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U.S. consumer prices post biggest drop in six years

Reuters – U.S. consumer prices recorded their biggest decline in six years in December and underlying inflation pressures were benign, which could bolster the case for delaying the first interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve. The Labor Department said on Friday its Consumer Price Index fell 0.4 percent last …

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UAE 2015: Moving Towards A Non-Oil Reliant Economy

By Anshuman Kukreti – for Middle East Business News – In spite of the political fallout, the Emirati economy catapulted to a growth trajectory beyond bounds of ‘the predictable’ during 2014.Considered as the second largest economy in the Arab world, the UAE cruised to a far better-than-expected growth of 4.8% …

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Swiss central bank stuns market with policy U-turn

Reuters – The Swiss National Bank shocked financial markets on Thursday by scrapping a three-year-old cap on the franc, sending the currency soaring against the euro and stocks plunging on fears for the export-reliant Swiss economy. Only days ago, SNB officials had described the 1.20 francs per euro cap, introduced …

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Oil prices fall after U.S. data spurs demand worries

Reuters – Oil prices fell on Thursday after weak U.S. economic data spurred worries over crude oil demand. Early in the session, U.S. crude moved higher, breaking above $50 a barrel on a fall in the dollar. U.S. crude also briefly traded at a premium to Brent, rather than the …

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Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Climb to Four-Month High

By Shobhana Chandra for Bloomberg – More Americans unexpectedly filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, indicating companies let go of seasonal workers following the holidays. Jobless claims climbed by 19,000 to 316,000 in the week ended Jan. 10, the most since early September, from a revised 297,000 in the …

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Obama measures on Cuba trade, travel poke new holes in embargo

Reuters – The United States rolled out a sweeping set of measures on Thursday to significantly ease sanctions on Cuba, opening up the country to expanded U.S. travel, trade and financial activities. Defying hardline critics in Congress, President Barack Obama made good on his commitment last month to loosen restrictions …

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OPEC cannot protect oil price: UAE

Agence France Presse – OPEC cannot protect world oil prices which have plunged since June, the United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday, adding that rising North American shale oil output needed to be curbed. World prices have been falling since June but the pace of the slide accelerated in November …

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Iran’s new budget to focus on privatization, subsidy reforms

By Bijan Khajehpour for Al-Monitor – The Iranian economy has embarked on 2015 with a number of challenges that will directly influence the overall economic performance of the country. Low and falling oil prices as well as the wait-and-see mode in the nuclear negotiations are inducing massive uncertainties into Iran’s …

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Rouhani: Oil slide will hurt Saudis, Kuwaitis

Reuters – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that countries behind the fall in global oil prices would regret their decision and warned that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait would suffer alongside Iran from the price drop. “Those that have planned to decrease the prices against other countries will regret this …

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UAE markets recover partly after slump

Source: Gulf News – The UAE markets rebounded on Wednesday after the oil triggered slump as traders picked up bargains ahead of the new year. The Dubai Financial Market General Index ended up 1.29 per cent at 3,774, recovering from the previous session’s more than 5 per cent decline. The …

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U.S. pending home sales rise modestly in November

Reuters – Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose only modestly in November, pointing to a still-sluggish housing market despite several months of stronger economic growth and hiring. The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, gained 0.8 …

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How can Lebanese family businesses survive for generations?

Source: Reuters – The Daily Star – Despite the Lebanese government’s failure to provide proper support for the private sector in Lebanon, family businesses have seen remarkable success as the biggest providers of job opportunities in the country, experts say. “Family businesses provide over 80 percent of job opportunities in …

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Wall St. opens with slight gains but energy down again

Reuters – U.S. stocks were modestly higher on Wednesday, putting major indexes on track to end 2014 near record levels, though energy shares once again fell alongside crude oil prices. While the market’s seasonal trend of modest moves and low volume continued, there was heavier action in the energy space. …

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Israel arrests 6 in Siemens bribe affair

Associated Press- Israel’s securities regulator said Tuesday that authorities have arrested six current and former executives from Israel’s electric company on suspicion of accepting $20 million in bribes from German engineering firm Siemens AG. The Israel Securities Authority alleges Siemens and its Israeli subsidiary bribed the Israel Electric Corp. executives …

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Facebook Fails to Dismiss Privacy Case Over Messages

By Edvard Pettersson for Bloomberg – Facebook Inc. (FB) lost a bid to dismiss a user lawsuit claiming it scans private messages for any reference to web sites, and then adds a user’s “like” to those pages as part of a targeted advertising campaign. The federal judge in Oakland, California, …

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World set to end year in brittle economic state

Reuters – The global economy is ending the year in a fragile state with factory activity shrinking in China, euro zone business growth remaining weak, and emerging market giant Russia in a spiraling currency crisis. “These are uncertain times again and there is a risk of another global downturn,” said …

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GCC economies to remain resilient to lower oil prices

By Babu Das Augustine, for Gulf News- Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies can withstand the pressures resulting from lower oil prices without having to make significant policy adjustments but, if needed, will likely adjust their fiscal policies accordingly, said analysts. “In general, we believe there is greater tolerance for fiscal …

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Russians Snap Up Porsches as Falling Ruble Erodes Savings

Customers pass a Porsche Panamera automobile inside the GUM department store in Moscow. Russians are snapping up Porsche sports cars and Lexus sport-utility vehicles to protect against the falling ruble from eroding their savings. With steeper price increases looming next year, sales of Porsche vehicles, such as the Cayenne crossover, …

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Qatar FIFA whistleblower leaves in terror

IN COLLABORATION WITH MIDDLE EAST BUSINESS NEWS – FIFA whistleblower Phaedra Al-Majid, who accused Qatar of corruption in its successful bid to win the right to host the 2022 soccer World Cup, said on Wednesday she was living in fear after receiving threats against her family. Al Majid, a former …

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IMF raises growth forecast for oil-rich Gulf countries

THE LEVANT – The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday lowered its economic growth forecasts for most Arab countries although it said growth in oil-rich Gulf nations will remain strong. In its semi-annual World Economic Outlook, the IMF said the Middle East and North African (MENA) region would grow by 2.6 …

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UAE wants to become first Arab country on Mars

THE LEVANT – Oil-rich United Arab Emirates on Monday launched a project that aims to send the first Arab unmanned probe to Mars by 2021. The Gulf state set up the UAE Space Agency to supervise and finance the “Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology to execute and manage …

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HH Sheikh Hamdan and Dubai SME launch new incubator

THE LEVANT – Dubai SME has launched a new hub to stimulate innovative entrepreneurial projects of the emirate’s youth. Presented to the public at Dubai Mall’s Star Atrium, the Hamdan Innovation Incubator (H2I) was established under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince …

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Opec output cut ruled out

THE LEVANT – Opec is unlikely to cut oil production in an effort to prop up prices because such a move would not necessarily be effective, Kuwait’s oil minister Ali Al Omair was quoted as saying. Brent crude oil settled at $90.21 a barrel on Friday after earlier falling to …

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