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M&A Deal Volume Flirts With All-Time Highs—In India

Blackrock Develops Internal Trading Platform (CNBC via Financial Times) "BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, expects to launch an internal trading platform next year in a move that would strike at the heart of the profit centers of many Wall Street firms. BlackRock is hiring programmers and other high-tech workers to build the platform, expected to be one of the world’s largest." The article continues to explain: "The plan is that if some BlackRock clients are selling a security and others are buying, the group can “cross” those trades internally without going through a Wall Street bank. But BlackRock insists that the plan is not meant to marginalize Wall Street. Mr Kapito emphasized the important role played by investment banks in trading and the provision of liquidity."

Concerns on Chinese Rare Earth Exports (Reuters) "China has raised fresh international trade concerns after slashing export quotas on rare earths minerals, risking action from the United States at the World Trade Organization. China, which produces about 97 percent of the global supply of rare earth minerals, cut its export quotas by 35 percent for the first half of 2011 versus a year ago, saying it wanted to preserve ample reserves, but warned against basing its total 2011 export quota on the first half figures. The U.S. Trade Representative's office was 'very concerned' about China's export restraints on rare earths and had raised its concerns with China, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday."

"Chinese missile shifts power in Pacific" (Financial Times) "A new Chinese anti-ship missile that will significantly alter the balance of military power in the Pacific is now operational, according to a senior US commander.

Admiral Robert Willard, the top US commander in the Pacific, said the Chinese ballistic missile, which was designed to threaten US aircraft carriers in the region, had reached 'initial operational capability'. His remarks signal that China is challenging the US ability to project military power in Asia much sooner than many had expected."

M&A Deal Volume Flirts with All-Time Highs—In India (Bloomberg) "Indian mergers and acquisitions in 2011 may surpass this year’s record $71 billion of deals, led by oil and gas, metals and mining companies, according to M&A bankers including Topsy Mathew of Standard Chartered Plc. Billionaire Sunil Mittal’s $10.7 billion acquisition of mobile-phone operators in Africa led an almost four-fold increase in takeovers this year as deals surpassed 2007’s $69 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg."

Eurozone Lending Rises (Wall Street Journal) "Lending to euro-zone businesses picked up again in November, posting its strongest annual rate of growth in over a year, the European Central Bank said Wednesday. Analysts said the data are further evidence of a slow but sure recovery in private-sector credit trends, but provide only a modest counterpoint to the far greater concern of the sovereign debt problems that the euro zone will have to face in 2011. The ECB said that lending to the private sector rose by a combined €21 billion ($27.55 billion) in November and was up 2% on a yearly basis, due to positive net flows of €10 billion to households and €11 billion to businesses."

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