Global bank regulators pushed back a final decision on new capital standards as they struggle to reach an agreement in the face of strident European opposition.

The oversight board of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision said on Tuesday that it had postponed a meeting scheduled for Jan. 8 to allow for more debate on standards meant to prevent banks from gaming capital rules. Top European Union policy makers have campaigned against a major element of the reform package, a so-called capital floor, arguing that it would unfairly punish the bloc's banks and harm its economy.

Work on the post-crisis capital framework known as Basel III should conclude in the "near future," the oversight body said in a statement. Remaining issues should be resolved in the first quarter, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. The delay could open the door to more lobbying from the financial industry and EU officials to soften the restrictions.

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