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Oil Rises to Near $92 a Barrel in Asia

Oil prices rose to near $92 a barrel Wednesday in Asia, underpinned by a rise in regional stock markets and increases to demand forecasts for this year.

Benchmark crude for February delivery was up 34 cents at $91.72 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract, which expires this week, fell 16 cents to settle at $91.38 on Tuesday.

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S&P Revises Lebanon Outlook to Stable

Global credit ratings agency Standard and Poor's on Tuesday revised its outlook for Lebanon to stable from positive despite a deepening political crisis in the Mediterranean country.

"The stable outlook reflects our view that while the government's control over the economic and political agenda has been diminished, outbreaks of civil unrest in the country will be avoided," the agency said in a statement.

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Toyota Working on Motors that Reduce Metal Use

Toyota on Tuesday said it is developing a new type of electric motor that would reduce its need for magnets; a move analysts say would help it cut its dependence on rare earth metals and lower costs.

The world's largest seller of hybrid automobiles is reportedly working on a motor based on common and inexpensive induction motors found in appliances such as kitchen mixers that use electromagnets instead of permanent ones.

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Arguments over euro crisis fund heat up

Debate over adding firepower to the euro zone’s debt rescue funds heated up on Monday as Germany clashed with Brussels ahead of a meeting of finance ministers.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has pressed European leaders to take a decision to "reinforce" rescue funds by a February 4 summit but Euro zone paymaster Germany refuses to be rushed into it.

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Salameh Says Central Bank Defending Currency During Crisis

The Central Bank will ensure that the country's currency remains stable and the government stays solvent after the collapse of the cabinet, Governor Riad Salameh said.

"We will be present in the market whenever our intervention is needed," Salameh told Bloomberg in a phone interview. "The central bank can act and will act to maintain stability."

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GFMS say Gold Could Hit Record Highs Above $1,600

Gold could hit record highs above $1,600 per ounce later this year, driven by low interest rates and stubborn concerns over the euro-zone debt crisis, metals consultancy GFMS forecast on Thursday.

"GFMS are expecting that towards the summer prices could start to move materially higher, with gold possibly breaking through $1,500 (per ounce) at that stage," GFMS said in its latest report.

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Sarkozy Says Euro too Strong Against Dollar

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday that the euro is still too strong against the dollar and the exchange rate is hurting French and European exports.

"Today it's better because we are at a euro-dollar rate of 1.29 to 1.30, but it is still too much," he told workers at a plant of plane-maker Airbus in southwestern France.

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Oil Price Hits Peak Near 99 Dollars

Oil struck a two-year peak near 99 dollars per barrel here on Wednesday, boosted by plunging American crude reserves, and as the key Trans-Alaskan pipeline remained shut following a leak.

The market was also boosted following news of falling crude oil stockpiles in the United States -- the world's biggest oil consuming nation.

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Saudi Starts Building New $7.2 Billion Jeddah Airport

Saudi aviation minister has kicked off the construction work on the new terminal at Jeddah airport which will cost 27.1 billion riyals ($7.2 billion).

Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, who is also the minister of defense, late Tuesday laid the cornerstone for the project during a ceremony at King Abdul Aziz airport, whose annual capacity should rise to 30 million passengers when the project is completed in 36 months.

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Maserati to Build SUV in North America

Chrysler Group said Tuesday it plans to build a new sport utility vehicle for Italy's Maserati in North America.

Chrysler/Fiat Chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said he had approved a plan to build a sport utility vehicle for the ultra-high end Italian luxury brand at the Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit.

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