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  • JOHANNESBURG, Dec 17- South Africa's currency weakened on Thursday after the United States central bank raised its key lending rate, while Moody's decision to change its outlook on Pretoria's credit rating to negative also pressured local assets. By 0700 GMT the rand had weakened 0.27 percent to 14.9750 per dollar, giving up some of the gains of the previous two...

  • SHANGHAI, Dec 17- China stocks rallied on Thursday as risk appetite improved after the Federal Reserve raised rates for the first time in nearly a decade, as expected, removing a major source of uncertainty about the U.S. central bank's policy. The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 1.9 percent, to 3,755.89, while the...

  • MANILA, Dec 17- The Philippine government will challenge a ban on imports of genetically modified products ordered by the country's top court, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala told Reuters on Thursday. Last week, the Supreme Court struck down a 2002 government regulation that allowed the import of genetically modified organisms and imposed a temporary...

  • TOKYO, Dec 17- Japanese government bond prices looked past a U.S. interest rate increase and slightly diminished demand at a 20- year sale and were mostly steady on Thursday, with the superlong zone edging slightly higher. Japan's Ministry of Finance offered 1.2 trillion yen of 20- year JGBs, with a coupon of 1.0 percent, below the current issue's coupon of 1.2...

  • LONDON, Dec 17- Royal Dutch Shell's takeover of BG Group may look less attractive after the slide in oil prices but the fact the same investors own nearly half of both firms means the deal is still likely to go through. For example, Blackrock, Franklin Mutual Advisers and Norges together hold more than 12 percent of Shell and nearly 7.5 percent of BG.

  • *Major global companies paid no tax in Australia in 2014. *Australia campaigned to close tax loopholes at G20. SYDNEY, Dec 17- Australian tax authorities on Thursday took the unprecedented step of publishing the records of hundreds of companies, including Google Inc and Apple Inc, which show they paid little or no tax on their in-country earnings.

  • Dec 17- Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP is close to an agreement to buy Avon Products Inc's North American business for $170 million, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. As part of the deal, Cerberus would also invest $435 million for a nearly 17 percent stake in the parent company, the paper reported, citing people familiar with the...

  • TOKYO, Dec 17- Japanese stocks rose to a more than one-week high on Thursday, after the U.S. The Nikkei share average ended 1.6 percent higher at 19,353.56, the highest closing level since Dec. 8. "The focus is whether the market and Fed will be on the same page about the next rate hike and beyond," said Masaru Hamasaki, head of market& investment information department at...

  • SYDNEY, Dec 17- Asian stock markets jumped on Thursday as investors chose to take an historic hike in U.S. interest rates as a mark of confidence in the world's largest economy, lifting the dollar and piling on the pain for oil prices. European shares were expected to follow with Britain's FTSE 100 set to open 1.1 percent higher according to IG.

  • SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 17- The world's central banks are scrambling to assess the risk a slowing China poses to their economies and appear to be no closer than most other observers to working out what is going on in the world's second largest economy. By raising interest rates on Wednesday the Fed removed one major source of uncertainty, leaving developments in China...

  • TOKYO, Dec 17- The U.S. Federal Reserve's widely expected interest rate hike and its pledge to implement monetary tightening gradually removes one source of uncertainty for the Bank of Japan, allowing it to hold off on expanding stimulus at the year's final BOJ rate review on Friday. "The decline in oil prices is lasting long enough to cast doubt on the BOJ's...

  • LAUNCESTON, Australia, Dec 17-- China is no longer a driver of commodity demand, rather it has become a constant factor that can be relied upon to import relatively steady volumes of major natural resources. Both China's central bank and a respected think-tank expect further moderation in the economic growth rate next year, which underscores that the world's...

  • *Fed rate decision makes China policy-making easier- investor. *China c.bank forecast eases economic hard landing fears. SHANGHAI, Dec 17- China and Hong Kong stocks rallied on Thursday, tracking global markets on improved risk appetite after the U.S.

  • SHANGHAI, Dec 17- China's yuan weakened against the dollar on Thursday, as the central bank guided the Chinese currency lower after U.S. interest rates rose for the first time in nearly a decade. The People's Bank of China set the official daily yuan/dollar midpoint rate at 6.4757 per dollar prior to market open, its weakest level since June 2011, and 0.2 percent...

  • TOKYO, Dec 17- The dollar rose against the yen and Swiss franc as the first U.S. interest rate hike in nine years coaxed investors to emerge from safe-haven currencies, but traders said hurdles- some psychological- lay in wait before any lasting gain. Following the decision, the dollar rose, shares on Wall Street soared, and the two-year Treasury yield rose to its...

  • *Gold gives back some of overnight gains. SINGAPORE, Dec 17- Gold slipped on Thursday to give back some of its overnight gains, with trading choppy as the dollar surged after the Federal Reserve hiked U.S. interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. Gold has slumped nearly 10 percent this year, largely on uncertainty around the timing of the rate rise and on...

  • West Texas Intermediate for January delivery, the front-month contract, was down 12 cents to $35.40 a barrel by 0248 GMT after finishing down nearly 5 percent on Wednesday. "Last night's inventory data from the U.S. was clearly unsettling," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. U.S. crude stocks increased last week as imports into the Gulf...

  • *Soy at 3- week low, Argentina seen boosting exports. Chicago Board of Trade January soybeans fell 0.6 percent to $8.57-1/ 2 a bushel by 0250 GMT, after dropping earlier in the session to match last session's three-week low of $8.56 a bushel. "Policy changes in Argentina will likely remain the key driver for grain markets today," said Paul Deane, senior agricultural...

  • SYDNEY, Dec 17- Asian governments and central bankers breathed a collective sigh of relief on Thursday after currencies edged up and stocks rallied rather than recoiled at the U.S. "It is a relief that even despite the Fed rate hike, turbulence in global financial markets has not been large," said South Korean Vice Finance Minister Joo Hyung- hwan.

  • "The markets are really hanging onto Janet Yellen's comments about a strengthening economy, particularly in big export countries like Japan, which relies on U.S. consumers to buy its goods," said Gavin Parry, managing director of Parry International Trading. Panasonic Corp gained 1.5 percent while Bridgestone Corp climbed 3.3 percent and Toyota Motor Corp...