REVISED growth figures for Japan have suggested that the world's third-largest economy is in recession. The economy shrank by 0.9 per cent in the July-September quarter, while the April-June quarter was revised from 0.1 per cent growth to show a contraction of 0.03 per cent. That means that Japan is technically in recession, having contracted for two quarters in a row. Japan has been hit hard by a strong yen that dents exports and a diplomatic row with major trade partner China. Despite the figures pointing to a recession, the Japanese government, the official arbiter of such matters, has urged caution on interpreting the figures.
UNITED States stocks ended slightly higher amid hopes that a political deal over the looming fiscal cliff was in the works. Markets showed little effect from the fresh turmoil in the eurozone, after Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said he would resign in the coming days and Silvio Berlusconi threatened a comeback on an anti-austerity platform. The broad-market S&P 500 gained 0.48 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 1418.55 points. n AAP
UNIONS at the Spanish national airline Iberia have called off strike action scheduled for the run-up to Christmas. Unions representing ground staff and cabin crew had planned six days of stoppages between 14 and 21 December in protest at planned job. The strikes have been cancelled to avoid disruption over the Christmas period, the unions said. But no agreement with Iberia had been reached, leaving the door open for fresh action from January. n BBC
FRENCH President Francois Hollande said the eurozone crisis was "behind us", as he lauded the efforts the European Union has made to resolve the problems. "The euro crisis, I've said it before, is behind us. We've given Greece the funds it was waiting for. In Spain we've helped keep the banks afloat. In Italy, even if there's political uncertainty, I'm sure the Italians will address it," Hollande told journalists in Oslo. "And so what we have to do is not simply exit the eurozone crisis: that's been done," he said, after the Nobel Peace Prize had been given to the European Union.