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  • QUITO, Feb 19- Leftist government candidate Lenin Moreno was winning Ecuador's presidential election on Sunday, partial results showed, and was close to the margin needed to avoid a runoff against conservative former banker Guillermo Lasso. In the event of a runoff, Ecuador's fragmented opposition is expected to coalesce around Lasso amid anger over an...

  • DETROIT, Feb 20- Traffic jams cost U.S. drivers an average of $1,200 a year in wasted fuel and time, and much more in Los Angeles, the city with the world's biggest rush hour traffic delays, according to a study by INRIX Inc released on Monday. While Thailand was the world's most congested country in 2016, according to the study, the United States had the worst traffic...

  • TOKYO, Feb 20- A slide in U.S. bond yields pressured the dollar against the yen on Monday, while the euro struggled for traction after suffering significant losses at the end of last week on renewed concerns about the upcoming French elections. Markets, already nervous over the possibility of a win for far-right, anti- European Union candidate Marine Le Pen, were...

  • LAUNCESTON, Australia, Feb 20- Coal markets could be forgiven for feeling slightly confused about the recent signals coming out of top importer China, with both bullish and bearish developments in evidence. China said on Feb. 18 that it will suspend all imports of coal from its nuclear-armed neighbour North Korea until Dec. 31, a move that, if implemented, would...

  • SHANGHAI, Feb 20- China shares rebounded on Monday, led by wine makers and banks, after media reports said pension funds may begin flowing into the country's stock markets as early as this week. The bullish sentiment spread to Hong Kong, where the market also advanced but by a more modest margin. Cao Xuefeng, head of research at Huaxi Securities in Chengdu, said...

  • JAKARTA, Feb 20- Freeport-McMoRan Inc's Indonesian unit said on Monday it hoped to resolve a dispute with the government over its mining contract, but reserved the right to start arbitration against the government and seek damages. Freeport has submitted a notification to Indonesia's mining ministry describing breaches and violations of its contract of...

  • JAKARTA, Feb 20- Freeport McMoRan Inc's chief executive said on Monday the company's Indonesian unit has made its first lay-offs since a dispute over its mining contract started with the Indonesian government and may let go of more workers this week. Richard Adkerson told a news conference in Jakarta that about 10 percent of the expatriate workforce had been...

  • HONG KONG, Feb 20- China's yuan firmed slightly on Monday, supported by corporate sales of dollars despite a weaker fix by the central bank. The People's Bank of China set the midpoint rate at 6.8743 per dollar prior to market open, weaker than the previous fix 6.8456. "Spot yuan trading today is quiet as supply and demand is generally balanced while the central bank...

  • *Spot gold may break support at $1,233/ oz- technicals. Spot gold had edged down 0.1 percent to $1,234.28 per ounce by 0319 GMT, while U.S. gold futures fell 0.3. "We expect muted trading to start the week in Asia with a U.S. holiday today, although a break in gold of $1,231 may flush away some nervous long positions," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

  • *Q4 GDP +0.4 pct q/q sa, vs +0.6 pct in poll. *Q4 GDP +3.0 pct y/y, same as poll forecast. BANGKOK, Feb 20- Thailand's economy expanded less than expected in the last quarter of 2016 and the government left its forecast for growth this year unchanged, indicating recovery will remain a slow process.

  • QUITO, Feb 19- Leftist government candidate Lenin Moreno was winning Ecuador's presidential election on Sunday, partial results showed, though he was just short of the margin needed to avoid an April runoff against conservative former banker Guillermo Lasso. In the event of a runoff, Ecuador's fragmented opposition is expected to coalesce around Lasso amid...

  • ECUADOR RULING PARTY CANDIDATE MORENO HAS 38.83 PCT OF VOTES, VS 28.63 PCT FOR LASSO- ELECTORAL COUNCIL WITH 78.4 PERCENT BALLOTS COUNTED.

  • WELLINGTON, New Zealand— A New Zealand judge on Monday upheld an earlier court ruling that flamboyant internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and three of his colleagues can be extradited to the U.S. to face criminal charges. Dotcom, who lives in New Zealand, has been fighting extradition in a case which has moved with glacial slowness at times. The New Zealand district...

  • JAKARTA, Feb 20- Freeport-McMoRan Inc's Indonesian unit has submitted a notification to Indonesia's mining ministry describing breaches and violations of its contract of work by the government, the company said on Monday. Freeport said it hopes to resolve the dispute with the government, but it also reserved the right to start arbitration against the...

  • *Officials at Chile mine put conditions on meeting with union. MELBOURNE, Feb 20- London copper edged up on Monday to stay near the key level of $6,000 per tonne, buoyed by supply worries after the world's second-biggest copper mine in Indonesia said it could not deliver promised shipments due to export permit issues. That came as a strike at the world's top mine,...

  • KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.1 percent to 19,207.30 and South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.1 percent to 2,078.08. Also due this week: a German business confidence index on Tuesday, U.S. new home sales on Friday and earnings from big companies such as British bank HSBC. ANALYST VIEW: "Asian markets look set for a soft start to the week with a lack...

  • Brent futures were down 5 cents at $55.75 a barrel at 0245 GMT, while U.S. "Sustained gains above $55 a barrel, and a hoped for rally to $60 a barrel, both proving incredibly tough nuts to crack," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore. "At the crux of the matter is that 90 percent OPEC compliance is being balanced by ever...

  • TAIPEI, Feb 20- Taiwan stocks were largely unchanged in cautious trade on Monday ahead of exports-related data even as the index continued to test the key 9,800 level. As of 0255 GMT, the main TAIEX index was flat at. Taiwan is due to issue export orders data for January after market close on Monday.

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 20- Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester said on Monday she would be comfortable raising interest rates at this point if the economy maintained its current pace of performance. In a speech in Singapore, Mester, seen as one of the more hawkish Fed officials, said the economy was on a "sound footing". Those have passed through and the trend...

  • TOKYO, Feb 20- Japanese shares fell for a third consecutive session on Monday as the yen's gains and uncertainty about U.S. economic policies prompted profit-taking. The Nikkei dropped as much as 0.6 percent to 19,115-- its lowest level since Feb. 9-- where it had a pivotal technical support from the top of Ichimoku cloud, which stood at 19,114.. But even taking that...