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India fwd/annualised dlr premia-Feb 27

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

INDICATORS - Kazakhstan - Feb 27

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

Indonesia c.bank comfortable with weakening rupiah, says helps exports

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

JAKARTA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Indonesia's central bank signaled that it is comfortable with the drop in the rupiah as it makes exports more competitive in Southeast Asia's largest economy, a Bank Indonesia senior deputy governor said on Friday. The rupiah IDR= has been trading around 12,800-12,900 against the dollar in the past week, touching a ten-week low on Tuesday. It has weakened almost 4 percent in the year. "We need a competitive exchange rate to support exports of manufactured goods and decrease non-productive imports," Mirza Adityaswara, the deputy governor, told Reuters on Friday. "The current exchange rate is competitive enough because the rupiah has weakened." Chief Economics Minister Sofyan Djalil said after a meeting with the president and Bank Indonesia's governor on Tuesday that the central bank had not intervened significantly to defend the weak rupiah because both the government and the central bank are focused on improving domestic economic conditions. ID:nL4N0W01NW "Why would we use our foreign exchange reserves to defend a falling currency if it was because of external factors?" Djalil said. Central bank officials said the weak rupiah is mainly a consequence of a broadly stronger dollar, noting that the rupiah has actually appreciated against several other currencies this year. Data from Bank for International Settlements showed the real effective exchange rate of the rupiah appreciating since the start of 2014. Indonesia's exchange rate had a volatile 2014, falling sharply by 4.5 percent in the second half of the year. It reached a 16-year low in December, trading at 12,930 per dollar. That helped exports of manufactured goods to rise by 7 percent in 2014, Adityaswara said. Overall, however, exports contracted 3.4 percent last year on the back of sliding sales of commodities. Indonesia's economy posted its weakest growth in five years in 2014 as the end of the commodities boom and high interest rates dented investment and domestic demand. Analysts said Bank Indonesia's decision to cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points last week could further weigh on the rupiah in the near term. (Reporting By Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam) ((gayatri.suroyo@thomsonreuters.com; +622129927609; Reuters Messaging: gayatri.suroyo.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: INDONESIA CURRENCY

FOREX-Dollar pauses after rallying on U.S. data, Fed remarks

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

* Dollar index eases back from previous day's 1-month high * U.S. Jan CPI, durables goods data raise rate-hike bets * Fed's Bullard, Williams keep alive hopes of higher rates (Updates prices, adds comment) By Lisa Twaronite and Masayuki Kitano TOKYO/SINGAPORE, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The dollar took a breather after surging to a one-month high against a basket of currencies the previous day as U.S. economic data and comments from Federal Reserve officials prompted investors to raise their bets on a rate increase. The dollar index eased 0.2 percent to 95.130 .DXY , inching away from a one-month high of 95.357 set on Thursday. The dollar index had rallied 1.1 percent on Thursday, bringing it close to the more than 11-year high of 95.481 hit on Jan. 23. The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.1213 EUR= , but remained not far from a one-month low of $1.1184 touched on Thursday. The euro was down 0.6 percent for the month after tumbling 6.7 percent in January, when the European Central Bank unveiled its government bond buying scheme, also known as quantitative easing (QE). "ECB QE is going to cap any euro rebound. But I think the catalyst for next leg lower in the euro will come from the dollar side of the story," said Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist for Bank of Singapore. Data released on Thursday showed that the U.S. core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy costs, rose 0.2 percent in January, more than the 0.1 percent increase economists had expected, even as overall CPI fell 0.7 percent because of falling oil prices. ID:nL1N0W01N0 U.S. durable goods orders also rose 2.8 percent in January, though the upbeat readings were tempered by a bigger-than-expected rise in new applications for unemployment benefits. ID:nW1N0UR020 ID:nL1N0W01N0 "After the data, people are more comfortable about expecting a U.S. interest rate hike, and taking on long dollar positions," said Kaneo Ogino, director at Global-info Co in Tokyo, a foreign exchange research firm. "The dollar's downside should be limited, as I think many people will use falls as a chance to buy on dips," he said. The dollar eased 0.2 percent against the yen to 119.15 yen JPY= , but remained above Thursday's intraday low of 118.68 yen. San Francisco Fed President John Williams and St. Louis Fed chief James Bullard both suggested on Thursday that the U.S. central bank might end its near zero interest rate policy sooner than some traders expect. ID:nL1N0W01XH Their comments came after Fed Chair Janet Yellen's congressional testimony earlier in the week was interpreted by investors as indicating the Fed was giving itself more flexibility to raise interest rates later than June. Divergent monetary policy expectations have bolstered the greenback against the yen, with Bank of Japan widely expected to keep its ultra-easy policy until it meets its goal of sustainable 2 percent inflation. Japanese data published early on Friday showed core consumer prices rose 2.2 percent in January from a year earlier, slightly less than economists' median estimate for a 2.3 percent annual gain. ID:nENNF2Q0S4 Other data showed a larger-than-expected jump in industrial production, but also a rise in the unemployment rate last month, showing the economic recovery continues but not without areas of concern. ID:nT9N0VF04A ID:nT9N0VF04R Later on Friday, investors will turn their focus to U.S. economic data ECONUS including a second estimate of fourth-quarter gross domestic product. ((masayuki.kitano@thomsonreuters.com; +65-6417-4682; Reuters Messaging: masayuki.kitano.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

UPDATE 1-Australia's Kingsgate says Thai govt to let gold mine restart

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

* Kingsgate says gets verbal OK to restart Thai gold mine * Will wait for written clearance * Denies responsibility for arsenic, manganese contamination * Shares remain under voluntary halt (Adds Kingsgate comment, details) By James Regan SYDNEY, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Australia's Kingsgate Consolidated KCN.AX said it had been told verbally it could reopen a gold mine in Thailand closed last month after villagers suffered arsenic and manganese contamination and was now awaiting formal government clearance. A Kingsgate spokeswoman in Sydney said it had been told by Thailand's Department of Primary Industries and Mines (DPIM) that it was free to resume work at the Chatree mine and it expected formal approval within days. "We are expecting written confirmation but will not proceed until that is in hand," the spokeswoman said on Friday. Officials from the DPIM were not immediately available for comment. Kingsgate's shares will remain under voluntary suspension until the mine restarts, the spokeswoman added. Kingsgate requested a halt to trading in its stock in mid-January. Thai authorities ordered a temporary halt to mining after random urine and blood tests showed above-standard arsenic and manganese levels in villagers near the mine, located 280 km (175 miles) north of Bangkok. ID:nL3N0UV2XK Kingsgate has said the mine was not responsible for any arsenic or manganese present in the area and that it does not use or store either material at the site. It said it had called in independent experts from local universities to carry out tests on the villagers. The Chatree mine, Thailand's first and largest gold mine, began operations in 2001. It is operated by Akara Resources Public Company, a Kingsgate subsidiary, and yields about 11,000 ounces of gold per month. (Editing by Alan Raybould) ((jim.regan@thomsonreuters.com; +612 9373-1814; Reuters Messaging: jim.regan.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: THAILAND AUSTRALIA/MINE

African Markets - Factors to watch on Feb 27

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

SNAPSHOT-India stocks, bonds, rupee, swap, call at 0435 GMT

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

STOCKS .BSESN .NSEI ----------------------- The benchmark BSE index .BSESN up 0.45 percent and the broader NSE index .NSEI 0.50 percent higher, as blue-chips gain ahead of the federal budget due on Saturday. .BO RUPEE INR=D2 -------------- The Indian rupee trades weak at 61.81/82 per dollar versus the previous close of 61.75/76, tracking dollar's gains against most Asian currencies. INR/ GOVERNMENT BONDS IN084024G=CC ------------------------------- India's benchmark 10-year bond yield down 1 basis point at 7.73 percent, ahead of the federal budget due on Saturday; fiscal deficit, market borrowing numbers key. IN/ INTEREST RATE SWAPS INROIS MIOIS= ------------------------------------- The benchmark five-year rate INRSMONMI5Y= down 1 basis point at 6.95 percent, while the one-year rate INRAMONMI1Y= steady at 7.67 percent. CALL MONEY INROND= -------------------- India's three-day cash rate rises to 7.80/7.85 percent versus one-day rate of 6.80/6.85 percent on Thursday. (Compiled by Dipika Lalwani) ((Dipika.Lalwani@thomsonreuters.com; 022-61807098; Reuters Messaging:dipika.lalwani@thomsonreuters.com)) Keywords: INDIA SNAPSHOT/

Australia's Kingsgate says Thai govt to allow its gold mine to restart

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

SYDNEY, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Australia's Kingsgate Consolidated KCN.AX said it was told by Thailand's mines department that its Chatree gold mine had been cleared to restart after being ordered to shut down last month over concerns of arsenic and manganese contamination of a nearby village. A Kingsgate spokeswoman in Sydney said management will await written confirmation from Thailand's Department of Primary Industries and Mines before taking steps to restart the mine in central Thailand. Kingsgate's Australian shares will remain under voluntary suspension until the mine restarts, the spokeswoman said. (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Himani Sarkar) ((jim.regan@thomsonreuters.com; +612 9373-1814; Reuters Messaging: jim.regan.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: THAILAND AUSTRALIA/MINE

India Morning Call-Global Markets

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

EQUITIES NEW YORK - The Nasdaq resumed its recent advance on Thursday after deal news in the technology sector, while the Dow and S&P 500 dipped as energy shares sank with oil prices. The day's move put the Nasdaq within just 12 points of the 5,000 mark, which it last hit in March 2000 along with its all-time high of 5,132.52 at the height of the dot-com frenzy. The Dow broke a two-day streak of record closing highs. For a full report, click on .N ---- LONDON - Britain's top equity index hit a record closing high on Thursday, helped by a surge in the share price of the Asian-focused bank Standard Chartered STAN.L . Standard Chartered advanced by 5.4 percent as traders welcomed its appointment of a new chief executive, former JPMorgan JPM.N investment bank boss Bill Winters. ID:nL5N0W026X For a full report, click on .L ---- TOKYO - Tokyo share prices hit a fresh 15-year high on Friday on upbeat Japanese industrial output data, while the market awaited an announcement from the country's biggest pension fund on its latest asset allocations. The Nikkei share average .N225 rose 0.3 percent to 18,834.89. On the month, it is up 6.6 percent so far, which if sustained, would be the biggest monthly gain since November 2013. For a full report, click on .T ---- HONG KONG - Hong Kong's Hang Seng index .HSI trading flat. For a full report, click on .HK ---- FOREIGN EXCHANGE SYDNEY - The dollar took a breather in Tokyo on Friday after surging to a one-month high against a basket of currencies overnight as U.S. economic data and comments from Federal Reserve officials prompted investors to raise their bets on a rate increase. The dollar was slightly lower on the day against the yen at 119.29 yen JPY=EBS , after rising as high as 119.51 on Thursday, when the dollar index .DXY climbed to one-month high of 95.357. That brought the index close to its more than 11-year high of 95.481 hit on Jan. 23. For a full report, click on USD/ ---- TREASURIES NEW YORK - U.S. Treasuries prices fell on Thursday after an increase in core U.S. consumer prices in January pointed to marginally less dovish Federal Reserve policy and as an auction of seven-year notes met with soft demand. Core CPI, which strips out food and energy costs, rose 0.2 percent in January after edging up 0.1 percent in December. Traders focused on the increase even as the headline figure showed U.S. consumer prices posted their biggest drop since 2008 in January, falling 0.7 percent. ID:nL1N0W01N0 For a full report, click on US/ ---- COMMODITY GOLD SINGAPORE - Gold advanced for a third session running on Friday and was on track to end a four-week losing streak, supported by a softer dollar and hopes that the U.S. central bank will not rush to raise interest rates. But the metal is still headed for its biggest monthly loss since September, having fallen nearly 6 percent in February. For a full report, click on GOL/ ---- BASE METALS LONDON - London copper was flat on Friday but on track to record its biggest monthly gain since September 2012, on a mix of short-covering and some fresh long positions as traders bet on a price recovery ahead of China's seasonally strong second quarter. Attention has been squarely focused on Chinese demand, as the market filters back in from a week of holidays. For a full report, click on MET/L ---- OIL SINGAPORE - Crude oil futures rebounded on Friday, with Brent heading for its biggest monthly gain since May 2009, as supply outages in North Sea and renewed fears of gas supply disruption in Europe supported prices. A reduction in rig counts and expectations for better oil demand have helped Brent prices rise by more than 14 percent so far this month from January's close of $52.99. For a full report, click on O/R ---- (Compiled By Dipika Lalwani) ((Dipika.Lalwani@thomsonreuters.com; 022-61807098; Reuters Messaging: dipika.lalwani.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MORNINGCALL INDIA/

Indian FX/debt factors to watch - Feb 27

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

China's yuan falls to more than 2-year low after c.bank sets weak midpoint

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

HONG KONG, Feb 27 (Reuters) - China's yuan fell to the lowest level against the dollar in more than two years on Friday, after the central bank weakened the midpoint by nearly 100 points to reflect strength in the global dollar index. The People's Bank of China set the midpoint rate CNY=SAEC at 6.1475 per dollar prior to market open, weaker than the previous fix 6.1379. The spot market CNY=CFXS opened at 6.2595 per dollar and hit 6.2694 in morning trade, the lowest level since October 2012. The dollar rose to a one-month high against a basket of currencies on Thursday as data on U.S. inflation and business orders revived confidence in the world's biggest economy and supported bets the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in the middle of the year. ID:nL1N0W02NT The spot rate is currently allowed to trade with a range 2 percent above or below the official fixing on any given day. (Reporting by Michelle Chen; Editing by Jacqueline Wong) ((michelle.chen@thomsonreuters.com; +852 2843 6587; Reuters Messaging: min.chen.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS CHINA YUAN MIDDAY/

Australia, NZ dlrs knocked off 1-month highs vs USD; firm on euro

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

By Cecile Lefort and Gyles Beckford SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars were losing ground to their U.S. counterpart on Friday as the latest U.S. economic data seemed to add to the case for an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. The Australian dollar AUD=D4 was stuck at $0.7792, having skidded 1 percent overnight. Support was found at $0.7786 and $0.7740. It touched a one-month peak of $0.7914 on Thursday but still looked set to end the week 0.6 percent lower. Part of the weakness came after news U.S. core inflation rose more than expected, driving Treasury yields higher and supporting the dollar. Investors are now waiting on revised fourth quarter U.S. gross domestic product data due later on Friday. ECONUS The Aussie had already been knocked on Thursday after a weak business investment report at home had added to the case for more interest rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Markets 0#YIB: imply an around 50-50 chance of an easing on March 3, while they are fully priced for a move by May. The Antipodeans fared better on the euro which was undermined by steep falls in euro zone bond yields. The common currency was on track for weekly losses of 1.7 percent versus the kiwi and 1 percent on the Aussie. EURNZD=R EURAUD=R The New Zealand dollar NZD=D4 held at $0.7541, after lapsing from a one-month high of $0.7613 "The $0.7610/20 area will be a major hurdle, so some consolidation can be expected between $0.7500 and $0.7560," Westpac senior strategist Imre Speizer said in a note, adding that a move towards $0.7700 might be possible in coming weeks. The latest data was mixed. Building consents for new homes fell for a second month and inflation expectations eased further, but a survey showed business confidence picked up to its highest level in seven months. ECONNZ The kiwi was firm on the Aussie at NZ$1.0346 AUDNZD= having gained 3.8 percent this month to touch record highs. New Zealand government bonds 0#NZTSY= traded with an offered tone, pushing yields as much as 3 basis points higher. Australian government bond futures eased, with the three-year bond contract YTTc1 off 1 tick at 98.210. The 10-year contract YTCc1 shed 4 ticks to 97.5800. Two-year cash yields slipped to an all-time trough of 1.818 percent AU2YT=RR as investors wagered on further cuts in the official cash rate. (Editing by Eric Meijer) ((Cecile.Lefort@thomsonreuters.com)(+61 2 9373-1234)(Reuters Messaging: cecile.lefort.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS AUSTRALIA/FOREX

EM ASIA FX-Ringgit, won, rupiah, yuan slide

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

PRESS DIGEST- British Business - Feb 27

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

Feb 27 - The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. The Times B&Q ATTACKED OVER PAY-TO-STAY 'THREATS' B&Q is facing claims that it threatened its suppliers by demanding they pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to stay on its books. (http://thetim.es/1FZLBKD) RBS'S COUTTS INVESTIGATED OVER SWISS 'TAX EVASION' The Swiss division of Coutts, the private bank owned by Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L , is being investigated by German prosecutors over allegations that it helped wealthy clients to evade tax. (http://thetim.es/1EvJlcy) The Guardian GEORGE OSBORNE REBUKED FOR BOASTING HE HALVED 1.7 BLN STG EU SURCHARGE MPs have criticised George Osborne for exaggerating claims that he halved a 1.7 billion pound ($2.62 billion) surcharge imposed by Brussels last year when Britain's rebate automatically cut the figure to 850 million pounds. (http://bit.ly/1FAw0h8) BANK OF ENGLAND TO BOOST WATCHDOG ROLE AFTER FAILING TO SPOT FOREX RIGGING The Bank of England plans to beef up its watchdog role after it failed to spot one of the biggest scandals in the City's recent history. (http://bit.ly/1LMuMkQ) The Telegraph STANDARD CHARTERED CHIEF AND CHAIRMAN TO LEAVE IN DRAMATIC 6-MAN BOARD EXODUS Standard Chartered STAN.L has announced a dramatic exodus from its board that will see both its chief executive and chairman leave the struggling bank. (http://bit.ly/1LOxhVV) GLAXOSMITHKLINE BRIBERY SCANDAL LED TO 13-FOLD INCREASE IN CHINA WHISTLEBLOWER REPORTS A 15-month bribery investigation into GlaxoSmithKline GSK.L by Chinese authorities has led to a dramatic increase in whistleblower reports from the company's operation in the country, its annual report has disclosed. (http://bit.ly/1Ay6lpx) Sky News RBS POSTS 3.5 BLN STG LOSS AS BOSS HANDS BACK 1 MLN STG A 4 billion pound writedown on its U.S. business meant Royal Bank of Scotland remained in the red in 2014, with the bank confirming a 3.5 billion pound loss. (http://bit.ly/1FZMzGL) U.S. REGULATORS STEP UP FOREX SETTLEMENT TALKS Barclays will more than double its 500 million pound provision for foreign exchange-rigging fines next week, Sky News learns. (http://bit.ly/1vD0Pl9) The Independent OUTRIGHT HOMEOWNERS OVERTAKE MORTGAGE HOLDERS FOR FIRST TIME For the first time, the proportion of households where the property is owned outright by its inhabitants has overtaken those that have a mortgage. The finding highlights the changing financial make-up of the country's households and is likely to embolden those arguing that the Bank of England can safely begin to increase interest rates without threatening the recovery. (http://ind.pn/1JPrgL3) MOD WASTED 33 MLN STG ON BOTCHED PRIVATISATION ATTEMPTS, REPORT CLAIMS The Ministry of Defence wasted 33 million pounds on botched attempts to semi-privatise the 14 billion pound budget agency that buys military equipment, according to report published by the National Audit Office. ($1 = 0.6485 pounds) (Compiled by Aurindom Mukherjee; Editing by Ken Wills) ((aurindom.mukherjee@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S.+1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 4755; Reuters Messaging: aurindom.mukherjee.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BRITAIN PRESS/BUSINESS

VIETNAM PRESS-Textile exports seen up 14 pct y/y in 2015 - Vietnam Economic Times

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

Vietnam's exports of textiles and garment products could generate $28 billion to $28.5 billion this year, up at least 14 percent from 2014, thanks to favourable conditions brought by new trade agreements, the Vietnam Economic Times newspaper reported, citing a senior industry official. Vinatex, the country's top textile and garment maker, is scheduled to develop more than 30 projects to ensure its export revenue rise around 10 percent from 2014 to $3.63 billion, the report quoted a senior Vinatex executive as saying. Textiles and garments exports are Vietnam's second-biggest cash earner after telephones, smart phones and spare parts. ---- NOTE: Reuters has not verified this story and does not vouch for its accuracy. (Compiled by Hanoi Newsroom; Editing by Sunil Nair) ((hanoi.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com)(+844 3825 9623)) Keywords: VIETNAM PRESS/

PRESS DIGEST- Financial Times - Feb 27

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

Feb 26 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories in the Financial Times. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Headlines US PROBE DELAYS BARCLAYS FX SETTLEMENT (http://on.ft.com/1C1FjZK) RIG IDLING NEAR 20-YEAR HIGH, SAY DRILLERS (http://on.ft.com/1Gyk68p) CRIPPLING US PORTS DISPUTE HITS GAP (http://on.ft.com/1APwFug) ZUCKERMAN SEEKS BUYER FOR NY DAILY NEWS (http://on.ft.com/1BjlcFa) Overview New York's Department of Financial Services probe into rigging the foreign exchange markets has held up the settlement that Barclays BARC.L is willing to accept with other U.S. and U.K. authorities. Sources close to the matter say that Barclays will be reluctant to settle with other regulatory agencies in a separate deal. Offshore drillers such as Norway's Seadrill SDRL.OL have warned that the number of scrapped deepwater rigs is set to be the highest in two decades. The drillers have also forecasted that the current downturn in oil companies due to falling crude prices may last another two years. U.S. retailer Gap GPS.N has warned that the current downturn with American ports -- including those at California, Oregon and Washington -- will reduce its current year's earnings by about four percentage points, as wearables like t-shirts and sweaters get delayed. Real-estate billionaire Mort Zuckerman has hired Lazard to look for a potential buyer for his tabloid New York Daily News, which he has owned since 1993. (Compiled by Ankush Sharma in Bengaluru; editing by Andrew Hay) ((ankush.sharma@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, outside U.S. +91 80 6749 3057; Reuters Messaging: ankush.sharma.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BRITAIN PRESS/FT

FOREX-Dollar catches breath after rise on U.S. data, Fed remarks

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

* DXY index rises to one-month high, within sight of 11-year high * U.S. Jan CPI, durables goods data raise rate-hike bets * Fed's Bullard, Williams keep alive hopes of higher rates By Lisa Twaronite TOKYO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The dollar took a breather in Tokyo on Friday after surging to a one-month high against a basket of currencies overnight as U.S. economic data and comments from Federal Reserve officials prompted investors to raise their bets on a rate increase. The dollar was slightly lower on the day against the yen at 119.29 yen JPY=EBS , after rising as high as 119.51 on Thursday, when the dollar index .DXY climbed to one-month high of 95.357. That brought the index close to its more than 11-year high of 95.481 hit on Jan. 23. The euro edged up about 0.1 percent in Asian trade to $1.1197 EUR=EBS , but remained not far from a one-month low of $1.1184 touched overnight. The U.S. core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy costs, rose 0.2 percent in January, more than the 0.1 percent increase economists had expected, even as overall CPI fell 0.7 percent because of falling oil prices. ID:nL1N0W01N0 U.S. durable goods orders also rose 2.8 percent in January, though the upbeat readings were tempered by a bigger-than-expected rise in new filings for unemployment benefits. ID:nW1N0UR020 ID:nL1N0W01N0 "After the data, people are more comfortable about expecting a U.S. interest rate hike, and taking on long dollar positions," said Kaneo Ogino, director at Global-info Co in Tokyo, a foreign exchange research firm. "The dollar's downside should be limited, as I think many people will use falls as a chance to buy on dips," he said. San Francisco Fed President John Williams and St. Louis Fed chief James Bullard both suggested that the U.S. central bank might end its near zero interest rate policy sooner than some traders expect. ID:nL1N0W01XH That offset some of the doubts raised by Fed Chair Janet Yellen in her semi-annual testimony before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday that an increase could come as early as June. Divergent monetary policy expectations have bolstered the greenback against the yen, with Bank of Japan widely expected to keep its ultra-easy policy until it meets its goal of sustainable 2 percent inflation. Japanese data published early on Friday showed core consumer prices rose 2.2 percent in January from a year earlier, slightly less than economists' median estimate for a 2.3 percent annual gain. ID:nENNF2Q0S4 Other data showed a larger-then-expected jump in industrial production, but also a rise in the unemployment rate last month, showing the economic recovery continues but not without areas of concern. ID:nT9N0VF04A ID:nT9N0VF04R ((lisa.twaronite@thomsonreuters.com;)(+81 3 6441 1870; Reuters Messaging: lisa.twaronite.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

Gold miner Newcrest cuts stake in Evolution to pay debt

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

SYDNEY, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Australia's Newcrest Mining Ltd NCM.AX said on Friday it has sold just over half of its stake in fellow Australian gold producer Evolution Mining Ltd EVN.AX for A$106 million ($83 million) to help it pay down debt. The overnight sale at A$0.85 a share, below Evolution's last closing price, knocked the smaller company's shares down by more than 8 percent following a recent surge as a weaker Australian dollar boosted the value of its bullion in local currency terms. The proceeds from the sale will do little to dent Newcrest's overall debt of A$4.291 billion, but underscores a drive by Australia's biggest miner to clear its books of unwanted holdings. Newcrest, which recently paid off A$257 million of debt, said on Feb. 13 it was open to selling its Telfer gold and copper mine in Australia, once the company's flagship operation. ID:nL4N0VN1AU The miner said it had retained a 14.9 percent stake in Evolution, and had agreed to hold on to the shares until the release of the 400,000-ounces-per-year producer's full-year results, due around August. The Australian dollar gold price XAUAUD=R , against which the country's exports of the metal are priced, has risen from around A$1,426 an ounce at the beginning of December to A$1,550 at present. Evolution shares were last trading at A$0.85. ($1 = 1.2824 Australian dollars) (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin) ((jim.regan@thomsonreuters.com; +612 9373-1814; Reuters Messaging: jim.regan.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: NEWCREST AUSTRALIA/EVOLUTION MINING

NZ business confidence picks up in February

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

WELLINGTON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - New Zealand business confidence improved in February with respondents expecting to hire staff and invest more, while inflation pressures softened, an ANZ Bank survey showed on Friday. The survey's headline measure showed a net 34.4 percent of respondents expected the economy to improve over the year ahead, the highest since July last year, from a net 30.4 percent in December. A net 40.9 percent of respondents expected their own business to grow in the next 12 months, from 37.3 percent in December. "Sentiment remains extremely positive, with firms ready to deliver higher activity, employment and investment, consistent with the economic expansion rolling on at a hefty clip," said ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie in a statement. Inflation expectations eased further to 1.72 percent from 2.13 percent in the previous survey, while the number of firms expecting to raise prices picked up slightly. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has halted its interest rate tightening cycle in the face of easing inflation pressure, and economists believe rates will remain on hold through the first quarter of 2016 or later. NZ/POLL (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Shri Navaratnam) ((naomi.tajitsu@thomsonreuters.com; +6448027979; Reuters Messaging: naomi.tajitsu.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: NEWZEALAND ECONOMY/CONFIDENCE

New Zealand residential building consents fall in January

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

WELLINGTON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The number of new dwelling consents approved in New Zealand fell a seasonally adjusted 3.8 percent on the previous month in January, official data showed on Friday. The decrease compared with a downwardly revised 2.3 percent fall in December, which had been the first fall in three months. Excluding consents for apartments, which can fluctuate widely from month to month, the number of seasonally adjusted permits fell 7.5 percent from the previous month, the first decline in four months. The government agency said the trend in the number of new dwelling consents being issued had risen to its highest level since July 2007, although excluding apartments it was flat. Building consents were 3.6 percent higher than the same month a year ago, while the number of new consents for the year ended Jan. 31 was 14.6 percent higher than the previous 12 months. Auckland, the country's biggest city which has a housing shortage, and the Canterbury region, where earthquake rebuilding projects are underway, accounted for 56 percent of the number of consents issued nationally. The unadjusted value of all building work consented for the month was NZ$996 million ($749.99 million), of which residential work accounted for 65 percent. The value of consents for earthquake reconstruction projects in Canterbury was NZ$59 million, most of which was spent on new dwellings. ($1 = 1.3280 New Zealand dollars) (Gyles Beckford) ((Gyles.Beckford@thomsonreuters.com; +64 4 802 7977 ; Reuters Messaging: gyles.beckford.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: NEWZEALAND ECONOMY/BUILDING

GLOBAL MARKETS-Global equities fall as oil sinks; dollar rallies

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* U.S. CPI in biggest drop since 2008; core inflation rises * U.S. dollar rises to one-month high * Energy shares fall on steep oil decline (Updates U.S. market prices to close) By Sinead Carew NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Global equities dipped on Thursday as investor enthusiasm was dampened by a pullback in oil prices related to rising inventories, while the dollar rose as economic data drove expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. The U.S. S&P 500 .SPX ended down, led by an 1.8 percent drop in energy shares .SPNY . Brent crude .LCOc1 settled down 2.6 percent and U.S. crude CLc1 fell 5.5 percent. ID:nL5N0W028I The Nasdaq .IXIC was a bright spot in U.S. equities, rising on news of a technology deal as it drew closer to its lifetime peak, hit in 2000. U.S. consumer prices fell in the 12 months through January, the first such decline since 2009 as gasoline prices continued to tumble, but core prices, which exclude volatile items such as food and gasoline, rose more than expected. ID:nL1N0W01N0 The MSCI All-Country World equity index .MIWD00000PUS was down 0.2 percent after having hit a record high of 434.40 points earlier in the trading day. The dollar rose to a one-month high against a basket of currencies, as the data on core inflation and data showing a rise in U.S. durable goods orders supported bets that the Federal Reserve will raise interests rates. ID:nL1N0W02NT The president of the San Francisco Fed, John Williams, in an interview on Fox Business Network on Thursday, said that the Fed will probably start raising interest rates "sometime this summer, or this fall" as inflation bottoms out and begins to recover. The comments followed congressional testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, this week, that the U.S. central bank would consider rate hikes on a "meeting-by-meeting" basis. After those comments, Thursday's data was a key driver in currency and bond markets. "It undermined the view that there's domestic disinflation. It's more an international story about falling prices in goods and commodities," said Alan Ruskin, global head of currency strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York. U.S. Treasuries prices fell after the consumer price data pointed to marginally less dovish Fed policy and an auction of seven-year notes saw soft demand. ID:nL1N0W02P2 The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 10.15 points, or 0.06 percent, to 18,214.42, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 3.12 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,110.74, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 20.75 points, or 0.42 percent, to 4,987.89. News that Avago Technologies AVGO.O reached a deal to acquire Emulex ELX.N helped boost the Nasdaq. Avago jumped 14.7 percent to $129.47. Emulex shares surged 24.6 percent to $7.93. Earlier in the day European bond yields sank to fresh lows as investors positioned for an extended era of cheap money ahead of the European Central Bank's bond-buying scheme. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 closed up 1 percent. Greek equities .ATG fell 2 percent, after Greece said on Wednesday that it would struggle to make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank this year. The Russian rouble RUB= strengthened against the dollar for a third straight day but sharply pared gains as oil prices fell. The euro fell 1.5 pct against the dollar. Gold prices rose 0.35 percent, rallying for a second day on expectations of a Fed interest rate hike. (Reporting by Sinead Carew; Additional reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Leslie Adler) ((sinead.carew@thomsonreuters.com; +1)(646 223 6186; Reuters Messaging: sinead.carew.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

UPDATE 1-Fed not losing too much sleep over stronger dollar - Fisher

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* Fed not greatly focused on dollar strength - Fisher * Says banks should raise rates soon but slowly * Selling bonds would be "last thing" (Adds further quotes, detail, background) By Francesco Canepa and Marc Jones LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve is not spending much time discussing the strength of the dollar at its meetings, outgoing Fed policymaker Richard Fisher said on Thursday, adding the central bank should start raising interest rates, albeit slowly. The recent rise in the dollar .DXY , which hit a one-month high against a basket of currencies on Thursday, has led some in the market to question whether the Fed will push ahead with its first rise in interest rates in almost a decade. "I would say that in our deliberations we don't spend too much time on that (the stronger dollar)," Fisher said during a lecture organised by Imperial College London. Fisher, who will step down next month and will not take part in the next rate-setting meeting, has long been calling for the Fed to start tightening its monetary policy. "I would rather tighten sooner and slower than later and sharper," Fisher said. "We cannot slam on the brakes." He added that the first move the Fed was likely to take to normalise its policy was to "work the short end of the (bond) yield curve". As a last resort, the Fed could also sell the huge stock of bonds and mortgage-backed securities it has bought in recent years as part of its quantitative easing stimulus programme, Fisher said. "My reading is that would be the very last thing we would do," Fisher said. He cautioned that markets, which have seen sharp rises in share prices due to the Fed's easy monetary policy in recent years, are highly attuned to any sign of tightening. "We are driving a huge tanker carrying highly explosive fuel," he said. "We're trying to ease the idea into markets as slowly as possible." (Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Francesco Canepa and Gareth Jones) ((marc.jones@thomsonreuters.com; +44)(0)(207 542 9033; Reuters Messaging: marc.jones.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net Twitter @marcjonesrtrs)) Keywords: FED FISHER/DOLLAR

FOREX-Dollar reaches 1-month high on U.S. data, Fed officials' remarks

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* U.S. Jan CPI, durables goods data soothe economic worries * Euro falls to 1-month low vs dollar, 3-week low vs yen * U.S. rate hike may happen in summer or fall -Fed's Williams * Dollar has modest effect on policy, economy -Fed's Bullard (Updates market action, headline, bullets) By Richard Leong NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The dollar rose to a one-month high against a basket of currencies on Thursday as data on U.S. inflation and business orders revived confidence in the world's biggest economy and supported bets the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in the middle of the year. The greenback also received support from San Francisco President John Williams and St. Louis Federal Reserve chief James Bullard, with both making remarks that suggested the U.S. central bank might end its near zero interest rate policy sooner than some traders expect. The dollar's rise followed back-to-back days of declines stemming from perceived dovish signals from Fed Chair Janet Yellen in her semiannual testimony before Congress. On Thursday, the government said the consumer price index, its broadest inflation gauge, fell 0.7 percent in January because of the steep drop in oil prices, but its core reading, which excludes food and energy costs, rose 0.2 percent, more than the 0.1 percent increase economists had expected. ID:nL1N0W01N0 "It undermined the view that there's domestic disinflation. It's more an international story about falling prices in goods and commodities," said Alan Ruskin, global head of currency strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York. The January CPI report came after the St. Louis Fed's Bullard told CNBC television the Fed needs to see evidence of a rebound in inflation through the spring for a possible rate increase this summer. He added the dollar's surge has had a marginal impact on the domestic economy and monetary policy. ID:nN9N0NS00X Another encouraging report on the U.S. economy showed a rebound in durable goods orders in January. They rose 2.8 percent. ID:nW1N0UR020 The CPI and durables readings were tempered by a bigger-than-expected increase in new filings for unemployment benefits, raising some concerns about the U.S. labor market. ID:nL1N0W01N0 "If the data come out in the way I expect, then I think that first step could be some time this summer or this fall," the San Francisco Fed's Williams told Fox Business Network. ID:nL1N0W01XH <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Graphics U.S. inflation http://link.reuters.com/guq93t U.S. durable goods http://link.reuters.com/baf65v U.S. jobless claims http://link.reuters.com/dah52w ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> The dollar index .DXY climbed to one-month highs, and last traded up 1.1 percent at 95.269. It was within striking distance of 11 year-plus year highs set on Jan. 23 a day after the European Central Bank embarked on a massive bond purchase program. ID:nL1N0V225I The euro tumbled 1.4 percent against the greenback, to a one-month low at $1.1184 on the EBS trading system EUR=EBS . It was less than a cent away from an 11-year low in late January. It slipped to three-week lows versus the yen, last down 0.9 percent at 133.715 yen EURJPY=EBS . The dollar gained nearly 0.4 percent against the yen to 119.385 yen JPY=EBS in late trading. Some analysts played down the dollar's bounce, saying Yellen's testimony dampened expectations the Fed will end its near zero rate policy soon. A further rise in the greenback is unlikely until later this year, when the Fed may signal its move to begin normalize policy, they said. "The pause in the dollar rally will likely extend for another month or two," said Greg Anderson, global head of FX strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York. The dollar's gain coincided with a rise in short-dated U.S. Treasuries yields, which were on track to return to levels on Monday before Yellen's testimony. The yield on the two-year Treasury US2YT=RR was up 4 basis points at 0.650 percent. US/ (Additional reporting by Patrick Graham, Anirban Nag in London; Editing by Toby Chopra, Jane Merriman, Peter Galloway and Steve Orlofsky) ((richard.leong@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6313; Reuters Messaging: richard.leong.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net; Twitter @RichardLeong2)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

GLOBAL MARKETS-Global equities fall as decline in oil drags on energy shares

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* German 7-year debt goes sub-zero for first time * U.S. CPI in biggest drop since 2008; core inflation rises * U.S. dollar rises to one-month high (Updates U.S. market prices, adds comment on dollar move) By Sinead Carew NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Global equities declined slightly on Thursday as a pullback in oil prices due to rising inventories dampened investor enthusiasm while the dollar rose as data revived confidence in the U.S. economy. Major U.S. equities indexes were little changed. The S&P 500 .SPX was pressured by a 1.8 percent drop in energy shares .SPNY . Brent crude .LCOc1 was down 1.4 percent and U.S. crude CLc1 fell 1.9 percent. ID:nL5N0W028I U.S. consumer prices in January posted their biggest drop since 2008 as gasoline prices continued to tumble, but underlying inflation rose modestly. The MSCI All-Country World equity index .MIWD00000PUS was down 0.13 percent after having hit a record high of 434.40 points earlier in the trading day. The dollar rose to a one-month high against a basket of currencies after the rise in core inflation and data showing a rise in U.S. durable goods orders supported bets that the Federal Reserve will raise interests rates in the middle of the year. The president of the San Francisco Fed, John Williams, in an interview on Fox Business Network on Thursday, said the Fed will probably start raising interest rates "sometime this summer, or this fall" as inflation bottoms out and begins to recover. The comments followed congressional testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, this week, that the U.S. central bank would consider rate hikes on a "meeting-by-meeting" basis. Thursday's data showing a rise in the core inflation reading, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, was a key driver in currency markets. "It undermined the view that there's domestic disinflation. It's more an international story about falling prices in goods and commodities," said Alan Ruskin, global head of currency strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York. U.S. Treasuries prices edged lower on Thursday as debt investors also focused on the inflation data, which failed to bolster the case for dovish Federal Reserve policy, and as incoming supply weighed on prices. ID:nL1N0W01WV The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 3.41 points, or 0.02 percent, to 18,221.16, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.95 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,112.91, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 18.63 points, or 0.38 percent, to 4,985.77. In Europe bond yields sank to fresh lows as investors positioned for an extended era of cheap money ahead of the European Central Bank's looming bond-buying scheme. Central banks' battle to keep cash flowing into the financial system to avert a deflationary spiral has driven core European government bond yields into or close to negative territory. German seven-year bond yields on Thursday fell below zero for the first time. ID:nL5N0W01WE The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 closed up 1 percent. Greek equities .ATG fell 2 percent, with the country's fate in focus after it said on Wednesday that it would struggle to make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank this year. The Russian rouble RUB= strengthened against the dollar for a third straight day but pared gains as the day went on and oil prices fell. The euro fell 1.5 pct against the dollar. Gold prices rose 0.38 percent, rallying for a second day on expectations that the Fed would push its interest rate hike. (Reporting by Sinead Carew; Additional reporting by Richard Leong; and Leslie Adler) ((sinead.carew@thomsonreuters.com; +1)(646)(223 6186; Reuters Messaging: sinead.carew.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

GLOBAL MARKETS-Global equities fall; energy shares decline as oil tumbles

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* German 7-year debt goes sub-zero for first time * U.S. CPI in biggest drop since 2008; core inflation rises (Adds U.S. market prices, commentary) By Sinead Carew NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Global equities declined on Thursday after a mixed bag of U.S. economic indicators and a pullback in oil prices dampened investor enthusiasm. Major U.S. equities indexes were little changed, pressured by a 1.6 percent drop in energy shares .SPNY . U.S. consumer prices in January posted their biggest drop since 2008 as gasoline prices continued to tumble, while underlying inflation rose modestly. The figures could give a cautious Federal Reserve more room to hold off on raising interest rates. ID:nL1N0W01N0 The MSCI All-Country World equity index .MIWD00000PUS was down 0.18 percent after having hit a record high of 434.40 points earlier in the trading day. U.S. Treasuries prices edged lower on Thursday, as debt investors saw the rise in core CPI failing to bolster the case for dovish Federal Reserve policy and as incoming supply weighed on prices. Fed Chair Janet Yellen, in testimony before Congress this week, said the U.S. central bank would consider rate hikes on a "meeting-by-meeting" basis. "The way Yellen spelled it out, they're obviously looking at inflation, and it's still a bit too low for them to raise rates," said Justin Lederer, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 6.1 points, or 0.03 percent, to 18,218.47, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 2.46 points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,111.4, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 9.40 points, or 0.19 percent, to 4,976.54. In Europe bond yields sank to fresh lows as investors positioned for an extended era of cheap money ahead of the European Central Bank's looming bond-buying scheme. Central banks' battle to keep cash flowing into the financial system to avert a deflationary spiral has driven core European government bond yields into or close to negative territory. German seven-year bond yields on Thursday fell below zero for the first time. ID:nL5N0W01WE Bets that a U.S. rate hike might come later than expected also bolstered views that rock-bottom rates would remain for the near future. ID:nL1N0VZ2GO The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 rose 0.8 percent. Greek equities .ATG were down 2 percent, with the country's fate in focus after it said on Wednesday that it would struggle to make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank this year. The dollar rose 1 percent against a basket or currencies after a two-day decline following data showing a rise in U.S. durable goods orders. The Russian rouble RUB= strengthened against the dollar for a third straight day. Oil prices fell, with Brent crude .LCOc1 down 1.2 percent and U.S. crude CLc1 down 3.2 percent. Gold prices rose 0.35 percent, rallying for a second day on expectations that the Federal Reserve would push out its first interest rate hike. (Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak and Sam Forgione in New York and Lionel Laurent in London Editing by Leslie Adler) ((lionel.laurent@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 9746; Reuters Messaging: lionel.laurent.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

London gold 1500 fix - Feb 26 - 1208.25 dlrs

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

UPDATE 2-Kyrgyzstan threatens to nationalise Centerra mine if no deal soon

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds Centerra share price, details, background) By Olga Dzyubenko BISHKEK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan's parliament turned up the pressure on Centerra Gold CG.TO on Thursday, threatening to nationalise the Canadian company's Kumtor gold mine unless it agrees within a month to a proposed joint venture. The Central Asian state and the Toronto-listed company have been locked in talks for more than a year over a deal that would involve Kyrgyzstan swapping its 32.7 percent stake in Centerra for half of a joint venture that would control the Kumtor mine. After a day of heated debates, the parliament voted 76-1 on Thursday to pass a resolution obliging the government to finalise the talks in one month. It said that, while still negotiating with Centerra, the cabinet must also prepare a draft for Kumtor's possible nationalisation and submit it to the legislature by March 16. "We should finally end this epic," parliamentary speaker Asilbek Zheenbekov said after the vote. "Today we adopted a tough resolution." "But we still hope that you will be able to iron out all the disputed issues, and we expect you back in one month with good news," he told Kyrgyz government officials present. "Otherwise, we will have to begin work on nationalisation." Centerra Gold officials were not immediately available for comment. Shares of Centerra Gold fell 0.8 percent, or 5 Canadian cents, to C$6.19 in opening trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange, bucking the trend of broad gains for bullion miners as spot gold prices rose. ID:nL4N0W03KP Kumtor, which lies in a permafrost area in the Tien Shan mountains, is Kyrgyzstan's largest gold deposit and alone accounted for 7.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product and 15.5 percent of industrial output last year. The open-pit mine, which is the main hard currency earner for the impoverished nation of 5.5 million, has faced several setbacks since the project was started in 1994, including threats of nationalisation, riots and more recently a $300 million ecological damages lawsuit. The government has repeatedly rejected calls from nationalist opposition politicians to nationalise Kumtor. But in a sign that official patience in talks with Centerra Gold was running out, President Almazbek Atambayev said in December that nationalisation could become the only option if no deal with the company was reached soon. (Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Additional reporting by Susan Taylor in Toronto; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Keith Weir and Mark Potter) ((dmitry.solovyov@thomsonreuters.com; +7 727 3300 787 x 705; Reuters Messaging: dmitry.solovyov.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: KYRGYZSTAN CENTERRAGOLD/

London platinum/palladium 1400 fix - Feb 26

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

S.Africa's Sibanye Gold says not keen on Implat's Marula mine

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 26 (Reuters) - South Africa's Sibanye Gold SGLJ.J , which says it wants to expand into platinum, said on Thursday it was not interested in Impala Platinum's IMPJ.J Marula mine. Implats earlier announced on Thursday announced its intention to sell Marula, which produced 78,500 ounces if platinum in its 2014 financial year, as part of an effort to build cash. "It is probably too small for our purposes," said Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted. Wellsted said Sibanye remained interested in "more meaningful assets," such as Anglo American Platinum's AMSJ.J Rustenburg and Union mines. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia) ((Edward.Stoddard@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 775 3160; Reuters Messaging: edward.stoddard.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: SIBANYE GOLD ASSETS/

Kyrgyz MPs threaten to nationalise Kumtor if no Centerra deal in a month

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

BISHKEK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted on Thursday to give the government one month to finalise talks with Centerra Gold CG.TO on the future of the Kumtor project and threatened to nationalise the Canadian company's gold mine if no agreement is reached. (Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; writing by Dmitry Solovyov; editing by Jason Neely) ((dmitry.solovyov@thomsonreuters.com; +7 727 3300 787 x 705; Reuters Messaging: dmitry.solovyov.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: KYRGYZSTAN CENTERRAGOLD/

GLOBAL MARKETS-Global equities hit new record as cheap money reigns

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* German 7-year debt goes sub-zero for first time * Looming ECB bond-buying, Fed chair comments in focus * Raft of corporate earnings lift Europe higher (Updates and adds quotes, background) By Lionel Laurent LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Global equities set a new record high and bond yields sank to fresh lows on Thursday as investors positioned for an extended era of cheap money ahead of the European Central Bank's looming bond-buying scheme. There were also signs the euro zone economy may be turning a corner as consumer morale picked up in the bloc's largest economies and bank lending fell at a slower place. ID:nL5N0W030P ID:nL9N0QA018 Central banks' battle to keep cash flowing into the financial system to avert a deflationary spiral has driven core European government bond yields into or close to negative territory, with German seven-year bond yields the latest to go below zero for the first time on Thursday. That has pushed investors ever deeper into higher-yielding assets like equities and the MSCI All-Country World equity index .MIWD00000PUS climbed to a new record high of 434.40 points. Bets that a U.S. rate hike might come later than expected, triggered by comments by Fed chair Janet Yellen this week, also bolstered views that the environment of rock-bottom rates would hold for the near future. ID:nL1N0VZ2GO "We think central bank easing efforts will continue to provide liquidity to the markets and expect that could help drive flows into equities globally as investors search for yield," said Mark Mobius, emerging markets fund manager at Franklin Templeton. A new record low of -0.003 percent for German seven-year sovereign bonds DE7YT=RR came after Germany sold its first five-year debt with negative yields on Wednesday and after Irish borrowing rates fell below 1 percent for the first time. ID:nL5N0W01WE There was also good news from Germany on consumer morale, which rose to its highest level in more than 13 years heading into March as low oil prices fed through to households. ID:nL9N0QA018 On equity markets, Asian shares slipped back from a five-month high, but in Europe corporate updates from blue chips including Anheuser-Busch Inbev ABI.BR , Allianz ALVG.DE and Deutsche Telekom DTEGn.DE saw the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 rise 0.3 percent. About two thirds of the way into Europe's earnings season, 55 percent of companies have met or beaten profit forecasts. Overall, fourth-quarter earnings are expected to grow by 19.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, which would be Europe's best season in 3-1/2 years. The financial sector was also in focus after Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered STAN.L said former JPMorgan JPM.N investment bank boss Bill Winters will take over as chief executive in June. The bank's shares were up 2 percent. Shares of Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L fell 4 percent, meanwhile, after the lender reported a 2014 loss of 3.5 billion pounds. ID:nL5N0W016E Emerging markets .MSCIEF got support from Yellen's comments and a steadier U.S. dollar, with the Russian rouble RUB= strengthening for the third straight day. Greek equities .ATG were down more than 2 percent, with the country's fate in focus after it said on Wednesday it would struggle to make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank this year. In commodity markets, Brent crude LCOc1 fell towards $61 per barrel after a rally in the previous session, as bulging U.S. crude stockpiles offset indications of a demand recovery. London copper prices CMCU3 neared a six-week peak and gold gained for the second day on views of a U.S. rate-hike delay. (Editing by Susan Fenton) ((lionel.laurent@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 9746; Reuters Messaging: lionel.laurent.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

Metallon to spend $78 mln to raise gold output in Zimbabwe

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

HARARE, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The Zimbabwe unit of London-based Gold mining company Metallon Corporation said it will spend $78.3 million to buy new equipment and expand underground mining to increase production to 150,000 ounces of gold this year. Metallon Corporation runs five gold mines in Zimbabwe through its Metallon Gold unit which produced 98,864 ounces last year, just shy of its target of 100,000 ounces. Klara Kazmarek, Metallon head of communications said the investment would be financed from loans and internal cash and could vary depending with results of feasibility studies. Metallon also said in a statement on its website it would need $300 million to reach an output of 500,000 ounces by 2019. The company said it would cut costs to double net profit to $22 million this year, with gold production costs falling to $883 an ounce from $946 last year. Metallon said it was awaiting approval of its proposal to partially comply with the government's black economic empowerment. The southern African country requires foreign-owned mines to sell at least 51 percent to black Zimbabweans. Metallon, majority-owned by South African businessman Mzi Khumalo, said it plans to sell 10 percent stakes each to employees, local communities and a government empowerment agency. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by James Macharia) ((macdonald.dzirutwe@thomsonreuters.com; +263 4 799 112; Reuters Messaging: macdonald.dzirutwe.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: ZIMBABWE METALLON/GOLD

London platinum/palladium 0945 fix - Feb 26

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

GLOBAL MARKETS-Bond yields slide further as cheap money reigns

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* German 7-year debt goes sub-zero for first time * Looming ECB bond-buying, Fed chair comments in focus * Equities more mixed, though global stocks still near highs * Raft of corporate earnings keep Europe flat By Lionel Laurent LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - German seven-year bond yields fell below zero for the first time ever on Thursday, as investors positioned themselves for an extended era of cheap money ahead of the European Central Bank's looming bond-buying scheme. Central banks' battle to keep cash flowing into the financial system has driven other core European government bond yields into or close to negative territory. That has pushed investors into higher-yielding equities, which remained near all-time highs on Thursday despite a mixed performance. Bets that a U.S. rate hike might come later than expected, triggered by comments by Fed chair Janet Yellen this week, have also pushed bond yields lower. The new record low of -0.003 percent for German seven-year sovereign bonds DE7YT=RR came after Germany sold its first five-year debt with negative yields on Wednesday and after Irish borrowing rates fell below 1 percent for the first time. ID:nL5N0W01WE There was also good news from Germany on consumer morale, which rose to its highest level in more than 13 years heading into March as low oil prices fed through to households. ID:nL9N0QA018 U.S. Treasuries prices had risen modestly on Wednesday following two days of testimony from Yellen, which traders interpreted as suggesting the Fed could hike rates later than mid-year. ID:nL1N0VZ2GO "The massive liquidity on the market has been pushing yields down," said Saxo Bank trader Andrea Tueni. The MSCI All-Country World global share index .MIWD00000PUS ticked up 0.1 percent, though Asian shares slipped back from a five-month high and European shares opened flat. Corporate updates in Europe from blue chips including Anheuser-Busch Inbev ABI.BR , Allianz ALVG.DE and Deutsche Telekom DTEGn.DE left the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 up 0.1 percent. About two thirds of the way into Europe's earnings season, 55 percent of companies have met or beaten profit forecasts. Overall, fourth-quarter earnings are expected to grow by 19.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, which would be Europe's best season in 3-1/2 years. The financial sector was also in focus after Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered STAN.L said former JPMorgan JPM.N investment bank boss Bill Winters will take over as chief executive in June. The bank's shares were up 1.4 percent. Shares of Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L fell 2 percent, meanwhile, after reporting a 2014 loss of 3.5 billion pounds. ID:nL5N0W016E Emerging markets .MSCIEF got support from Yellen's comments and a steadier U.S. dollar, with the Russian RUB= up for the third straight day. Greek equities .ATG were down more than 2 percent, with the country's fate in focus after it said on Wednesday it would struggle to make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank this year. In commodity markets, Brent crude fell towards $61 per barrel after a rally in the previous session, as bulging U.S. crude stockpiles offset indications of a demand recovery. London copper prices neared a six-week peak and gold gained for the second day on views of a U.S. rate-hike delay. (Editing by Susan Fenton) ((lionel.laurent@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 9746; Reuters Messaging: lionel.laurent.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

PRECIOUS-Gold gains for 2nd day on view US rate hike may be delayed

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* Firm Chinese physical demand also supporting gold * Coming up: U.S. durable goods orders; 1330 GMT (Adds more analyst comment, palladium, updates prices) By Manolo Serapio Jr SINGAPORE, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Gold rose for a second session on Thursday as recent comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen pushed back expectations for the first U.S. rate hike in nearly a decade to later in the year. Firm Chinese physical demand also supported bullion as buyers from the world's No. 2 consumer trickled back into the market after the long Lunar New Year break. Spot gold XAU= was up 0.6 percent at $1,211.11 an ounce at 0654 GMT after hitting a session high of $1,213.20. Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday that while the Fed was preparing to consider rate hikes on a "meeting-by-meeting basis", an increase was not likely for at least the next couple of meetings. ID:nL1N0VY1BV Since Yellen's congressional testimony, some analysts shifted expectations for the first U.S. rate hike since 2006 to happen in September or later this year instead of June previously. The comments support "market thinking that the Fed may hike rates later this year and the path will be a little flatter than what was previously expected," said ANZ Bank analyst Victor Thianpiriya. "It's certainly taken a bit of the wind out of the U.S. dollar's sails and that's been positive for gold." Yellen did not offer any additional insight on the timing of a rate increase before the House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. U.S. gold for April delivery GCcv1 rose 0.8 percent to $1,211 an ounce. Premiums on the Shanghai Gold Exchange remained firm around $4-$5 an ounce over the global spot price as buyers returned to the market after the Feb. 18-24 holiday in China. "China remains a supportive factor for the market. But whether it's enough to really get prices rocketing higher, I don't think so, because what you really need for that is a supply shortage and we just don't have that at the moment," said Thianpiriya. Gold's dip to a seven-week low below $1,200 on Tuesday lured bargain hunters, Phillip Futures analyst Howie Lee said in a note. He sees gold consolidating between $1,200 and $1,225 in the next few days. Other precious metals also advanced, with spot palladium XPD= rising almost 1 percent to $811.60 an ounce, its loftiest since Jan. 14. Precious metals prices 0654 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Spot Gold 1211.11 6.71 +0.56 2.33 Spot Silver 16.61 0.06 +0.36 6.07 Spot Platinum 1178.50 10.52 +0.90 -1.78 Spot Palladium 809.19 5.21 +0.65 2.08 COMEX GOLD APR5 1211.00 9.50 +0.79 2.27 COMEX SILVER MAR5 16.62 0.19 +1.16 6.55 Euro/Dollar 1.1364 Dollar/Yen 118.94 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Alan Rayboulda and Prateek Chatterjee) ((manolo.serapio@thomsonreuters.com; +65 6870 3884; Reuters Messaging: manolo.serapio.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS PRECIOUS/

INDICATORS - Kazakhstan - Feb 26

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

MIDEAST STOCKS - Factors to watch - Feb 26

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

DUBAI, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Here are some factors that may affect Middle East stock markets on Thursday. Reuters has not verified the press reports and does not vouch of their accuracy. INTERNATIONAL/REGIONAL * GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares edge down from 5-month high, dollar steadies MKTS/GLOB] * Brent falls towards $61 as US crude stocks weigh O/R * MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets edge up on commodities, dovish Fed ID:nL5N0VZ43J * PRECIOUS-Gold steadies as US rate hike timing expectations ease ID:nL4N0W008K * U.S. charges 3 with conspiring to support Islamic State ID:nL1N0VZ215 * Israeli auditor criticises home prices, issue dogs election campaign ID:nL5N0VZ5PR * More moderate Syrians ready to battle Islamic State than expected -U.S. official ID:nL1N0VZ2K5 * Syrian Kurds cut IS supply line near Iraq; fears for Christians mount ID:nL5N0VZ0YT * Austria passes "Law on Islam" banning foreign money for Muslim groups ID:nL5N0VZ4SQ * Moroccan government proposes to boost central bank independence ID:nL5N0VZ5IS * Houthi militiamen storm two military bases in Yemen ID:nL5N0VZ1F3 * Libyan parliament proposes Haftar, a divisive figure, as head of army ID:nL5N0VZ4KC * Netanyahu accuses West of forsaking non-nuclear Iran pledge ID:nL5N0VZ590 * In holy city, Iran's Rouhani seeks clergy's backing for nuclear talks ID:nL5N0VZ36W TURKEY * Turkish Airlines profit almost triples, plans $3.74 bln investment ID:nL5N0VZ1U6 * Turkish Airlines planned bond issue may reach $2-3 bln - CFO ID:nL5N0VZ1YQ * Turkey's Erdogan questions whether central bank under external influence ID:nL5N0VZ44P * Turkish lira falls on Erdogan's criticism of central bank ID:nI7N0OI019 * Libyan parliament proposes appointing general Haftar as top commander - spokesman ID:nL5N0VZ3RS * EBRD lends 175 million euros for Turkey's Dalaman airport financing ID:nL5N0VZ2ZN EGYPT * Egyptian central bank seen keeping rates steady ID:nL5N0VZ3PT SAUDI ARABIA * UAE's Etisalat Q4 profit jumps 45 pct, below forecast ID:nL5N0VZ1VN * ANALYSIS-Saudi satisfaction with 'calm' oil markets signals $60 anchor ID:nL5N0VZ5D4 * Saudi Aramco sees Jizan refinery's first units starting up in 2017 ID:nL5N0VZ52J * Saudi Mobily suffers 2014 loss, loan covenant breach ID:nL5N0VZ2BI * Saudi's Mobily removes CEO Kaf after accounting probe ID:nL5N0VZ0LL * Saudi's Naimi says oil demand growing as prices stabilise ID:nL5N0VZ1SU UNITED ARAB EMIRATES * UAE firm signs $235 mln support contract with Oshkosh ID:nL5N0VY31E * INTERVIEW-Emirates airline urges U.S. to ignore subsidy claims ID:nL5N0VZ47U * UAE's First Gulf Bank sees 9-11 pct loan growth in 2015 -CFO ID:nL5N0VZ3X8 QATAR * Qatar's Hassad Food eyes Brazilian sugar, poultry assets IPO ID:nL5N0VZ615 * Qatar bank Al Khaliji gets shareholder assent for up to $1.75 bln bond sale ID:nL5N0VZ4A4 * INTERVIEW-Qatar investment slowing as oil slumps -Investment House CEO ID:nL5N0VX2RL * Qatar Navigation raises 2014 dividend as Q4 profit jumps 32.8 pct ID:nL5N0VZ0FX OMAN * Moody's changes outlook to negative on 5 Omani banks' deposit ratings ID:nMDY8MzdM0 BAHRAIN * Bahrain's GFH plans $230 mln sukuk issue in 2015 to fund acquisitions ID:nL5N0VY3ZH (Compiled by Dubai newsroom) ((dubai.newsroom@reuters.com)) Keywords: MIDEAST FACTORS/

CNH Tracker-Shanghai-Hong Kong gold link-up may offer new regional benchmark

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

By Michelle Chen HONG KONG, Feb 26 (Reuters) - China is set to launch a link between gold markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong this year following a landmark stock connect scheme, aiming to enhance its pricing power of gold contracts and ultimately challenge its competitors in the West. While China is the world's largest consumer of the precious metal, having surpassed India, daily trading of gold in financial centre Shanghai is small compared with London. The move to develop gold trading comes as more trade flows to Asia and is in line with Beijing's efforts to open up its domestic markets to foreign investors. China wants more market players to use its yuan currency when settling trade contracts and for making investments. "We will cooperate with the Shanghai Gold Exchange and set up a link this year, making it a platform for market participants in Hong Kong to enter mainland China's gold market," Chan Sheung Chi, president of Hong Kong's Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society said this week. Chan offered no details on how the gold connector would work, but said the launch time could be as early as in June. The Shanghai Gold Exchange is the world's biggest physical gold exchange, and all buying and selling of spot bullion in China has to happen through the exchange. Precious metals and commodities are areas where Beijing has been eager to promote yuan usage, but so far progress has been slow compared to its use for settlement in cross-border trade. The Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society, which was founded in 1910 and has 171 member firms, introduced gold bar contracts denominated in yuan in 2011. China's Bohai Commodity Exchange also launched cross-border spot trading of iron ore and natural rubber in yuan in Hong Kong in 2013. Potential for the yuan's internationalisation via gold trading is huge as China is among the largest consumer of many commodities, including coal and copper. Shanghai's pilot free trade zone also launched an international board for gold trading last year. The push to open up its tightly-controlled markets comes at a time when western regulators are investigating banks over pricing of metals, providing an opportunity for Asian rivals to have a bigger say in commodity pricing. U.S. officials are investigating at least 10 major banks for possible rigging of precious-metals markets, even though European regulators dropped a similar probe after finding no evidence of wrongdoing, according to a Wall Street Journal report. ID:nWNAB0631T London is presently the global benchmark for spot gold while New York is the benchmark for futures prices. Charles Li, chief executive of the Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, said the bourse had entered into a new era for mutual market access with the mainland and the former British colony should rely on its advantages to make use of this opportunity. Li expects more market link-ups to follow after the stock connect scheme was launched last November, including for equity derivatives, commodities, international equities, fixed income and currencies. German exchange operator Deutsche Boerse DB1Gn.DE said last week it aimed to conclude a wide-ranging cooperation agreement with the Shanghai Stock Exchange soon, completing a key element to its Asian expansion plans. ID:nL5N0VT2KF WEEK IN REVIEW: * South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics 005930.KS said on Wednesday it is preparing to start buying or selling the Chinese yuan for the won from the market in Seoul, which opened less than three months ago. ID:nL4N0VZ0BK * South Korea said on Wednesday it and China had completed the "initialising" process on a bilateral free trade agreement and were aiming for formal signing of the pact within the first half of this year. ID:nS6N0UU00T * The clearing function for the Toronto-based renminbi clearing hub is to have a launching ceremony on March 23, an executive for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China 601398.SS told a House committee. ID:nL1N0VR106 * China has made it easier for foreign banks without full yuan business licences to buy or sell foreign currencies against the yuan, its foreign exchange regulator said. ID:nL4N0VM3YH CHART OF THE WEEK: The yuan's share for documentary credits increased in value from 7.32 percent in January 2013 to 9.43 percent in January 2015, strengthening its position as the second most used currency for this purpose, ranking behind the U.S. dollar which has a share of nearly 80 percent, according to SWIFT: http://link.reuters.com/xaq24w RECENT STORIES: Chinese firms turn to euro bonds as dollar funding costs rise ID:nL4N0VQ19Q CNH Tracker-Regulators, banks act to counter cash tightness ahead of Chinese holiday ID:nL4N0VL171 Asian bond ETFs ease investment barriers in hunt for yield ID:nL4N0VN1LZ More stories about the CNH market CNH Daily onshore yuan reports CNY/ Daily China money market reports CN/ Offshore yuan rate CNH= Onshore yuan rate CNY=CN Offshore yuan dealt CNH=D3 Onshore yuan on CFETS CNY=CFXS THOMSON REUTERS SPEED GUIDES CN/OFFSHORE CN/HIGHLIGHT NDF/3 NDF/4 0#CNHBOND (Editing by Jacqueline Wong) ((michelle.chen@thomsonreuters.com; +852 2843 6587; Reuters Messaging: min.chen.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS OFFSHORE/YUAN

Ausdrill sees silver lining in Australian gold as iron ore drops

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

By James Regan SYDNEY, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Mine services group Ausdrill Ltd ASL.AX on Thursday said it was counting on a resurgence in Australian gold mining to offset weakness in its iron ore business after it posted a A$177 million ($139.12 million) first-half loss on the back of A$197 million of impairments. Higher output and cheap oil coupled with an interest rate cut in Australia this month puts most Australian gold miners in the black heading into the second half of fiscal 2015, according to analysts. The Reserve Bank of Australia's decision to lower the official rate by a quarter point to a record low of 2.25 percent on Feb 3 prompted the Australian dollar AUD=D4 to drop as low as $0.7627, sweeping the Australian gold price XAUAUD=R to its highest since October 2012. The S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Gold index .AXGD is up 28 percent so far this year. Ausdrill continues to face a tough outlook, largely due to overall lower commodity prices and a drop off in mine work in the Pilbara iron belt, according to Managing Director Ron Sayers, but sees a bright spot emerging in gold. "Gold is our core business, and we therefore expect to benefit from a resumption of spending by the industry which is likely to occur later this year," he said. On average, the cost of mining gold in the last quarter dropped by 4 percent on the previous quarter, while gold was up about 14 percent in Australian dollar terms XAUAUD=R , according to Morgans Financial analyst James Wilson. "This combined with exposure to a full quarter of cheap diesel, cheaper mining contractor rates and a higher Australian gold price should flow through to a solid uptick in second half profits for the sector," Wilson said. Australian iron ore miners, on the other hand are operating on austerity budgets in hopes of riding out a dramatic fall in the price of the steel-making ingredient to roughly half what it was a year ago. Atlas Iron AGO.AX on Monday said it would be "unrelenting" in its focus on cost reduction after posting an underlying half-year net loss of A$139 million against a A$61 million profit a year earlier. ID:nL4N0VY13S ($1 = 1.2723 Australian dollars) ((jim.regan@thomsonreuters.com; +612 9373-1814; Reuters Messaging: jim.regan.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: AUSDRILL AUSTRALIA/GOLD

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