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November 20 2012, 07:37AM

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


LISBON - Portugal has received another passing grade from its creditors following a regular review of a May 2011 aid plan backed by the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar says.

LONDON - Britain must ruthlessly pursue growth to secure its economic recovery, Prime Minister David Cameron has told business leaders, invoking the wartime spirit that helped the nation defeat Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

BERLIN - Gloomy German companies are preparing to slash their workforces next year as the eurozone crisis bites, a survey shows, with more than one in four firms saying they will cut jobs in 2013.

WASHINGTON - US existing home sales picked up in October despite the market in the northeast being shut down in the last days of the month by Hurricane Sandy, a realtors group says.

AMMAN - Hundreds of Jordanians have demonstrated outside the prime minister's offices in protest against fuel price hikes that have met with public outcry over the past week.

AGADIR, Morocco - Annual catches of Atlantic bluefin tuna will rise slightly from next year, environmental groups say at a meeting of countries that hunt the much-prized but threatened species.

ZURICH - Shareholders in commodities giant Glencore and mining group Xstrata are to vote on a proposed $US33 billion ($A32 billion) mega merger at two extraordinary general meetings near Zurich.

PARIS - French oil group Total has announced the sale of its 20 per cent stake in a Nigerian offshore bloc to China's Sinopec for $US2.5 billion ($A2.4 billion).

SAN FRANCISCO - Computer chip giant Intel Corp has announced that chief executive Paul Otellini will retire in May, and that a search for a new CEO is under way.

BERLIN - German auto giant Daimler has confirmed it has taken full control of the Mercedes Formula One team after buying up a 40 per cent share from the Abu Dhabi-based fund Aabar, news agency AFP's subsidiary SID reported.

WELLINGTON - The New Zealand dollar gained as equity markets rallied amid hopes US policymakers will reach agreement over a $US607 billion ($NZ746b) fiscal cliff and Greece will secure the next tranche of its rescue package.

LONDON - Oil prices have spiked as violence intensified in the Israel-Gaza conflict, sparking fresh concern about supplies from the crude-rich Middle East, and after a pre-weekend blast on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.


SYDNEY - The Australian dollar has rallied past 104 US cents amid growing hopes the US will avoid a `fiscal cliff' of spending cuts and tax hikes which could send the country back into recession.

SYDNEY - The Australian market looks set to open higher following strong gains on international bourses amid hopes US political leaders will agree on a debt reduction plan to avoid the looming fiscal cliff of spending cuts and tax hikes which could send America back into recession.

CANBERRA - Businesses have adopted stricter lending and credit policies during the tough economic climate of the past year but a new survey suggests they may be more lenient in coming months.

CANBERRA - Australia is poised to flourish in terms of future coal and gas exports but it needs to address infrastructure bottlenecks and workforce shortages, International Energy Agency executive director Maria van der Hoeven says.