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March 12, 2014 / 1:50 PM / 4 years ago

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TOP STORIES

EU states agree framework for sanctions against Russia

BRUSSELS - European Union member states have agreed the framework and wording for sanctions against Russia, including asset freezes and travel bans on those responsible for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty, according to a draft document seen by Reuters. Formal decision expected on Monday. (UKRAINE-EU/RUSSIA-SANCTIONS (UPDATE 1), expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Martin Santa and Luke Baker, 750 words)

+ See also:

- UKRAINE CRISIS/G7, moved, by Roberta Rampton, 400 words

- RUSSIA-ECONOMY/RATES-PREVIEW (PREVIEW), moved, by Oksana Kobzeva and Lidia Kelly, 630 words

China worries chill markets, copper dives

LONDON - A fall in copper to near four-year lows compounds increasing concerns about China’s economic slowdown to send a wave of unease through world financial markets. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 6), expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Marc Jones, 850 words)

+ See also:

- CHINA-COPPER/FINANCING (UPDATE 4), moved, by Melanie Burton and Susan Thomas, 865 words

- ITALY-BONDS/AUCTION, moved, 420 words

China ready to cut bank reserves if growth falters - sources

BEIJING - China’s central bank is prepared to take its strongest action since 2012 to loosen monetary policy if economic growth slows further -- cutting the amount of cash that banks must keep as reserves, sources involved in internal policy discussions say. (CHINA-ECONOMY/POLICY (EXCLUSIVE, PICTURE), moved, by Kevin Yao, 1,000 words)

Candy Crush-maker King sees up to $7.6 bln IPO valuation

NEW YORK - King Digital Entertainment Plc, the maker of hit mobile phone game Candy Crush Saga, expects to be worth up to $7.6 billion when it goes public this month as the Irish company looks to take advantage of strong demand for technology investments. (KING-IPO/ (UPDATE 2), moved, 500 words)

+ See also:

- POUNDLAND/IPO (UPDATE 2), moved, by Freya Berry and James Davey, 490 words

SPECIAL REPORT

How China’s official bank card is used to smuggle money

MACAU - Growing numbers of Chinese are using the country’s state-backed bank cards to illegally spirit billions of dollars abroad, a Reuters examination has found. (CHINA-UNIONPAY/ (SPECIAL REPORT, PICTURE, GRAPHICS, TV), moved, by James Pomfret, 2,600 words)

ECONOMY

Fed seen hiking US rates in 2015 as jobless rate falls

WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve is expected to start raising U.S. interest rates in the third quarter of next year as the unemployment rate falls and the economy charts a new path of stronger growth, a Reuters survey of economists shows. (ECONOMY-POLL/USA, moved, by Lucia Mutikani, 600 words)

+ See also:

- ECONOMY-POLL/EUROZONE, moved, by Deepti Govind and Rahul Karunakar, 600 words

- ECONOMY-POLL/BRITAIN, moved, by Jonathan Cable, 600 words

ECB policymakers say ready to act; Linde cites FX concern

FRANKFURT/MADRID - The European Central Bank is ready to use non-standard tools to deliver stable prices, board member Peter Praet says, and Spanish central bank chief Luis Maria Linde says new measures may be needed in the coming months (ECB/TOOLBOX-PRAET (UPDATE 2), moved, by Eva Taylor and Sarah White, 585 words)

+ See also:

- EUROZONE-ECONOMY/PRODUCTION, moved, by Martin Santa, 310 words

Rajoy plans tax reform to revive Spanish economy and jobs

MADRID - Spain’s economy is growing again and exports are flourishing, but with a quarter of the workforce unemployed, the government now hopes to revive the austerity-weary nation by a new means - a major tax reform. (SPAIN-ECONOMY/ (ANALYSIS, GRAPHIC), moved, by Julien Toyer, 1,040 words)

Egypt’s finance minister sees economy growing less strongly

CAIRO - Egypt’s newly-appointed finance minister says that political instability will cause the economy to grow more slowly this year than earlier official forecasts showed, with the budget deficit also bigger than thought. (EGYPT-BUDGET/ (UPDATE 3), moving shortly, by Asma Alsharif, 750 words)

OPEC, unlike U.S., raises 2014 global oil demand view

LONDON - World oil demand will increase more than expected in 2014, OPEC says, raising its prediction for a second straight month as economic growth picks up in Europe and the United States. (OPEC-OIL/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 300 words)

COMPANIES

UniCredit, Monte Paschi lead Italian bank clean-up

MILAN - Italian banks have embarked on a sweeping clean-up of their balance sheets by booking big writedowns on bad loans as a sector-wide health check by European regulators forces them to fix trouble spots that have long been pushed under the carpet (ITALY-BANKS/, expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Silvia Aloisi, 600 words)

+ See also:

- MONTEPASCHI/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 290 words

European utilities E.ON, Enel to close power plants

DUESSELDORF/MILAN - E.ON and Enel, two of Europe’s largest power utilities, are to shut more plants and cut costs, they say, joining rivals in warning that a sector crisis will weigh on profits for years to come. (EON-ENEL/RESULTS (WRAPUP 1), moved, by Christoph Steitz and Stephen Jewkes, 625 words)

Vivendi hunts for the right telecom exit

PARIS - The traditional shoppers’ warning is caveat emptor, or “buyer beware”. When Vivendi’s board meets on Friday to choose between two bids for its French telecom unit SFR, “seller beware” may be more appropriate. (VIVENDI-SFR/ (DEALTALK), moved, by Leila Abboud and Gwénaëlle Barzic, 930 words)

Big Pharma still betting on “messed up” Indian drugs market

MUMBAI - Global drugmakers have had a nauseous time in India’s $14 billion market. Prices have dropped and valuable patents have been overruled as the authorities strive to make medicines affordable for the 70 percent of people living on less than $2 a day. (INDIA-BIGPHARMA/, moved, by Ben Hirschler and Zeba Siddiqui, 1,000 words)

+ See also:

- BAYER-OUTLOOK/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 290 words

- ASTRAZENECA-R&D/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 250 words

Russia’s Vimpelcom under investigation over Uzbekistan

MOSCOW - Russian mobile phone operator Vimpelcom has become the latest foreign company to run into trouble in former Soviet country Uzbekistan, with U.S. and Dutch authorities investigating it over its operations there in a development that is likely to further sour investor sentiment. (VIMPELCOM-INVESTIGATION/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Maria Kiselyova, 600 words)

UK watchdog to review, cap payday loan rates

LONDON - Britain’s financial watchdog will review in April how payday lenders collect debts and impose a cap from early 2015 on the sky-high interest rates criticised by politicians and churches. (BRITAIN-REGULATOR/PAYDAYLOANS, moved, by Huw Jones, 610 words)

Prudential buoyed by Asian middle classes, US baby boomers

LONDON - Insurer Prudential has seen off worries about its exposure to volatile emerging markets, posting annual profit at the top end of forecasts thanks to demand from Asia’s growing middle classes and America’s baby-boomers reaching retirement. (PRUDENTIAL/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Chris Vellacott, 475 words)

Norway wealth fund examining Total’s ethics in W.Sahara

OSLO - Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is examining the operations of oil firm Total in Western Sahara, a disputed region of North Africa with a history of human rights abuses, to ascertain whether its activities there are unethical. (NORWAYWEALTHFUND-ETHICS/, moved, by Gwladys Fouche, 810 words)

Tesco CEO does not see job at risk as market share falls

LONDON - Tesco Plc Chief Executive Philip Clarke does not feel investors are running out of patience with his leadership even after the market share of Britain’s biggest retailer fell to a decade low, he says. (TESCO-CEO/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Emma Thomasson, 730 words)

IATA cuts airline profit forecast on Ukraine concerns

GENEVA - Global airlines expect to make $1 billion less profit this year than previously hoped, denting a U.S.-led recovery, as the Ukraine crisis pushes up the industry’s fuel bills, the International Air Transport Association says. (AIRLINES-IATA/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 320 words)

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