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Macro chatter: Ron Paul and Ben Bernanke play nice

Around the world in business: Chinese banks are coming to the US. Facebook is launching its own App Store, and Ben Bernanke and Ron Paul meet for breakfast.
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Customers leave an ICBC branch in Beijing. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Need to know:
China’s banking system has gotten the US seal of approval.

Regulators have cleared the way for three Chinese banks to begin gaining a foothold in the US.

China’s largest bank, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China is set become the first state-owned Chinese bank to buy a US bank. ICBC has gotten the green light to buy a big chunk of the US subsidiary of Hong Kong’s Bank of East Asia, which operates in New York and California.

Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China have been cleared to build branches in Chicago and New York.

Want to know:
Facebook
is about to get its own App Store.

Facebook plans to launch its App Center in the next few weeks. The App Center will allow software developers to sell apps directly to consumers on Facebook with Facebook taking a 30 percent cut.

The move, revealed in a regulatory finding Wednesday, is Facebook’s latest effort to find new ways to make money from its growing audience, particularly as users are increasingly accessing the site from mobile devices.

Facebook said its daily user base is growing faster than the number of ads it is delivering because of mobile. Facebook offers limited number of mobile ads and mobile has yet to become a significant contributor to the company’s bottom line.

Dull but important:
Spain is bailing out its fourth largest bank, BBC reported.

The Spanish government is pumping about $6 billion into Bankia, which has been struggling under the weight of bad debt linked to a big bust in the Spanish real estate market. In exchange for its rescue funds, Spain will get a 45 percent stake in the bank.

Just because:
A day after holding a hearing to explore abolishing the Federal Reserve, Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul sat down for breakfast with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Paul told the Wall Street Journal the pair had an open discussion. Neither he nor the Fed have disclosed any details, which is too bad since the pair usually have pretty spirited discussions.

It is unclear whether the they paid their breakfast tab with gold or greenbacks.

Strange but true:
The Rent Is Too Damn High Party
could soon win some new fans in Canada.

Canada is planning to increase its prisoners’ rents next year as part of a plan to save money and take a tougher stance against crime. The rent increases will work out like something of a Buffett plan: the highest earning Canadian inmates will have to pay nearly one-third of their incomes toward room and board.

Prisoners also will lose their TV porn channels and the option for incentive pay at certain prison jobs. They also will have to start paying for their phone calls.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/macro/macro-chatter-ron-paul-and-ben-bernanke-play-nice