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UK Supermarket Sainsbury's Logs Christmas Sales Drop

British supermarket chain Sainsbury's, which is seeking to buy Home Retail Group, reported Wednesday falling sales for the third quarter of its financial year, hit by challenging Christmas trade.

Sales fell 0.7 percent in the 15 weeks to January 9, compared with the equivalent period of last year, the nation's second largest supermarket company said in a trading update.

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Foreign Investment Plummets in Junta Ruled Thailand

Foreign investment in Thailand plummeted last year, official data showed, the latest sign that the kingdom's once-vibrant economy continues to falter under prolonged military rule.

Total investment applied for by foreign companies between January and November 2015 plunged 78 percent from a year earlier to 93.8 billion baht ($2.62 billion), according to figures from Thailand's state-run Board of Investment (BoI) sent to AFP late Tuesday.

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Commodity Price Falls a $160 Billion Bonus for China

Slumping prices saved China more than $160 billion on its imports of commodities such as oil, iron ore, coal and copper last year, official figures showed on Wednesday.

Slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy has hammered global raw materials prices, sending shockwaves through resource-rich producer countries from Australia to Zambia.

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Airbnb under Fire over West Bank Settlements Listings

Palestinian officials pledged to take action Tuesday against Airbnb over rooms for rent in settlements in the occupied West Bank being listed on the website as located within Israel.

Dozens of Jewish settlers advertise their homes for rent in a number of locations across the West Bank.

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Lufthansa Says It Achieved Record Passenger Numbers in 2015

German airline Lufthansa said Tuesday it transported a record number of passengers in 2015, despite repeated walkouts by both pilots and cabin staff in long and bitter industrial disputes.

"The airlines of the Lufthansa group transported 107.7 million passengers in 2015, which is a new record," the carrier said in a statement.

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UAE Energy Minister Expects Oil Prices to Recover this Year

United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said Tuesday he expects a recovery in plummeting oil prices before the end of the year.

"I am personally convinced that before the end of 2016 we're going to see a correction. The market fundamentals tell us this," Mazrouei told an energy forum in Abu Dhabi.

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OPEC President Sees Emergency Meeting in March

OPEC president Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said Tuesday that he expects an extraordinary meeting of the oil cartel in "early March" to address nosediving crude prices.

"We did say that if it (the price) hits the 35 (dollar per barrel), we will begin to look (at)... an extraordinary meeting," said Kachikwu, who is Nigerian minister for petroleum resources.

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Dollar Rises against Emerging Currencies as Risk Sentiment Recedes

The dollar advanced against emerging market currencies Tuesday as declining risk sentiment engulfed Asia, amid fears about the weak outlook for the Chinese economy.

A sell-off in Chinese stocks last week sent shock waves through international trading floors, as investors remain worried about low global demand for commodities on the back of slower growth in the world's number two economy.

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Banks' Borrowing Rate for Yuan in Hong Kong Hits Record

The rate at which banks charge each other to borrow yuan in Hong Kong surged to a record high Tuesday with speculation China's central bank was buying huge amounts of the unit to fend off speculators.

The overnight Hong Kong Interbank Offered Rate (HIBOR) for the offshore yuan jumped 53 percentage points to almost 67 percent owing to tight liquidity. The one-week rate also surged, to 33.8 percent from 11.2 percent.

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German ex-Chancellor Schroeder on Iran Business Visit

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder held talks Monday with top officials in Tehran on boosting trade links and Iran's diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia.

The visit comes ahead of the expected implementation of a nuclear deal with Iran that will open its economy to Western investment after years of sanctions on its banks and key industries.

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