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Sept. 13, 2011 at 1:09 PM
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U.S. markets edge higher

NEW YORK, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Wall Street markets edged higher Tuesday after stocks rebounded in Europe with sovereign debt issues still making headlines.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was optimistic that a solution could be found for Finland's demand that Greece put up collateral for its international bailout loans. In Italy, however, investor response to a bond issue was lukewarm, despite news that Rome has been in discussion with China concerning investments that would help support the euro.

in early afternoon trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 11.20 points or 0.1 percent to 11,072.30. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 6.00 points or 0.52 percent to 1,168.27. The Nasdaq composite index gained 22.85 points or 0.92 percent to 2,517.94.

The 10-year benchmark treasury note fell 8/32 to yield 1.99 percent.

The euro rose to $1.3709 from Monday's $1.3679. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 76.8655 yen from Monday's 77.21 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 0.95 percent, 89.88, to 8,616.55.

Experts: Yuan appreciation to be gradual

BEIJING, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The yuan will appreciate at a gradual pace despite growing calls to speed it up ahead of the November Group of 20 Summit, Chinese economists said.

The experts spoke to China Daily ahead of Wednesday's scheduled visit of Alain Juppe, the foreign minister of France, which will host the summit -- whose agenda this year will include the global economic crisis and high levels of sovereign debt owed to China.

Major trading countries have said an undervalued yuan in relation to major currencies gives China an unfair trade advantage by making its exports less expensive and allows it to run up huge trade surpluses.

However, Wei Jianguo, secretary-general of the China Center for International Economic Exchange, told China Daily too rapid an appreciation of the yuan would adversely affect China's exports next year.

"Next year will be a critical period for China's trade, as the ongoing debt crises in the European Union and United States reduce their demand while yuan appreciation and ever-increasing trade protectionism hit China's exports," said Wei, while predicting China's trade surplus will decrease to less than $100 billion this year from last year's $183 billion.

The report said official figures show China's imports have been rising as policymakers seek to spur domestic demand.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said recently inflation, currently running at over 6 percent against the government's target of 4 percent, is the most important issue for China, and that a high yuan would help ease inflation by lowering prices of imported goods.

But China Daily quoted Lian Ping, chief economist at the Bank of Communications, said it would require a sharp yuan appreciation in the short term to lower inflation but that would lead to a sharp decline in exports and loss of jobs.

U.K. trade gap with EU widens

LONDON, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- U.K. exports to EU members in July fell by 1.2 percent from June and imports rose 2.8 percent, the Office of National Statistics said Tuesday.

Exports of goods to EU members totaled $20.85 billion in the month, while imports reached $26.7 billion, creating a trade deficit for the month of $6.15 billion.

While the trade gap grew month-to-month, from July 2010 the trade gap has narrowed. Exports over 12 months rose by $3.5 billion in July, while imports rose by $2.8 billion.

Tax hikes likely for Japan reconstruction

TOKYO, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is likely to propose temporary tax increases to finance earthquake reconstruction, government sources told Kyodo News.

The tax commission's proposals, which could come by the end of this week, would offer a set of options to raise corporate and individual income taxes for as long as 10 years for the rebuilding effort in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The government is seeking to raise around 13 trillion yen ($168 billion). However, it needs to reach agreement on the tax plan with the Democratic Party of Japan-led ruling coalition.

The report said some DPJ lawmakers are opposed to any tax hikes while others are seeking to delay their effective date because of current economic conditions. They are concerned a tax hike could hurt consumer and business confidence which in turn could adversely impact economic recovery.

The Noda government wants proceeds from the tax hikes to pay off the reconstruction bonds to prevent an increase in outstanding government debt.

"We will not put off the burden (of debt repayment) to future generations," Noda had been quoted as saying earlier to the tax commission. "I want you to present me with a number of choices."

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