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The Bank of Japan left its policy rate unchanged at 0.5 percent on Wednesday, as widely expected, reflecting caution among central bankers over market uncertainty and the economic fallout from U.S. subprime woes.
Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings said on Wednesday it will raise the prices of beer for the first time in more than 17 years starting in February, citing a sharp rise in aluminum and malt prices.
Australian businesses were busy borrowing in September despite interest rates at decade highs, while a jump in approvals to build new homes provided a tentative sign of a recovery in housing construction.
Fed policy-makers began meeting as financial markets continued to bet that the central bank will cut interest rates to shore up the faltering housing and credit markets.
U.S. consumer confidence declined for the third month in a row in October to its lowest level in two years on growing concerns about weakening business conditions and the impact that could have on the job market.
The United States is strongly committed to a strong U.S. dollar and financial markets there are recovering from the subprime loan crisis even if the housing market has yet to touch bottom, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Tuesday.
The Federal Reserve is expected to lower interest rates again this week as insurance against the threat that declining home prices and higher borrowing costs will push the economy into recession.
A Federal Reserve interest rate cut this week is no sure thing and officials are not seriously considering a half-point reduction in overnight rates, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday without citing sources.
China must continue to liberalize its exchange rate regime and key areas of the economy to ward off overheating but should be cautious about opening strategic sectors to foreign investment, a top official said on Tuesday.
Unemployment in Japan rose to 4.0 percent last month, reinforcing expectations the Bank of Japan will delay its next rate rise, but household spending jumped.
Japanese retail sales rose unexpectedly in September from a year earlier, government data showed on Monday, suggesting consumer spending may be picking up in accordance with moderate improvement in workers' income conditions.
The Bank of Japan is seen cutting its growth and inflation forecasts and stressing more the downside risks, as markets push back still further into next year expectations of when the central bank will next increase rates.
China will stay the course on monetary tightening and keep a lid on money supply and credit growth, a top central bank official said.
Japanese core consumer prices fell from a year earlier in September, as expected, marking the eighth straight month of decline and doing little to change expectations that the Bank of Japan's monetary policy will be on hold for now.
Orders for big-ticket manufactured goods unexpectedly fell again in September, raising new worries about how much harm a severe housing slump and credit crunch are causing the overall economy.
American billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Thursday he remains negative on prospects for the U.S. dollar and that problems in the U.S. subprime mortgage sector may continue to cause problems for some time.
New Zealand's central bank held interest rates steady at 8.25 percent on Thursday, as expected, but said rising food prices and increased government spending were adding to persistent inflation pressures.
Underlying inflation in Australia speeded past expectations last quarter to hit the very top of the central bank's target range, sharply lifting the risks of a hike in interest rates as early as next month.
Japanese exports to the United States fell in September from a year earlier at the fastest pace in four years but overall exports rose, pushing the trade surplus up to a record high.
The U.S. economy still faces pressure from a drawn-out housing-market slowdown but will "probably not" slip into recession as a result, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Tuesday.