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Volkswagen Car Sales Down 20 Percent in UK after Scandal

Volkswagen car sales in Britain dropped by 20 percent in November compared to the same time last year following the company's admission it had cheated on U.S. diesel emissions tests.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says there were 12,958 Volkswagen registrations last month in the U.K., compared to 16,196 in November 2014. Volkswagen admitted in September it had installed a device in computer software that allowed it to rig emission tests.

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China Announces $60 Billion 'Funding Support' for Africa

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced $60 billion of assistance and loans for Africa at a summit in Johannesburg on Friday, signalling China's commitment to the continent despite a recent fall in investment.

China's economic growth has taken a dip this year, triggering a global commodities slump and forcing Beijing to slash investment in Africa by more than 40 percent in the first six months of 2015.

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OPEC Looks Set to Maintain Oil Output

OPEC appeared on course to maintain current oil output at a meeting here Friday rather than cut production to lift sagging crude prices.

Despite oil prices plunging by more than 60 percent in 18 months, OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and the cartel's other Gulf state members are defying calls to reduce output -- in a year-long strategy of attempting to preserve market share and fend off competition from non-OPEC and world leading producers Russia and the United States.

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Bundesbank Upbeat on German Growth Outlook

The German central bank or Bundesbank on Friday said it was upbeat about the outlook for expansion in Europe's biggest economy, upgrading its growth forecast for 2017. 

"The Bundesbank's economists expect Germany's real gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 1.7 percent this year, followed by a rise of 1.8 percent in 2016 and 1.7 percent in 2017," the central bank said in a statement. 

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Iran Insists on 'Right' to Raise Oil Output

Iran will not bow to pressure to avoid increasing its oil output following the lifting of sanctions despite slumping crude prices, its oil minister insisted here on Thursday.

"We don't accept any discussion about the increase of Iranian production after lifting the sanctions," Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told reporters on arrival in Vienna which is hosting Friday's meeting of OPEC.

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Russia Says Talks Suspended with Turkey on TurkStream Pipeline

Russia and Turkey, at loggerheads since Ankara shot down a Russian warplane last week, have suspended talks on their joint TurkStream project to pipe gas to Turkey and southern Europe, Russia's energy minister said Thursday.

"Currently talks are suspended," Energy Minister Alexander Novak said, quoted by RIA Novosti state news agency.

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Euro Struggles against Dollar, Most Asia Markets Slip

The euro tumbled against the dollar Thursday as dealers bet on fresh stimulus from the European Central Bank later in the day, while most Asian stock markets fell following the previous day's gains.

Asian energy firms tracked losses in their U.S. counterparts as a supply glut and strong dollar weigh on oil prices ahead of a key meeting of the OPEC oil cartel.

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Greek Unions Hold General Strike against Pension Reform

Greek unions are holding their second general strike in less than a month Thursday, this time against a planned social security overhaul that could enforce new pension cuts.

The labour ministry is working on a new system under which state-guaranteed pensions will be reportedly cut by half -- to a minimum of 384 euros -- and the rest will depend on a person's income and years of social security payments.

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Japan Oil Giants to Merge as Industry Faces Downturn

Two of Japan's biggest oil refiners said Thursday they would merge in a bid to counter an industry downturn, creating a mega-firm that would control half of the country's crude market.

JX Holdings said it would join forces with smaller rival TonenGeneral Sekiyu and rename the combined firm Newco Group.

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Saudi Reserves Drop Further amid Low Oil Price

Saudi foreign reserves dropped further in October as the price of oil remained low, but they fell at slower rate than previous months, according to a report released Wednesday.

The kingdom's foreign reserves dropped to $644 billion at the end of October, down from $651 billion the previous month, Jadwa Investment said.   

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