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December 18 2012, 07:44AM

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


WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met at the White House on Monday in hopes of continuing to make progress on a plan to deal with the fiscal cliff.

NEW YORK - AIG may raise as much as $US6.52 billion from the sale of its remaining stake in Asian life insurer AIA Group Ltd

LONDON - The deputy editor of British newspaper The Guardian has been named as leader of an online Australian expansion by the UK masthead.

MADRID - Spain's prime minister is defending his conservative government's imposition of austerity measures during its first year in power, even as thousands of people protest in the streets.

FRANKFURT - The German economy, Europe's biggest, is set to contract "noticeably" in the fourth quarter of this year and will probably tread water early next year, the Bundesbank has forecast.

NEW DELHI - India has cut its growth forecast for the current fiscal year to just under six per cent, putting Asia's third-largest economy on track for its worst annual performance in a decade.

ZURICH - Swiss insurer Zurich Insurance Group says superstorm Sandy has hit it with claims worth about $US700 million ($A667 million).

SAO PAULO - Brazilian prosecutors say Chevron has offered to pay $150 million to settle two civil lawsuits stemming from an offshore oil spill.

DHAKA - A Bangladesh government committee investigating the garment factory fire that killed 112 people last month said in its findings Monday that the blaze was sabotage, probably by someone who worked there.

BUENOS AIRES - Argentina's government told the country's largest media conglomerate on Monday that it has begun a process to break up the company and auction off its media licenses.