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SYDNEY, Dec 20 AAP

December 20 2012, 07:57AM

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

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama says he and the most powerful Republican in Congress are "pretty close" to a deal that would avoid an economy-crunching mix of tax increases and deep spending cuts, even as talks have ground to a standstill with two weeks left before they would take effect.

WASHINGTON - House Speaker John Boehner says President Barack Obama should support a Republican plan to avoid January tax increases on everyone but those earning over $US1 million. Boehner says if Obama doesn't support the measure, the president will be responsible for what he calls "the largest tax increase in American history."

WASHINGTON - The United States has charged two former UBS traders with conspiracy over their alleged roles in the Libor manipulation scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder says.

DETROIT - The US Treasury Department said it will sell its remaining stake in General Motors in the next year or so, winding down a $US50 billion bailout that saved the iconic American car giant but also set off a heated debate about government intervention in private business that even influenced this year's presidential election.

NEW YORK - FedEx, the world's second-largest package delivery company, says its profit slid 12 per cent in the second quarter on weakness in its air network and the impact of superstorm Sandy.

WASHINGTON - The US is seeking a more balanced trade relationship with China at talks that could set the tone for cooperation after political transitions in the world's two largest economies.

NICOSIA, Cyprus - Cyprus' lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved the 2013 state budget amid efforts to finalise a bailout deal with international lenders in order to rescue the country's troubled banks and pay its bills.

LOCAL NEWS

BRISBANE - Queensland's bottom line will continue to take a "substantial" hit from falling coal prices and exports, Treasurer Tim Nicholls warns.

SYDNEY - Treasurer Mike Baird will deliver a budget update on Thursday.

ADELAIDE - Treasurer Jack Snelling will deliver mid-year budget review on Thursday.