Prospects for a comprehensive deal to resolve the euro zone debt crisis at a summit on Wednesday look dim, with deep disagreement remaining on critical aspects of the potential agreement, including how to give the region's bailout fund greater firepower...
"The numbers are not yet finalized -- you have to have all parameters in place and see what is needed and what the leverage factor would be. It needs a lot of technical work to come up with a number," one EU official said, adding that discussions would continue on Wednesday to forge a pre-summit consensus.
"The leaders will agree on the options tomorrow, but whether it will be an agreement with all details remains to be seen. I think it will be challenging -- it will be very difficult to agree on everything."
However, Italian consumer confidence fell to the lowest in more than three years in October. Italian retail sales in August had been flat.
Consumer confidence also fell in the US. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell to 39.8 in October, the lowest level since March 2009. Another report from the US showed that home prices were little changed in August.
Under the circumstances, policy-makers around the world have mostly been anxious to keep economies growing, with China now ordering state-owned banks to increase lending to small businesses, a reversal of previous tightening moves.
One of the few exceptions to the current policy trend is India. AFP/CAN reports another rate hike from the Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday:
India's inflation-fighting central bank on Tuesday raised interest rates by a quarter-point, the 13th hike since March last year, while warning of a further economic slowdown this year...
The latest rise of 25 basis points takes the RBI's repo rate at which it lends to commercial banks to 8.50 percent and increases the reverse repo -- the rate it pays banks for deposits -- by the same level to 7.50 percent.
This could be the last rate hike for a while though.
"The likelihood of a rate action in the December mid-quarter review is relatively low," RBI Governor Duvvuri Subbarao said in a statement on the bank's website.
"If the inflation trajectory conforms to our projections, further rate hikes may not be warranted."