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Biggest Ever Trade Deal Signed as U.S. Seeks to Counter China

The biggest trade deal in history was signed Thursday, yoking 12 Pacific rim countries in a U.S.-led initiative aimed at wresting influence from booming China.

The ambitious Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) aims to slash tariffs and trade barriers for an enormous 40 percent of the global economy -- but pointedly does not include Beijing.

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Oil Prices Extend Rebound in Asia

Oil prices extended their rebound in Asia Thursday, buoyed by a weaker dollar, bargain buying and fresh speculation of a possible output cut by the OPEC producers' group.

Traders brushed aside bearish data showing another increase in U.S. commercial crude inventories, but analysts said any rally in a market awash with barrels of oil is bound to be short-lived.

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Return of EU Borders Could Cost France 10 Billion Euros a Year

Re-establishing European borders as a result of the migration crisis could cost France more than 10 billion euros per year, according to a study published on Wednesday.

The vast influx of refugees and migrants has seen calls grow for Europe's borderless Schengen zone to be abandoned and tougher immigration controls imposed. 

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Bank of Japan Probing Media Report that Predicted Shock Stimulus

Japan's central bank said Wednesday it was investigating a high-profile media report that revealed it was mulling a negative interest rate policy just before it made the formal announcement.

The country's leading Nikkei business daily published its story online Friday, several minutes before the central bank shocked markets with the surprise stimulus after a closed-door meeting. 

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Ukraine Economy Minister Resigns Citing Stalled Reforms

Ukraine's Lithuanian-born Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius abruptly submitted his resignation Wednesday citing his inability to push through vital restructuring measures essential to getting growth in the cash-strapped country on track.

The shock decision layed bare the sharp divisions with pro-Western President Petro Poroshenko's government and the difficulties the ex-Soviet nation faces in coming through with the changes needed to fulfil its ambition of joining the EU.

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Asian Markets Tumble as Oil Collapses Again

The oil price slump cast a cloud over Asian markets again Wednesday after falling back below $30 a barrel, hammering energy firms once again and sending stocks deeper into the red.

With the euphoria of Friday's Bank of Japan stimulus but a distant memory, Tokyo led the regional losses followed by Hong Kong, where insurance giant AIA lost almost a tenth of its value at one point on fears China would tighten insurance rules.

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Alphabet/Google Overtakes Apple as World's Biggest Company

Alphabet, the parent firm for Google, became the world's most valuable company Tuesday as a jump in its share price helped it vault past tech rival Apple.

In opening trade following a robust earnings report, Alphabet shares rose 2.9 percent to lift its market capitalization to $543 billion while Apple's value declined to $530 billion with a modest dip in trading.

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Nigeria Seeks Big Loans from World Bank, Other Lenders

Nigeria is seeking loans from the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other lenders to help cover this year's massive budget deficit, the government and bank officials said.

The deficit is projected at 2.2 trillion naira ($11 billion, 10 billion euros) out of a total budget of 6.08 trillion naira, they said late Monday, confirming projections first given in President Muhammadu Buhari's December budget announcement.

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Saudi Fiscal Reserves Slide to 4-Year Low on Weak Oil

Saudi Arabia's fiscal reserves dropped to a four-year low last year as the government sought to finance a budget deficit caused by plunging oil revenues, a report said Tuesday.

The reserves of the world's largest crude exporter dropped to $611.9 billion at the end of 2015, the lowest level since 2011, down from $732 billion a year before, the Saudi Jadwa Investment said in an economic report.

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German Unemployment Falls to New Post-Reunification Low

German unemployment fell to a new historic low in January as the recovery in Europe's biggest economy remains on track, data showed on Tuesday. 

Unemployment stands at the lowest level since west and east Germany reunited in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall the previous year, the Federal Labor Office said in a statement.

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