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  • *Ukraine president calls for anti-rebel offensive as peace deal falters. SINGAPORE, April 23- Brent futures held above $109 a barrel on Wednesday with the global demand growth outlook largely unchanged after a Chinese manufacturing survey showed an easing pace of decline, while the unfolding Ukraine crisis kept any losses in check.

  • TOKYO/ WASHINGTON, April 22- U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman arrived in Japan earlier than expected on Wednesday, Japanese media, for a last ditch push for a two-way deal seen as crucial to efforts to create one of the world's biggest trade pacts.

  • Japan inflation likely already beaten forecast: Kuroda Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 | 12:00 AM ET

    Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said consumer inflation may exceed the central bank's projection in the fiscal year that ended in March.

  • *Gold dropped overnight to lowest since Feb. SINGAPORE, April 23- Gold was steady but near its lowest in more than two months on Wednesday, with stronger equities denting the metal's safe-haven appeal and outflows from bullion funds showing weak investor appetite.

  • Word's biggest pork firm slashes IPO, delays pricing Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 | 11:54 PM ET
    (L to R) Chief financial officer of WH Group, Guo Lijun, Executive director and chairman of WH Group, Wan Long, Executive director and president of Smithfield, Larry Pope, Smithfield chief financial officer, Kenneth Sullivan attend a press conference in Hong Kong.

    WH Group is slashing its proposed Hong Kong IPO and delaying the pricing to next week, as market volatility turned investors off the deal.

  • PARIS/ SAO PAULO, April 22- Azul Linhas Aereas, Brazil's third-biggest airline, is set to announce a fleet expansion on Wednesday including an order for its first wide-body aircraft from European planemaker Airbus, according to two people with knowledge of the deal.

  • Indonesia last month kick-started the process of terminating all of its bilateral treaties by notifying the Netherlands that its agreement to protect and promote investment would end in 2015, and signalling that the others would end as soon as possible.

  • SYDNEY/ WASHINGTON, April 23- Australia will order 58 more F-35 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp for A $12.4 billion, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday, a purchase that will raise its air combat power to among the world's most advanced.

  • LIMA, April 22- Peru's central bank slashed its forecast for this year's economic expansion to 5.5 percent from 6 percent on dimmer expectations for the country's crucial mining sector, the bank's president said. Central Bank President Julio Velarde said mining activity will pick up this year but will not likely be as robust as previously thought.

  • *Deputy governor says Japan can withstand tax hike pain. TOKYO, April 23- Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said consumer inflation may exceed the central bank's projection in the fiscal year that ended in March, voicing confidence the world's third-largest economy continues to make headway in meeting its price target.

  • *Some buying low P/E names such as Bridgestone gain. TOKYO, April 23- Japanese stocks rose on Wednesday morning, spurred by Wall Street gains on solid earnings and merger activity, but buying was tempered as investors were wary of the looming local reporting season.

  • BEIJING, April 23- China's factory activity shrank for the fourth straight month in April, signalling economic weakness into the second quarter, a preliminary survey showed on Wednesday, although the pace of decline eased helped by policy steps to arrest the slowdown.

  • *Risk sentiment bolstered by gains in US, Europe. SYDNEY/ SINGAPORE, April 23- Asian stock markets were little moved on Wednesday after a Chinese manufacturing survey met expectations, but the Australian dollar plunged to a two-week low after data showed surprisingly low inflation in that country's economy.

  • BEIJING, April 23- China's manufacturing downturn eased slightly in April as declines in new orders and output slowed, a preliminary survey showed on Wednesday, though factory activity showed an overall contraction for the fourth straight month.

  • PARIS/ SAO PAULO, April 22- Brazil's third-biggest airline, Azul Linhas Aereas, is set to announce a fleet expansion on Wednesday including an order for its first wide-body aircraft from European planemaker Airbus, according to two industry sources.

  • SINGAPORE, April 23- London copper futures edged lower on Wednesday ahead of reading on China's manufacturing activity, with a further contraction likely to cut the appetite for risky assets, although nickel hit the highest in more than 14 months on tighter supply.

  • PARIS/ SAO PAULO, April 22- Brazil's third-biggest airline, Azul Linhas Aereas, is set to announce a fleet expansion on Wednesday including an order for its first wide-body aircraft from European planemaker Airbus, according to two industry sources. Airbus and U.S. rival Boeing Co battle intensely for such orders.

  • Brazilian Congress passes Internet bill of rights Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 | 8:46 PM ET

    BRASILIA, April 22- Brazil's Senate unanimously approved groundbreaking legislation on Tuesday that guarantees equal access to the Internet and protects the privacy of Brazilian users in the wake of U.S. spying revelations.

  • SINGAPORE, April 23- U.S. crude futures held steady near $102 a barrel in early Asian trade on Wednesday after steep losses in the previous session on expectations oil inventories in the world's top consumer rose at a much slower pace than expected.

  • SINGAPORE, April 23- Gold was trading near its lowest in more than two months on Wednesday as stronger equities dented the metal's safe-haven appeal and bullion funds showed weak investor appetite. *Spot gold was trading flat at $1,283.40 an ounce by 0021 GMT.