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Oil Falls to Near $84 on Global Slowdown Fears

Oil prices headed lower to near $84 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as fears of a recession in developed countries sent stock markets and commodities lower.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was down $2.13 to $84.32 at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude last settled at $86.45 on Friday because U.S. markets were closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

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Swiss National Bank Pegs Franc to Euro

The Swiss National Bank on Tuesday decided to fix the country's exchange rate at 1.20 francs per euro and indicated it would buy an unlimited amount of euros regardless of the risk to maintain that value.

The central bank is exercising what many analysts in recent weeks had called the last-ditch "nuclear option" to shield the Swiss economy and exporters from the damaging impact of a strong franc.

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Italian Workers Strike Against Austerity Measures

A strike by Italy's largest labor union against austerity measures has shut down air, land and sea transport and curtailed other public services throughout the country.

Workers for the state railway, city transit systems and ferry services all were on strike. Hospital workers, postal employees and bank tellers also joined in.

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Euro Falls Against Dollar as U.S. Worries Rise

The euro fell further against the dollar in Asia on Monday as risk appetite was eroded by renewed worries over Greek debt and fears of a possible recession in the world's biggest economy.

The euro dropped to $1.4158 in Tokyo trade from $1.4203 in New York late Friday. The European common unit also eased to 108.60 yen from 109.09 yen.

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Oil Falls to Under $85 after Weak U.S. Jobs Report

Oil prices extended losses and fell below $85 a barrel Monday as a dismal U.S. jobs report suggested demand for crude in the world's largest economy will drop.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for October delivery was down $1.60 to $84.85 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude fell $2.48 to settle at $86.45 on Friday.

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Tax The Rich and Banks, Says Spanish PM Hopeful

pain's ruling Socialists' candidate for prime minister in November elections said Monday that if he wins he will raise taxes on wealthy people and banks and use the extra revenue to create jobs, especially for young people.

Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, interior minister until a few months ago and the party' most veteran and prominent member, gave no details in a radio interview but estimated the tax hikes would bring in €2.5 billion ($3.6 billion).

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Next ECB Chief Says Eurozone Needs Integration

The incoming chief of the European Central Bank says the eurozone countries need a "quantum" leap toward economic integration.

Mario Draghi told a conference in Paris on Monday that there are problems with the common currency, including a lack of coordinated fiscal policies.

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Gazprom Officials to Visit S. Korea

Officials from Russian energy giant Gazprom will visit South Korea to discuss the gas pipeline project recently agreed by Russian and North Korean leaders, a report said Sunday.

Yonhap news agency cited Seoul officials as saying that representatives from the world's top gas firm will meet with their counterparts at the state-run Korea Gas Corp. this month to discuss technical details of the project.

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U.S. Authorities Press Swiss Banks for Data Over Tax Evasion

U.S. authorities have given Switzerland until Tuesday to transmit data from tax evaders in the United States who have stashed assets away in Swiss banks, the SonntagsZeitung reported Sunday.

The United States has asked for detailed information on U.S. nationals who have hidden their money in Switzerland, the paper said, basing its report on a three-page letter from the U.S. deputy attorney general James Cole, dated August 31, addressed to the Swiss authorities.

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Central Bank Says India Paid $5 Billion Iran Oil Debt in Full

India has fully paid its $5 billion oil arrears to Iran without bartering to bypass sanctions-related payment problems, the official news agency IRNA reported Sunday quoting Iran's central bank chief.

"While all of India's $5 billion oil arrears have been paid to Iran, the country will always have some leftover debt (to pay) due to fresh oil sales," Mahmoud Bahmani said.

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