AFP World Economic News Summary

The top world economic stories on Wednesday:


LONDON: Royal Bank of Scotland said it had agreed to pay penalties totalling $612 million (453 million euros) to US and British regulators to settle allegations of trying to rig the setting of the key Libor interst rate.


TOKYO: Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index soared to the highest close since September 2008, when the global financial crisis was rippling across global equity markets.


BERLIN: The eurozone should not use exchange rates to boost its economic competitiveness, the German government said after France called for policies to cap the recent rise in the euro.


FRANKFURT: Germany appears to have put the worst of the crisis behind it, analysts said, with industrial orders on the rise, lending weight to the recent sharp gains in confidence indicators.


LONDON: British house prices dipped in January from the level in December, but climbed on an annual basis for the first time for 27 months in a sign of improvement in the property market, a key survey showed.


JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's jobless rate fell by 0.9 points to 24.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 due to jobs created in the construction and agricultural sectors, the national statistics agency said.


MUMBAI: India's central bank said It will consider more steps to restrict gold imports and help stem the country's widening current account deficit.]


NEW YORK: US-based cable operator Liberty Global said that it will acquire Virgin Media in a stock and cash merger valued at $23.3 billion.


PARIS: The world's top steel producer ArcelorMittal stumbled into the red last year with a net loss of $3.72 billion (2.75 billion euros) largely due to costs related to Europe, but said its shuttering of plants was sufficient to support a rebound this year.


VILNIUS: Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych called a $7 billion bill from Russian gas giant Gazprom unfair, saying he was prepared to negotiate with Moscow.