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Business: Fed Chief in Tokyo; China 'Eases'; Euro Updates

By: AP
By: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Chairman Ben Bernanke is rejecting arguments that the Federal Reserve's bold moves to bolster U.S. job growth could have unwanted consequences in emerging market countries.
In a speech Sunday, Bernanke disagrees with criticism that the Fed's efforts to drive U.S. interest rates lower could result in higher inflation in emerging markets or trigger a destabilizing flood of investment money into those nations.
In fact, he says, the efforts of the Fed and the central banks of other industrial countries should benefit the global economy by boosting growth and providing stronger markets for the goods of developing nations.
Bernanke's speech in Tokyo was at a conference sponsored by the Bank of Japan and the International Monetary Fund.

TOKYO (AP) -- China's central bank governor says the Chinese currency has reached its equilibrium rate and its value is mainly determined by the market, rather than intervention.
In a speech delivered by one of his deputies, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, said Sunday that the central bank has refrained from intervening in the market in the past year.
The U.S. has long urged China to lift controls on foreign exchange markets that Washington contends keep the Chinese yuan undervalued, making the country's exports relatively less expensive in overseas markets.
PBOC vice governor Yi Gang, who delivered the speech, said China knows that a fixed exchange rate is unsustainable and will continue with reforms.
He said China's main focus was on fighting inflation while supporting growth.

MADRID (AP) -- Several thousand anti-austerity protesters in Spain marched down a major street in the capital banging pots and pans Saturday.
Many protesters also blew whistles as they blocked part of the Castellana boulevard Saturday carrying placards saying "We don't owe, we won't pay."
"None of us pushed the banks to lend huge sums of money to greedy property speculators, yet we are being asked to pay for other's mistakes," 34-year-old civil servant Maria Costa, who was banging an old pot along with her two children, said.
With unemployment nearing 25 percent, Spain has introduced biting austerity measures as well as financial and labor reforms in a desperate bid to lower its deficit and assuage investors' misgivings.
Spain has been granted a (euro) 100 billion ($130 billion) loan by the 17-nation eurozone to help its banks worst hit by the collapse of a bloated real estate sector. Still, Spain's economy is in a double-dip recession with a forecast to shrink by 1.5 percent this year and by up to 0. 6 percent in 2013.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government is also pushing for the European Central Bank to intervene in the secondary market to bring down Spain's borrowing costs, but the European Central Bank is insisting the country must first formally make an application for financial aid.
"They are cheating us by asking for us to pay by cutting public services," 19-year-old student Laura Lavinia said.
In the Portuguese city of Braga, several hundred artists and people opposed to their government's cuts to the culture budget protested under a banner saying "without culture people become dogs."

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's chancellor says she thinks debt-laden Greece is making progress in implementing reforms and austerity measures "step by step."
Angela Merkel said in her weekly video podcast published Saturday that Greece's progress is slower than hoped "but on this matter we should always give Greece another chance."
Merkel's comments appeared to signal a further shift in Germany's position toward showing more patience even though Athens has fallen behind on the ambitious reforms and cuts it must implement in return for bailout loans.
The subtle shift comes amid calls from the International Monetary Fund to give Greece two more years to meet the agreed targets.
Merkel, who visited Athens Tuesday, has said that extending the timeframe for Greece's reforms can only be decided after a creditors' assessment expected within weeks.


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