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China denies U.S. warning of undervalued currency

By Megha Rajagopalan and Patrick Temple-West BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China rejected on Wednesday a warning from the Obama administration that its currency was too weak, urging the United States to recognize that China aims to "perfect and regulate" the exchange rate system. The Obama administration on Tuesday warned China that its currency was too weak and expressed doubt over the Asian giant's resolve to let market forces guide the value of the yuan.

Italy, Spain shine as Ukraine crisis hots up

LONDON (Reuters) - Italian and Spanish yields dipped on Wednesday morning, offering a combination of relatively safe and high returns that continued to attract investors with one eye on the developing crisis in Ukraine. Italian yields nudged back near record lows while Spanish paper was at 8-1/2-year lows. Both are likely to benefit from any asset purchase program the European Central Bank might introduce.

New Zealand inflation surprises on downside

New Zealand's inflation rate rose just 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter in January-March but the lower than expected figure is unlikely to stop the central bank raising interest rates again, analysts said Wednesday. Statistics New Zealand said the rise, largely driven by an increase in tobacco tax and surging house prices, put the annual inflation rate at 1.5 percent, well within the central bank's 1.0-3.0 target.

Tokyo stocks jump 2.26% by break

Tokyo stocks jumped 2.26 percent Wednesday morning with Japanese exporter shares getting a lift from the weaker yen, following a rise on Wall Street bolstered by strong US corporate earnings. The Nikkei 225 index added 316.92 points to 14,313.73 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 1.92 percent, or 21.79 points, to 1,157.88. bur-pb/mtp

US raises concern about China's currency but again avoids labeling Beijing a manipulator

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is raising concern about the value of China's currency but is declining, as in recent years, to accuse Beijing of manipulating it. The administration also expressed concern Tuesday about South Korea's actions in currency markets and about countries that use the euro and have wide trade surpluses.

Foreign buying could send Kospi above resistance level: analysts

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- A steady rally in major blue chips, backed by strong foreign buying, may deliver a further boost to South Korea's stock market, sending the country's key stock index above the upper 2,050-point resistance level soon, analysts said Wednesday. The country's benchmark index, the Kospi, has been stuck in a tight range after topping the 2,000-point level on April 10 for the first time in three months as a correction in the U.S. stock market and concerns over a slowdown in the Chinese economy sapped investor sentiment here.

BOJ Kuroda maintains positive view on economy

By Leika Kihara TOKYO (Reuters) - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Wednesday affirmed its upbeat view of the economy, even as global financial markets wobble, stressing that growth will pick up around mid-year as the sting of a sales tax hike fades. Price rises will broaden as the economy continues gradually to improve, Kuroda added, reiterating his view that Japan is making headway towards the central bank's price goal of 2 percent inflation in about a year's time.

U.S. warns China its currency is still undervalued

By Patrick Temple-West and Jason Lange WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Tuesday warned Beijing that its currency was too weak and expressed doubt over the Asian giant's resolve to let market forces guide the value of the yuan. In a semiannual report to Congress, the U.S. Treasury stopped short of declaring China a currency manipulator, but singled it out among large U.S. trading partners for its currency practices.

U.S. Fed falling short on inflation and job goals, Kocherlakota says

FARGO, North Dakota (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve is coming up short on its goals for both inflation and employment, a top Fed official said on Tuesday, and the central bank ought to do more to ensure they return to healthier levels. Inflation is "well below" the Fed's 2-percent goal, and looks likely to remain there for several more years, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota said in brief remarks prepared for delivery to a town hall in Fargo, North Dakota.

China's economic growth forecast at five-year low in first quarter

By Adam Rose BEIJING (Reuters) - China is expected to report its slowest growth in five years on Wednesday, a Reuters poll shows, with signs of waning strength in the first quarter of 2014 already prompting government action to steady the world's second-largest economy. Authorities have ruled out major stimulus to fight short-term dips in growth, and some analysts think the economy will continue to lose momentum into the middle of the year.
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