THE PHILIPPINES

Militant Leader Dies In Clash With Police

A leader of a group of suspected Islamic State sympathizers was killed in a clash with Philippine police after resisting arrest at a beach resort in the country's south, officials said.

An official said Jaafar Maguid, leader of a small armed group called Ansar al-Khilafa, died in a shootout in Kiamba, in the southern province of Sarangani.

Three of Mr. Maguid's alleged followers were arrested after the clash, which occurred when police went to check reports from civilians about the presence of armed men, the official said.

Officials said Mr. Maguid's group is believed to be behind a string of attacks including a grenade blast that killed a police officer and woundeddozens of people.

He is also suspected of recruiting minors in the region.

In August, government troops clashed with Mr. Maguid's group in Sarangani's Maasim town, killing three of his followers and seizing two rifles and an Islamic State-style black flag.

A number of other Islamist groups in the southern Philippines, including Abu Sayyaf, have pledged allegiance to Islamic State, but the military says there has been no sign of a direct collaboration between Filipino gunmen and militants in Syria and Iraq.

--Associated Press

EUROZONE

Producer Prices Post First Rise Since 2013

The prices of goods leaving the eurozone's factory gates were higher than a year earlier in November, the first time that has happened since mid-2013.

The rise in producer prices after almost 3 1/2 years of declines is a fresh indication that inflationary pressures are building within the currency area, although it is still farfrom certain that the European Central Bank will sustainably achieve its consumer-price inflation target of just below 2%.

The European Union's statistics agency said producer prices rose 0.3% from October, and were up 0.1% from November 2015. It was the first year-to-year rise in prices since June 2013, and came as a surprise, since economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal last week had estimated that prices were flat.

The rise in prices at the factory gates is in line with other signs that consumer-price inflation is set to continue its recent rise over coming months. Figures released on Wednesday showed consumer prices rose 1.1% year-to-year in December, having been below their year-earlier levels as recently as May.

Economists expect consumer prices to rise even more rapidly in early 2017, as earlier, sharp drops in energy prices fall out of the year-to-year comparison.

--Paul Hannon

UNITED KINGDOM

DataShow Economy Ended 2016 Strong

Activity in Britain's services sector grew in December at the fastest pace in more than a year, buoyed by healthy demand at home and a boost to exports from a weak pound.

The data add to signs that the U.K. economy ended 2016 on a strong footing, further defying expectations of a post-Brexit slowdown. But many economists warn growth is set to ease in 2017 as accelerating inflation squeezes consumers' wallets and uncertainty over the U.K.'s future ties to the European Union weighs on business investment.

Financial information firm IHS Markit Ltd. said its purchasing managers index for the U.K. services sector rose to 56.2 in December from 55.2 a month earlier, marking the fastest pace of growth since July 2015.

--Jason Douglas

JAPAN

Huge Bluefin Tuna Brings a Hefty Price

A Japanese sushi-chain boss bid a winning Yen74.2 million yen ($632,000) for a 466-pound bluefin tuna in what may be Tsukiji market's last auction at its current site in downtown Tokyo.

The winning bid for the prized but imperiled species was the second-highest ever after a Yen155.4 million yen bid in 2013 at the annual New Year auction.

This year's price was $2,981 per kilogram, compared with about $7,930 per kilogram for the 2013 record-setting auction price.

Japanese are the biggest consumers of the torpedo-shaped bluefin tuna.

Kiyomura Corp. owner Kiyoshi Kimura posed, beaming, after the predawn New Year auction with the gleaming fish, which was caught off the coast of northern Japan's Aomori prefecture. His company, which runs the Sushi Zanmai chain, often wins the annual auction.

--Associated Press

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 05, 2017 13:09 ET (18:09 GMT)

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