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Stock markets diverge as inflation takes center stage

Equity markets diverged Friday as traders fixed attention on inflation numbers from the eurozone and the United States for clues on the outlook for interest-rate cuts.

Paris and Frankfurt indices were slightly lower in midday deals after official data showed eurozone inflation rose faster than expected in May.

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India's economy grows 8.2% in election boost for PM Modi

India posted world-beating growth of 8.2 percent in the year to March on Friday, in a last-minute boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic credentials the day before national elections conclude.

The world's most populous country also remains its fastest growing major economy thanks to robust demand and huge government infrastructure spending.

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Inflation ticked up in Europe in May. That likely won't stop a central bank rate cut next week

Inflation ticked up to an annual 2.6% in Europe in May, according to official figures on Friday. That's more than expected as a painful spike in consumer prices takes its time to fade away.

It's unlikely to stop the European Central Bank from making a first interest rate cut next week — and moving ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve in lowering borrowing costs for businesses and consumers.

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European shares open higher after retreat in Asia

Shares opened higher in Europe on Thursday after a retreat in Asia as rising bond yields weighed on stock prices.

Germany's DAX edged 0.1% higher to 18,486.92 and the CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.3% to 7,956.50. Britain's FTSE gained 0.3% to 8,204.61.

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Salam says Doha offer to build 3 power plants has been blocked

Lebanon's political class, fuel companies and private electricity providers blocked an offer by gas-rich Qatar to build three renewable energy power plants to ease the crisis-hit nation's decades-old electricity crisis, Lebanon's caretaker economy minister said Thursday.

Lebanon's electricity crisis worsened after the country's historic economic meltdown began in October 2019. Power cuts often last for much of the day, leaving many reliant on expensive private generators that work on diesel and raise pollution levels.

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China to impose controls on exports of aviation and aerospace equipment

China's Commerce Ministry said Thursday it will restrict exports of aviation and aerospace-related equipment and technology beginning July 1.

A notice seen Thursday on the ministry's website said the move was to safeguard national security and interests and fulfill international obligations such as non-proliferation. Exports of items designated under the new rules will require export licenses.

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Xi pledges more Gaza aid and talks trade at summit with Arab leaders

Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and promised more humanitarian aid for people in Gaza as he opened a summit with leaders of Arab states Thursday in Beijing.

"Since last October, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has escalated drastically, throwing people into tremendous suffering," Xi said in a speech opening the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. "War should not continue indefinitely."

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Asian shares decline after mixed post-holiday session on Wall Street

Asian shares were mostly lower Wednesday after a mixed session on Wall Street following a three-day holiday weekend.

Shares fell in Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney and Hong Kong, but rose in Shanghai. Mainland Chinese markets were lifted by moves by city governments in China to support the property market.

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US opens up banking to private Cuban businesses as it aims to boost private sector

The U.S. lifted some financial restrictions against Cuba on Tuesday, in a move designed to boost private businesses on the island.

The measures will allow independent entrepreneurs to open and access U.S. bank accounts online to support their businesses. They also include steps to open up more internet-based services and expand private companies' ability to make certain financial transactions.

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IMF upgrades forecast for China's economy, says reforms needed to support growth

The International Monetary Fund has upgraded its forecast for China's economy, while warning that consumer-friendly reforms are needed to sustain strong, high-quality growth.

The IMF's report, issued late Tuesday, said the world's second-largest economy will likely expand at a 5% annual rate this year, based on its growth in the first quarter and recent moves to support the property sector. That is a 0.4 percentage point above its earlier estimate.

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