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(MENAFN - AFP) Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in the OPEC oil cartel, cannot reduce its output, the kingdom's oil minister said on Thursday despite plunging prices.

Ali al-Nuaimi added that commodity price fluctuations are to be expected, and he expressed optimism for the future despite crude's price drop of about 50 percent since June.

"It is difficult, or even ...

(MENAFN - AFP) British retail sales rose strongly in November from a month earlier as shoppers snapped up bargains on 'Black Friday' ahead of the festive season, official data showed on Thursday.

Sales jumped by 1.6 percent last month and by 6.4 percent year-on-year, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement. Analysts had forecast a monthly increase of 0.4 percent ...

(MENAFN - AFP) Asian markets mostly rallied on Thursday, with investors reversing a recent sell-off spurred by a Wall Street recovery and indications the Federal Reserve will keep rates on hold until mid-2015.

The dollar was boosted by comments from US central bank policymakers, which analysts said suggested they have changed tack and will not start to lift rates from record ...

(MENAFN - AFP) Switzerland's central bank on Thursday announced it was introducing negative interest rates, in a bid to stop the Swiss franc -- a safe haven currency -- from gaining further value.

The Swiss National Bank is imposing a rate of -0.25 percent on certain bank deposits, with the aim of pushing the target range of a benchmark interest rate into negative territory.

The ...

(MENAFN - AFP) He crushed Chechnya's rebellion, pushed back Russia's frontiers and restored the pride of a nation humiliated by the demise of the Soviet Union.

But 15 years after he came to power Vladimir Putin faces his biggest challenge yet: how to manage the worst monetary crisis of his era.

Both as president and prime minister the former KGB spy always managed to ...

(MENAFN - AFP) Asian markets rallied on Thursday with investors rushing back after a recent sell-off, spurred by a Wall Street recovery and an indication from the US Federal Reserve that interest rates will not likely rise until mid-2015.

While bank policymakers were reticent to give a firm date, their language indicated a change in tack, which analysts said suggested a rise ...

(MENAFN - AFP) On Madrid's main shopping street, the Gran Via, a toy store that has sold handmade dolls since it opened in 1942 just after Spain's Civil War, is preparing to close after the Christmas rush.

Dolls decked out in classical clothes overflow in the large window of the shop, which is mentioned in several guide books to the city and attracts tourists who snap pictures ...

(MENAFN - AFP) US authorities fined the international cosmetics seller Avon Products $135 million to settle a corruption probe in China.

The global beauty supplier, known for its door-to-door and catalogue sales, bribed local officials with foreign travel and expensive trinkets such as Gucci bags and Louis Vuitton merchandise, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in ...

(MENAFN - AFP) The US Federal Reserve made no changes to its monetary policy Wednesday, saying it can remain "patient" before moving to raise interest rates and normalizing its easy-money stance.

In a policy statement at the end of a two-day meeting, the Fed left in place expectations that it would begin raising interest rates only in the middle of 2015.

And it downplayed ...

(MENAFN - AFP) The Dow jumped nearly 300 points Wednesday after the US Federal Reserve made no changes to its monetary policy, saying it can remain "patient" before moving to raise interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 288.00 points (1.69 percent) at 17,356.87.

The broad-based S&P 500 soared 40.15 (2.04 percent) to 2,012.89, its best one-day gain ...

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