BEIJING, March 21- Business confidence in China cooled in the first quarter compared to the same time last year, a central bank survey showed on Friday, another indication that the Chinese economy is faltering. The survey also showed a growing number of Chinese banks are feeling the drag from China's slowing economy.
*EU signs political deal with Ukraine, pledges financial support. MOSCOW/ BRUSSELS, March 21- Russian shares fell sharply on Friday as investors took fright at tougher than expected U.S. sanctions against President Vladimir Putin's inner circle over Moscow's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.
LONDON, March 21- Russian stocks dropped 3 percent on Friday as concerns grew over the impact of possible U.S. sanctions on Russia's economy, but Chinese stocks rose sharply on news of looser finance restrictions for property developers.
MOSCOW, March 21- Russian Prime Minister Medvedev said in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Friday that in total Ukraine owes Russia $16 billion, local news agencies reported.
LONDON, March 21- Brent crude rose towards $107 per barrel on Friday as fresh U.S. sanctions against Russia, the world's second-largest oil exporter, increased fears of a disruption to supplies.
LONDON, March 21- A top European share index was set for its best week of the year on Friday although stocks exposed to Russia remained sensitive as investors assessed the impact of tit-for-tat sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.
MOSCOW/ SOFIA, March 21- A consortium led by Russia's Stroitransgaz, owned by sanctions-hit businessman Gennady Timchenko, will win a 3.5 billion-euro deal to build a section of the South Stream gas pipeline across Bulgaria, industry sources said on Friday.
RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER MEDVEDEV SAYS UKRAINE OWES RUSSIA $16 BLN IN TOTAL.
MOSCOW, March 21- Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday Ukraine should pay back $11 billion to Russia because an agreement under which Russia provided cheap gas would cease to be valid, RIA news agency reported.
MOSCOW, March 21- President Vladimir Putin said on Friday Russia should for the time being refrain from imposing sanctions on Americans in retaliation for punitive measures announced by the United States, Russian news agencies reported.
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV SAYS DEAL TO SEND OSCE MONITORS TO UKRAINE "PRACTICALLY AGREED"- INTERFAX.
LONDON, March 21- World markets steadied on Friday after a volatile run driven by speculation over shifts in U.S. monetary policy, with stocks up slightly, Bunds flat and the euro at a two-week low against the dollar.
RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER MEDVEDEV SAYS UKRAINE SHOULD PAY RUSSIA BACK $11 BLN ON GAS AGREEMENT THAT SHOULD BE SCRAPPED- RIA.
*Li& Fung up 21.2 percent on good earnings. HONG KONG/ SHANGHAI, March 21- Chinese shares rallied on Friday, led by banks and property shares, amid speculation the country's securities regulator would reveal details of a preferred pilot scheme and news of looser finance restrictions for developers.
PUTIN SAYS RUSSIA SHOULD REFRAIN FROM RETALIATING AGAINST U.S.
*Yuan ends slightly firmer after hitting lowest since Feb 2013. HONG KONG, March 21- China's yuan hit a 13- month low on Friday and posted its biggest weekly drop after the central bank stepped up efforts to shake out hot money from the market, although traders said there were signs the currency may be finding a base.
PUTIN MOCKS SANCTIONS, IRONICALLY SAYING NEEDS TO AVOID ALLIES TARGETED AS THEY ARE "COMPROMISING US"- INTERFAX.
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.