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Oil Prices Trade Below $42 in Asia

Oil prices traded below $42 in Asia Monday ahead of an OPEC meeting and the release of data on China's important manufacturing sector later in the week.

The market will be watching whether members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which meets on December 4, slash currently high output levels and ease a crude supply glut that has depressed prices for more than a year.

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Euro Weak ahead of Hotly-Anticipated ECB Meeting

The euro weakened on Monday as traders bet that the European Central Bank will turn on the monetary stimulus taps this week, while key U.S. jobs data were also in focus.

A solid reading for Friday's employment figures would add to already strong expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise near-zero interest rates as early as December.

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Kuwait Oil Minister Removed in Reshuffle

Kuwait Oil Minister Ali al-Omair was moved to the public works ministry in a limited cabinet reshuffle following a row with top oil executives, the emir decreed on Sunday.

Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh was appointed as acting oil minister, in decrees cited by the official KUNA news agency.

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Prepaid Cards -- Help for Financially Excluded or Finance for Terrorists?

Prepaid payment cards were seen as a positive development, helping those excluded from the banking system and providing a convenient financial tool, but their use in the Paris terror attacks has revealed a troubling dark side.

The attackers used an anonymous prepaid card to rent hotel rooms outside Paris the night before the November 13 strikes that killed 130 people, according to Tracfin, the French body tasked with combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

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Gulf Unwilling to Tighten Oil Taps Alone

Saudi-led Gulf OPEC members will reject pressure to shoulder the cost of cutting oil production alone despite warnings that prices risk sliding further, officials and analysts say.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, which pump more than half of OPEC's 32 million barrels of daily output, want a solid commitment from all other producers, especially non-OPEC member Russia, to agree to production cuts across the board.

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IMF Poised to Put Chinese Yuan in Elite Currency Basket

The International Monetary Fund is expected to approve inclusion of China's yuan in its SDR basket of elite currencies on Monday, rewarding Beijing's strong pursuit of the global status.

The IMF executive board is scheduled to meet Monday to decide on the recommendation by staff experts earlier in November to include the yuan, also known as the renminbi, alongside the U.S. dollar, euro, Japanese yen and British pound in the grouping.

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No Crowds but Online Surge on Britain's 'Black Friday'

Hordes of British Christmas shoppers swapped the High Street for the internet on "Black Friday", leaving stores unusually quiet but delivering Amazon its biggest ever sales day in the country.

Last year saw frenzied scuffles over bargains -- scenes that are common in the United States, where the marketing tradition began, after customers had queued hours before opening times to get first pick of the deals.

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Greek Economy Contracts 0.9% in third Quarter

Greece's state statistics agency on Friday drastically revised downwards the economy's third-quarter contraction to 0.9 percent, from 0.5 percent previously.

"These differences are on account of using new data, not available at the time of the flash estimate," the Elstat agency said, citing a mixture of September balance of payments data, service turnover and jobless figures as factors for the downturn.

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Taiwan Cuts 2015, 2016 Economic Growth Forecasts

Taiwan on Friday cut its growth forecast for 2015 for the second time since August, to 1.06 percent, while also lowering expectations for next year amid slumping exports.

The full-year figure was adjusted down 0.50 percentage points from August when the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics made the previous estimate. 

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Euro Weak ahead of European Central Bank Meeting

The euro on Friday hovered around seven-month lows on the dollar and was also weak against Asian currencies on speculation that the European Central Bank will unleash fresh stimulus measures next week.

Further action by the ECB to boost the 19-nation eurozone economy was likely to heap pressure on Asian policymakers to loosen their own monetary policy in a bid to push down their units to stay competitive, analysts said.

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