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  • BISMARCK, N.D., Dec 19- Tumbling U.S. oil markets hit an important if obscure milestone on Thursday, closing for the first time at a price that could trigger a $5.3 billion, two-year tax break for North Dakota oil drillers as soon as next summer. "We're really at the point where we could start calculating this," Ryan Rauschenberger, North Dakota's tax commissioner, said...

  • LONDON, Dec 19- European stocks edged lower on Friday, reversing an early rise, as Italian banks came under pressure from a downgrade by S&P and Swiss drugmaker Roche saw two major drugs fail tests. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.1 percent tot 1,355.47 points at 1113 GMT, retreating after a 3 percent advance on Thursday.

  • MOSCOW, Dec 19- Russia's rouble strengthened on Friday after Finance Minister Anton Siluanov confirmed his ministry had sold foreign currency, and on expectations that exporters will increase dollar sales. At 1110 GMT, the rouble was around 2.2 percent stronger at 60.13 to the dollar, and had gained 2.6 percent to trade at 73.77 to the euro.

  • GENEVA, Dec 19- Trials of GlaxoSmithKline's experimental Ebola vaccine are likely to move to a second phase in February, later than previously suggested, after a meeting of national regulators said they needed more information. Countries where the trials are planned-- Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal-- should receive and review the additional...

  • HONG KONG, Dec 19- Hong Kong's de facto central bank said it found no evidence of rigging in Hong Kong's foreign exchange benchmark following an 18- month investigation into the trading operations of 10 banks. However, it identified "inappropriate" behavior by individual traders at Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank. The HKMA began the investigation into...

  • *Risk appetite re-emerges as oil, Russia's rouble stabilise. *Barrick says may suspend Zambia copper mine. LONDON, Dec 19- Copper rose more around 1 percent on Friday, leading other base metals higher as recent sharp falls prompted some bargain hunting among investors, who were also encouraged by gains in oil and equities.

  • DAR ES SALAAM, Dec 19- Tanzania's gross domestic product has expanded by 32 percent after the state rebased its calculation to incorporate new sectors in the economy, including big discoveries of natural gas, officials said on Friday. Farming remains Tanzania's economic mainstay, while tourism, mining, communications and financial services are the other key...

  • How GE changed tack on Russia Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 6:03 AM ET

    LONDON, Dec 19- About five years ago, General Electric Co, the largest Western player in Russia's market for medical equipment, uncovered pervasive corruption in its Russian business. Customs data show that since 2011 GE has made almost all its exports to Russia through a wholly-owned GE subsidiary in Moscow, which then supplies the local market.

  • MOSCOW/ LONDON, Dec 19- Russia pays hugely inflated prices for vital medical equipment made by Western companies, in part because some manufacturers channel sales through obscure intermediary companies, a Reuters examination has found. An analysis of 20,000 transactions dated between January 2006 and July 2013 found that international companies sold...

  • *European shares rise after sharp gains in Asia, United States. LONDON, Dec 19- Gold steadied on Friday, struggling to rise above the $1,200 an ounce mark as the dollar firmed and investor appetite for risk increased on expectations of rising U.S. interest rates. "Right now, the market is struggling to move away from $1,200... the fact that we made a move below $1,189 after...

  • HONG KONG, Dec 19- A former top Hong Kong civil servant was found guilty on Friday of accepting HK $8.5 million in bribes from executives of property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd, in the city's highest profile corruption case. Rafael Hui, 66, who headed Hong Kong's civil service from 2005 to 2007, was found guilty of three counts of misconduct in public...

  • TOKYO, Dec 19- Japan's Nissan Motor Co and French partner Renault SA have stopped taking orders for some cars in Russia and could raise prices on others if the rouble's plunge continues, alliance Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said on Friday. Russia is Nissan's fifth-largest market and the Japanese firm's alliance with Renault SA, of which Ghosn is chairman and...

  • *Asia shares buoyed as Wall St surges for second day. LONDON, Dec 19- World markets are ending their last full week of 2014 on a high, as Wall Street made its biggest two-day advance since late 2011 and European shares headed for their strongest week of the year. French IT services company Atos SE Xerox Corp's outsourcing arm.

  • MOSCOW, Dec 19- The Kremlin's top economic aide, Andrei Belousov, said on Friday Russia's most acute problems are not over the rouble rate against the dollar but over a deficit of rouble liquidity. Belousov said the government had a plan that was "more or less" ready for any economic scenario and that measures that had already been approved, including providing...

  • Monthly FX volumes dip slightly in November - CLS Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 5:12 AM ET

    LONDON, Dec 19- Average daily volumes in the global foreign exchange market dipped slightly in November but were still above the $5 trillion mark for the third month in a row, data from FX settlement system CLS showed on Friday. The value of all transactions through the CLS system, which is used almost universally by the banking industry to process or settle trades,...

  • LONDON, Dec 19- Brent crude oil rose above $60 a barrel on Friday, recovering from near a 5-1/ 2- year low as investors squared books ahead of the year-end festive break after six months of falling prices. Oil prices were on track for a fourth straight week of declines after OPEC members last month decided against cutting production despite a huge global overhang of...

  • ADVISORY-Next GLOBAL-ECONOMY/WEEKAHEAD on January 4 Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 5:00 AM ET

    LONDON, Dec 19- Reuters' regular look at the world economy- GLOBAL-ECONOMY/WEEKAHEAD- will not be published for two weeks.

  • MOSCOW, Dec 19- Russia's lower house of parliament passed a draft law that would give the banking sector a capital boost of up to 1 trillion roubles on Friday, part of measures to shield banks from Western economic sanctions. Russia's financial sector is reeling from the country's slide towards recession and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis that have...

  • *CPI, jobs and household spending data due 2330 GMT Dec 25. TOKYO, Dec 19- Japan's annual core consumer inflation probably slowed for a fourth straight month in November, mirroring a slide in oil prices, a Reuters poll showed, underscoring a tough task for the Bank of Japan to achieve its 2 percent inflation target. "Consumer spending lacks strength and prices of items...

  • RUSSIA'S TOP BANK SBERBANK NOT TO RECEIVE ADDITIONAL CAPITAL AS PART OF DRAFT LAW- HEAD OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE.