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Further Easing Seen as China Rate Cut Signals Policy Shift

After months of modest stimulus actions to try to keep the world's second largest economy on track, China has fallen back on one of the strongest weapons in its arsenal -- an interest rate cut -- and analysts say more easing is on the way.

In the first such move in more than two years, China's central bank cut the benchmark one-year lending rate by 0.40 percentage points to 5.60 percent and trimmed the one-year deposit rate by 0.25 percentage points to 2.75 percent.

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Lebanese-Mexican Billionaire Slim's Panamanian Assets Seized

A Panamanian court has seized the assets of Lebanese-Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's local infrastructure company over a dispute surrounding a concession for a hydroelectric plant, an official said Monday.

The move follows a ruling by Panama's fifth-circuit civil court in favor of Panamanian businessman Julio Cesar Lisac, who filed suit in 2006 claiming that then-president Martin Torrijos had stripped his company, Mina Hydro-Power Corp, of its concession to operate the plant and granted it instead to Slim.

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Euro Struggles in Asia on ECB Chief's Comments

The euro struggled in Asian trade Monday after being hammered late last week in response to comments from the European Central Bank (ECB) chief hinting at further stimulus measures to fend off deflation.

The single currency was at 146.19 yen in afternoon trading, slightly up from the 145.91 yen recorded in late London trade Friday but well off the 147.81 yen in Asia earlier that day.

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German Business Confidence Stabilises in November

Business confidence in Germany appears to be stabilizing after long months of decline, with the Ifo business climate index rising in November for the first time since April, data showed on Monday.

The closely watched barometer rose to 104.7 points in November from 103.2 points in October, the Ifo think-tank said in a statement.

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Oil Prices Rise ahead of Key OPEC Meeting

Oil prices rose in Asia Monday before a crucial meeting of the OPEC cartel later in the week that will discuss whether to trim output, analysts said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery was up 31 cents to $76.82 a barrel in afternoon trade, and Brent crude for January added 37 cents to $80.73.

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Bank of England 'Probes Money-Market Rigging'

The Bank of England has opened a formal investigation into the possible manipulation of money-market auctions held at the start of the financial crisis and whether its officials were involved, the Financial Times reported on Saturday.

The months-old probe is being conducted by the lawyer who led the Bank's investigation into the rigging of forex markets, Anthony Grabiner, and he has so far interviewed about ten Bank staff, the business daily said.

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Egypt to Offer Projects to Domestic, Foreign Investors

Egypt will offer a slew of projects to domestic and foreign investors at a conference in March aimed at kick-starting an economy battered by years of political unrest, the prime minister said Saturday.

Falling tourist revenues and slowing investments have left Egypt's economy in ruins after nearly four years of turmoil that saw two presidents ousted following mass street protests.

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Influx of Cheap Peruvian Quinoa Riles Bolivia

International demand for quinoa continues to boom, and that's fueling an increasingly bitter commercial feud between Bolivia and Peru, the two main producers of the Andean "superfood."

The fight pits hardscrabble, traditional organic growers mostly in Bolivia's semi-arid highlands against upstart Peruvian agribusinesses concentrated on the Pacific coast that include heavy pesticide users. Peru is about to overtake Bolivia as the top exporter, worrying Bolivians about their ability to compete.

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Hackers Empty Mexican Town's Coffers

Hackers left a small Mexican town penniless after breaking into its bank accounts and stealing more than $500,000, officials said Friday.

The theft took place on November 11, when 33 transfers were made from six accounts that the eastern town of Ursulo Galvan had in the Mexican branch of Spain's Banco Santander, the town treasurer said.

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New Records Leave Wall Street Feeling Thankful

As traders finished the last full week of business before Thanksgiving, Wall Street was feeling grateful for a week of fresh records, central bank stimulus and big corporate mergers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 175.32 points (0.99 percent) to 17,810.06, while the S&P 500 gained 23.68 (1.16 percent) to 2,063.50. Both indices closed the week at all-time highs.

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