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Central Bankers, Economists to Take Long View at ECB Forum

Central bankers from across the world gather in Portugal on Thursday to try to see past pressing issues such as Greece and market turbulence, and take a longer view of the global economy. 

The European Central Bank has invited leading economists, academics, financial market players and central bankers from across the globe to a secluded luxury resort in Sintra, around 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Lisbon, for a three-day think-fest.

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HSBC: China Gauge Shows Manufacturing Activity Still Shrinking

China's manufacturing activity contracted at a slower pace in May, an HSBC survey showed Thursday, but companies cut back production and jobs despite government attempts to reinvigorate the world's second-largest economy.

The preliminary reading for the British banking giant's purchasing managers' index (PMI) came in at 49.1 for this month, improving from a final figure of 48.9 in April, it said in a statement.

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New Zealand Misses Budget Surplus Target

New Zealand confirmed Thursday it had failed to meet a pledge to deliver a budget surplus this year, although Finance Minister Bill English insisted the government's books were on the right track.

The annual budget showed a deficit of NZ$684 million ($500 million) for 2014-15, more than a billion dollars off the NZ$372 million surplus English predicted last year.

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China, Brazil, Unveil Multibillion Trade, Investment Deals

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang lifted the wraps Tuesday on a multibillion-dollar series of trade and investment deals with Brazil, as Beijing looks to invest $53 billion in South America's largest economy.

The news unveiled at the start of Li's first official visit to Latin America is a huge boon for Brazil as it endures a fifth straight year of low growth after a period of rapid expansion fueled by Asian demand for commodities that has since slowed.

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IMF: Donors Need to Support West Bank, Gaza Recovery

The International Monetary Fund called Tuesday for more donor aid to support the recovery of the West Bank and Gaza Strip economy, citing an uncertain outlook for the Palestinian territories.

The IMF said in a report that the reconstruction process in the Gaza Strip, ravaged by the war between Israel and Hamas that ended last August, "is moving far more slowly than expected."

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German Banks Seek Way to Turn around Weak Profits

Germany's nearly 1,800 banks are being forced to rethink their business models in the face of  persistently low level of interest rates and weak profitability. 

"It's an incontrovertible fact that the German banking sector is not profitable enough by international standards," Michael Kemmer, head of the BdB federation for private sector banks, told Agence France Presse. 

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Japan Economy Picks up Pace in Wobbly Recovery

Japan's economy grew more than expected in the first three months of the year, data showed Wednesday, as it crawls back from a brief recession, but observers cautioned that a strong recovery may still be some way off.

The 0.6 percent on-quarter expansion was bigger than revised 0.3 percent growth in the last three months of 2014, and beat market expectations for a 0.4 percent rise.

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U.S. Charges Chinese Academics with 'Economic Espionage'

Six Chinese nationals, including three university professors, were charged with economic espionage in a U.S. indictment unsealed Tuesday alleging the theft of technology used in mobile phones for Beijing's benefit.

According to a 32-count indictment, the six led a long-running effort to obtain U.S. trade secrets for universities and companies controlled by the Chinese government. 

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Iran Says Can't Afford Ahmadinejad Cash Handouts

Iran can no longer sustain the billions of dollars needed to pay cash handouts enacted by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a top official said Tuesday, signaling plans to halt them.

Since coming to power in 2013, Hassan Rouhani, Ahmadinejad's successor, has sought to put Iran's economy back in order after it plunged into recession and was hit hard by inflation.

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U.S. Signs $1 bn Loan Guarantee for Ukraine

The United States signed Monday its second $1 billion loan guarantee deal for Ukraine aimed at helping the crisis-wracked country surmount a Russia-backed insurgency and rebuild its tattered economy.

The U.S. loan guarantee agreement is part of a $7.5 billion package of support for Ukraine over the coming year from its bilateral and multilateral partners, the Ukrainian finance ministry said.

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