syrian regime's bloody crackdown on demonstrators.

"We are currently exporting electricity (to Syria). If the situation continues like this, we may be in a position to revise all these decisions," Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said.

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