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ECB's Hansson: Must keep an eye on euro exchange rate

TALLINN (Reuters) - The European Central Bank must keep an eye on the euro exchange rate to assess whether it poses a risk to the medium-term inflation outlook, ECB Governing Council member Ardo Hansson said on Wednesday. In recent weeks, the ECB has spoken frequently about the currency and warned that any further strengthening could lead it to use unconventional tools such as asset purchases.

Global share rally peters out, euro lifted by PMI boost

By Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - European shares edged down on Wednesday after three days of gains as signs of a still stuttering Chinese economy and rising worries about Ukraine offset a reassuring set of European economic numbers. Having raced higher on Tuesday on a wave of takeover activity, European stocks fell 0.3 percent as investors locked in some of the gains and turned their attention to the region's broader economic outlook.

Chinese factories stalling as euro zone business picks up

By Jonathan Cable and Kevin Yao LONDON/BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese factory activity shrank for the fourth straight month in April but private businesses across the euro zone enjoyed their best month in nearly three years, surveys showed on Wednesday. Within the euro zone, Germany - Europe's largest economy - saw activity accelerate whereas in France, the bloc's second biggest, momentum waned.

France lays out reforms to respect EU rules, boost growth

France laid out a new economic programme to respect EU budget rules and curb public spending, while boosting growth and employment, in a keynote statement on Wednesday. The new government headed by Prime Minister Manuel Valls, which had wavered in its commitment to meet an already extended EU timetable, said it would cut overspending to 3.0 percent of output by the end of next year.

Eurozone deficits improve, debt mounts

Eurozone public finances improved in 2013 as the economy finally turned the corner on a record recession but total debt levels remained dangerously high, official data showed on Wednesday. The average eurozone government deficit -- the shortfall between revenue and spending -- came in at 3.0 percent of output last year, in line with the EU ceiling and down from 3.7 percent in 2012, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

Eurozone April business activity nears 3-year high

Eurozone business activity hit a near three-year high in April as a modest economic recovery gained momentum and began creating much-needed jobs, a closely watched survey showed on Wednesday. Markit Economics said its Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for April, a leading indicator of overall economic activity, jumped to 54 points from 53.1 in March, the highest reading since May 2011. The report also marks the 10th month running for which it has come in above the 50-points boom-or-bust line, reinforcing the view the recovery is finally taking hold.

Eurozone April business activity nears 3-year high

Eurozone business activity hit a near three-year high in April as a modest economic recovery gained momentum and began creating jobs, a closely watched survey showed on Wednesday. Markit Economics said its Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for April, a leading indicator of overall economic activity, jumped to 54 points from 53.1 in March, the highest reading since May 2011. The report also marks the 10th month running for which it has come in above the 50-points boom-or-bust line, reinforcing the view the recovery is finally taking hold.

Portugal passes key bond test before exiting bailout

Portugal breezed through a key bond market test Wednesday, enjoying sharply lower borrowing costs just weeks before it exits a 78-billion-euro ($108 billion) rescue programme. The successful bond market auction was crucial for Portugal, showing it can raise its own finances once the international bailout, extended three years ago, comes to an end on May 17.

European stocks fall despite upbeat eurozone data

Europe's main stock markets fell on Wednesday as poorly-received Chinese economic data offset some strong numbers out of the eurozone, analysts said. But the euro, blamed by the French government for holding back its economy, rose against both the dollar and British pound. London's benchmark FTSE 100 stock index slipped 0.18 percent to stand at 6,669.63 points in midday deals. Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.31 percent to 9,570.36 points and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.40 percent to 4,466.09 compared with Tuesday's closing level.

Eurozone deficits improve, debt mounts as crisis fades

Eurozone public finances improved in 2013 as the economy finally turned the corner on a record recession but total debt levels remained dangerously high, official data showed on Wednesday. The average eurozone government deficit -- the shortfall between revenue and spending -- came in at 3.0 percent of output last year. That was in line with the European Union ceiling and down from 3.7 percent in 2012, the Eurostat statistics agency said.
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