- - Thursday, November 24, 2011

VENEZUELA

China loans $6 billion to boost oil industry

CARACAS | Chinese officials signed $6 billion in new loans to Venezuela on Thursday aiming to boost the South American country’s oil industry.

China previously had agreed to more than $32 billion in loans. Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez had said Wednesday that the new loans would increase oil production involving Chinese and Venezuelan companies from about 100,000 barrels a day to about 330,000 barrels a day.

The new loans include $4 billion to increase production, as well as $1.5 billion for refinery projects and $500 million for buying equipment, officials said.

PORTUGAL

Credit rating lowered to junk status as big strike hits

LISBON | Portugal’s efforts to climb out of its economic crisis suffered a double setback Thursday as its credit rating was downgraded to junk status and a major strike gave voice to broad public outrage over austerity measures that have squeezed living standards.

Like others in the 17-country eurozone, Portugal has embarked on a big austerity program to make its debts sustainable. Earlier this year, Portugal followed Greece and Ireland in taking a bailout to avert bankruptcy.

INDIA

Country opens more to foreign multibrand retailers

NEW DELHI | India’s Cabinet decided Thursday to allow more direct foreign investment in the nation’s huge retail industry, a move that could strengthen the country’s food supply chain and open India to giant global retailers such as Wal-Mart.

Top retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Carrefour SA Paris, Tesco PLC London, and IKEA have long lobbied to free the policy further. Foreign multibrand retailers have Indian partners in wholesale operations now but have no retail presence in the country of 1.2 billion people.

OIL

Libya’s oil output increasing quickly, former official says

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