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(MENAFN - AFP) The world's second luxury goods group Richemont confirmed Friday that its annual net profit fell by more than a third due to losses on financial instruments.

During its 2014/15 financial year, which ended on March 31, the Swiss company earned in 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in net profit, down 35 percent from a year earlier, it said.

The drop was ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) HSBC on Friday said it was exploring the option of selling its Brazilian operation as part of the bank's ongoing bid to slash costs.

"HSBC confirms that it is exploring various strategic options for its operations in Brazil, including the potential sale thereof," the British lender said in a brief statement.

"At present no decision has been made to proceed ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) German business confidence slipped only fractionally from its current high level in May, as the upturn in Europe's biggest economy continues, the Ifo economic institute said Friday.

The Ifo institute's closely watched business climate index eased slightly to 108.5 points this month from 108.6 points in April, the think tank said in a statement.

It was ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Chinese investors' borrowing to trade on the country's stock markets -- the force behind their extraordinary recent performance -- has surpassed 2 trillion yuan for the first time, figures showed Friday, highlighting the risks in the rally.

Data from China's two exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen showed the combined outstanding balance of margin trading transactions ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) German Chancellor Angela Merkel has dampened hopes for an end to marathon talks with Greece on a new loan deal as cash-strapped Athens said an agreement was possible by end month.

Speaking after a two-hour meeting late on Thursday with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and French President Francois Hollande in Riga, Merkel urged Athens to continue talks with ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will be operational by the end of this year, prospective founding members said Friday after a three-day meeting in Singapore to discuss policies.

The chief negotiators' meeting involving the AIIB's 57 prospective members "concluded discussions and finalised the articles of agreement for the AIIB," said ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday there was still a lot of work needed to reach agreement with Greece on its debt bailout, as tortuous talks drag on amid fears Athens could run out of money.

The government of Greek leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is locked in talks to obtain fresh funding with international creditors who are demanding more tough ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) A single pair of premium melons fetched an eye-watering 1.5 million yen ($12,400) at an auction in Japan on Friday.

The winning bid was placed by a local fruit wholesaler for the first Yubari melons to go under the hammer this year at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market in northern Hokkaido, officials said.

The figure -- enough to buy a brand new car ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Asian markets rose Friday morning following another record close on Wall Street as the likelihood of a US interest rate hike in the near term dwindled, with Tokyo hitting a new 15-year high.

Chinese shares were again the stand-out performers on hopes that Beijing will announce fresh monetary easing measures after more disappointing economic indicators.

Tokyo ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The Gaza Strip has the world's highest unemployment and Palestinians, Israelis and donors must take action to avoid a "dangerous fiscal crisis," the World Bank said Friday.

The report, prepared ahead of the bi-annual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) which coordinates international donor support for the Palestinians, comes nearly a year after the ...

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