But there was disappointment for Turkey after the
leaders decided it would have to wait at least two more years before it
is invited to hold membership talks.
The new funding deal offers the 10 candidates about
1.5bn euros more than a previous package approved in October.
It now awaits approval by the candidates countries
Poland, the largest of the states seeking membership,
has been holding out for an even more generous offer.
But earlier the Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh
Rasmussen warned them that there was no more money and if they refused
the offer they could risk delaying membership until at least 2007.
Denmark will hold individual meetings shortly with
the candidates which have not yet accepted terms of accession.
But most of the candidate countries signalled their
willingness to accept the EU's entry conditions ahead of the summit and
three of them - Cyprus, Estonia and Slovakia - have already wrapped up
Poland is also expected to follow suit in the end.
FRAGILE SENTIMENT IMPROVES IN JAPAN
The clouds lifted slightly from Japan's struggling
economic landscape, thanks to new figures showing business confidence
The quarterly Tankan survey issued by the Bank of
Japan recorded a December diffusion index of minus 9, comfortably better
than September's -14 and well ahead of expectations.
But the lull is likely to be short-lived, with the
gains in manufacturing — where Japan's fabled export strength still
holds sway — outweighed by persistent gloom among service industries.
The Tankan "confirms the 2002 story of strong
export-led growth and no feed-through to domestic demand", said
Jesper Koll, chief economist at Merrill Lynch.
Unless the export benefits do make it into the home
market, the chances of stopping deflation throttling any potential
recovery remain slim.
Japan's miraculous economic performance for most of
the past half-century was built on a concerted drive for exports, and
the experience gained is still paying off.
The record-breaking June Tankan demonstrated as much,
as hopes for a strong turnaround in the US fed optimism among
But since then the US recovery has seemed to stutter.
Disappointing output growth helped catalyse the
Federal Reserve's half-point interest rate cut in November.
The markets were also disappointed by the Bank of
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slid more than 2% to
end Friday at a three-week low of 8,516 points.
And the yen, whose 7.6% gain this year against the
dollar has been no help to the export trade, slipped 0.7 yen against the
dollar to 122.58 yen.
WORLD ECONOMY STABLE, IMF SAYS
The world economy held firm over the summer,
weathering a bevy of concerns from poor corporate profits to future
terrorism, a new report has found.
However, investor sentiment continued to sour in the
three months to the end of September because of big losses on global
stock markets, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said.
It is a trend that started with the burst in
technology shares in March 2000.
"The cumulative impact of market declines in
recent years has weakened balance sheets of financial institutions,
corporation and households, increasing their vulnerability to further
asset-price declines," said the IMF's quarterly Global Financial
SRI LANKA GETS $15M WORLD BANK LOAN
Sri Lanka has been granted a $15m (£9.5m) loan from
the World Bank to help rebuild its economy after 19 years of civil war.
The loan is intended to help finance the government's
new economic strategy
"Regaining Sri Lanka", after a peace
agreement earlier this month.
Peter Harrold, the World Bank country director for
Sri Lanka, said the Sri Lankan government was "opening the door to
a better standard of living for the people of this country".
The World Bank said its loan would be used to provide
specific support for transport, telecommunications, petrol, power and
JAPANESE EXPORT DRIVE CONTINUES
Japan's current account surplus shot up 23.5% in
October, from a year earlier, spurred on by strong demand from Asia for
The current account - the measure of trade in goods
and services - rose to 936bn yen ($7.6bn), the Ministry of Finance said
on Wednesday, in-line with analyst's forecasts.
Last month there was a 438% jump in Japan's trade
surplus with the rest of Asia to 339.4bn yen.
The ministry said Japan's total exports in October
rose 13.9% from a year earlier, led by semiconductors, electronics goods
and motor vehicles.
The trade surplus jumped 71.1% year-on-year, but that
was largely due to falls after last year's 11 September attacks on the
WORLD BANK WARNS ON GROWTH
The world economy will experience
"sluggish" growth next year, hitting attempts to reduce
poverty in developing countries, the World
Bank has warned in its latest global economic
The Bank said that the need to remove trade and
investment barriers which disadvantage poorer countries was becoming
It noted that foreign direct investment flows had
fallen at the sharpest rate since the global recession at the start of
The report also said that while privatisations often
helped economic activity, they were "no panacea" unless
effective competition was introduced.
The World Bank expects the global economy to grow by
2.5% next year.
NEW ECONOMICS CHIEF
Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has
chosen a new head of economic planning, less than 24 hours after
demanding the resignation of the last man to hold the post.
The new secretary of economic planning and
development is Romulo Neri, an economist currently in charge of the
congressional planning and budget office.
BUSH NAMES NEW TOP ECONOMIC AIDE
US President George W Bush has appointed Stephen
Friedman to co-ordinate White House economic policy.
"I selected Steve for his wide experience and
steady and sound judgment," Mr Bush said at a White House ceremony.
"He understands the free-enterprise system. He
knows how the economy works."
Mr Friedman's appointment follows days of speculation
the nomination was in trouble.
NEW CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR
Brazil's President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva -
also known as Lula - has appointed a former investment banker as the new
head of the country's central bank.
US RATE DECISION WAS UNANIMOUS
US central bankers all voted in favour of last
month's interest rate cut.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted 12-0
in favour of a half a percentage point cut to 1.25% - a 41-year low.
"A relatively aggressive easing action could
help to ensure that the current soft spot in the economy would prove to
be temporary and enhance the odds of a robust rebound in economic
activity next year," minutes of the FOMC's meeting on 6 November
But some FOMC members "voiced reservations"
about a shift to a neutral stance on the economy accompanying the cut.
MALAWI'S NEW ECONOMIC PLEDGES
Malawi's government is under pressure to clean up its
act, following the suspension of vital loans from the International
Monetary Fund (IMF). The Malawi parliament has now unanimously passed a
bill to borrow $50m (£31.6m) from the World Bank to cushion the
country's worsening food crisis, while finance minister Friday Jumbe has
introduced a series of cost-cutting measures.
FACTORIES 'AT RISK OF RECESSION'
UK manufacturers are teetering on the brink of their
second recession in as many years, according to a survey.
A monthly poll from employers' lobby the CBI showed
that 45% of factory owners believe output is below normal, with just 13%
reporting an increase.
The net balance of minus 32% marks a deterioration
from minus 22% in November.
The CBI said the figures reflected a decline in
overseas orders amid sluggish economic growth abroad.
EU IMPROVES FARM DEAL BEFORE SUMMIT
The European Union has improved its offer on aid to
farmers from candidate countries, the Polish Government said the other
A Polish Government spokesman, Michal Tober, said
that under the new terms, farmers in the 10 prospective member-states
would get half the level of subsidies currently enjoyed by EU farmers.
The decision came just hours before the start of an
historic summit to agree the European Union's biggest ever expansion,
with 10 applicant states under consideration.
As EU leaders gathered in the Danish capital
Copenhagen for the summit, the High Representative for Foreign Policy,
Javier Solana, said a solution to the thorny issue of the division of
Cyprus was now also within grasp.
EUROPE'S SUPER ROCKET EXPLODES
Europe's new heavy-lift rocket has failed on its
The Ariane 5-ESCA blasted off from the Kourou
spaceport in French Guiana at 1921 local time (2221 GMT) and exploded
over the Atlantic three minutes later.
CHINA TO BE TOP EXPORTER TO JAPAN
For more than half a century the US has exported more
to Japan than any other country.
But the long relationship, forged as a result of the
postwar US occupation and subsequent security pact between the two
countries, is under threat from China, new figures show.
The latest data indicates that rising machinery
exports - partly from Japanese firms using cheaper Chinese labour - will
help knock the US from its top spot.
And the shift is now sparking hostility in Japan, as
some say China's intentionally weak currency is hurting not only Japan's
competitiveness, but that of other countries too.
AUSTRALIA JOB BOOM CONTINUES
The drought gripping Australia may be blunting the
country's boom, but it is having little effect on the jobs market, new
More than 60,000 new jobs were created in November,
the government said, 95% of them full-time.
CHILE AGREES TRADE PACT WITH US
Chile and the United States have agreed a free trade
pact after 11 years of talks, both countries have said.
Chile's President Ricardo Lagos said the trade deal
would "mean more jobs, more work, more development, more
growth" for the South American country.
INTERNET SHOPPING SET FOR NEW RECORD
This Christmas will probably be the best yet for
internet retailers, according to the market research firm Comscore
Thanksgiving holiday in the US, internet sales rose
34% to a fresh record of $2bn (£1.27bn), up from $1.5bn a year earlier,
IMF REPENTS OVER MALAYSIAN CRITICISM
The International Monetary Fund has praised
Malaysia's economic performance, after a short recession last year, and
admitted it was wrong to oppose fixing the currency to the dollar.
"The Malaysian economy has entered a recovery
phase and appears to be well placed to benefit from a global
recovery," the Fund said after annual meetings in the country.
There was a broad economic recovery with unemployment
below 4%, inflation below 2% and factories running at 80% of capacity,
the fund said.
It expects 3.5% economic growth this year - from 0.7%
in 2001 - even though private investment remains weak.
EU PROPOSES NEW MERGER RULES
The rules governing company mergers have been
overhauled by the European Commission after three of its bans were
overturned by courts.
"The reforms will significantly improve our
merger control system, making it, I believe, a model to be emulated
worldwide," EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said in a
NEPAL ECONOMY HITS 20-YEAR LOW
Nepal's economy has shrunk for the first time in
almost two decades as a bloody Maoist rebellion hits trade and
Figures released by Nepal's Central Bureau of
Statistics show that the economy contracted by 0.63% in the 12 months to
UK BANKS WARNED OVER HOME LOANS
Surging house prices are putting the British banking
system under strain, according to credit rating agency Standard &
S&P has added the UK to a list of countries where
banks face the prospect of lower revenues or rising bad debt.
And it has identified a possible property market
crash as the biggest single threat.
The move marks the first time that the British
banking system has been included on S&P's 'at risk' list.