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  • NEW YORK, Aug 18- Washington's decision to allow exports of an ultra light crude offers a potential boon to U.S. producers that will bypass drillers in the Permian basin, because the country's fastest growing shale play lacks pipelines or affordable trucking.

  • *Media-related shares up on Shanghai- Hong Kong stock pilot. SHANGHAI, Aug 18- China's stock indexes rose moderately on Monday, with the Shanghai Composite Index touching its highest since December 2013 even amid weak investment and housing data, but home price slides on the mainland dampened shares in Hong Kong.

  • METALS-London copper rebounds from near two-month low Monday, 18 Aug 2014 | 12:17 AM ET

    *China new home prices drop 0.9 percent in July from June. SYDNEY, Aug 18- London copper edged higher on Monday, bouncing off last week's near two-month lows, as traders built up stocks on fresh signs of economic recovery in the United States and a view that the sell-off after weak Chinese data was too heavy.

  • *Volvo to start exporting cars from China in 2015. *Volvo to launch new sedan for mainly U.S., China markets.

  • BEIJING, Aug 18- China's foreign direct investment inflows in January-July fell for the first time in 17 months compared with the same period a year earlier, as firms from Japan, Europe and the United States cut spending in the manufacturing sector.

  • *Libya raises oil output to 535,000 bpd. *Kurdish, U.S. forces make progress in Iraq against militants. SINGAPORE, Aug 18- Brent crude fell below $103 a barrel on Monday as Libya increased its oil output and as worries over supply from key producer Iraq eased.

  • JGBs edge higher, bolstered by U.S. Treasuries rally Sunday, 17 Aug 2014 | 11:39 PM ET

    TOKYO, Aug 18- Japanese government bonds were slightly firmer on Monday, riding on last week's rally in U.S. Rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine on Friday sent the yield on benchmark 10- year U.S.

  • *Army seized power on May 22 in bid to end crisis. BANGKOK, Aug 18- Thailand's economy expanded 0.9 percent in April-June from the previous three months, avoiding a technical recession, the planning agency said on Monday.

  • *Sale of Bougainville Copper stake an option. The interim mining law converts Bougainville Copper Ltd's mining lease into an exploration lease.

  • SHANGHAI, Aug 18- German car maker Daimler AG's luxury brand division Mercedes-Benz has been found guilty of manipulating prices for after-sales services in China, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing authorities in Jiangsu province.

  • BANGKOK, Aug 18- Thailand's planning agency cut its forecast for economic growth this year slightly to 1.5-2.0 percent from 1.5-2.5 percent seen in May, citing weaker exports and tourism plus a slow recovery in private investment after months of political unrest.

  • BEIJING, Aug 18- China's new home prices fell in July from June for a third straight month and price softness spread to more major cities, underlining a worsening property downturn despite efforts by many local governments to shore up the sector.

  • HONG KONG, Aug 18- China's yuan held at five-month highs on Monday after the central bank signaled it was comfortable with the currency's recent gains by setting the daily midpoint stronger against the dollar. The People's Bank of China set the midpoint rate at 6.1528 per dollar prior to market open on Monday, slightly stronger than 6.1538 per dollar on Friday.

  • TOKYO, Aug 18- Japan's Nikkei was choppy on Monday morning as geopolitical tensions checked risk appetite, but Chugai Pharmaceutical jumped on a media report that Roche Holding AG's may be close to sealing a deal to gain full ownership of the Japanese drugmaker.

  • TOKYO, Aug 18- Asian stocks eked out gains on Monday after seeing Wall Street recover from the latest round of tensions in the Ukrainian crisis, although renewed uncertainty over the volatile conflict put a firm lid on markets. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.1 percent.

  • SINGAPORE, Aug 18- Calling the top in financial markets is never easy. "I would not at all subscribe to the idea that markets are expensive and now's the time to get out," said Julie Dickson, a portfolio manager at Ashmore Investment Management in London, a fund with $75 billion in assets worldwide.

  • BEIJING, Aug 18- Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities dropped 0.9 percent in July from June, a third consecutive monthly drop following June's drop of 0.5 percent, according to Reuters calculations from official data published on Monday.

  • *China economic data points to weakness, euro zone slows. LONDON, Aug 15- The price of copper edged higher on Friday as some investors bought back short positions to take profits ahead of the weekend, but gains were capped as a gloomy outlook for the economy in top metals consumer China raised concerns about demand.

  • SYDNEY, Aug 18- London copper was flat on Monday after last week logging its biggest weekly loss in one month and ahead of a fresh reading on China's property market that has dragged on its economy and raised questions over its metals demand.

  • SINGAPORE, Aug 18- Gold extended losses into a second session on Monday, slipping below $1,300 an ounce on technical selling and as equities recovered after an initial sell-off over escalating tensions in Ukraine. *Gold prices dipped below the key psychological level of $1,300 an ounce after falling through support at the 50- day moving average near $1,304.