Money daily brief: On strong yen, markets slip

Global stocks react negatively to a stronger Japanese Yen, weak US economic indicators

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    A woman exchanges money at a money exchange at Haneda airport in Tokyo on September 15, 2009. A gain in the Japanese yen and poor U.S. economic indicators hurt global markets Monday.
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Yen on the rise: The Japanese yen has climbed to an eight-month high against the dollar, putting a crimp in Japan's export industry and raising the prospect of government intervention. Japanese Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii gave mixed signs Monday by backing off previous remarks expressing a willingness to let the yen strengthen but telling Reuters that the currency's gains were "not abnormal."

World stocks slump: Poorer than expected US manufacturing and home sales data from Friday has hurt the global economic outlook. The US economy is “not recovering as fast as we thought … [and the strong yen] brings negative sentiment to other markets,” Jackson Wong, vice president at Tanrich Securities in Hong Kong, told the Associated Press. Asian stocks, also reacting to a strong yen, were particularly hard hit, with exchanges in Japan, Hong Kong, and China posting losses over 2 percent.

Metal makes a comeback: Anglo American PLC CEO Cynthia Carroll said the metals industry has "seen the worst of the downturn." While job cuts will continue at a company that holds large shares in platinum and diamond producers, global banks are in the midst of a "hiring boom" for commodities traders as demand rises. Carroll called the mining industry's long-term prospects "very robust."

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iPhone comes to China: The world's largest mobile market will soon have access to Apple's iPhone. For $732.50, Chinese consumers will be able to purchase an iPhone for use on Chinese provider Unicom. Service will begin with the roll-out of Unicom's 3G network Oct. 1, a national holiday marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. South Koreans, where an estimated 93 percent of the population use cell phones, will also have access to the iPhone after the government approved its sale there last week.

In my backyard: Abu Dhabi announced it would launch the first-ever geothermal energy project in the Arab world's oil-rich Gulf states. The project will supply half the electricity for a zero-carbon city being constructed outside of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Prior to the geothermal project, solar energy had been the main focus of renewable energy in the Gulf.

-- Tom A. Peter is a Monitor correspondent based in Amman, Jordan. For a look at how the G20 summit in Pittsburgh concluded, see G20 summit wraps up with some success -- for nations and Obama.

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