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November 13 2012, 08:18AM

A roundup of news in finance, economics and business from around the world:


BRUSSELS - Eurozone finance ministers have begun talks to discuss how to bring Greece back from the brink, knowing that agreeing to ease the terms of its bailout could cost nearly 33 billion euros ($A40 billion) more.

BRUSSELS - A long-awaited report on Greece's economic reform program by its three international creditors, the EU, ECB and IMF "troika", is "positive", Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker says.

MADRID - Spain's banks have announced they will freeze mortgage-related evictions for two years in cases of extreme need as a public outcry mounted over suicides by desperate homeowners.

LONDON - The IMF's number-two official, David Lipton, has warned that policymakers should temper austerity measures aimed at reducing debt if they are damaging economic growth.

LISBON - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has praised Portugal's austerity cuts during a visit to Lisbon but was met by furious protesters who draped city monuments in black sheets.

ROME - An Italian prosecutor has filed charges of market manipulation against Standard & Poor's and Fitch ratings agencies over downgrades of Italy's credit rating that helped fuel the euro debt crisis.

PARIS - The global thirst for oil will grow in the next two decades driven by demand from emerging nations and the rise of the United States as the world's top producer, the International Energy Agency says.

MOSCOW - Russia's growth slowed to 2.9 per cent in the third quarter this year, the statistics office says, in a sign its economic activity is being hit by the global economic crisis.

NEW DELHI - India's industrial production has contracted 0.4 per cent in September, government data shows, far worse than expected as manufacturing output continues to slump amid signs of weakness in investment and consumer demand.

LONDON - Australia's workforce needs a boost akin to the Labor government's cash bonus payout or school halls stimulus program, says the head of an international recruitment agency.

VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe - About $US2 billion ($A1.9 billion) worth of diamonds have been siphoned out of Zimbabwe in the past four years by a network of government ministers and military officials aligned with President Robert Mugabe, an Ottawa-based global watchdog says.

LONDON - British MPs have accused major multinational companies of aggressive tax avoidance, amid calls by the UK government for a global crackdown on firms that seek to evade tax.

LONDON - British MPs have grilled global coffee giant Starbucks over its tax policies, arguing that claims that its British division was unprofitable "just doesn't ring true".

LONDON - Britain's financial watchdog says it will investigate claims of possible manipulation of the wholesale gas market by domestic energy firms following a report in The Guardian newspaper.

BRUSSELS - The European Commission has proposed cutting the pollution credits auctioned to firms in 2013-2015 in order to raise the price of carbon and make investment in clean technology worthwhile.

GENEVA - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been quick to celebrate a European Union (EU) announcement offering to suspend a controversial carbon tax on air travel for flights to and from non-European nations.

NEW DELHI - India has begun auctioning mobile spectrum reclaimed after the Supreme Court scrapped licences due to a graft-tainted allocation process, but the process has drawn a lukewarm response.

DUBAI - Dubai's Emirates airline says it posted a 104 per cent surge in net profits in the first six months of the current financial year thanks to rising passenger numbers.

TOKYO - Olympus says it has swung back into the black in the first half of its fiscal year, a boost for the camera and medical equipment maker as it looks to move on from an embarrassing accounting scandal.

NEW DELHI - India's biggest property developer DLF says its quarterly net profit has slid 63 per cent from a year earlier on weaker sales as the country's economy slowed.

WELLINGTON - Mainfreight, the global transport and logistics group, has posted a 4.6 per cent drop in first-half profit as an earnings slump in Europe offset gains in all of its other markets.

WELLINGTON - The New Zealand dollar has gained against the euro and the greenback after a report proposed giving Greece two more years to meet budget targets.

LONDON - World oil prices have dropped as traders worried about the Greek debt crisis, weak global economic outlook and a looming "fiscal cliff" in the United States - which is the world's biggest oil consumer.


SYDNEY - The Australian dollar has risen on speculation that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) might not cut its interest rate.

SYDNEY - The Australian market looks set to open flat following the overnight lead of international bourses which have treaded water as EU ministers meet over Greek debt but are unlikely to release critically needed bailout funds.