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Italy Deficit Falls to 2.8% in 2013

Italy's public deficit inched down to 2.8 percent of gross domestic product in 2013 -- 0.1 of a point lower than in 2012 and staying below the EU threshold of 3.0 percent, official data showed on Monday.

The data came a day before Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is to adopt on Tuesday an economic program setting out economic growth and debt and deficit reduction targets for the next three years.

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Nigeria Becomes Africa's Biggest Economy

Nigeria on Sunday became Africa's biggest economy, leap-frogging South Africa, after the government announced a long-overdue rebasing of the country's gross domestic product.

The new calculations take into account changes in production and consumption since the last time the exercise was carried out in 1990, including an added focus on communications and the movie industry.

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World Bank Maintains East Asia Growth at 7.1 Percent

The World Bank said Monday developing countries in East Asia will grow 7.1 percent in 2014 as they benefit from a stabilizing global economy and withstand the impact of U.S. stimulus cuts.

The estimate for gross domestic product (GDP) expansion remains unchanged from last year, making East Asia the world's fastest-growing region, the bank said in its East Asia and Pacific Economic Update report.

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Reports: Japan, Australia Set to Ink Free Trade Deal

Japan and Australia are set to announce a free trade deal at a summit of the nations' leaders later Monday, reports said, after similar talks with the U.S. ran into trouble.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott were to announce a basic agreement on the long-awaited trade pact which follows years of talks, major Japanese newspapers including the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

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Ukraine Threatens to Take Russia to Court over Gas

Ukraine on Saturday said it rejected Russia's latest gas price hike and threatened to take its neighbor to arbitration court over a dispute that could imperil deliveries to Western Europe.

Prime Minister Asreniy Yatsenyuk said Russia's two rate increases in three days were a form of "economic aggression" aimed at punishing Ukraine's new leaders for overthrowing a Moscow-backed regime last month.

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'Vigilant' ASEAN Discusses Economic Risks

Southeast Asian finance ministers are "vigilant" in the face of economic risks such as reduced U.S. monetary stimulus, Myanmar said Saturday at a meeting that underscored its return to the international diplomatic stage.

Officials said the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was well-placed to withstand the impact of the U.S. Federal Reserve's "tapering" of its liquidity-boosting quantitative easing program.

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Moody's Cuts Ukraine Rating on Rising Political Crisis

Rating firm Moody's again lowered Ukraine's credit rating by a notch on Friday, citing the "escalation" of its political crisis, and put the country on a "negative" outlook for further downgrades.

Moody's Investors Service pushed the country's rating deeper into speculative territory, to "Caa3" from "Caa2" -- a one-notch move matching the rating firm's prior downgrade in January.

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Reports: Bitcoin Boss Flees Cyprus 'after Threat'

The boss of a Bitcoin company in Cyprus has fled abroad days after it suddenly stopped operations, in a blow to the virtual currency's once vaunted prospects on the island.

Privately owned television channel Sigma TV said Thursday that it had repeatedly tried to contact Neo & Bee CEO Danny Brewster, but to no avail.

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RBS Poaches Credit Suisse Banker as Finance Chief

Britain's state-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland revealed Friday it has poached Credit Suisse banker Ewen Stevenson, a key adviser in the group's vast bailout, to be chief financial officer.

RBS said in a statement that Stevenson, who is currently Credit Suisse's London-based co-head of investment banking for Europe, Middle East and Africa, will join on May 19.

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Oil-Drilling Plans Face Stiff Resistance in Spain's Ibiza

Plans to drill for oil off the Spanish holiday island of Ibiza have met with fierce opposition from locals who fear the white sand beaches and marine life will be damaged.

"Everyone is against it here," said Carlos Bravo of the Blue Sea Alliance, an umbrella organisation of 50 groups including environmentalists, hoteliers and unions, seeking to halt oil exploration off Ibiza and Formentera, a neighbouring island that is only accessible by boat.

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