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Candid 2008 U.S. Fed Records Detail Crisis, Action

At the beginning of 2008, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was worried.

Just back from meetings with bankers in Basel, he told a phone meeting of Fed officials that things were looking worse than even weeks before.

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Honda Opens Second Plant in Rising Auto Power Mexico

Honda unveiled a second factory in Mexico on Friday, seeking to capitalize on the nation's rising power in the sector and strengthen the Japanese car giant's foothold in North America.

The $800 million plant in the central city of Celaya will churn out 200,000 units per year, contributing to Mexico's race to beat Canada and Japan as top car exporter to the United States.

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Moody's Upgrades Spain's Credit Rating one Notch

Moody's raised Spain's sovereign credit rating by one notch Friday, citing progress in reforms to put the economy on a more sustainable track.

Moody's Investors Service upgraded the rating to Baa2 from Baa3, and gave the country a "positive outlook", suggesting the potential of a further upgrade.

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G20 Host Australia Urges Central Banks to Avoid 'Surprises'

Australia on Saturday called for better advance notice of policy changes by central banks to avoid shockwaves for emerging economies, at a meeting of G20 finance ministers where rifts over U.S. monetary policy loomed large.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said he wants the summit to stay focused on ways to stimulate growth and create jobs in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, adding he was confident of tangible results.

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OECD Warns of New Era of Low Growth

The OECD on Friday warned declining global productivity will usher in a new and extended era of low growth unless there are major structural reforms.

Its new "Going for Growth" report identifies infrastructure shortages and slowing trade activity as key problems -- issues that will be in focus at the G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Sydney this weekend.

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G-20 Finance Ministers to Focus on Global Growth

The market turmoil sparked by the Federal Reserve's steps toward removing the U.S. economy from life support is expected to be a top agenda item when finance chiefs from the world's biggest economies meet in Sydney this weekend.

The Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting is a precursor to the main G-20 summit that will be held in the Australian city of Brisbane in November. The meeting's host, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, said the Federal Reserve's decision to begin scaling back its stimulus will be a key part of discussions, along with reinvigorating global growth.

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U.S. Debt, Deficits Fade as Issues in Washington

Just four years ago, U.S. deficits and debt were an explosive political combination, propelling Republicans to control of the House of Representatives and fueling the budget fights that would ensue over the next three years.

Today, they are an afterthought in Washington's political and policy landscape.

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S&P Lowers Ukraine Rating to 'CCC' over Political Crisis

"The downgrade reflects our view that the political situation in Ukraine has deteriorated substantially," the agency said in a note a day after the deadliest day in the ex-Soviet country's three-month-old political crisis left more than 60 anti-government protesters shot dead.

"We believe that this raises uncertainty regarding the continued provision of Russian financial support over the course of 2014, and puts the government's capability to meet debt service at increasing risk," it said.

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Kuwait MP Proposes Trust Fund for Citizens from Birth

A Kuwaiti MP filed a bill Thursday to create a government-funded trust fund for every citizen from birth that would become an 18th birthday present of around $40,000 (29,200 euros).

Under MP Askar al-Enezi's proposal, the government of the oil-rich Gulf state would deposit 50 dinars ($177) each month into an account for each citizen from the time of birth.

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Jordan Signs $771 mn Deal to Buy Israeli Gas

Two Jordanian firms have signed a $771-million deal with U.S.-based Noble Energy to supply them with natural gas from an Israeli offshore field, local media reported on Thursday.

The Arab Potash and Jordan Bromine companies singed the agreement on Wednesday to obtain from Noble Energy and its Israeli partners 2 billion cubic meters (around 70 billion cubic feet) of gas from Israel's Tamar field for 15 years.

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