China: Major banks asked to publish balance sheets
In order to increase transparency in the financial system, the major Chinese banks have been asked to publish data on 12 key banking indicators. The move is in line with the Basel Committee rules on international banking regulation, and comes amid increasing concerns over rising bad debts in Chinese lenders, as the BBC reported.

France: Trade deficit reduced in 2013
As reported by Reuters, France reduced its trade deficit to about EUR 60 bn last year from 67 billion euros in 2012, Trade Minister Nicole Bricq said. The reduction of trade deficit is crucial for the sustainability of France’s expected recovery.

United Kingdom: Bank of England to hold interest rates at record lows
The Independent reports that at its 8 January monetary policy meeting, the Bank of England (BoE) is expected to keep its interest rates at record low. However, the economists predict that BoE will low the unemployment target next month amid a faster than expected fall in the unemployment rate.

Korea: Bank of Korea Holds Rate Even as Yen Clouds Export Outlook
The Central of Korea left its main monetary policy rate unchanged at its first meeting of this year, citing healthy economic growth and contained inflation pressures. According to Bloomberg news, the Bank sounded more upbeat regarding the country’s economic outlook.

Ukraine: Ukraine and Russia sign the contract to slash price of gas
According to Reuters, Ukraine’s state energy firm Naftogaz and Russia’s Gazprom signed today a formal amendment to the ruling gas contract. The change consists in a cut of the price of Russian gas by a third for the first quarter of 2014. The amendment will not be permanent, but confirmed quarterly, a fact that allows Moscow to prevent Kiev to revive ties with the EU.

For latest economic indicators from around the world, please visit us at FocusEconomics.

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