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Morning briefing: Europe shows signs of growth, Japan worries about yen

Here's what happened overnight in Europe and Asia:

* Japanese policymakers for the third straight day expressed worries about a stronger yen, which has grown 9 percent since early May. National Strategy Minister Satoshi Arai's statement that "an appreciation in the yen could hurt the economy" because of Japan's reliance on trade spurred speculation that the government could take steps to mitigate the risk.

* The U.K. economy grew by 1.1 percent in the second quarter, the third consecutive quarter of recovery and double what economists had forecast. The growth was due to higher output by business services and finance and a rebound in construction, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. The consensus forecast by economists surveyed was 0.6 percent. The accelerating growth is likely to impact the debate at the Bank of England which is considering whether the country needs additional stimulus measures.

* Germany's business confidence in July experienced the largest jump since the country's reunification in 1990. The Ifo business climate index rose to 106.2 points from 101.8 points, and the Munich-based institute that tracks it said that "Germany's economy is again in party mood."

* Hungary's credit rating is being reviewed for a possible downgrade by Moody's Investors Service because of a slowdown in fiscal consolidation, and the government was not able to persuade the International Monetary Fund and European Union that it could carry out its plans for cutting its budget deficit.

* World stock markets were up Friday after Europe showed strong signs of growth and following better-than-expected earnings reports from U.S. companies like Microsoft and Caterpillar on Thursday.

For more economic and domestic policy news, see my colleague Ezra Klein's Wonkbook.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  July 23, 2010; 6:50 AM ET
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