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  • LONDON, Jan 4- A 7 percent drop in Chinese shares on Monday halted trading in Shanghai and dragged down stock markets around the world, as investors began 2016 with fresh worries over global growth and sought the safety of bonds and gold. Rising tensions in the Middle East added to the gloom. Oil prices soared more than a dollar to $38.50 before giving back some of...

  • PRETORIA, Jan 4- South Africa is aiming to meet requirements set by the United States as part of the African Growth and Opportunity Act that have stalled over health concerns, Trade and Industry minister Rob Davies said on Monday.

  • SOUTH AFRICA TRADE MINISTER SAYS AIMING TO MEET REQUIREMENTS FOR AGOA TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH THE U.S.AHEAD OF DEADLINE.

  • LONDON, Jan 4- Oil prices edged up on Monday after a breakdown in diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran that some speculated could result in supply restrictions, although gains were tempered by data showing some of Asia's largest economies are struggling. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday in response...

  • *DAX down more than 3 pct as weak China data hits markets. *Ferrari shares slip on Milan debut. China's factory activity contracted for the 10th straight month in December and the decline accelerated compared with November, a private survey showed.

  • SHANGHAI, Jan 4- China's major stock exchanges tanked on the first trading day of the year, triggering a "circuit-breaker" that suspended equities trade nation-wide for the first time and put months of regulatory work to restore market stability at risk. The selloff saw the CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen lose 7.0 percent...

  • SEOUL, Jan 4- North Korea may send a delegation to the World Economic Forum meeting in Switzerland for the first time in 18 years, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on Monday, a sign that it sees international engagement as a way to bolster its economy. Yonhap cited unidentified sources as saying North Korea was in talks with organisers to send a delegation...

  • Jan 4- Crude oil prices are unlikely to rally much in 2016 as subdued demand growth looks unable to absorb rising supply from the likes of Iran and Iraq, even though non- OPEC output is expected to moderate, a Reuters poll showed on Monday. The average 2016 price for benchmark North Sea Brent crude futures was forecast at $52.52 a barrel, $5.43 below the previous...

  • FRANKFURT, Jan 4- Insurance claims from natural disasters such as storms and earthquakes fell to $27 billion in 2015 as the overall cost of natural catastrophes dropped to its lowest level since 2009, reinsurer Munich Re said on Monday. Insurance claims totalled $31 billion in 2014 and were also below the 10- year average of $56 billion, Munich Re said.

  • *Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Iran, China data disappoints. LONDON, Jan 4- Gold rallied more than 1 percent on Monday, buoyed by rising tensions in the Middle East and a sharp drop in stocks and the dollar following weak Chinese data that fueled concerns over global growth. Gold rose after Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran after Iranian protesters stormed...

  • BEIJING, Jan 4- China's central bank said outstanding pledged supplementary lending, or PSL, stood at 1.08 trillion yuan at the end of December, unchanged from November.

  • *Longest period of decline since 2002. HONG KONG, Jan 4- The value of Hong Kong retail sales fell for a ninth consecutive month in November, the longest period of decline in 13 years, hit by a slide in the number of Chinese tourists coming to the city and by weak consumer spending. Retail sales plunged 7.8 percent from a year earlier, the biggest percentage drop since...

  • SHANGHAI, Jan 4- China's onshore yuan softened against the dollar on Monday to its weakest level since April 2011 after the central bank set the guidance rate at a more than 4-1/ 2- year low. The offshore yuan weakened to its lowest level since September 2011. "The market was trading narrowly around 6.51 yuan," said an onshore trader at a foreign bank in Shanghai in...

  • LONDON, Jan 4- Oil prices eased on Monday after data showed some of Asia's largest economies are struggling, which offset a boost from a breakdown in diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran that some believed could result in supply restrictions. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday in response to the...

  • *China selloff hits Aussie, other commodity-linked currencies. LONDON, Jan 4- The dollar sank to an 11- week low against the yen on Monday, hit by a renewed stock market selloff in China that sent currency traders running for the traditional security of the Japanese currency and the Swiss franc. "All about China really," said the head of foreign exchange at one large...

  • *Oil up on Saudi/ Iran tensions. LONDON, Jan 4- European shares fell on Monday on the first trading day of 2016 after weak Chinese data rekindled global growth worries, while oil prices jumped and bond yields dropped on rising tensions in the Middle East. Adding to the worries, China's central bank fixed the yuan at a 4-1/ 2 year low.

  • China's factory activity contracted for the 10th straight month in December and at a sharper pace than in November, a private survey showed, dampening hopes that the world's second-largest economy will enter 2016 on a more stable footing. The weak data caused Chinese and Asian shares to slump, with China's benchmark CSI300 share index tumbling 7 percent on...

  • Jan 4- Hong Kong stocks posted their biggest fall in three months on Monday, marking a gloomy start for 2016, pulled lower by slumping mainland shares and weak global markets. The Hang Seng index fell 2.7 percent, to 21,327.12, registering its biggest one-day percentage fall since Sept. 29. The panic on the mainland, triggered by sluggish factory activity surveys,...

  • SINGAPORE, Jan 4- Oil prices jumped in early trading of its first session in the new year as relations between major crude producers Saudi Arabia and Iran deteriorated, although tumbling Asian manufacturing and stock data kept a lid on bullish expectations. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday in response to the...

  • *Malaysia pushing for bauxite export suspension. MELBOURNE, Jan 4- London copper started 2016 on a sour note on Monday after data showed factory activity in top consumer China continued to shrink in December, compounding a difficult outlook for metals at a time when a firmer dollar is already dragging on demand. "The private sector remains cautious on the...