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February 06 2013, 08:29AM

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


WASHINGTON - US economic growth will slow to 1.4 per cent in 2013, partly as a result of austerity measures dividing Washington, a study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has found.

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama has called for a balanced program of stop gap spending reductions and tax reforms to avert punishing multi-billion dollar automatic budget cuts due to kick in on March 1.

WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it is stepping up its policy assistance to Myanmar as the once-pariah nation undertakes economic and social reforms.

CAIRO - Egypt's foreign reserves fell by almost 10 per cent to $US13.6 billion ($A13.10 billion) in January, the Central Bank of Egypt said in a statement on Tuesday published by the official MENA news agency.

LONDON - The decline in Australian wine production is tipped to continue over the next five years but the industry could eventually be more sustainable and profitable as a result.

LONDON - The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is set to announce it will settle its part of the Libor rate-rigging scandal by paying US and British authorities up to STG500 million ($A760.63 million), Dow Jones Newswires reports, citing sources briefed on the talks.

LONDON - The head of the Royal Bank of Scotland's (RBS) investment banking arm is to step down over the Libor rate-rigging scandal, British media reports.

NEW YORK - A boost from Pringles and strong international results has helped Kellogg's fourth-quarter earnings surpass expectations.

ROUND ROCK, Texas - Slumping personal computer maker Dell is selling itself for $US24.4 billion ($A23.51 billion) to its founder and a group of investors that includes Microsoft. It's the largest deal of its kind since the Great Recession dried up financing for risky manoeuvres like this.

JAKARTA - One of the world's largest paper companies has pledged to stop its suppliers from cutting down natural forests in Indonesia, a move it hopes will help preserve the threatened habitats of rare animals such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions released from carbon-rich peatland.

ROUEN, France - A bankrupt oil refinery northwest of Paris has attracted five offers, with the two most serious bids coming from Egypt and Switzerland, the French ministry of industrial regeneration has said as the Petroplus site that employs 470 people focused French anxiety over plant closures.

RIO DE JANEIRO - The chief executive of Brazil's state-run oil giant Petrobras, Maria das Gracas Foster, warned Tuesday that the company faces erratic output this year due to platform maintenance.

LONDON - Oil and gas giant BP says its profit fell nearly 80 per cent in the fourth quarter, dragged down by payouts related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

WELLINGTON - Prices of New Zealand dairy products rose in Fonterra's latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, the first since news emerged last month that small traces of a nitrate inhibitor had been found in some of the company's milk powder.

NEW YORK - Oil prices have resumed their upward climb against a backdrop of solid economic indicators.

WELLINGTON - Financial markets in New Zealand are closed on Wednesday for a public holiday.


SYDNEY - The Australian dollar is slightly higher after gains on US sharemarkets helped the currency rebound from an earlier selloff.

SYDNEY - The Australian market looks set to open higher following rebounds on European and US markets overnight.