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  • BERLIN, Feb 24 (Reuters)- China for the first time became Germany's most important trading partner in 2016, overtaking the United States, which fell back to third place behind France, data showed on Friday. "Given the protectionist plans of the new U.S. president one would expect that the trade ties between Germany and China will be further strengthened," Germany's...

  • LONDON— Royal Bank of Scotland's fourth-quarter loss jumped 62 percent as it set aside more than 4 billion pounds to cover the costs of misconduct during the financial crisis and targeted a return to profitability in 2018.. The taxpayer-owned bank says it posted a net loss of 4.44 billion pounds in the quarter, compared with a loss of 2.74 billion pounds a year...

  • West Texas Intermediate was down 16 cents at $54.29 by 0728 GMT. While OPEC appears to be sticking to its deal, producers that were not part of the deal, particularly U.S. shale drillers, have increased output, driving the growth in inventories in the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer. "Current oil prices are neither sustainable for OPEC or the industry,"...

  • *Two senior Samsung Group execs offer to resign- Yonhap. SEOUL, Feb 24- Tech giant Samsung Electronics is tightening board oversight on donations while two senior Samsung Group executives reportedly offered to resign, as the conglomerate struggles with the fallout from a graft scandal that led to its leader's arrest. The flagship of South Korea's top...

  • TOKYO, Feb 24- From the "Rocky" theme to cash handouts and early "Premium Friday" finishes, a small but growing number of companies in workaholic Japan are getting creative with the ways they're getting employees out the door early. The initiative is also part of a broader push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration to reduce working hours, after the suicide...

  • BEIJING, Feb 24- China's Foreign Ministry said on Friday that China has no intention of using currency devaluation to its advantage, responding to remarks made by U.S. Trump declared China the "grand champions" of currency manipulation in an interview with Reuters on Thursday, just hours after his new Treasury secretary pledged a more methodical approach to...

  • *Posts annual loss of 7 billion pounds. LONDON, Feb 24- Royal Bank of Scotland reported a sharp rise in losses on Friday as higher misconduct charges and restructuring costs underscored the challenges facing the lender nine years after it was bailed out in the world's biggest bank rescue. But the next three years will not be the same as the past three, "Chief...

  • LONDON, Feb 24- Pearson, the global education company battling a collapse in its biggest market, said it would take further costs out of the business and look to sell some assets after posting a $3.3 billion pretax loss and a sharp rise in debt. Pearson, which has issued five profit warnings in four years after students in the United States started renting text books...

  • LUCKNOW, India— Police say they have arrested the director of an Indian company that said it was selling the world's cheapest smartphone on fraud charges. The launch of the smartphone priced at 251 rupees in February 2016 was widely reported by the Indian media. Police spokesman Rahul Srivastava said Friday that the arrest was made after the distribution...

  • TOKYO, Feb 24- Japan in January paid nearly twice as much for liquefied natural gas derived from U.S. shale gas as it did for its cheapest imports, official trade data showed on Friday. Shale gas from the United States had been touted as a panacea to Japan's energy crisis after the Fukushima nuclear disaster nearly six years ago. Australia was Japan's biggest...

  • SEOUL, Feb 24- Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Friday it will not be able to nominate a new outside director for a vote in the annual shareholder meeting set for March 24 due to uncertainty generated by "current circumstances" in South Korea. Samsung had said in November it plans to nominate at least one new board member with "global C-Suite experience"...

  • The director of China's state assets regulator Xiao Yaqing said on Friday that the country should further deepen mixed-ownership and supply-side reforms, the official Shanghai Securities News reported. Reflecting rising risk appetite, China's outstanding margin loans have risen for four consecutive days to exceed 900 billion yuan, as investors appear...

  • *Yuan flat after Trump calls China "grand champions" of FX manipulation. TOKYO, Feb 24- Asian shares took a breather on Friday, slipping from 1-1/ 2- year highs as material shares were hit by sudden falls in copper and other commodity prices while investors assessed Washington's stance on tax and currency policies. European shares are expected to be soft, with...

  • LONDON, Feb 24- Pearson, the global education company battling a collapse in demand in its biggest market, posted a 2016 statutory loss of 2.3 billion pounds after writing down the value of the business. Pearson, which has issued five profit warnings in four years, took an impairment of goodwill of 2.5 billion pounds. The group reported 2016 adjusted operating...

  • LONDON, Feb 24- Royal Bank of Scotland reported on Friday a sharp rise in losses as higher misconduct charges and restructuring costs underscored the challenges facing the lender nine years after it required the world's biggest bank bailout. RBS, which has not made an annual profit since 2007, booked 6.96 billion pounds of losses for 2016, against a 1.98...

  • OPPORTUNITY, Mont.— George Niland wonders whether he should wear a respirator when he mows his lawn. Residents rallied to keep the stack as part of the legacy of southwestern Montana's mining days, when copper was king and the ore processed in the nearby town of Anaconda was used to electrify the United States. Three years after BP-owned Atlantic Richfield Co....

  • *Royal bank of scotland group 2016 conduct and litigation charges 5.9 billion stg. *Royal bank of scotland group 2016 restructuring costs 2.1 billion stg. *Royal bank of scotland group 2016 total adjusted income 12.372 billion stg.

  • BEIJING, Feb 24- China's coal imports from North Korea eased last month after new U.N. Security Council sanctions curbing the isolated country's sales of the fuel abroad came into effect, as Russia, Mongolia, Australia and Indonesia raised shipments, data showed on Friday. North Korea was China's biggest supplier last year of high-grade anthracite coal, used...

  • The sources said companies being considered for the shortcut could include Alibaba Group's Ant Financial affiliate, the world's most valuable financial technology company; Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, and security software maker Qihoo 360 Technology Co.. China has been losing out to the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq on key...

  • VILLAVERDE, Spain, Feb 23- As the only European country where carmaker PSA's production overlaps with that of Opel, Spain could deliver the quick cost savings sought by PSA boss Carlos Tavares to convince investors to back his planned acquisition of the rival brand. Between them, PSA- maker of Peugeots and Citroens- and General Motors' Opel operate three Spanish...