Economic developments around the globe

A look at economic developments and stock market activity around the world Monday:

LONDON – Gross mortgage lending in the United Kingdom rose by 17 percent in June from the previous month but still lagged at about half of year-ago levels, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said. The figure was echoed by the Bank of England, which reported that the availability of mortgage finance had improved slightly in the second quarter, the first gain since the second quarter of 2007.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders said the boost to lending mainly reflected seasonal factors rather than any strong surge in the economy.

News that U.S. commercial lender CIT Group Inc. had reached a deal with bondholders granting it $3 billion worth of emergency funding to avoid bankruptcy buoyed markets.

The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closing up 54.87 points, or 1.3 percent, at 4,443.62 while Germany’s DAX rose 51.75 points, or 1 percent, to 5,030.15. The CAC-40 in France was 52.48 points, or 1.6 percent, higher at 3,270.94.

FRANKFURT – German wholesale prices fell by 4.6 percent in the year to June, the biggest annual drop in four decades, as oil prices remained below last year’s highs. The drop compared with a 3.6 percent year-on-year fall in May and was the largest since the producer price index declined by 5 percent in December 1968, the Federal Statistical Office said. In month-on-month terms, producer prices were down 0.1 percent in June after standing still in May.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland – Iceland unveiled plans to get its collapsed banking system back on its feet, including a 270 billion krona ($2 billion) recapitalization and the sale of significant equity stakes to creditors.

The Finance Ministry said the deal is a significant step on the road to recovery for the tiny North Atlantic nation, which became one of the earliest and hardest hit casualties of the global financial crisis thanks to a pile of debt amassed during years of light regulation of the banking sector.

Iceland’s principal three banks – Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki – failed within the space of a week last October, owing around $60 billion to foreign lenders.

NEW DELHI – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna announced agreements to expand American access to key Indian markets.

One agreement designates two sites on which U.S. companies would have exclusive rights to sell civilian nuclear power reactors. That could be worth an estimated $10 billion in U.S. sales. The other deal is designed to allow the U.S. to ensure that technology in sensitive American defense items purchased by India are not transferred to third countries.

HONG KONG – In Asian markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 696.71 points, or 3.7 percent, to 19,502.37 and South Korea’s Kospi added 38.41, or 2.7 percent, to 1,478.51. Shanghai’s benchmark rose 2.4 percent. Australian, Taiwan and Singapore shares were up 1 percent or more.

MOSCOW – Russia’s ruble rose sharply against the dollar, spurred by higher oil prices and upbeat data suggesting the country may be past the fiercest phase of its recession.

Capital investment jumped 11.8 percent in June from the previous month, the Federal Statistics Agency said, a sign that investors have regained some confidence in the country’s economic stability. Capital flight had badly hurt the Russian economy, exacerbating the effects of the global credit crunch.

Real disposable income rose 3.7 percent month-on-month and was down 1 percent year-on-year. Retail sales grew 2.4 percent.

The jobless rate shrank to 8.3 percent in June, the lowest level since December’s 7.7 percent, although analysts said this could largely be explained by seasonal factors. Unemployment peaked at 9.5 percent, or 7 million people, earlier this year.

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