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A Look At Economic Developments Around The Globe

By late afternoon London time, the euro was trading 0.4 percent lower at $1.3226, while the dollar was 0.8 percent firmer at 84.22 yen.

Investors are also keeping a close watch on developments in China, amid mounting market talk that the country's monetary authorities are planning to raise interest rates soon to rein in inflationary pressures and cool a property-related credit boom.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 1 percent to 2,848.55 while the Shenzhen Composite Index for China's smaller, second market dropped 0.3 percent to 1,305.25. South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.4 percent to 1,955.72 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.4 percent to 23,092.52.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average bucked the trend, adding 91.23, or 0.9 percent, to 10,232.33 as the yen continued to weaken against the dollar to the relief of the country's exporters.

Oil prices slipped slightly to just above $88 a barrel after hitting a two-year high on Tuesday.

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PRAGUE â¿¿ Thousands of angry state employees walk off the job across the Czech Republic to protest salary cuts, forcing the closure of hundreds of schools and government offices in what union leaders claimed was one of the largest protests in 20 years.

The strike, backed by the country's major umbrella union organization and the left-wing opposition, was aimed at a government plan to slash public sector pay by 10 percent as part of package of austerity measures. The union said that nearly 150,000 workers joined the protest in the country.

The government wants to eliminate the deficit by 2016, a plan that received positive reactions from rating agencies, but not from labor unions.

___

SKOPJE, Macedonia â¿¿ Macedonia has requested a credit line worth 480 million euros over two years from the International Monetary Fund â¿¿ seeking a safety net in the midst of Europe's debt crisis and bond-market turmoil.

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