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Russian Mistral Sailors to Leave France

Some 400 Russian sailors are returning home, French shipbuilder DCNS said Wednesday, as Paris weighs whether to deliver the Mistral-class warship to Russia amid the Ukraine crisis.

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Russia Finance Ministry Selling Reserves to Support Ruble

Russia's finance ministry is selling its foreign currency to support the ruble, a spokeswoman told AFP on Wednesday.

"The finance ministry considers the ruble extremely undervalued and is starting to sell its left-over currency on the market," spokeswoman Svetlana Nikitina said. She did not give details of the amount.

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Saudi to Continue 'Massive' Spending Despite Oil Price Fall

Saudi Arabia will continue massive public spending despite a 50 percent drop in the price of oil which provides the bulk of the kingdom's revenue, the finance minister said Wednesday.

Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf commented after completing the 2015 budget, which will be presented to cabinet "in the near future", the official Saudi Press Agency said.

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Disasters Cost $113 Billion Damage in 2014

Extreme weather and other natural and man-made disasters caused $113 billion (90.6 billion euros) in economic losses in 2014, reinsurer Swiss Re said Wednesday.

This is 16 percent less than the $135 billion in losses recorded in 2013 and significantly below the average annual figure of $188 billion for the previous 10 years.

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Oil Prices Sink Further in Asian Trade

Oil suffered fresh losses in Asia Wednesday, sinking to new multi-year lows as dealers watch Russia's ruble crisis and await the latest U.S. crude supply report, analysts said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery sank $1.16 in afternoon trade to $54.77 while Brent crude for February fell 71 cents to $59.30 on the contract's first day of trading.

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Ruble Loses 20%, Crashes to 100 to Euro, 80 to Dollar

The Russian ruble crashed to new record lows Tuesday, losing some 20 percent in value by the afternoon despite drastic overnight measures by the central bank to hike the key rate.

The ruble hit 80 to the dollar and 100 to the euro on the Moscow Exchange. Overall the Russian currency has lost nearly 60 percent of its value since the start of the year.

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Turkish Lira Hits New Record Low on Emerging Market Jitters

Turkey's currency the lira hit a new record low on Tuesday as investors moved out of emerging markets amid the collapse of the Russian ruble and fretted over the impact of raids against Turkish opposition media.

The lira hit a record low in value of 2.41 lira to the dollar, worse than Monday's record low in value of 2.39 lira to the dollar. It subsequently recovered a little to trade at 2.37 lira to the dollar.

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German Investor Sentiment Jumps again in December

Investment sentiment in Germany rose sharply in December after a rebound the previous month, driven by a weak euro and plunging oil prices, a survey found on Tuesday.

The widely watched investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute jumped by 23.4 points in December, after rising for the first time this year in November, ZEW said in a statement.

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Bank of Cyprus Begins Trading with a Bump

Cyprus's largest lender returned to the Nicosia and Athens stock markets Tuesday after a 21-month absence following a banking crisis that brought the island's economy to its knees.

But early trades in Bank of Cyprus shares ensured a bumpy ride for the return of the country's top financial company.

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Brent Oil Sinks under $59 on Mounting Global Tensions

Oil suffered another dizzying plunge on Tuesday, with Brent crude sliding to a five-year low under $59 as markets were rocked by shrinking Chinese manufacturing output and turmoil in Russia.

At midday in London, benchmark contract Brent North Sea crude for January delivery slumped to $58.50 per barrel -- the lowest level since May 2009 -- and New York's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January hit a similar nadir at $53.80.

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