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Turkey's central bank says holds key interest rate, defying PM

Turkey's central bank kept its key interest rates steady on Thursday, defying pressure from the prime minister for a rate cut. In a statement posted on its website, the bank said the overnight lending rate was being held at 12.0 percent, while the borrowing and one-week repo rates were left at 8.0 percent and 10.0 percent. fo/hd

Spain shows fastest growth in six years - central bank

Spain's economy grew at the fastest pace in six years in the first quarter of 2014 as it pulled its way out of a long, job-destroying downturn, the central bank said in a preliminary estimate Thursday. The eurozone's fourth-largest economy expanded by 0.4 percent on a quarterly basis, the Bank of Spain said in a monthly report, citing available but as yet incomplete data for the period.

Gunman who took three hostage at Russian bank surrenders

A man armed with a hunting rifle who took three people hostage in a bank in southwestern Russia on Monday has surrendered, police said. "The talks have been very successful," regional police spokesman Yevgeny Kamalov told AFP, adding that the hostages had now been released. The man, who had kept some 25 million rubles ($700,000) in the local branch of Zapadny Bank in the city of Belgorod, entered the building demanding that the lender give him the money, Kamalov said.

Armed man takes three hostage in Russian bank

Police were in talks with a man armed with a hunting rifle who took three people hostage in a bank in southwestern Russia on Monday, security services said. "He issued a demand to hand him over a certain amount of money," police in the city of Belgorod said in a statement, without saying how much he had asked for. "There is information that there are three people inside the bank," police said, adding that the building and nearby area had been cordoned off. Regional police spokesman Yevgeny Kamalov told AFP that talks were under way to release the hostages.

Italian lender backs 5 bn-euro share sale

Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena gave the go-ahead on Friday to a 5.0 billion euro equity raising that will boost its capital and allow it to repay a government bailout this year. The bank said in a statement the share sale would give it a strong enough "capital buffer" to withstand EU bank stress tests in the current climate of "high uncertainty and limited visibility". The increase will also allow the lender to speed up a restructuring plan, due to be completed by 2017, that includes 8,000 job cuts and the closure of 550 branches.

Ex-Anglo Irish Bank directors found guilty of fraud

Two former directors of the collapsed Anglo Irish Bank were found guilty Thursday of providing illegal loans to support the bank's share price, after an 11-week trial. Patrick Whelan, 52, and William McAteer, 63, were found guilty on 10 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to customers of the bank to buy shares in the lender in July 2008. The bank went bust shortly afterwards, leaving the Irish economy close to collapse. Whelan and McAteer were both found not guilty on six other similar charges.

BofA reports first quarterly loss since 2011 on lofty legal bill

By Peter Rudegeair and Tanya Agrawal (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp reported an unexpected first-quarter loss on Wednesday after it took a $6 billion charge to cover litigation expenses, a figure that far exceeded the legal settlements the No. 2 U.S. bank has announced recently. Revenue improved in many of the bank's major businesses, but the results were overshadowed by its bigger-than-expected legal costs. The bank had previously said that a settlement would cut into its earnings by $3.7 billion before taxes.

Canada central bank keeps key lending rate at 1%

The Bank of Canada kept its key lending rate at the near-historic low of one percent Wednesday, while forecasting an uptick in the global economy. The central bank predicted a strengthening of the world's economy over the next three years "as headwinds that have been restraining activity dissipate," but warned tensions in Ukraine could scuttle Europe's fragile recovery. "Europe's economy is growing modestly, but inflation remains too low and the nascent recovery could be undermined by risks emanating from the Russia-Ukraine situation," the bank said in a statement.

Ukraine currency recovers after 46% interest rate hike

Ukraine's currency steadied on Tuesday from its heavy falls after the crisis-hit country's central bank unexpectedly raised its key interest rate by nearly 50 percent to boost consumer confidence and stop spiralling inflation. The local currency clawed back 60 kopeks to trade at 11.9 hryvnias to the dollar on the main interbank exchange. The strong move came in response to the National Bank of Ukraine's announcement on Monday that it was raising its main interest rate to 9.5 from 6.5 percent.

China bank loans surge in March: central bank

China's bank lending surged in March from the previous month, the central bank said Tuesday, but analysts dismissed the possibility of monetary easing. Domestic banks granted 1.05 trillion yuan ($168.7 billion) in new loans last month, down 12.4 billion yuan from a year earlier, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement. The March lending figure compared with 644.5 billion yuan for February and came in slightly above a median forecast of one trillion yuan, according to a poll of 16 economists by the Wall Street Journal.
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