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Kuwait Plays Down Row with Saudi over Shared Oilfield

Kuwait has played down a row with Saudi Arabia over its decision to halt production at an offshore oilfield jointly operated by the two Gulf neighbors.

Oil Minister Ali al-Omair said the dispute over operations at the Khafji field would not affect strong ties.

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Toyota at Top in Global Vehicle Sales over VW, GM

Toyota kept its lead over rivals Volkswagen and General Motors as the world's top-selling automaker in the first nine months of the year, Monday reporting record sales of 7.615 million vehicles, up nearly 3 percent from the previous year.

Volkswagen said earlier this month it sold 7.40 million vehicles for January-September, barely edging out General Motors Co. in the closely watched auto sales race. GM reported sales of 7.372 million cars and trucks worldwide earlier this month.

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Australia: Pan-Pacific Trade Pact Taking Shape

Australia's Trade Minister Andrew Robb said Monday the shape of an ambitious pan-Pacific trade agreement was "crystallizing", with the 12 nations involved making further progress on market access negotiations.

Robb said at the end of the three-day talks in Sydney that trade ministers had laid the groundwork for the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, which would encompass 40 percent of the global economy.

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Hong Kong, Shanghai Cross-trading Scheme Postponed

A watershed scheme to allow cross-trading between Hong Kong and Shanghai's stock markets has been delayed indefinitely, a Hong Kong official said Monday, warning the pro-democracy protests that have gripped the city could impact the project's progress. 

The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect platform, which would enable international investors to trade selected stocks in Shanghai's tightly-restricted exchange, and allow mainland investors to buy stocks in Hong Kong, was widely expected to launch this week.  

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Kuwait Urges Gulf Reforms as Oil Prices Fall

Kuwait's finance minister on Saturday called for economic reforms by energy-dependent Gulf states to cope with a drop in oil prices that has hurt their public finances.

Anas al-Saleh urged steps to tackle rising public spending, mainly on wages and subsidies, as well as efforts to boost the role of the private sector.

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Impact Fund Signing Ceremony: A Milestone Event

Lebanon’s largest Venture Capital fund, the first to comply with Banque du Liban Intermediate Circular 331, now set to boost Lebanon’s profile as a launching pad for global High Tech success stories, a press release said on Saturday.

The signing ceremony of the IMPACT Fund occurred on October 24, 2014, representing a major milestone for Lebanon’s Venture Capital scene, the press release added.

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French Unemployment Hits New Record

Unemployment in France hit a new record in September, with official statistics published Friday showing 3.43 million people claimed jobless benefits.

The figures showed a rise of 19,200 people joining the jobless queue and come as President Francois Hollande marks the midway point in his troubled mandate.

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IMF Fights Negative Interest Rates

The International Monetary Fund on Friday announced a minimum interest rate on its unique SDR currency as it fights off the impact of sagging interest rates and deflation from major economies.

The IMF said that from Monday it would maintain a floor rate of 0.05 percent, or five basis points, on its special drawing rights or SDR currency, which represents a basket of the currencies of its largest members.

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Australia, U.S.: Momentum Building on Pacific Trade Deal

Momentum is building towards a pan-Pacific trade agreement, representatives of Australia and the United States said Saturday as talks between trade ministers began in Sydney.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would encompass 40 percent of the global economy and include 12 nations, has been the subject of negotiations for years.

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Renault Chief Sees Europe Auto Market Slowing in 2015

French carmaker Renault chairman, Carlos Ghosn, said Saturday that he expects slower growth in Europe's auto market next year as it continues to recover from the global economic crisis.

Ghosn, who is also Renault's chief executive officer, said the European market was growing at six percent so far this year -- the best since the 2007 crisis.

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