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HIGHLIGHTS-Polish central bank comments after rate decision

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

WARSAW, March 4 (Reuters) - Following are comments from Polish central bank governor Marek Belka on Wednesday after the bank cut rates by a larger-than-expected 50 basis points to a new record low of 1.5 percent. ID:nW8N0VT00N The central bank statement after the decision is available at http://www.nbp.pl/en/aktualnosci/2014/mpc_2015_03_04.pdf ON RATES "I don't think that one could talk today about any realistic scenario that could violate the guidance that was included in the statement (where the central bank said the rate cut cycle was over)." "I said there was some space to cut rates, and this space has been exhausted." "There is never a situation that the promise of the MPC in any country is carved in stone. But taking into account the current economic situation, what one can expect on the basis of the projection and our observation of economic trends is that I cannot see room for further rate cuts and expectations thereof." "Instead of waiting for the outcome of this easing (in the euro zone) we lowered rates today. I think that the expected effects of the (ECB's) quantitative easing led the (Monetary Policy) Council to take this decision (a 50 basis point cut), this was one the factors." "This was a difficult decision ... But the discussion was full of different arguments and we've worked out a solid majority." "The Council is aware that this is the last year of the Council and we should have more time to prepare new assumptions for monetary policy, perhaps also about ways of communication." ON THE ZLOTY EURPLN=D2 "We are not targeting any level of the exchange rate. The factor that stopped me, for instance, last month from proposing a rate cut was the turbulence on the FX market. Today, it is not present any more; this factor has ceased to exist." "We are not targeting any level, of course, but when it comes to potential interventions, we've actually forgotten about them. But, as you have just mentioned them, maybe it will remind someone in the market about them. "If a major currency ... is subject to quantitative easing on a significant scale, then one can expect appreciation pressure on currencies surrounding the euro. We have seen the reaction of Swedes, Danes and Romanians." (Compiled by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Marcin Goettig and Kevin Liffey) ((marcin.goclowski@thomsonreuters.com; +48 22 6539724; Reuters Messaging: marcin.goclowski.reuters.com@thomsonreuters.net)) Keywords: POLAND RATES/

FOREX-Dollar rallies to new high as euro sags below $1.11

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

* Dollar index hits 11-year peak * Euro sinks below $1.11 to new low * U.S. jobs data seen positive for Friday payrolls report (Recasts, adds quotes and prices; changes byline and dateline; previous LONDON) By Michael Connor NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) - The dollar climbed to fresh highs on Wednesday, getting lift from solid U.S. jobs and business data, as the euro sank below $1.11 to an 11-1/2 year low ahead of the launch of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank. The dollar, bolstered by recent rises in U.S. government bond yields, hit its highest since September 2003 against a basket of currencies .DXY and was last up 0.60 percent at 95.957. Earlier it struck a high of 96.041 in trading after economic data releases. The ADP National Employment Report showed a gain of 212,000 private-sector jobs. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP to show a gain of 220,000 jobs. ID:nL1N0W610Y Separately, the Institute for Supply Management said its services index was 56.9 in February, up slightly from 56.7 in January. Analysts were looking for a reading of 56.5, according to a Reuters poll. The ADP data likely signalled strength in Friday's potentially markets-moving government jobs report for February, according to Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto. "What's really important now is that we get a non-farm print on Friday that comes close to that 235,000 that is expected, or higher," Sutton said. "That will keep the expectations for a Fed interest rate hike fairly near term. For the U.S. dollar that is key." The euro last stood at $1.1072, off 0.90 percent for the day and below a key support level, Sutton said. It fell to as little as $1.1066, which was the lowest level for the euro against the dollar since September 2003, according to Thomson Reuters data. The euro also declined to one-month lows against the Japanese yen JPY= , which was flat against the dollar at 119.72 yen to the dollar. The ECB is expected to announce on Thursday details of its planned 1.1 trillion euro bond-buying program, meant to spur European economies as the Fed readies to raise its rates for the first time since 2006. There has been more momentum behind the greenback in the past week after a month of mediocre data which had left it struggling to build on six months of gains against all of its major currency peers. The dollar index has gained about 6.3 percent so far this year, helped by the U.S. economy's better performance against other major world economic regions and relatively higher U.S. yields. (Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa and Anirban Nag; Editing by Toby Chopra and Christian Plumb) ((patrick.graham@thomsonreuters.com)(+44207 542 9429)(patrick.graham.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

POLONIA Rate falls 0.05 pp.

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

WARSAW, Mar 4 (Reuters) - POLONIA the reference rate for Overnight deposits amounted to 1.69 percent. The volume of transactions concluded till 16:30 by banks participating in POLONIA fixing amounted to 930 mln PLN. Note: Description of reference rate at: http://www.acipolska.pl/ ((warsaw.newsroom@reuters.com))

New Issue- Croatia prices 1.50 bln euro 2025 bond

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

Mar 04 (Reuters) -Following are terms and conditions of a bond priced on Wednesday. Borrower Croatia, Republic of Issue Amount 1.50 billion euro Maturity Date March 11, 2025 Coupon 3.0 pct Issue price 97.8450 Reoffer price 97.8450 Spread 255 basis points Underlying govt bond Over the midswaps Payment Date March 11, 2015 Lead Manager(s) BARC, ERSTE, JP Morgan & UNI Ratings Ba1 (Moody's), BB (S&P) & BB (Fitch) Listing Lux Full fees Undisclosed Denoms (K) 100-1 Governing Law English ISIN XS1117298916 Security details and RIC, when available, will be on Z6OP Customers can right-click on the code for performance analysis of this new issue For ratings information, double click on RRS0001 For all bonds data, double click on BONDS For Top international bonds news TOP/DBT For news about this issuer, double click on the issuer RIC, where assigned, and hit the newskey (F9 on Reuters terminals) ((EMEA Fixed Income Desk Bangalore; Satish.KB@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging Satish.KB.reuters.com@reuters.net; +91 80 6677 2510, fax +44 20 7542 5285))

PRECIOUS-Gold retreats on strong dollar after U.S. data

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

* SPDR fund logs second day of investor outflows (Updates prices, adds comment) By Clara Denina LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) - Gold fell on Wednesday, heading for a third day of losses, as the dollar extended gains versus the euro after U.S. economic data. Data on Wednesday showed private employers added 212,000 jobs in February, while January's private payrolls were revised upwards to 250,000. ID:nZON1YEC00 Spot gold XAU= , higher initially, fell 0.1 percent to $1,201.30 an ounce by 1538 GMT. The metal had fallen to a one-week low of $1,194.90 on Tuesday, dented by an 11-year high of the dollar and expectations of a U.S. interest rate hike. U.S. gold for April delivery GCcv1 dropped $3.90 to $1,200.40 an ounce. "It feels like gold is going to test the $1,200 psychological level," Bernard Sin, senior vice president at MKS Finance. "It is struggling to find the real direction and in the meantime it is reacting to the dollar and the U.S. data, which will continue to drive the market for now." The dollar hit its highest since September 2003 against a basket of leading currencies, bolstered by strong U.S. government bond yields this week. FRX/ A stronger U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated gold more expensive for holders of other currencies, while the rise in returns from U.S. bonds is negative for the metal, which pays no interest. The bullion market was likely to focus on February nonfarm payrolls report on Friday to gauge when the Federal Reserve might raise rates. Expectations of robust U.S. economic data and higher U.S. interest rates, coupled with investor outflows from bullion funds, are seen as the biggest drawbacks for non-interest-bearing gold. Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust GLD , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.35 percent to 760.80 tonnes on Tuesday. That followed a near 8-tonne fall on Monday, the biggest outflow this year. Traders were also keeping an eye on the euro, which has been subdued over the past few sessions ahead of a European Central Bank policy meeting on Thursday and the implementation of its government bond buying programme due to start this month. Spot silver XAG= fell 0.3 percent to $16.17 an ounce, while palladium XPD= was unchanged at $827.00 an ounce and platinum XPT= edged 0.6 percent lower to $1,175.00 an ounce. (Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; Editing by William Hardy and Susan Thomas) ((clara.denina@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 207 542 9420)(Reuters Messaging: clara.denina.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS PRECIOUS/

Czech central banker Rusnok ECB steps should help Czech economy

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

PRAGUE, March 4 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme should help the revival of the Czech economy, Czech central bank governing board member Jiri Rusnok told a business seminar on Wednesday. He also said that low interest rates in Europe could prompt some investors to look to currencies that could appreciate but that no pressure on the crown was visible and investors were aware of the Czech bank's commitment to its weak crown policy. The Czech central bank has held interest rates near zero and put a cap on the crown currency exchange rate to keep monetary conditions easy amid deflationary pressures from the euro zone. (Reporting by Jason Hovet, writing by Jan Lopatka) ((jan.lopatka@thomsonreuters.com; +420224190474; Reuters Messaging: jan.lopatka.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CZECH CENBANK/RUSNOK

Swiss government has not asked for new currency cap on Sfr-spokesman

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

ZURICH, March 4 (Reuters) - The Swiss government has not asked the Switzerland's central bank to introduce a new currency cap on the value of the Swiss franc, a spokesman for the government said on Wednesday. "The government has made no demand for a currency cap," a government spokesman said. Swiss newspaper Handelszeitung had reported earlier that the country's finance and economy ministers said the central bank should consider a new cap on the value of the Swiss franc. A spokesman for the Swiss National Bank declined to comment on the report. Representatives for the Swiss finance and economy ministries were not immediately able to comment. (Reporting By Joshua Franklin) ((joshua.franklin@thomsonreuters.com; +41 58 306 7336; Reuters Messaging: joshua.franklin.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: SWISS SNB/CAP

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks wobble, euro hits 11-1/2 year low before ECB

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

* Europe equities fall after regional PMI data * Euro weakens ahead of expected details on ECB's bond program * Dollar index rises to 11-1/2 year high ahead of U.S. jobs data (Updates with U.S. market action; changes dateline; previous LONDON) By Richard Leong NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) - Stock prices around the world fell on Wednesday on profit-taking, while the euro dropped to an 11-1/2 year low ahead of a European Central Bank meeting where policymakers are expected to offer details on their bond purchase stimulus plan. In early U.S. trading, the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 retreated further from the record highs set on Monday, while major gauges on top European and Japanese shares were below their multi-year peaks. "Given the strength we've had in the equity markets since the beginning of February, we are transitioning into a sideways-trending market as investors digest the recent gains and look for greater clarity," said Terry Sandven, senior equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis. Brent crude was just below $60 a barrel after Saudi Arabia's oil minister said he expected the oil market to stabilize after prices tumbled to a near six-year low in January. The U.S. government's February payrolls report due on Friday is seen as the week's premier data. Further evidence of jobs and wage growth would support the notion the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates as early as this summer. A private report on U.S. jobs issued on Wednesday trimmed expectations of a robust February payroll figure. Payroll processor ADP said domestic companies added 212,000 workers last month, slightly less than forecast. ID:nZON1YEC00 A separate report showed the U.S. services sector grew at a faster pace and added more workers in February. ID:nN9N0VM00W Economists polled by Reuters projected total U.S. payrolls grew 240,000 in February, below January's 257,000 increase. ECONUS The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield US10YT=RR was flat at 2.12 percent, paring its earlier decline after the stronger-than-expected services sector data. US/ <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Graphics ADP U.S. private jobs http://link.reuters.com/fex44t Asset performance in 2015 http://link.reuters.com/gap87v ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> In early trading, the Dow .DJI was down 142.82 points, or 0.78 percent, at 18,060.55. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was down 16.12 points, or 0.76 percent, at 2,091.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 31.58 points, or 0.63 percent, at 4,948.32. .N The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 edged up 0.4 percent to 1,551.37 after Markit's final euro zone composite purchasing managers' index (PMI) came in slightly weaker than a preliminary estimate. ID:nL9N0OQ00D .EU Tokyo's Nikkei .N225 ended down 0.6 percent despite data showing a pick-up in China's services sector and a surprise rate cut in India. ID:nL4N0W51M0 .T The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS , which tracks shares in 45 nations, slipped 0.7 percent to 428.16. Lower stock prices moved in tandem with a weaker euro. It fell 0.8 percent to $1.1083 EUR= after touching $1.1073, the lowest since September 2003. The single currency hit a near one-month low against the yen. It was last down 0.9 percent at 132.55 yen EURJPY= . The dollar strengthened against a basket of currencies .DXY , hitting an 11-1/2 year peak. It was last up 0.6 percent at 96.962. The greenback, however, was little changed against the yen at 119.70 yen JPY= . FRX/ Brent crude LCOc1 was last down $1.35, or down 2.21 percent, at $59.67 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 was last off 50 cents, or 0.99 percent, at $50.00. O/R Spot gold prices XAU= rose $1.04 or 0.09 percent to $1,204.35 an ounce. GOL/ (Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak in New York; Lionel Laurent, Blaise Robinson and Emelia Sithole-Matarise in London; Editing by Susan Fenton) ((richard.leong@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6313; Reuters Messaging: richard.leong.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net; Twitter @RichardLeong2)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

S.Africa's rand falls to three week-low on economy woes

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG, March 4 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand hit a three-week low on Wednesday as the U.S. currency strengthened and the deputy central bank governor warned domestic economic growth continued to disappoint. At 1520 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 was trading 0.75 percent weaker at 11.8500 to the dollar, its weakest level since Feb 12. Deputy Central Bank Governor Francois Groepe said on Wednesday economic growth was disappointing, but the bar for South Africa to ease monetary policy remained high, with underlying inflationary pressures persisting. ID:nJ8N0V803U Emerging market currencies are set to sink further into decade or even record lows against the dollar as interest rates start rising off zero in the United States, a Reuters poll predicted on Wednesday. ID:nL9N0QA01M "Emerging currencies in general remain on the back foot. It doesn't look good for the (rand) for the weeks ahead because the dollar remains the currency of choice for now," said Ion de Vleeschauwer, a currency dealer at Bidvest Bank. U.S. jobs data due on Friday was also on investors' minds, pushing the dollar index .DXY to an 11 1/2-year high. ID:nL5N0W62O4 In fixed income, government bonds also weakened with and the yield for the 2026 benchmark ZAR186= up 5 basis points to 7.760 percent. (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by James Macharia) ((Olivia.Kumwenda@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 775 3159; Reuters Messaging: olivia.kumwenda.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS SAFRICA/CURRENCY

Sterling hits 3-wk low as Britain's services sector growth lags U.S.

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

(updates prices after U.S. data, comments) LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) - Sterling fell to a three-week low against the dollar on Wednesday after growth in Britain's dominant services sector eased in February lagging the United States where growth picked up modestly last month. The UK Markit/CIPS UK Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) slipped more than expected to 56.7, from 57.2 in January, and well below a Reuters forecast of 57.5. For the United States, the index rose to 57.1, its highest level since October. The reading was roughly even with the preliminary read of 57.0 and up from the 54.2 recorded in January. ECONUS Sterling fell to $1.5270 GBP=D4 , it lowest level since Feb. 12 and down from around $1.5357 before the UK data, leaving it 0.6 percent lower on the day. It was trading firmer against the euro at 72.50 pence per euro EURGBP=D4 , not far from a 7-year high of 72.37 struck earlier in the day. "The pound has slipped after activity in such a key growth contributor fell below expectations," said Jameel Ahmad, chief market analyst at FXTM. "This somewhat erases optimism that the UK economy was looking at scoring two hat-tricks of solid monthly PMIs in a row (construction, manufacturing and services)." Data earlier this week showed growth in the construction sector reached a four-month high while manufacturing growth was at a seven-month peak in February. Growth in all three sectors beat expectations in January, reinforcing the view that the Bank of England could raise rates sooner than many anticipate. The euro was broadly weaker as traders geared up for the European Central Bank's asset buying programme, which is due to begin this month. The weaker currency helped the euro zone's own PMI reading to a seven-month high in February, but investors were wary of the euro compared with the pound. Sterling has been amongst the strongest performing G10 developed world currencies over the past month, fuelled by expectations rates will rise early next year. But an election in May, whose result is uncertain, is prompting investors, including hedge funds, to stay cautious. "Hedge funds are weary of the pound ahead of the general elections in the UK on May 7," a note from Societe Generale's asset allocation team said. "The net short sterling positions were only slightly reduced in view of the recent strengthening of sterling but dangers lurk." Investors are concerned by the prospect of heavier spending and taxes and more regulation of the financial sector under a possible centre-left Labour government. They also worry that Britain could leave the European Union if the ruling Conservatives win. Under pressure from the anti-EU UK Independence Party, the Conservatives have promised a referendum on EU membership within two years if they win. (Reporting by Anirban Nag, editing by Nigel Stephenson/Jeremy Gaunt) ((anirban.nag@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 8399 ; Reuters Messaging: anirban.nag.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/STERLING

Czech central banker Rusnok no concern on crown exchange rate level

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

PRAGUE, March 4 (Reuters) - There is no reason to be concerned over the current exchange rate levels of the Czech crown, central bank governing board member Jiri Rusnok said on Wednesday. Rusnok also told Reuters on the sidelines of a seminar he was quite optimistic on the demand side of the economy. The central bank has pledged to keep the crown on the weak side of 27 to the euro into the second half of 2016 and has said it would not respond to direct effects of low oil prices when considering policy, including the exchange rate level. ID:nL6N0VF3UV The crown has firmed in the past weeks and neared the 27 level but has since dipped back. It stood at 27.480 to the euro on Wednesday afternoon. (Reporting by Jaosn Hovet, wtriting by Jan Lopatka) ((jan.lopatka@thomsonreuters.com; +420224190474; Reuters Messaging: jan.lopatka.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CZECH CENBANK/RUSNOK

Brazil real weakens to 3 per dollar for 1st time in over 10 years

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 4 (Reuters) - The Brazilian real weakened sharply on Wednesday, hitting the level of 3 per dollar for the first time in over 10 years, after President Dilma Rousseff's austerity plan suffered a major setback in Congress. The real BRL= lost more than 2 percent, briefly hitting the psychological-relevant level of 3 per dollar for the first time since August, 2004. It later traded around 2.995. Upset over Rousseff's austerity measures, legislators unexpectedly threw out a presidential decree that would have raised payroll taxes and helped close a gaping hole in Brazil's budget. ID:nL1N0W52VQ Investors fear Brazil may suffer additional credit rating downgrades, possibly losing its investment grade, if the government fails reach its crucial fiscal savings target this year. (Reporting by Walter Brandimarte) ((walter.brandimarte@thomsonreuters.com; +55 21 2223 7149; Reuters Messaging: walter.brandimarte.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BRAZIL REAL/THREE

UPDATE 1-Bank of Canada, happy with impact of Jan cut, holds rates steady

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds remarks on inflation, Q4 growth, global economy) By Randall Palmer and Leah Schnurr OTTAWA, March 4 (Reuters) - The Bank of Canada held interest rates steady on Wednesday, in line with signals it sent out over the past two weeks, and voiced satisfaction with how the market and the economy have reacted to its surprise rate cut in January. "The risks around the inflation profile are now more balanced and financial stability risks are evolving as expected in January," the central bank said as it announced its benchmark overnight interest rate would stay at 0.75 percent. "Financial conditions in Canada have eased materially since January, in response to the bank's recent monetary policy action and to global financial developments," it stated, referring to lower rates along the yield curve and to a wide range of asset prices, including the lower Canadian dollar. Canada is a major oil producer, and the bank said these easier monetary conditions will mitigate the negative effects of low oil prices on the economy by boosting growth through stronger non-energy exports and investment. Crude oil prices are close to the assumptions the bank made in January, it said. The negative impact of oil prices in the first half of 2015 may be more front-end loaded than projected in January, it said, while data for 2014 as a whole suggest rotation into stronger growth in non-energy exports and investment is well underway. After the Jan. 21 rate cut, the market had overwhelmingly expected that another one would come on Wednesday, but Deputy Governor Agathe Cote warned on Feb. 19 that nothing was predetermined. Last week, Governor Stephen Poloz said the bank had taken out the right amount of "insurance" in January. By Tuesday morning, after the release of stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter economic growth figures, the market had reduced bets of rate cut to about 20 percent. The bank said total inflation had fallen as expected because of cheaper oil, and core inflation remains close to the bank's 2 percent target. Core continues to be temporarily boosted by the pass-through effects of the lower Canadian dollar and sector-specific factors, it said in remarks that suggest it is not concerned that core is over target at 2.2 percent. Annualized growth of 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter was consistent with the bank's expectations, and the global economy has evolved broadly in line with its projections in January, it said. It noted that the United States remains the main source of momentum, while headwinds linger in many regions, leading a growing number of central banks to ease monetary conditions. (Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway) ((randall.palmer@thomsonreuters.com, Twitter @reutersPalmerR; +1-613-235-6745; Reuters Messaging: randall.palmer.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CANADA CENBANK/

New Issue-Schneider prices 750 mln euro 2025 bond

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

Mar 04 (Reuters) -Following are terms and conditions of a bond priced on Wednesday. Borrower Schneider Electric SE SCHN.PA Issue Amount 750 million euro Maturity Date March 11, 2025 Coupon 0.875 pct Issue price 98.825 Reoffer price 98.825 Yield 0.999 pct Spread 30 basis points Underlying govt bond Over Mid-swaps Payment Date March 11, 2015 Lead Manager(s) Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Musi & Natixis Ratings A3 (Moody's) Listing Paris Full fees Undisclosed Denoms (K) 100 Governing Law French Notes Launched under issuer's EMTN programme ISIN FR0012601367 For ratings information, double click on RRS0001 For all bonds data, double click on BONDS For Top international bonds news TOP/DBT For news about this issuer, double click on the issuer RIC, where assigned, and hit the newskey (F9 on Reuters terminals) ((EMEA Fixed Income Desk Bangalore; rajesh.shenoy@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging rajesh.shenoy.reuters.com@reuters.net; +91 80 6677 2510, fax +44 20 7542 5285))

Poland's 50-bps rate cut was supported by a solid majority - c.bank head

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

WARSAW, March 4 (Reuters) - There was a solid majority in the central bank's Monetary Policy Council that voted for a larger-than-expected 50-basis point rate cut on Wednesday, the bank's governor said. "This was a difficult decision," Governor Marek Belka told a news conference. "But the discussion was full of different arguments and we've worked out a solid majority." Belka also said that it is highly unlikely that the central bank would return to rate cuts, after it brought them to a historical low of 1.5 percent. (Reporting by Jakub Iglewski and Pawel Sobczak; Writing by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Marcin Goettig) ((marcin.goclowski@thomsonreuters.com; +48 22 6539724; Reuters Messaging: marcin.goclowski.reuters.com@thomsonreuters.net)) Keywords: POLAND CENBANK/BELKA

Turkish economy minister expects more rate cuts from the central bank

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

ISTANBUL, March 4 (Reuters) - Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Wednesday the government expects further and deeper interest rate cuts from the central bank, under pressure for weeks to reduce rates and boost growth. Zeybekci also said Turkey was not worried about the foreign exchange rate as the lira continued its slump to fresh lows, reaching 2.567 against the dollar at 1508 GMT as he spoke. The decline in the lira would have a temporary effect on inflation, he said. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Nick Tattersall) ((ayla.yackley@thomsonreuters.com; +90 212 350 7000; Reuters Messaging: ayla.yackley.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: TURKEY ECONOMY/ZEYBEKCI

UPDATE 1-Brazil set for another steep rate hike as inflation surges

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds setback in fiscal measures and market reaction) By Alonso Soto BRASILIA, March 4 (Reuters) - Brazil is likely to raise interest rates to the highest level in six years on Wednesday, maintaining an aggressive pace of monetary tightening despite fears the once-booming economy is slipping into a deep recession. Forty three of 48 economists surveyed by Reuters expect the central bank to raise its benchmark Selic rate BRCBMP=ECI by 50 basis points for the third straight time to 12.75 percent. The remaining five forecast a 25-point hike. ID:nL1N0W11EL The central bank has raised rates by 125 basis points since October to curb inflation that has surged in the 12 months through mid-February to a 12-year high of 7.36 percent. "A sharp rise in Brazilian inflation in the first half of February has tipped the balance towards another 50 basis point increase in the Selic," Neil Shearing, an economist with Capital Economics, wrote in a note last week. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is backing the bank's efforts with spending cuts and tax increases to ease price pressures and regain the confidence of investors distrustful of her interventionist policies. The leftist leader's newfound austerity policies are weighing on an already slowing economy that is starting to shed jobs, undermining her popularity and support among allies in Congress. In a major setback for Rousseff, the Senate late on Tuesday threw out a decree to reduce tax breaks that aimed to save the government 5.35 billion reais ($1.80 billion) this year alone. Some economists say Congress' resistance to support the belt-tightening measures could raise pressure on the central bank to further raise rates. "The central bank will now need to be tougher in its handling of monetary policy," said Alessandra Ribeiro, economist with consultancy Tendencias. Interest-rate futures 0#2DIJ: rallied on Wednesday as Rousseff's setback in Congress increased investors' risk aversion and expectations the central bank may be more aggressive in raising rates. The Brazilian real BRBY slid nearly 2 percent against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday. Economists expect the Brazilian economy to contract more than 0.5 percent this year, the steepest drop since 1990, with some warning that possible energy and water rationing could trim another 2 percentage points off growth. While other major emerging economies embark on new stimulus efforts, Brazil is tightening its belt in a bid to reverse a deterioration in the country's public accounts that are threatening its investment-grade debt rating. ($1 = 2.9676 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by Peter Galloway and Phil Berlowitz) ((alonso.soto@thomsonreuters.com; +55 61 34267027; Reuters Messaging: alonso.soto.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BRAZIL ECONOMY/RATES

CANADA FX-C$ stronger after Bank of Canada holds rates

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

TORONTO, March 4 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened to a session high against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday after the Bank of Canada kept interest rates unchanged and said it was satisfied with how the market and the economy had reacted to its surprise cut in January. ID:nBCL4EEB7W The Canadian dollar CAD=D4 firmed to $1.2449 to greenback, or 80.32 U.S. cents, much stronger than just prior to the announcement and stronger than Tuesday's finish at C$1.2490, or 80.06 U.S. cents. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama) ((solarina.ho@thomsonreuters.com; 1-416-941-8067; Reuters Messaging: solarina.ho.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter: @shtweet)) Keywords: MARKETS CANADA/CURRENCY

Egypt's pound steady on official auction, slightly weaker on black market

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

CAIRO, March 4 (Reuters) - Egypt's central bank kept the pound EGP= steady at 7.53 pounds to the dollar at a foreign exchange auction on Wednesday, and the pound remained marginally weaker albeit relatively stable on the black market. The central bank said it offered $40 million on Wednesday and sold $38.3 million at a cut-off price of 7.5301 pounds per dollar CBEO . The central bank has now kept the official exchange rate steady for more than a month after letting the pound weaken in an effort to wipe out black market trading. The pound was slightly weaker on the parallel market, with one trader quoting a rate of 7.66 pounds compared to Monday's 7.65 pounds. Analysts say the central bank may have decided to stabilise the currency to stop it from depreciating too much and because it hopes other recent measures will have an impact. The central bank cancelled a regular dollar auction on Sunday and instead sold $420 million in the interbank market. ID:nL5N0W30J5 Economists said the move was intended to ensure liquidity in the economy as it moves to eradicate a currency black market and boost investor confidence. The rates at which banks are allowed to trade dollars are determined by the results of central bank sales EGYTV , giving the bank effective control over official exchange rates. As well as letting the pound depreciate, the central bank gave banks permission late last month to widen the band around the official rate at which they can trade dollars and imposed a limit on dollar deposits in banks. (Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Crispian Balmer) ((yara.bayoumy@thomsonreuters.com; tel: +202 2578 3290; Reuters Messaging: yara.bayoumy.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: EGYPT FOREX/

Poland's rate cut cycle is over, c.bank says

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

WARSAW, March 4 (Reuters) - Poland's central bank said on Wednesday that its monetary easing cycle is over after it cut rates by a larger-than-expected 50 basis points to a record low of 1.5 percent. The bank's rate-setting body said that it cut rates earlier on Wednesday due to a prolonged period of deflation and increased risk that consumer price dynamics would stay below the bank's target of 2.5 percent in the medium-term. "The decision on cutting interest rates at the present meeting means an end of the monetary policy easing cycle," the bank said in a statement. (Reporting by Pawel Sobczak and Jakub Iglewski; Writing by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Marcin Goettig) ((marcin.goettig@thomsonreuters.com; +48226539720; Reuters Messaging: marcin.goettig.reuters.com@thomsonreuters.net)) Keywords: POLAND CENBANK/RATES STATEMENT

CORRECTED-EBRD agrees lending to Greece until end of 2020 - EBRD president

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

(Removes reference to cheap aid in the first paragraph) BRUSSELS, March 3 (Reuters) - The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Tuesday its shareholders had voted unanimously to start providing investment and funding support to Greece for the next five years. The former Greek government put in a request late last year to become an EBRD 'country of operation' and make it eligible for the development bank's support, but the process was put on hold during the uncertainty of the country's recent elections. However last week's four-month Greek aid extension by the euro zone has put it back on track and EBRD shareholders -- 64 countries plus the European Union and European Investment Bank -- unanimously back the proposal on Friday. Chakrabarti said there would be no upper limit for the loans to Greece but that the amount would depend upon the projects proposed. (Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Jon Boyle) ((philip.blenkinsop@thomsonreuters.com; +32 2 287 6838; Reuters Messaging: philip.blenkinsop.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GREECE EBRD/

Nigerian naira flat vs dollar in thin trade

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

LAGOS, March 4 (Reuters) - Nigeria's naira currency closed flat against the dollar on the interbank market on Wednesday in thin trade in which two energy companies made dollar sales, traders said. The local currency closed unchanged at 199.9 to the dollar, the same level at which it closed on Tuesday. Unit of Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L sold an undisclosed amount of dollars to some lenders, while Brass LNG sold $600,000 in the market, providing some liquidity support but not enough to boost the naira value. The central bank had set its intervention rate at 196.8/197.8 to the dollar on Wednesday, while lenders are still awaiting a decision on dollar sale by the bank. The currency of Africa's top crude exporter has been trading within a band of 198-200 since last week due to support from dollar sales by some energy companies who want local currency for month-end domestic obligations. "The market remains subdued because of low level of dollar flows," one dealer said. "We see the naira trading within the present band in the near term till after the election." Nigeria plans to hold its presidential election on March 28 and states on April 11 after postponing them last month. (Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky) ((oludare.mayowa1@thomsonreuters.com; +234 803 3964 138;)) Keywords: NIGERIA NAIRA/RATES

Turkish lira hits new record low of 2.55 against dollar

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

ISTANBUL, March 4 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira weakened to a fresh record low of 2.55 against the dollar on Wednesday as the U.S. currency's gains to 11-year highs added to lira woes generated by pressure on the Turkish central bank from President Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish currency, which has lost around 9 percent of its value so far this year, edged back to 2.5477 by 1423 GMT, after touching the 2.55 low. (Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Ece Toksabay) ((daren.butler@thomsonreuters.com; +90-212-350 7122; Reuters Messaging: daren.butler.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS TURKEY/LIRA

Premature to talk about 3rd Greek bailout -EU's Juncker

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

BRUSSELS, March 4 (Reuters) - It is too early to discuss a third bailout package for Greece, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday, stressing the focus of talks with Athens was implementing measures already agreed with the euro zone. "We are going to focus on implementing what was agreed in the Eurogroup," Juncker told a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "It is premature to talk about a third programme. That is speculation that is best avoided." Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on Wednesday that Greece was unlikely to be able to return to capital markets by June, when an extension of its bailout expires, so it will probably need further support from European partners. He reiterated an earlier comment that preliminary estimates pointed to an aid package of between 30 and 50 billion euros ($33-56 billion). (Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Alastair Macdonald) ((jan.strupczewski@thomsonreuters.com; +32 2 287 68 37; Reuters Messaging: jan.strupczewski.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: EUROZONE GREECE/JUNCKER

New Issue-Swedbank Mortgage prices 1.0 bln euro 2022 bond

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

Mar 04 (Reuters) -Following are terms and conditions of a bond priced on Wednesday. Borrower Swedbank Hypotek AB SWEDXK.UL Issue Amount 1.0 billion euro Maturity Date March 11, 2022 Coupon 0.375 pct Reoffer price 99.828 Yield 0.4 pct Spread 5 basis points Underlying govt bond Through Mid-swaps Payment Date March 11, 2014 Lead Manager(s) BNP Paribas, Danske, LBBW, Swedbank & UBS Ratings Aaa (Moody's) Listing London Full fees Undisclosed Denoms (K) 100 Notes Launched under issuer's EMTN programme For ratings information, double click on RRS0001 For all bonds data, double click on BONDS For Top international bonds news TOP/DBT For news about this issuer, double click on the issuer RIC, where assigned, and hit the newskey (F9 on Reuters terminals) ((EMEA Fixed Income Desk Bangalore; rajesh.shenoy@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging rajesh.shenoy.reuters.com@reuters.net; +91 80 6677 2510, fax +44 20 7542 5285))

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks pull back further from record highs

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

* Euro zone PMI data fails to fuel rally * Europe shares, core bond yields tick up * Asia shares fall despite India rate cut, China data (Updates prices, adds UK PMI, US futures) By Lionel Laurent LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) - Global equities pulled back from recent record highs on Wednesday, with investors turning cautious after underwhelming European PMI data and ahead of central bank meetings. U.S. jobs data due on Friday was also on investors' minds, pushing the dollar index .DXY to an 11 1/2-year high, while the euro crashed through support levels that have held for more than a month. It hit a six-week low under pressure from the imminent launch of the European Central Bank's bond-buying programme. The MSCI All Country World equity index .MIWD00000PUS slipped 0.3 percent, with Asian shares lower overall despite data showing a modest pick-up in China's services sector and a surprise rate cut in India that boosted bonds and the rupee. ID:nL4N0W51M0 U.S. equity futures SPc1 were down 0.3 percent, set to extend a pullback since the Nasdaq .IXIC began the week by hitting the 5,000 milestone for the first time since the peak of the dotcom bubble in March 2000. European markets were flat overall - with equities and bond yields ticking up - after data showed price cutting and a weaker currency were the main drivers of an acceleration in euro zone business activity in February. Markit's final composite purchasing managers' index (PMI) came in slightly weaker than a preliminary estimate although activity last month was at a seven-month high. ID:nL9N0OQ00D A below-expectations British services PMI saw sterling pull back from near seven-year-highs against the euro, and London's FTSE 100 share index .FTSE was down 0.4 percent. ID:nL5N0W622Z With major central banks at a crossroads as the ECB embarks on bond buying to further lower interest rates and spur growth, while the Federal Reserve is paving the way for a rate hike, investors are focused on data points that could give clues to the direction of future policy, especially the Fed's. "Investors are turning a bit more cautious given the ECB (meeting) tomorrow (Thursday) as well as the U.S. payrolls (data) on Friday," said Saxo Bank trader Andrea Tueni. "It's not a surprise to see a pause in the rally; stocks have been on fire since the start of the year, some people are cashing in a bit." India's central bank was the latest to surprise markets with a rate cut, lowering its policy repo rate INREPO=ECI by 25 basis points to 7.5 percent on Wednesday. That was its second inter-meeting cut this year on the back of easing inflation and what it said was the "weak state" of parts of the economy. ID:nL4N0W61KW The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 equity index was broadly flat, but shares of Standard Chartered STAN.L hit their highest level since October after the bank ruled out plans to raise capital despite reporting a 25 percent slide in annual pretax profits. ID:nL5N0W61FE German consumer goods group Henkel HNKG_p.DE fell 3.7 percent after the company struck a cautious note on its 2015 outlook as it expects stagnation in Eastern Europe and further pressure on the Russian economy and currency RUB= over the coming months. ID:nL5N0W60IR In commodities markets, Brent crude LCOc1 dipped but held above $60 a barrel, supported by a rise in Saudi crude prices and air strikes on facilities in Libya. O/R ID:nL4N0W61M1 Gold prices edged higher after a two-day losing streak, though the metal could remain under pressure due to expectations of robust U.S. economic data and higher U.S. interest rates, while London nickel held around a 14-month low. ID:nL4N0W61LH (Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson and Emelia Sithole-Matarise; Editing by Susan Fenton) ((lionel.laurent@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 9746; Reuters Messaging: lionel.laurent.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

RPT-From prime rib to chips and dip: Lean times at mining's annual conference

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

(Repeating story for additional subscribers without changes to text) By Susan Taylor and Euan Rocha TORONTO, March 4 (Reuters) - When the world's miners head for Toronto each year to attend their industry's annual conference, they arrive with certain expectations. They're accustomed to finding oyster bars, rowdy parties, open bars with high-end liquor and elegant hotel suites. But this year's gathering of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) is a more subdued affair, with lavish spreads and grand lodgings increasingly giving way to cheese platters and Airbnb rentals. After a years-long downturn in the mining sector - and with little relief in sight - the 2015 convention, which runs through Wednesday, has lost some of its glitz. "We're seeing far less prime rib, far more chips, far more salsa," said Benjamin Cox, chief executive of explorer Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. BAY.V . "I'm really depressed that I have to drink bourbon versus single malt scotch, it just doesn't do it for me." Striking a more serious note, Cox also summed up the overall mood of the miners: "Everyone is panicked in the industry. If you are not humbled this year, whether you work for a major or a junior or anyone in-between, you are insane." Junior mining firms, which specialize in exploration and development, have been hit especially hard by falling metal prices. Spending on global exploration for non-ferrous metals dropped to $11.4 billion in 2014 from a $21.5 billion in 2012, SNL Metals & Mining estimates. Although final attendance numbers have not been released, event organizers expected between 20,000 and 25,000 participants this year, down from a peak of some 30,000 participants during boom times. Mining firms are reluctant to miss the event entirely, since relationships that start at PDAC often translate into deals or sales down the road. But they say they are trimming where they can. Aston Bay, which saw its agreement with Chile's Antofagasta ANTO.L terminated after copper prices soured, cut its attendance to three from seven people and used online home-rental marketplace Airbnb to find a two-bedroom condo to house attendees. It has even cut the number of fact sheets it hands out. Bruce McDonald, executive vice-president at analytic services provider ALS Ltd., said he found this year's gathering "a little bit depressing," but a sign of the times. "Flat is the new up," he said. In past years, miners have vied for prime booth space on the main floor. This year, PDAC opened up the floor to a wider range of exhibitors, including suppliers, financial firms, and even pipeline company TransCanada TRP.TO , which is touting the merits of its Energy East project. Even so, there was empty exhibition space. FEWER INVITATIONS But a common theme expressed by attendees was the decline in parties. "People are definitely indulging less," said Adam Stratton, an executive at Realterm Energy. "Normally, I'd have invites to anywhere from five to 10 events a night, and now it's probably half that." Century Iron Mines FER.TO , which has C$40 million ($32 million) in working capital, moved its party from Toronto's historic Fairmont Royal York hotel - a hub for PDAC socializing - to its downtown office. At the makeshift bar set up on a reception desk, a project manager poured the drinks as guests mingled in the brightly-lit board room and corridors. Ken Cunningham, chief executive of explorer Miranda Gold MAD.V , said he tries to be smart about spending after watching "an awful lot of people that have been unemployed for a long period." An annual shareholder dinner has been scaled back to six from 50 invites and moved to a more modest Portuguese restaurant, Cunningham Said, and the company is hosting its PDAC booth for just two days of the four-day conference. Renaissance Gold REN.TO is cutting back, too. The company has opted to use free meeting rooms rather than paying to reserve space. And Renaissance executives have slashed salaries to stretch cash, said executive chairman Ron Parratt. The mining executive did well during more flush years, but recently has cut his own pay from $100,000 to $60,000 and then $24,000. Renaissance has scoured its overall operations for savings, taking such measures as donating or discarding unneeded rock samples to save $3,000 in monthly warehouse fees. "You don't want to leave anything untouched", Parratt said. Another indication of tough times is the relative dearth of news from Canadian miners leading up to PDAC. In the first seven weeks of the year, miners typically issue streams of press releases about exploration results and fund-raising efforts ahead of the busy spring drilling season. But data from a top Canadian press release service indicated the news flow from Canadian miners has dropped by more than half in the last four years. "Everyone is pretty damn depressed," Aston Bay's Cox said. "I moved my company into a basement in Vancouver, Washington. This is a recession, I have no pride." ($1 = 1.2454 Canadian dollars) (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Susan Horton) ((susan.taylor1@thomsonreuters.com; +1 416 941 8083; Reuters Messaging: susan.taylor1.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MINING PDAC/COSTCUTTING

UPDATE 1-Fresnillo results hurt by dip in gold, silver prices

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds share movement, background, detail) March 4 (Reuters) - Precious metals miner Fresnillo Plc FRES.L reported lower-than-expected full-year profit and revenue, hurt by falling gold and silver prices. Shares in the company fell as much 8.7 percent, and were the top losers on the FTSE 100 .FTSE on Wednesday. A Reuters poll in January forecast a further decline in silver and gold prices in 2015, with gold expected to average around $1,234 an ounce and silver expected to fetch about $17.20 an ounce. ID:nL6N0V6255 The company's pretax profit fell to $251.1 million in the year ended Dec. 31 from $418.7 million a year earlier. ID:nRSD4641Ga Total revenue fell to $1.41 billion from $1.62 billion a year earlier. The company also said gold output for the year was hurt as mining at its Herradura mine was halted until March 2014 due to a ban on the use of explosives. ID:nL6N0LV16X Adjusted revenue, which excludes treatment and refining charges, and lead and zinc hedging, fell to $1.55 billion from $1.76 billion. Analysts were expecting a pretax profit of $266 million on revenue of $1.43 billion, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine SmartEstimates, which is weighted to forecasts by top-rated analysts. Fresnillo's average realised silver price fell 18.4 percent to $18.6 per ounce in 2014, while average realised gold price fell 10.2 percent to $1,257.7 per ounce. Shares in the company were down 5.2 percent at 750.3 pence on the London Stock Exchange at 1037 GMT. (Reporting by Mamidipudi Soumithri in Bengaluru; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi) ((soumithri.mamidipudi@thomsonreuters.com; within UK +44 20 7542 1810, outside UK +91 806 749 6831; Reuters Messaging: venkateshasoumithri.mamidipudi.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: FRESNILLO RESULTS/

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks pull back further from record highs

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

* Euro zone PMI data fails to fuel rally * Europe shares, core bond yields tick up * Asia shares fall despite India rate cut, China data By Lionel Laurent LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) - Global equities pulled back from recent record highs on Wednesday, with investors turning cautious after underwhelming euro zone PMI data and ahead of central bank meetings. U.S. jobs data due Friday was also on investors' minds, with the dollar index .DXY hitting an 11 1/2-year high, while the euro crashed through support levels that have held for more than a month. It hit a six-week low under pressure from the imminent launch of the European Central Bank's bond-buying programme. The MSCI All Country World equity index .MIWD00000PUS slipped 0.2 percent, with Asian shares lower overall despite data showing a modest pick-up in China's services sector and a surprise rate cut in India that boosted bonds and the rupee. ID:nL4N0W51M0 European markets were flat overall - with equities and bond yields ticking up - after data showed price cutting and a weaker currency were the main drivers of an acceleration in euro zone business activity in February. Markit's final composite purchasing managers' index (PMI) came in slightly weaker than a preliminary estimate although activity last month was at a seven-month high. ID:nL9N0OQ00D With major central banks at a crossroads as the ECB embarks on bond buying to further lower interest rates and spur growth, while the Federal Reserve is paving the way for a rate hike, investors are focused on data points that could give clues to the direction of future policy, especially the Fed's. "Investors are turning a bit more cautious given the ECB tomorrow (Thursday) as well as the U.S. payrolls (data) on Friday," said Saxo Bank trader Andrea Tueni. "It's not a surprise to see a pause in the rally; stocks have been on fire since the start of the year, some people are cashing in a bit." India's central bank was the latest to surprise markets with a rate cut, lowering its policy repo rate INREPO=ECI by 25 basis points to 7.5 percent on Wednesday. That was its second inter-meeting cut this year on the back of easing inflation and what it said was the "weak state" of parts of the economy. ID:nL4N0W61KW The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 equity index was up 0.1 percent, with shares of Standard Chartered STAN.L hitting their highest level since October after the bank ruled out plans to raise capital despite reporting a 25 percent slide in annual pretax profits. ID:nL5N0W61FE In commodities markets, Brent crude LCOc1 dipped but held above $60 a barrel, supported by a rise in Saudi crude prices and air strikes on facilities in Libya. O/R ID:nL4N0W61M1 Gold prices edged higher after a two-day losing streak, though the metal could remain under pressure due to expectations of robust U.S. economic data and higher U.S. interest rates, while London nickel held around a 14-month low. ID:nL4N0W61LH (Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson and Emelia Sithole-Matarise; Editing by Susan Fenton) ((lionel.laurent@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 9746; Reuters Messaging: lionel.laurent.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

Miner Fresnillo's full-year profit falls on low silver, gold prices

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

March 4 (Reuters) - Precious metals miner Fresnillo Plc FRES.L said its full-year pretax profit dropped 40 percent, hurt by falling gold and silver prices. The company's pretax profit fell to $251.1 million in the year ended Dec. 31 from $418.7 million a year earlier. ID:nRSD4641Ga Fresnillo, which produces silver and gold from six mines in Mexico, said total revenue fell 12.5 percent to $1.41 million. The company said the average realised silver price decreased 18.4 percent to $18.6 per ounce in 2014, while average realised gold price fell 10.2 percent to $1,257.7 per ounce. (Reporting by Mamidipudi Soumithri in Bengaluru; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi) ((soumithri.mamidipudi@thomsonreuters.com; within UK +44 20 7542 1810, outside UK +91 806 749 6831; Reuters Messaging: venkateshasoumithri.mamidipudi.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

From prime rib to chips and dip: Lean times at mining's annual conference

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

By Susan Taylor and Euan Rocha TORONTO, March 4 (Reuters) - When the world's miners head for Toronto each year to attend their industry's annual conference, they arrive with certain expectations. They're accustomed to finding oyster bars, rowdy parties, open bars with high-end liquor and elegant hotel suites. But this year's gathering of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) is a more subdued affair, with lavish spreads and grand lodgings increasingly giving way to cheese platters and Airbnb rentals. After a years-long downturn in the mining sector - and with little relief in sight - the 2015 convention, which runs through Wednesday, has lost some of its glitz. "We're seeing far less prime rib, far more chips, far more salsa," said Benjamin Cox, chief executive of explorer Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. BAY.V . "I'm really depressed that I have to drink bourbon versus single malt scotch, it just doesn't do it for me." Striking a more serious note, Cox also summed up the overall mood of the miners: "Everyone is panicked in the industry. If you are not humbled this year, whether you work for a major or a junior or anyone in-between, you are insane." Junior mining firms, which specialize in exploration and development, have been hit especially hard by falling metal prices. Spending on global exploration for non-ferrous metals dropped to $11.4 billion in 2014 from a $21.5 billion in 2012, SNL Metals & Mining estimates. Although final attendance numbers have not been released, event organizers expected between 20,000 and 25,000 participants this year, down from a peak of some 30,000 participants during boom times. Mining firms are reluctant to miss the event entirely, since relationships that start at PDAC often translate into deals or sales down the road. But they say they are trimming where they can. Aston Bay, which saw its agreement with Chile's Antofagasta ANTO.L terminated after copper prices soured, cut its attendance to three from seven people and used online home-rental marketplace Airbnb to find a two-bedroom condo to house attendees. It has even cut the number of fact sheets it hands out. Bruce McDonald, executive vice-president at analytic services provider ALS Ltd., said he found this year's gathering "a little bit depressing," but a sign of the times. "Flat is the new up," he said. In past years, miners have vied for prime booth space on the main floor. This year, PDAC opened up the floor to a wider range of exhibitors, including suppliers, financial firms, and even pipeline company TransCanada TRP.TO , which is touting the merits of its Energy East project. Even so, there was empty exhibition space. FEWER INVITATIONS But a common theme expressed by attendees was the decline in parties. "People are definitely indulging less," said Adam Stratton, an executive at Realterm Energy. "Normally, I'd have invites to anywhere from five to 10 events a night, and now it's probably half that." Century Iron Mines FER.TO , which has C$40 million ($32 million) in working capital, moved its party from Toronto's historic Fairmont Royal York hotel - a hub for PDAC socializing - to its downtown office. At the makeshift bar set up on a reception desk, a project manager poured the drinks as guests mingled in the brightly-lit board room and corridors. Ken Cunningham, chief executive of explorer Miranda Gold MAD.V , said he tries to be smart about spending after watching "an awful lot of people that have been unemployed for a long period." An annual shareholder dinner has been scaled back to six from 50 invites and moved to a more modest Portuguese restaurant, Cunningham Said, and the company is hosting its PDAC booth for just two days of the four-day conference. Renaissance Gold REN.TO is cutting back, too. The company has opted to use free meeting rooms rather than paying to reserve space. And Renaissance executives have slashed salaries to stretch cash, said executive chairman Ron Parratt. The mining executive did well during more flush years, but recently has cut his own pay from $100,000 to $60,000 and then $24,000. Renaissance has scoured its overall operations for savings, taking such measures as donating or discarding unneeded rock samples to save $3,000 in monthly warehouse fees. "You don't want to leave anything untouched", Parratt said. Another indication of tough times is the relative dearth of news from Canadian miners leading up to PDAC. In the first seven weeks of the year, miners typically issue streams of press releases about exploration results and fund-raising efforts ahead of the busy spring drilling season. But data from a top Canadian press release service indicated the news flow from Canadian miners has dropped by more than half in the last four years. "Everyone is pretty damn depressed," Aston Bay's Cox said. "I moved my company into a basement in Vancouver, Washington. This is a recession, I have no pride." ($1 = 1.2454 Canadian dollars) (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Susan Horton) ((susan.taylor1@thomsonreuters.com; +1 416 941 8083; Reuters Messaging: susan.taylor1.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MINING PDAC/COSTCUTTING

INDICATORS - Kazakhstan - March 4

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

MIDEAST STOCKS - Factors to watch - March 4

March 04, 2015 - reuters.com

DUBAI, March 4 (Reuters) - Here are some factors that may affect Middle East stock markets on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified the press reports and does not vouch of their accuracy. INTERNATIONAL/REGIONAL * GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares drift lower, India surprises with rate cut MKTS/GLOB * MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mixed on data, dividends; property stocks boost Egypt ID:nL5N0W53DM * Brent holds above $60 after Saudi price hikes O/R * Gold treads water near $1,200 as US dollar, data in focus ID:nL4N0W605A * Moody's expects low oil prices to pressure GCC banks' liquidity and profits, but foresees resilience in ratings ID:nMDYbzRf6X * MIDEAST DEBT-Oil plunge slows Gulf deposit growth, no liquidity crunch ID:nL5N0W04SZ * U.S. Republicans pushing Iran bill despite veto threat ID:nL1N0W526G * U.S. military's Mosul briefing inaccurate, misguided, Carter says ID:nL1N0W600X * Iraqi forces try to seal off Islamic State around Tikrit ID:nL5N0W54OY * Five dead in Qaeda suicide attack on Houthis in central Yemen ID:nL5N0W551J * Rival Libyan forces carry out air strikes, militants storm oilfield ID:nL5N0W51T1 * Iraq says discussing $6 bln bond issue with banks ID:nL5N0W52M0 TURKEY * Turkey stock exchange to go public in bid to jump-start equity market ID:nL5N0W525K * Turkish inflation edges up in Feb, limiting central bank's options ID:nL5N0W51BS * Tupras posts 87% jump in Q4 net, to lift output in 2015 ID:nL5N0W51PC * Turkey's Sabanci says planned IPO for Enerjisa to be after 2016 ID:nL5N0W524O EGYPT * Egypt's non-oil private sector sees sharpest contraction in 17 months in Feb ID:nL9N0OQ00G * Egypt court defers parliamentary election -judicial sources ID:nL5N0W51TW * Egypt's Pioneers eyes more food, real estate acquisitions ID:nL5N0W51ID * Egypt's foreign reserves rise to $15.456 bln at end-Feb -c. bank ID:nC6N0PA01T SAUDI ARABIA * ANALYSIS-Saudi king keeps close hand on oil in remodelling strategic team ID:nL5N0W51G6 * King's spending boosts Saudi non-oil business growth in February -PM ID:nL9N0P7018 * Kerry visits Riyadh to soothe fears of stronger Iran under nuclear deal ID:nL5N0W551Q UNITED ARAB EMIRATES * UAE non-oil business growth slows in February -PMI ID:nL9N0P7017 * Air Berlin wins approval for Etihad codeshares for summer ID:nL5N0W53ZM * Dubai's Emirates says adds $7.6 bln to EU GDP ID:nL5N0W53JN * Dubai carrier flydubai 2014 net profit up 12.3 pct on expanded network ID:nL5N0W51I0 * UAE bank ADCB tightens pricing for bond; set to price on Tues - leads ID:nL5N0W52Z1 (Compiled by Dubai newsroom) ((dubai.newsroom@reuters.com)) Keywords: MIDEAST FACTORS/

ColdBlock to launch 'digestion' technology despite facing hurdles

March 03, 2015 - reuters.com

By Susan Taylor TORONTO, March 3 (Reuters) - Canadian start-up ColdBlock Technologies Inc will launch its new 'digestion' technology on Wednesday that cuts the time to test mineral samples to minutes from hours, innovation experts say is long overdue in a mining industry often resistant to change. ColdBlock, which did development work with the government, academia and Barrick Gold ABX.TO , will launch the technology at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto. The process simplifies and accelerates the analysis of gold, silver and base metals samples, said Peter Kondos, head of technology solutions at Barrick, the world's biggest gold producer. "If this technology proves valuable, then we will equip our technology center, as well as our analytical labs in our operations throughout the world with these instruments," Kondos said. The 10-minute to 15-minute process uses short-wave infrared radiation to rapidly heat sample particles, which quickly dissolves, or digests, the solids into an acid solution for analysis. A decades-old hot block process, in contrast, heats the acid solution to dissolve the sample, which takes hours. Because the new technology uses less acid, it has lower operating and capital costs, and productivity can improve because the process can be automated, the company said, though it did not specify the amount of savings a user would accrue through by using the process. Even though new technology typically produces savings for miners over time, it requires up-front capital which the companies are reluctant to commit amid an industry downturn that is stretching into its fourth year. Also, because miners face a raft of risks outside their control - everything from extreme weather to political turmoil - they typically avoid uncertainty, such as untested technologies. The mining industry "is ripe for change" as a lack of investment has slowed the adoption and development of new technology, according to Goldcorp G.TO Chief Executive Chuck Jeannes. "It's hard to explain what has stood in the way, other than things were working the way they were and the margins weren't particularly high, so it was hard to justify big investments," he said. But as ore grades decline and costs climb, "companies must overcome their traditionally conservative tendencies," a recent Deloitte global mining report said. Hardware has advanced, said Ernst & Young's Canadian mining operations leader Theophile Yameogo, pointing to sensor-loaded autonomous trucks, automated mills, and remote-operated drills. Miners now need updated and more advanced software and computer platforms that integrate and analyze the wealth of data from operations, he said. But many companies may delay that decision until metal prices improve and stabilize, experts say. Gold producers, which already have difficulties with volatile prices, may be wary about investing in new technologies at this time, said Yameogo. "Miners per se don't like uncertainty, it's an uncertain world to start with." (Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Alan Crosby) ((susan.taylor1@thomsonreuters.com; +1 416 941 8083; Reuters Messaging: susan.taylor1.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MINING PDAC/TECHNOLOGY

Merkel eyes airline, commodities cooperation with Mongolia

March 03, 2015 - reuters.com

BERLIN, March 3 (Reuters) - Mongolian airlines want to intensify cooperation with German flag carrier Lufthansa LHAG.DE , Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday after talks with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj that also touched on a commodities partnership. At a joint news conference, Merkel said the two leaders had discussed the interest from Mongolian airlines in forging closer ties with Lufthansa. "In Germany the government doesn't do that, the companies have to do it. We want to talk to Lufthansa to call their attention to the potential cooperation and maybe there can be an intensification of the cooperation between Lufthansa and Mongolian airlines," said Merkel. Lufthansa was not immediately available for comment. Merkel also emphasised Germany's interest in pursuing a commodities agreement signed in 2011 when she visited the Central Asian country. Mongolia, which has Russia and China as its neighbours, has large quantities of natural resources including copper, gold, silver and uranium deposits. It also has big reserves of rare earths which the high-tech industry needs to make products. Merkel outlined the difficulties involved in getting start-up financing for infrastructure and mining projects, and the need for infrastructure expansion in Mongolia. "Thirdly, Mongolia has big neighbours who have their own ideas about infrastructure," said Merkel, pointing mainly to Russia and the need to discuss with Moscow ways to make exporting materials from Mongolia to Europe easier. "I don't think that things are hopeless," said Merkel. (Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Mark Heinrich) ((Madeline.Chambers@thomsonreuters.com; +493028885230; Reuters Messaging: ann.chambers.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GERMANY MONGOLIA/

GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. stocks ease from record highs, dollar falls

March 03, 2015 - reuters.com

* European, Japanese stocks retreat from multi-year peaks * Dollar index slips from 11-year high as yen rises * Brent crude climbs above $61 on conflict in Libya * Corporate bond supply puts pressure on U.S. Treasuries (Recasts with start of U.S. trading; changes dateline, previous LONDON) By Richard Leong NEW YORK, March 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock prices fell on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 receding from their record highs, while the dollar fell from its 11-year peak versus a basket of currencies. Investors are awaiting evidence the global economy is improving before adding to their equity holdings, analysts said. A stronger-than-expected 2.9 percent rise in German retail sales in January helped lift European shares near seven-year highs. ID:nB4N0U3020 "The market is naturally settling in, taking a breather until the scales tip either way to commence the next move to continued to new heights or a consolidated pullback," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey. In early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 76.39 points, or 0.42 percent, at 18,212.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was down 10.69 points, or 0.50 percent, at 2,106.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 31.00 points, or 0.62 percent, at 4,977.10. On Monday, the Nasdaq broke above 5,000 mark for the first time in 15 years, while the Dow and S&P 500 set record closing highs. .N The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 was off 0.4 percent at 1,554.87, just off Monday's seven-year high. Tokyo's Nikkei .N225 dipped 0.06 percent as traders booked gains that propelled the index to 15-year highs on Monday. .T The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS , which tracks shares in 45 nations, slipped 0.25 percent, to 432.12. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Graphics: Europe bourses in 2015 http://link.reuters.com/pap87v Asset performance in 2015 http://link.reuters.com/gap87v ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> The dollar retreated from an 11-year high against a group of six currencies as the greenback weakened against the yen after a top Japanese economic official said the dollar could not sustain more gains. The dollar index .DXY was last down 0.25 percent at 95.214, while the greenback was down 0.35 percent at 119.71 yen JPY=EBS FRX/ The euro softened against the dollar and yen as higher U.S. and Japanese yields overshadowed the upbeat German retail sales and upcoming details on the European Central Bank's 1.1 trillion euro bond purchase program. It was down 0.03 percent at $1.1180 EUR= and 0.38 percent lower at 133.79 yen EURJPY= . With the impending start of the ECB's effort to jumpstart the region's economy, peripheral euro zone yields hovered near record lows. U.S. Treasuries US10YT=RR were under pressure from higher-yielding corporate supply, led by a $21 billion deal from Actavis ACT.N . US/ GVD/EUR USC/ Oil rose more than $1 in choppy trading as fighting in Libya and signs of stronger global demand outweighed persistent concerns about a supply glut. O/R Brent crude LCOc1 was last up $1.61, or 2.7 percent, at $61.15 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 was last up 39 cents, or 0.79 percent, at $49.99 per barrel. Spot gold prices XAU= rose $4.90 to $1,211.55 an ounce. GOL/ (Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak in New York; Marius Zaharia, Francesco Canepa and Anirban Nag in London; Editing by Catherine Evans and Dan Grebler) ((richard.leong@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6313; Reuters Messaging: richard.leong.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net; Twitter @RichardLeong2)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

GLOBAL MARKETS-Strong German retail sales keep European shares near 7-year highs

March 03, 2015 - reuters.com

(Updates prices, adds new comment) By Marius Zaharia LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - European shares rose close to seven-year highs on Tuesday as better than expected German retail sales further buoyed investors days before the European Central Bank kicks off a trillion-euro bond buying programme. The gains follow a rise in Asia .MIAPJ0000PUS and another record day on the Wall Street .DJI .SPX . U.S. stocks futures ESc1 pointed to a flat start. Euro zone government bond yields were slightly higher but remained near record lows as investors anticipated the ECB's purchases. The central bank will finalise the details of its scheme at its meeting on Thursday and may start buying immediately afterwards. German retail sales rose 2.9 percent month-on-month and 5.3 percent year-on-year in January, more than economists had forecast, helping lift the DAX stock index .GDAXI 0.2 percent. ID:nB4N0U3020 "Euro zone economic surprises have veered from extremely negative to extremely positive in very short order," said Eric Lascelles, chief economist at RBC Global Asset Management. "Euro zone prospects may be turning up." Merger speculation in the Portuguese banking sector also supported the European market. Shares in Banco BPI BBPI.LS and Banco Comercial Portugues BCP.LS were up 6-8 percent. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 was up 0.1 percent at 1,562.36 points, just off Monday's seven-year high. "German retail sales got off to a very strong start in the new year on the back of (lower) energy prices and no doubt due to the (hike in) minimum wage," said Norbert Wuthe, senior analyst at Bayerische Landesbank. The dollar pulled back from an 11-year high against a basket of major currencies, coming under pressure against the yen after Etsuro Honda, an economic adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, told the Wall Street Journal that dollar/yen may be at the "upper limit of comfort zone". The dollar index .DXY was last 95.493, having risen as high as 95.516 in Asian trading. "Honda's comments reflect the latest view of the government and come ahead of a proposed visit by Abe to the United States in April," said Yujiro Goto, currency strategist at Nomura. "They might not want the yen to weaken too much ahead of the visit. So in the short term the yen's weakness could slow, but over the medium term it will still weaken." Some countries, especially in the G7, had complained about sharp yen weakness in early 2013, just as Abe came to power and the Bank of Japan was about to embark on a huge quantitative easing programme to get inflation back to 2 percent. The Australian dollar rallied against its U.S. counterpart after the RBA opted to leave its policy rate unchanged at record low of 2.25 percent, surprising some who had looked for another cut after a similar move in February. ID:nRBA The Aussie AUD=D4 was 0.5 percent higher at $0.7803, bouncing from $0.7751 before the decision. The euro EUR= weakened slightly to $1.1164. Brent crude oil prices LCOc1 were steady O/R , while spot gold XAU= recovered after a brief fall below $1,200 an ounce. GOL/ (Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa and Anirban Nag; Editing by Catherine Evans) ((marius.zaharia@thomsonreuters.com; +44)(0)(207 542 0950; Reuters Messaging: marius.zaharia.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

UPDATE 1-Barclays gives information to U.S. precious metals probe

March 03, 2015 - reuters.com

* DoJ investigating precious metals ops at 10 banks -WSJ * Precious metals lawsuits pending in U.S. courts (Adds background, Barclays results) By Jan Harvey LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - Barclays has been providing information to an investigation into precious metals by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), the bank said in its 2014 annual report on Tuesday, a week after a similar statement by HSBC. The DoJ and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are investigating at least 10 banks for possible rigging of precious metals markets, the Wall Street Journal reported last week, citing people close to the inquiries. Tuesday's acknowledgment of its involvement in the investigation comes after HSBC HSBA.L said in its annual report on Feb. 23 that the DoJ had issued a request to HSBC Holdings in November seeking documents related to a criminal antitrust investigation it was conducting. ID:nL5N0VX2XB The latest investigation is a further distraction for a bank battling to cut costs and boost profit even as it prepares to settle allegations that its traders manipulated foreign exchange markets. Taking into account charges, provisions and restructuring costs, the bank suffered a 21 percent drop in full-year net profit, it said on Tuesday. ID:nL5N0W50XE ID:nL5N0W51UD Regulatory scrutiny of precious metals trading and benchmarking has increased since the Libor rigging scandal exposed widespread manipulation of interest rates in the foreign exchange market. Swiss regulator FINMA said in November that it found a clear attempt to manipulate precious metals benchmarks during its investigation of precious metals and foreign exchange trading at UBS UBSN.VX . "The behaviour patterns in precious metals were somewhat similar to the behaviour patterns in foreign exchange," FINMA director Mark Branson said in a conference call with journalists. Germany's Bafin has been looking into how precious metals benchmarks are set, while Britain's Financial Conduct Authority said it was broadly looking at gold as part of an investigation into commodity benchmarks. Meanwhile, multiple lawsuits have been filed in U.S. courts, alleging a conspiracy to manipulate precious metals prices. ID:nL2N0S91QO ID:nL2N0QJ293 The banks involved in producing global gold, silver, platinum and palladium benchmarks, known as the fixes, said last year they would no longer administer the standards. A new silver benchmark is now administered by CME Group CME.O and Thomson Reuters TRI.TO , while the London Metal Exchange produces platinum and palladium benchmarks. The Intercontinental Exchange ICE.N (ICE) will produce a new gold benchmark from March 20. ID:nL5N0VT3XO (Editing by David Goodman) ((jan.harvey@thomsonreuters.com; +44)(0)(207 542 7744; Reuters Messaging: jan.harvey.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GOLD BARCLAYS/DOJ

BRIEF-Karakas Atlantis FY revenue down to 457 mln lira

March 03, 2015 - reuters.com

March 3(Reuters) - Karaka Atlantis Kiymetli Madenler Kuyumculuk AS KRATL.IS : * Reported on Monday FY 2014 revenue of 457 million lira ($181.50 million) versus 853.1 million lira year ago * FY 2014 net profit of 2.6 million lira versus 8.4 million lira year ago Source text for Eikon: ID:nIKA8Dh7Qa Further company coverage: KRATL.IS ($1 = 2.5179 liras) (Gdynia Newsroom) ((gdynia.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com; +48 58 698 3920;))

Barclays says has provided information to U.S. DoJ metals probe

March 03, 2015 - reuters.com

LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - Barclays said in its 2014 annual report on Tuesday that it has been providing information to an investigation into precious metals by the U.S. Department of Justice, a week after a similar statement by HSBC. "BBPLC has been providing information to the DOJ in connection with the DoJ's investigation into precious metals and precious metals-based financial instruments," it said in the report. HSBC HSBA.L said in its annual report and accounts statement on Feb. 23 that the DoJ had issued a request to HSBC Holdings in November seeking documents related to a criminal antitrust investigation it was conducting. ID:nL5N0VX2XB (Reporting by Jan Harvey; Editing by Veronica Brown) ((jan.harvey@thomsonreuters.com; +44)(0)(207 542 7744; Reuters Messaging: jan.harvey.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GOLD BARCLAYS/DOJ

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