TOKYO, Aug 1- Japan's Nikkei share average dropped to a one-week low on Friday, hit by concern that U.S. interest rates could rise sooner than expected, but strong earnings from companies such as Sony Corp limited the losses. The Nikkei ended 0.6 percent down at 15,523.11, the lowest close since July 25. Shares in Sony ended 4.68 percent higher.» Read More
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN SAYS HE INTENDS TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT IN SANCTIONS-HIT BANK ROSSIYA- IFAX.
BEIJING, March 21- China's soybean imports are expected to reach a record 66-67 million tonnes over the 2013/ 14 marketing year, up 13 percent year on year, a senior executive with the country's state-owned grain reserve company said on Friday.
BEIJING, March 21- China's February crude oil imports from Iran rose 6 percent from a year ago to 552,613 barrels per day, customs data showed on Friday, keeping imports in 2014 close to levels before Western sanctions were applied more than two years ago.
LONDON, March 21- The dollar hovered near a three-week peak against a basket of major currencies on Friday, but struggled to extend gains as investors awaited more clarity on the Federal Reserve's policy path.
BANGKOK, March 21- Thailand's Constitutional Court on Friday annulled last month's general election, leaving the country in political limbo without a full government and further undermining a prime minister faced with impeachment over a failed rice subsidy scheme.
*Washington adds 20 prominent Russian business men to sanctions list. SINGAPORE, March 21- Brent crude held steady above $106 per barrel on Friday, on track for a fourth weekly loss, weighed down by a stronger dollar and seasonal slump in demand, while fresh U.S. sanctions against Russia could inject a new risk premium into the market.
*Bonded copper premiums in China fall by $10 to $105- $125- Shmet. SYDNEY, March 21- London copper climbed on Friday but was set to close the week flat, not far above 3-1/ 2- year lows, as worries about China's economy clouded the outlook for demand.
PARIS, March 21- European shares were steady in early trade on Friday, with tensions over the crisis in Crimea rising after Washington announced sanctions against some of Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest allies.
BANGKOK, March 21- Thailand's central bank cut its 2014 forecasts for economic growth and exports, and sees only fractionally higher inflation, suggesting it has room to keep monetary policy easy to help the economy cope with the country's protracted political crisis.
HONG KONG, March 21- Hong Kong shares ended up, lifted by a rally in Chinese shares in the afternoon session on gains led by Li& Fung and the property sector. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 2.44 percent on the day and 1.4 percent for the week, its largest weekly gain in five weeks.
MOSCOW, March 21- Russian stock indexes fell sharply on Friday as investors digested the impact of U.S sanctions over Ukraine, including possible moves by Washington to target whole sectors of Russia's economy.
*On campaign trial, Erdogan vows to "wipe out" Twitter. *Twitter tells Turks how to keep tweeting. ANKARA, March 21- Turkey's courts have blocked access to Twitter days before elections as Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan battles a corruption scandal that has seen social media platforms awash with alleged evidence of government wrongdoing.
VISA, MASTERCARD STOP PROVIDING SERVICES FOR PAYMENT TRANSACTIONS FOR CLIENTS AT RUSSIA'S SMP BANK- BANK.
MOSCOW, March 21- Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said on Friday he expected no big immediate impact from western sanctions on Russia's financial sector and argued that the country's creditworthiness has not worsened.
MOSCOW, March 21- Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said on Friday he expected no big immediate impact from sanctions announced by the West on Russia's financial sector over the Crimea crisis. "For now, I see no severe consequences for the financial sector," Moiseev told journalists on the sidelines of a business conference.
HONG KONG, March 21- China indexes extended gains on Friday afternoon, as investors bought shares after the expiry of Chinese futures, focusing on sectors such as coal and banks which have been hammered recently on concerns about the slowing economy. The Shanghai Composite Index was up 2.6 percent at 0628 GMT, after opening down on Friday morning.
RUSSIAN DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER MOISEEV SEES NO SEVERE CONSEQUENCES FOR RUSSIA'S FINANCIAL SECTOR FROM SANCTIONS SO FAR.
BANGKOK, March 21- Thailand's Constitutional Court on Friday nullified February's election that was disrupted by protesters, further delaying the formation of a new government after months of street protests aimed at bringing down Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
RUSSIAN DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER SEES NO REASON FOR RUSSIA'S CREDIT WORTHINESS TO WORSEN, DISAGREES WITH OUTLOOK DOWNGRADES.
MOSCOW, March 21- Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc have stopped, without notification, providing services for payment transactions for clients at Russia's Bank Rossiya, the sanctions-hit bank said on Friday.