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China 'Deeply Disappointed' over U.S. Snub of IMF Reform

Beijing said Friday it was "deeply disappointed" that Washington refused to back plans to reform the International Monetary Fund which would give emerging economies such as China a greater say in the institution.

The U.S. Congress earlier this week failed to ratify a new set of crucial governance and funding measures contained in the 2010 reform plan, forcing the IMF board to explore "alternative options".

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Ruble Hits New Record Lows Despite Rate Hike

The ruble fell Friday to record lows as oil prices also sank, despite Russia's central bank hiking its interest rate the day before in an attempt to halt the currency's plunge and the resulting price rises.

The ruble fell to record levels of 71 against the euro and 57 against the dollar as the Moscow stock exchange opened, before rallying slightly.

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Central Bank: Australia Budget Concerns a 'Real Issue'

Australia's central bank governor Friday called on the nation's politicians to tackle the "real issue" of the country's growing budget deficit, saying action was needed to retain credibility in financial markets.

Treasurer Joe Hockey is expected to unveil a further blowout in the government's federal deficit in his mid-year economic and fiscal outlook Monday, with some estimates of a Aus$5 billion (U.S.$4.1 billion) increase to Aus$35 billion.

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Oil Prices Slip Again after WTI Sinks Below $60

Oil prices sank further in Asia Friday, with analysts warning of little respite from the selling after plunging more than 40 percent since June.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January deliver was down 66 cents at $59.29 in afternoon trade. The contract on Thursday closed below the psychological $60 mark in New York for the first time since July 2009. Brent crude was down 29 cents at $63.39.

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Dollar Rises as Confidence in U.S. Economy Grows

The dollar rose against other currencies in Asia on Friday as a strong U.S. retail sales report reinforced investor confidence in the world's largest economy.

The dollar was at 118.81 yen in afternoon trade compared with 118.65 yen in New York and sharply higher than the 117.67 yen touched earlier Thursday in Tokyo.

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Qatar Airways Says no Delay to First A350 Commercial Flight

Qatar Airways said Thursday that the first commercial flight of the Airbus A350-900 would go ahead as scheduled next month despite a delay to delivery of the next-generation plane.

Chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the carrier had a "small issue" that it was trying to resolve with the European plane manufacturer.

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Russia's Central Bank under Pressure to Hike Rate as Ruble Plummets

Russia's central bank was under intense pressure Thursday to raise its key rates to stem the ruble's rapid slide and slow rising prices, although the move carries a risk of further strangling the economy.

The bank's board is expected at 1030GMT to publish its monthly monetary policy decision, and analysts are expecting it to hike the rate from the existing 9.5 percent -- in what would be the second increase of the lending rate since the end of October.

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eBay May Slash Thousands of Jobs ahead of PayPal Split

U.S. online retail giant eBay may slash thousands of jobs early next year as it prepares to separate from PayPal to become an independent company, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Some 3,000 jobs -- about 10 percent of the total workforce -- could be affected, sources close to the company told the newspaper.

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Ukraine Mulls Australia Energy to Ease Reliance on Russia

Energy-starved Ukraine Thursday held talks with Australia over the supply of coal and uranium as it looks to ease its reliance on hostile neighbor Russia for gas.

Ukraine this week received its first Russian natural gas shipments since a politically charged price dispute saw Moscow cut off its West-leaning neighbor in June.

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Oil Prices Rebound in Asia

Oil prices rebounded in Asia Thursday after falling sharply to fresh five-year lows in the previous session as OPEC cut its forecast for demand in 2015 and U.S. stockpiles saw a surprise surge, analysts said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery rose 44 cents to $61.38 while Brent crude for January was up 40 cents at $64.64 in afternoon trade.

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