A look at economic developments and activity in major stock markets around the world Thursday:
TOKYO â€” Japan finance's chief said the government will "respond appropriately" to a surge in the yen after it hit a 15-year-high against the dollar amid a weakening U.S. economic recovery.
"We are closely monitoring a rapid rise in the yen," Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said. He declined to comment on currency interventions by the government to prop up the greenback.
A foreign exchange dealer in Tokyo said there were rumors about the Bank of Japan buying dollars but it was unlikely that Japanese authorities have taken such steps. The BOJ hasn't intervened in the currency market since March 2004.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average closed down 0.9 percent, South Korea's Kospi dived 2.1 percent, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.2 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng retreated 0.9 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.7 percent.
LONDON â€” Industrial production in the 16 countries that use the euro unexpectedly fell in June, raising fears that economic growth in the eurozone may not be as high as anticipated.
Germany's DAX closed down 0.3 percent and the CAC-40 in France fell 0.2 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares ended 0.4 percent higher.
PARIS â€” A rebuilt Prussian palace in Berlin. High-speed rail from Lisbon to Kiev. A new visitor center for Britain's Stonehenge. They're just some of the big-ticket European projects put on hold by the continent's government debt crisis.
BEIJING â€” China acknowledged only foreign companies have been forced to scrap or change business deals under its two-year-old anti-monopoly law but rejected complaints that the measure is discriminatory.
DUBLIN â€” Ireland's year-long experience of deflation may be ending as price declines in July eased to just 0.1 percent.
The last time Ireland recorded such a small annual decline in average prices was January 2009. That was the first month that average prices began to decline following the country's 2008 descent into recession. Since then, prices slumped by as much as 6.6 percent annually in October 2009 before gradually easing to July's almost flat level.
ATHENS, Greece â€” Greece's recession deepened in the second quarter as the country felt the painful consequences of the government's drive to reduce its debt load with aggressive austerity cuts.
Gross domestic product declined by 1.5 percent from the previous quarter as the government reduced spending. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, rose to 12 percent in May from 11.9 percent.
MUMBAI, India â€” Growth in India's industrial production slipped to a 13-month low in June as the effects of government stimulus waned and expansion returned to more normal levels.
The slowdown to year-on-year growth of 7.1 percent in June comes after eight months of double-digit expansion.
The moderation is in large part attributable to the high levels of industrial production at the same last year when growth was rebounding from the global recession, economists say.