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IMF Releases Delayed $500M in Funding for Tunisia

Tunisia's economy minister has announced that the International Monetary fund has released half a billion dollars in delayed funding following the formation of the country's new interim government.

Hakim Ben Hammouda told the state news agency that the IMF had agreed late Wednesday to release $507 million dollars that had originally been promised in September.

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Facebook Shares Leap with Profit Jump

Facebook said Wednesday that profit soared in 2013 on the back of sizzling mobile ad revenue as the social network's membership swelled.

The world's biggest social network reported that profit in the fourth quarter jumped eightfold from a year earlier to $523 million, raising its net income for the year to $1.5 billion.

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German Unemployment Rate Steady at 6.8% Official Data

Germany's unemployment rate was steady in January, as the labor market continues to hold up thanks to the improving economic outlook, official data showed on Thursday.

The number of people registered as unemployed in Europe's top economy fell by 28,0000 in seasonally adjusted terms this month, the Federal Labor Office said in a statement.

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Dollar Firms in Asia, Turkish Lira Edges Up

The dollar made up a little of its lost ground in Asian trade Thursday afternoon after falling when the U.S. central bank said it would continue to scale back its bond-buying program.

The greenback firmed to 102.40 yen, compared with 102.25 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon and against 103.25 yen in Asia on Wednesday, before the Fed announcement.

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Survey: German Consumer Confidence Gets off to Good Start in 2014

Consumer confidence in Germany rose again at the start of the new year, auguring well for Europe's top economy as it goes into 2014, a new poll found on Wednesday.

"German consumer sentiment has started the new year 2014 full of zest," market research company GfK said in a statement.

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Loans to Eurozone Businesses Drop Sharply

Lending to businesses in the debt-mired eurozone contracted sharply in December, data published by the European Central Bank showed on Wednesday.

Private sector loans dropped by 2.3 percent in December in a year-on-year comparison, the ECB said, after already contracting by the same amount in November.

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Shell Sells Stake in Brazil Oil Field for $1bn to Qatar

Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said Wednesday that it has sold a large stake in an offshore Brazilian oil field to Qatar for about $1.0 billion.

Shell said it has agreed to offload a 23-percent interest in the Parque das Conchas (BC-10) project offshore Brazil to Qatar Petroleum International. The deal remains subject to regulatory approval in Brazil.

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Oil Near $97 ahead of Inventories, Fed Statement

The price of oil fell Wednesday, dragged down by expectations of rising crude inventories and a further cut in U.S. central bank stimulus.

Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was down 14 cents to $97.27 a barrel at 0510 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged 1.8 percent or $1.69 to close at $97.41 a barrel on Tuesday.

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Turkish Central Bank Raises Inflation Outlook

Turkey's central bank, fighting to defend the lira, raised sharply its inflation forecast for 2014 to 6.6 percent from 5.3 percent on Tuesday.

"We have updated our 2014 inflation estimate by 1.3 points" the bank's governor Erdem Basci said in remarks broadcast live.

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Default on $500 mn Chinese Investment Scheme 'Averted'

A looming default on a $500 million Chinese investment product sold by China's largest bank ICBC to hundreds of investors appears to have been averted days ahead of deadline, a document seen by Agence France Presse Tuesday showed.

A default by the "Credit Equals Gold #1 Trust Product" would send a shockwave through the multi-trillion dollar "shadow banking" system in the world's second-largest economy.

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