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Saudi Chemical Giant SABIC Q1 Profit Drops 1.8 pct

Saudi petrochemicals giant SABIC said Sunday its net profit for the first quarter of 2014 dropped by 1.8 percent year-on-year due to lower prices and higher expenses.

The company said in a statement that it earned a net income of $1.72 billion in the first three months of 2014 compared with $1.75 billion in the same period of last year.

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Oil Prices Down in Quiet Asian Trade

Oil prices eased in subdued post-holiday Asian trade Monday, but retained support from the escalating Ukraine crisis following a deadly gunfight over the weekend, analysts said. 

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for May delivery, dipped 13 cents to $104.17 in afternoon trade and Brent North Sea crude for June eased 42 cents to $109.11 a barrel.

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The Yen under Pressure as Japan's Trade Deficit Swells

The yen was weaker against the dollar and the euro in quiet Asian trade Monday after data showed Japan's trade deficit quadrupled year-on-year in March.

The greenback fetched 102.52 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, up from 102.46 yen Friday, while the euro was up at 141.66 yen from 141.46 yen. The single currency drifted lower to $1.3817 from $1.3812.

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Ukraine Sanctions Aside, U.S. Carmakers Eye Russia Market

Never mind the Ukraine crisis and Washington's sanctions against Moscow: U.S. automakers say the Russian market is their next big frontier.

Russia is simply too large and too important for carmakers to ignore, experts said this week.

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Fiat-Chrysler to Produce Iconic Jeep in China from 2015

Automaker Fiat-Chrysler said on Saturday that it would begin producing the iconic American brand Jeep in China from 2015 to meet demand in the world's largest car market.

Fiat-Chrysler -- created by Italy's Fiat acquiring Chrysler of the United States -- will produce three Jeep sport utility vehicle (SUV) models in China, including one specifically designed for the Chinese market, the company said in a statement.

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Iran Oil Exports Rise to 1.2 mn Barrels Per Day

Iran's crude oil exports have hit 1.2 million barrels per day, almost doubling from eight months ago when the country elected a new president, a top government official said Friday.

Mansour Moazami, who holds the planning brief among the Islamic republic's five deputy oil ministers, said the numbers were 20 percent above forecasts and they would rise further.

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Portugal Gets Another IMF Bailout Payment

The International Monetary Fund released a bailout payment of 851 million euros ($1.18 billion) to Portugal on Thursday as the debt-riddled country gets close to exiting its three-year IMF-European Union rescue.

The IMF executive board approved the payment, which brings the total amount disbursed under the program to 25.7 billion euros.

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Dollar Up in Asia on U.S. Jobs Data, Ukraine Deal

The dollar rose in quiet Asian trade Friday, winning support from positive U.S. jobs data and a deal between Russia and the West aimed at easing tensions in Ukraine.

The greenback fetched 102.48 yen in Tokyo, up from 102.39 yen in New York Thursday while the euro drifted lower against the dollar to $1.3811 from $1.3813.

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Italy Sells Luxury State Cars on eBay

Italy's cash-strapped government has raised more than 370,000 euros by selling 52 luxury cars owned by the state through online auction site eBay, the prime minister's office has said.

On the first day of sales, Rome managed to sell executive vehicles worth 371,400 euros ($513,000) from the sale of "auto blu" cars, the name given to those owned by ministers and state officials.

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European Auto Market Pulls Away from Crisis: Trade Data

Demand for cars in Europe moved up another gear in March and struggling French group Peugeot Citroen did well, trade data showed on Thursday, but the market is still suffering badly from a recent slump.

Sales of new cars in the European Union surged by 10.6 percent last month on a 12-month comparison to a total of 1.45 million.

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