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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Shortages could slow down US auto production

DETROIT (AP) â¿¿ The U.S. auto industry, already stretching to meet rising demand for cars and trucks, is facing shortages of parts and materials that could limit the number of new vehicles in showrooms later this year and crimp a historic turnaround.

The most immediate problem â¿¿ a shortage of a crucial plastic resin, caused by an explosion March 31 at a plant in Germany â¿¿ could surface in a few weeks. And later this year or beyond, automakers could be confronted with an even bigger crisis, running short of parts simply because there aren't enough factories and people to make them.

No one is entirely sure how many plants or models will be affected by either problem. Automakers say they are working to avoid shortages in both cases. But it may be tough to manage the intricate chain of companies that make most of the 3,000 parts that go into every car, from tiny valves and computer chips to heavy metal castings for transmissions.

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IMF: Cuts in European bank lending to drag growth

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The International Monetary Fund warned Wednesday that European banks are under pressure to preserve capital and could cut back sharply on lending over the next two years, slowing the region's growth.

The predicted credit crunch is a major reason why Europe's economy is expected to suffer a mild recession this year and barely grow in 2013, the IMF said in a report on the global financial system released Wednesday.

The 17 countries that use the euro will see their economies shrink by 0.3 percent this year, and expand by only 0.9 percent in 2013, the IMF has forecast.

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EBay posts higher 1Q net income and revenue

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ EBay's first-quarter net income grew 20 percent thanks to higher revenue from its PayPal business and brisk sales at its e-commerce websites. The results beat Wall Street's expectations and investors sent the company's stock higher in after-hours trading.

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