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UPDATE 2-U.S. must target currency manipulation in trade deals -senator

January 31, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds comment from Obama at retreat, background) WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The Obama administration must insist that U.S. trading partners pledge not to manipulate currencies when negotiating trade deals, the Senate Committee on Finance chairman said on Friday. In a speech laying out his conditions for supporting trade deals, Republican Orrin Hatch said addressing currency concerns was key to winning lawmakers' support for a bill to fast-track trade agreements through Congress, and deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. "Pretending these concerns don't exist will not suffice," he told the American Enterprise Institute. "The administration must engage much more effectively with Congress on this issue if they want to receive strong support for TPA (trade promotion authority) and any subsequent trade agreements." Lawmakers from both parties are pushing the U.S. administration to take a stronger stand against trading partners which seek to gain an edge with a weaker currency, which makes their exports cheaper. But President Barack Obama told House Democrats on Thursday that including provisions against currency manipulation in deals currently under negotiation was unworkable, one member of Congress who was in the room said. The administration is close to sealing a trade pact with 11 Asia-Pacific trading partners, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and is also negotiating a deal with the European Union. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Tuesday Treasury had the lead on currency issues. Hatch said he expected that the fundamentals of a TPA bill to be introduced soon would be "substantially the same" as legislation drafted last year, which never progressed to a vote. The bill allows lawmakers to set negotiating objectives for trade deals in exchange for a yes-or-no vote on the final deal, without amendments. Hatch said he would not support any trade deals which did not include strong intellectual property protections. Other conditions included investor-state dispute settlement provisions; no barriers to digital trade, and the elimination of tariffs on U.S. exports of goods, services and agricultural products. Japan and Canada, partners in the TPP talks, had to accept more U.S. farm exports, he said. "Let me be clear: If Japan, Canada and our other TPP partners are not willing to open their markets to our exports, the final agreement will never receive support in Congress," Hatch said. (Reporting by Krista Hughes; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Susan Heavey, Bernadette Baum and Richard Chang) ((washington.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com; 202-898-8300)) Keywords: USA TRADE/CURRENCY

Brazil central bank signals full rollover of March currency swaps

January 31, 2015 - reuters.com

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Brazil's central bank announced on Friday it will start next week rolling over currency swaps that expire in March, indicating it intends to keep a steady supply of currency hedge to investors next month. The bank said in a statement that it will offer as many as 13,000 swaps maturing in April 2016 and June 2016 to renew the March maturities. If it keeps offering the same number of contracts per day through the end of February, it will roll over nearly 100 percent of the $10.44 billion worth of swaps maturing on March 2. Speculation that the central bank could reduce its pace of intervention in the foreign exchange market caused the real BRL= to drop nearly 3 percent on Friday. EMRG/FRX (Reporting by Walter Brandimarte; Editing by Leslie Adler) ((walter.brandimarte@thomsonreuters.com; +55-21-2223-7149; Reuters Messaging: walter.brandimarte.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BRAZIL CENBANK/SWAPS

GLOBAL MARKETS-Oil rallies on US rig count drop; dollar up 7th month

January 31, 2015 - reuters.com

* U.S. oil surges 8 pct on drop in oil rig count * U.S. stocks end Friday down 1 pct; posts weekly, monthly losses * Dollar advances for seventh straight month * Fourth-quarter U.S. GDP growth slows to 2.6 percent pace (Updates with U.S. markets closing levels) By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Oil prices rallied on Friday following the sharpest weekly drop in U.S. oil rig count in nearly 30 years, while the dollar index ended January with its longest run of gains since the greenback was floated in 1971. U.S. stocks finished the day down more than 1 percent as data showed U.S. economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter. Major U.S. stock indexes posted losses for the week and month, with the declines driven by falling oil prices and concern about weak overseas demand. The S&P 500 was down 3.1 percent for January, its biggest monthly slide since January 2014. In a rally that may spur speculation that a seven-month price collapse has ended, U.S. crude futures CLc1 jumped 8.3 percent to settle at $48.24 a barrel and Brent crude LCc1 shot up 7.9 percent to settle at $52.99, its biggest one-day gain since 2009. Sparking the rally was data that showed drillers were cutting back on shale activity. ID:nL1N0V9266 European stocks ended lower, but registered their biggest monthly gain in three years. The U.S. dollar index .DXY advanced for a seventh straight month in January, marking the longest streak of monthly gains since the greenback was floated in 1971. It was up 5.0 percent for January, but off 0.1 percent for the day. Weighing on stocks and the dollar, U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a weaker-than-expected 2.6 percent annual pace after the third quarter's spectacular 5 percent rate, the Commerce Department said in its first snapshot of fourth-quarter GDP. The headline number was "well below consensus expectations and that is definitely one of the data points that many bulls were looking for to justify staying bullish," said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Clearpool Group in New York. For the day, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 251.9 points, or 1.45 percent, to 17,164.95, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 26.26 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,994.99 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 48.17 points, or 1.03 percent, to 4,635.24. The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares ended down 0.6 percent for the day, but rose 7.1 percent in January, its biggest monthly gain in three years. The MSCI all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS dropped 1 percent. European shares have been lifted recently by expectations that a bond-buying program by the European Central Bank will help the region's economic recovery. U.S. Treasury debt prices jumped, with long-term yields hitting record lows after the slower-than-anticipated economic growth fueled speculation the Fed will delay interest rate hikes. The late surge in oil prices curbed Friday's gains, but the month's rally still put the 30-year Treasury US30YT=RR on track for total returns in January of more than 10 percent. That would be the long bond's best total return performance since September 2011, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch data Russia surprised markets by cutting interest rates as fears of a Russian recession mount following a plunge in global oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. Adding to concerns for some investors, Greece's finance minister said the government would not cooperate with the European Union and International Monetary Fund mission bankrolling the country and would not seek an extension to the bailout program. (Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York; Editing by Janet Lawrence, Susan Fenton, Meredith Mazzilli, and Chizu Nomiyama) ((caroline.valetkevitch@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6393; Reuters Messaging: caroline.valetkevitch.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

UPDATE 1-U.S. Mint gold coin sales weakest for January since 2008

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

(Updating to add table and detail in 6th and 7th para) NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters) - U.S. Mint American Eagle gold coin sales in January rose from December but were the lowest for that month since 2008, as a rally in prices discouraged collector buying in what is typically a period of peak demand, data showed on Friday. The U.S. Mint sold 81,000 ounces of gold bullion coins this month, down from 91,500 ounces in the first month of last year and the lowest since 2008 when 26,000 ounces were sold. Sales were still more than four times December's total of 18,000 ounces. Silver also had a slow start to the year, with 5.53 million ounces sold in January, more than double December's total but the lowest for January since 2010. U.S. sales tend to be highly seasonal, with the strongest performance at the start of the year as investors seek the most-recent mintage, and the fourth quarter usually being the quietest of the year. Spot bullion XAU= had its best month in three years as the oil and base metals rout and the euro-zone instability have reignited its appeal to investors even as the dollar remains strong and the U.S. Federal Reserve reins in its years-long stimulus program. On Friday, spot gold XAU= rose 2 percent to $1,281 an ounce and was up 8 percent for the month, its biggest increase since January 2012. The Mint didn't sell any platinum coins for a third straight month. Below are year-to-date coin sales (all figures in ounces): Gold Silver 2015 2014 2015 2014 January 81,000 91,500 5,530,000 4,775,000 February 31,000 3,750,000 March 21,000 5,354,000 April 38,500 3,569,000 May 35,500 3,988,500 June 48,500 2,692,000 July 30,000 1,975,000 August 25,000 2,087,500 September 58,000 4,140,000 October 67,500 5,790,000 November 60,000 3,426,000 December 18,000 2,459,000 (Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Alden Bentley) ((Josephine.Mason@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8925; Reuters Messaging: josephine.mason.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA MINT/SALES

FOREX-Dollar mixed on GDP data, January marks greenback record run

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

(Updates with late New York prices) * Euro short positions consolidating, keeps steady vs. dollar * U.S. dollar index sets record of seven straight months of gains * Dollar off vs. yen, U.S. dollar index down on the day * Canadian dollar plunges after November GDP contraction By Daniel Bases NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The dollar traded mixed on Friday after weaker-than-expected headline U.S. fourth-quarter gross domestic product data, which included the fastest pace of consumer spending since 2006 and left intact market expectations of long-term greenback gains. U.S. economic activity in the fourth quarter rose 2.6 percent, below economists' consensus forecast of 3 percent and nearly half of the third quarter's 5 percent rate. ID:nLNSUCEB6E While the U.S. Federal Reserve is still expected to begin raising interest rates later this year, the contrast with loosening monetary policies elsewhere in the world is becoming even more stark. "That monetary divergence continues to dominate foreign exchange markets. The fundamental case for dollar strength is still in place as a long-term theme," said Brian Daingerfield, currency strategist at the Royal Bank of Scotland in Stamford, Connecticut. The U.S. dollar index .DXY advanced for a seventh straight month in January, marking the longest streak of monthly gains since the greenback was floated as a fiat currency in 1971. On the day however, the index was off 0.10 percent. Market positioning against the euro has built up over the last six months in expectation that the European Central Bank would embark on aggressive monetary easing policies. That scenario played out last week when the ECB announced a 1 trillion-euro quantitative easing plan. While that ultimately justifies selling pressure on the euro, the unwinding of short-euro positions is creating some buying of the currency, at least in the short term. "The long-term position for the euro is decisively lower, but we seem to be consolidating short-euro positions here before the downtrend resumes," Daingerfield said. The euro gyrated above and below its break-even point on the day, and was down 0.18 percent at $1.1299 on the EBS trading platform EUR=EBS . However, the ECB's decision and the consolidation of market positioning helped the euro break a six-week losing streak by gaining 0.84 percent. The dollar fell 0.75 percent to 117.40 yen JPY=EBS , ending the week with a loss of around 0.30 percent. In contrast to the U.S. economy's growth, albeit slightly lower in the first look at fourth-quarter activity, Canada's economy shrank unexpectedly in November by 0.2 percent, prompting market talk that the Bank of Canada will cut interest rates in March for the second time in six weeks. ID:nL1N0V8335 The U.S. dollar surged against its Canadian counterpart, rising to a fresh near-six-year high of C$1.2797 before slipping back to a 0.60 percent gain at C$1.2693. It is up 2.2 percent on the week, its tenth consecutive weekly gain against the loonie. ID:nL1N0V8335 "The data in hand do support the Bank of Canada's very bearish interpretation of the impact of lower oil (prices) on the Canadian economy," said Bill Adams, an economist at PNC Financial Services Group. (Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Diane Craft) ((daniel.bases@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6131; Reuters Messaging: daniel.bases.reuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter: @djbases)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

Deals of the day- Mergers and acquisitions

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds Bain Capital, Continental AG, Sun Pharmaceutical, Elliott, AT&T; Updates Coal India, Qatar Airways) Jan 30 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2100 GMT on Friday: ** India has raised about $3.6 billion by selling a 10 percent stake in state-run Coal India Ltd COAL.NS in the largest ever equity deal in the local market, giving a welcome boost to the government's faltering divestment drive. ID:nL4N0V95GG ** Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd SUN.NS has won U.S. approval to buy Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd RANB.NS on condition that it sells its interest in a generic anti-bacterial medicine, the Federal Trade Commission said on Friday. ID:nL1N0V9203 ** A consortium comprising private equity firms Bain Capital and Advent International has entered the race to buy Italian bank services provider ICBPI, filing a bid just short of 2 billion euros ($2.27 billion), two sources close to the matter said. ID:nL6N0V9497 ** Hedge fund mogul Bill Ackman is ready to make a new bet, not on a stock this time but a startup hedge fund, Clearfield Capital Management. ID:nL1N0V83NC Ackman, who runs $18 billion Pershing Square Capital Management, told investors on Thursday he planned to make his biggest ever commitment to an outside hedge fund. ** U.S. hedge fund Elliott has obtained the right to take a stake in German machine-tool maker DMG Mori Seiki AG GILG.DE , for which Japanese partner DMG Mori Seiki Co Ltd 6141.T made a takeover offer last week, the German company said on Friday. ID:nL6N0V94RQ ** Texas-based oil company Harvest Natural Resources Inc HNR.N said on Thursday its affiliates have withdrawn a request for arbitration against Venezuela for blocking the sale of the company's stake in an oil project in the country. ID:nL1N0V83R1 ** Greece's new left-wing government will cancel plans to sell the state natural gas utility and is firmly opposed to a Canadian gold mine that is among the biggest foreign investment projects in the country, the energy minister told Reuters. ID:nL6N0V93ZK ** British independent oil firm Greenergy said on Friday it had acquired a biodiesel plant in northeast England from fuel supplier Harvest Energy. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. ID:nL6N0V92UN ** AT&T Inc T.N spent close to half the total in the record-setting U.S. sale of airwaves for mobile data, with Verizon Communications Inc VZ.N and bidding partners of Dish Network Corp DISH.O also spending heavily, results showed on Friday. ID:nL1N0V920V ** Singapore Telecommunications Ltd STEL.SI , Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. Entertainment on Friday said they had established HOOQ, a joint venture start-up to offer a regional video service in Asia. ID:nL4N0V88C3 ** Five companies have filed preliminary, non-binding bids to build a 1,000 megawatt hydro power plant at Tarnita in Romania, the state-owned project company Hidro Tarnita said on Friday. ID:nL6N0V92TX Hidro Tarnita did not name the bidders and said it would unveil the short-listed investors at a later date. ** Marquette Transportation Co LLC, a U.S. towboat operator, is exploring a sale that could value it at more than $1 billion and has attracted the interest of Dell Inc DI.UL Chief Executive Michael Dell, according to people familiar with the matter. ID:nL1N0V901O ** German industrial group ThyssenKrupp TKAG.DE is not in talks to sell its submarine unit nor is it in talks to sell its stainless steel unit VDM, its chief executive said on Friday. ID:nL6N0V92IA ** Bankrupt drugmaker Dendreon Corp DNDNQ.PK has reached a stalking-horse deal with Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO to sell the worldwide rights to its cancer vaccine, Provenge, and certain assets for $296 million. ID:nL4N0V91NL ** Sunac China Holdings 1918.HK , has agreed to buy a 49.3 percent stake in troubled Chinese property developer Kaisa Group 1638.HK , a report in the financial news magazine Caixin said on Friday, citing an unidentified senior company executive. ID:nL4N0V91OV ** Troubled Indian carrier SpiceJet Ltd SPJT.BO said its board had approved selling shares worth up to 15 billion rupees ($242.6 million) in the company, following a deal between its current majority owner and a co-founder leading a rescue plan. ID:nL4N0V927T ** Turkish conglomerate Dogan Holding DOHOL.IS said on Friday its Dogan Enerji Yatirimlari unit had bought a 50 percent stake in fuel distributor Aytemiz Akaryakit Dagitim for 152 million lira ($63 million). ID:nL6N0V90K3 ** Qatar Airways has bought a stake worth about 1.15 billion pounds ($1.73 billion) in the owner of British Airways and Iberia, aiming to forge closer links to a group with two major European hubs and strong transatlantic networks. ID:nL6N0V90QY ** British oil producer Afren Plc AFRE.L said the UK Takeover Panel extended the deadline for Nigeria's Seplat Petroleum Development Co SEPLAT.LG to make a firm offer or walk away. ID:nL4N0V96LG ** Machine component manufacturer Suzo-Happ is raising 185 million euros ($208.92 million) of leveraged loans to back its acquisition of Swedish peer Scan Coin and refinance existing debt, banking sources said on Friday. ID:nL6N0V945X ** German automotive supplier Continental AG CONG.DE said it concluded the acquisition of U.S. rubber company Veyance Technologies on Friday after receiving the conditional approval of Brazil's anti-trust regulator. ID:nFWN0V901K ** SHV Holdings again increased on Friday its offer for Dutch animal and fish feed maker Nutreco NV, and holdout shareholders APG and NN Group agreed to tender their shares to the new offer. ID:nL6N0V90N2 SHV said it would offer 45.25 euros ($51) in cash for each outstanding share of Nutreco, valuing the company at 3.18 billion euros ($3.60 billion). ** Ivanhoe Cambridge, the real estate arm of Canada's second-largest pension fund, said on Friday it had sold its 50 percent interest in two Ontario shopping centers to a rival pension plan manager in Canada for C$240 million ($190 million) as part of a move to reposition its retail portfolio. ID:nL1N0V90QP ** French power company EDF EDF.PA is in a consortium led by Singapore sovereign fund GIC looking to buy a 40 percent stake in the Eurostar train service which the British government has put up for sale, the Les Echos newspaper reported. ID:nL6N0V90TR ** Italian Thai Development Pcl ITD.BK and Rojana Industrial Park ROJNA.BK will sign a $1.7 billion deal in March to develop the Dawei industrial zone in Myanmar, the Thai government said on Friday. ID:nL4N0V958X ** The finance arm of Greenland Group, China's largest property developer by sales, plans to buy an insurer or private bank in Europe in a push to diversify its financial services portfolio, its chairman said. ID:nL4N0V91PE ** The private equity arm of Japan's Orix Corp 8591.T was chosen as preferred bidder for a controlling stake in South Korea's Hyundai Securities Co Ltd 003450.KS , a bank representing the seller said. ID:nL4N0V95GT ** Hip-hop star Jay-Z is buying a Scandinavian music streaming company for $56 million to add to a business empire that has spanned clothing and sports bars. Project Panther Bidco Ltd, a company controlled by the 45-year-old rapper, said on Friday it had agreed to buy Sweden-listed Aspiro <IRX.ST> for 464 million Swedish crowns ($56 million) in cash. ID:nL6N0V91IR ** Metro AG MEOG.DE on Friday said it had concluded the sale of its MAKRO Cash & Carry business in Greece to Sklavenitis. ID:nL6N0V91QR ** Citic Securities Co Ltd 600030.SS , China's largest brokerage, plans to buy 60 percent of the shares in Hong Kong-listed financial services firm KVB Kunlun Financial Group Ltd 8077.HK , it said on Friday, which a Reuters' estimate values at around HK$323 million ($41.7 million). ID:nL4N0V95PQ ** French nuclear company Areva AREVA.PA has signed a deal with Chinese utility China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) to create a joint venture in the field of nuclear transportation and logistics. ID:nFWN0V900K ($1 = 1.27 Canadian dollars) ($1 = 7.75 Hong Kong dollars) ($1 = 6.25 Chinese yuan) ($1 = 0.66 pounds) ($1 = 0.88 euros) ($1 = 2.41 Turkish liras) ($1 = 61.95 Indian rupees) (Compiled by Yashaswini Swamynathan, Ankit Ajmera and Shubhankar Chakravorty in Bengaluru) ((yashaswini.swamynathan@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, outside U.S. +91 80 6749 2405; Reuters Mssaging:yashaswini.swamynathan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: DEALS DAY/

Net U.S. dollar longs fall for 2nd week, euro shorts rise -CFTC, Reuters

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

Jan 30 (Reuters) - Speculators reduced bets in favor of the U.S. dollar in the latest week, and propelled net shorts on the euro to their largest level since June 2012, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released on Friday. The value of the dollar's net long position slipped to $44.28 billion in the week ended Jan. 27, from $46.22 billion the previous week. Net dollar longs declined for a second consecutive week. That said, this was the fifth straight week that net long dollars have hit at least $40 billion. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli) ((gertrude.chavez@thomsonreuters.com; 646-223-6322; Reuters Messaging: rm://gertrude.chavez.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/CFTC

GLOBAL MARKETS-Oil jumps on drop in U.S. rig count; dollar up 5 pct for month

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

* U.S. oil surges 8 pct on drop in oil rig count * U.S. stocks lower; MSCI world index also down * Russian central bank unexpectedly cuts rates * Fourth-quarter U.S. GDP growth slows to 2.6 percent pace (Updates with crude oil settlements) By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Oil prices surged on Friday following the sharpest weekly drop in U.S. oil rig count in nearly 30 years, while the dollar index was on track to end January with gains of about 5 percent. U.S. stocks cut losses as energy shares followed oil prices higher. U.S. crude CLc1 rose 8.3 percent to settle at $48.24 a barrel, while Brent crude LCc1 jumped 7.9 percent to settle at $52.99. The S&P 500 energy .SPNY was up 0.8 percent. ID:nL1N0V9266 European stocks ended lower, but registered their biggest monthly gain in three years, while major U.S. stock indexes were on track for a second straight monthly decline. The dollar index .DXY , bolstered by expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will be the first major central bank to raise interest rates, also was poised to end January with its longest run of gains since the greenback was floated in 1971. It was up 0.02 percent on Friday. Weighing on stocks, U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 2.6 percent annual pace after the third quarter's spectacular 5 percent rate, the Commerce Department said in its first snapshot of fourth-quarter GDP. The headline number was "well below consensus expectations and that is definitely one of the data points that many bulls were looking for to justify staying bullish," said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Clearpool Group in New York. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 111.68 points, or 0.64 percent, to 17,305.17, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 11.44 points, or 0.57 percent, to 2,009.81 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 14.64 points, or 0.31 percent, to 4,668.77. Adding to concerns for stock investors, Greece's finance minister said the government would not cooperate with the European Union and International Monetary Fund mission bankrolling the country and would not seek an extension to the bailout program. The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares ended down 0.6 percent, but rose 7.2 percent in January, its biggest monthly gain in three years. The MSCI all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS declined 0.6 percent. European shares have been lifted recently by expectations that a bond-buying program by the European Central Bank will help the region's economic recovery. U.S. stocks have been hit by falling oil prices and concern about weak overseas demand. U.S. Treasury debt prices jumped, with long-term yields hitting record lows after the slower-than-anticipated economic growth, which encouraged speculation the Fed will delay interest rate hikes. Friday's gains added to a strong Treasuries rally that has the 30-year Treasury US30YT=RR on track for total returns in January of more than 10 percent. Russia surprised markets by cutting interest rates as fears of a Russian recession mount following a plunge in global oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. The move pressured the rouble RUB , which skidded as much as 4 percent against the dollar, and bolstered expectations that Turkey will cut rates again next week, sending the lira TRYTOM=D3 to a new record low. ID:nL6N0V90PX (Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York; Editing by Janet Lawrence, Susan Fenton, Meredith Mazzilli, and Chizu Nomiyama) ((caroline.valetkevitch@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6393; Reuters Messaging: caroline.valetkevitch.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

UPDATE 3-Denmark halts bond issues in surprise move to keep crown stable

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

* Latest surprise aimed at keeping, not scrapping, FX peg * Move aims to reduce rates on longer-dated assets * More rate cuts, intervention, still in play (Adds analysts) By Sabina Zawadzki and Ole Mikkelsen COPENHAGEN, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Denmark has temporarily stopped selling new bonds to investors, it said on Friday, shocking a currency market still reeling from the Swiss central bank's decision to stop limiting the franc's value against the euro. But while unexpected and unconventional, the Danish move underscores a commitment to its decades-long fixed currency policy and is aimed at weakening the crown EURDKK=D3 to keep it within a tight range to the euro. Pressure had been building on the crown since the Swiss National Bank abandoned its cap on Jan. 15, letting the franc surge against the euro, and the European Central Bank adopted a bond-buying scheme that helped weaken the euro more broadly. Denmark's central bank had already cut its deposit rate three times in the past two weeks deeper into negative territory at -0.5 percent, effectively charging investors for parking their money. But other official rates and bond rates remained positive, spurring demand for crown-denominated assets. The central bank now hopes that removing the option of buying new Danish government bonds will reduce demand for the crown while pushing investors towards existing longer-dated bonds, which would lower borrowing costs more broadly. The government had been due to issue 75 billion Danish crowns ($11 billion) worth of domestic debt to cover its 2015 financing needs. It tends not to issue foreign-denominated debt. "They have been successful with pushing the short rates down but not the longer rates and that has been the catalyst for continued inflow into the Danish asset market," Kamal Sharma, G10 FX Strategy Director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told Reuters. "They are obviously looking at the full extent of the policy tool kit." QUANTITATIVE EASING Denmark voted against following its neighbours into the euro zone but, under the European Union's Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM2), it agreed to keep the crown at 2.25 percent either side of the parity rate of 7.46038 crowns to the euro. In practice, the crown has not moved more than 0.5 percent on either side. The policy has wide backing across the political and corporate spectrum. ID:nL6N0UZ3YM Analysts said the central bank had a host of tools before it would consider dropping the peg, but most thought it would cut rates further and possibly widen its tight corridor. ID:nL6N0V92FY "We had not expected this," said Jes Asmussen, Chief Economist at Handelsbanken. "Everything that happens now is surprising. We had expected the central bank to start to use other instruments if the pressure on the crown continued, but we did not consider it would be this exactly." Nordea's senior analyst, Jan Storup Nielsen, compared the move to quantitative easing (QE), referring to the ECB's bond-buying programme. Analysts had said Sweden could be next to follow suit, but not Denmark. ID:nL6N0V228M ID:nL6N0V52J6 "This is basically QE through the back door," Nielsen said. "Instead of increasing demand they reduce supply and a result of that is lower interest rates." The central bank has previously said it had intervened in the foreign exchange market. It has not specified by how much but some analysts have said it may have spent as much as 100 million Danish crowns, boosting reserves. "Denmark's National bank expects that stopping the issuance of government bonds will contribute to reducing the interest-rate spreads in the longer maturity segments and thereby limit the inflow of foreign exchange," it said in a statement. Higher reserves have "resulted in a widening of the negative spread between money market rates in Denmark and the euro area. The interest rate spreads for government bonds, however, have remained positive in the longer maturity segments," it said. ($1 = 6.5889 Danish crowns) (Additional reporting by Teis Jensen; Editing by Ruth Pitchford) ((sabina.zawadzki@thomsonreuters.com; +45 33 96 96 50, +45 20 54 86 88;)) Keywords: DENMARK BONDS/

U.S. Mint gold coin sales weakest for January since 2008

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters) - U.S. Mint American Eagle gold coin sales in January were the lowest for the first month of the year since 2008 as a rally in prices discouraged collector buying in typically the busiest month of the year, according to data on Friday. The U.S. Mint sold 81,000 ounces of gold bullion coins this month, down from 91,500 ounces in the first month of last year and the lowest since 2008 when 26,000 ounces were sold. That is up more than four times from December's total of 18,000 ounces. Silver also had a slow start to the year, with 5.53 million ounces sold in January, more than double December's total but the lowest for January since 2010. U.S. sales tend to be highly seasonal, with the strongest performance at the start of the year as investors seek the most-recent mintage, and the fourth quarter usually being the quietest of the year. (Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli) ((Josephine.Mason@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8925; Reuters Messaging: josephine.mason.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA MINT/SALES

UPDATE 3-Colombia central bank holds rate, trims growth outlook

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds finance minister comment) By Julia Symmes Cobb and Nelson Bocanegra BOGOTA, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Colombia's central bank held its key lending rate for a fifth straight month on Friday, in an effort to boost slowing economic growth as revenue from oil price declines and mounting problems in Europe increase uncertainty. The bank's seven-member board voted unanimously to keep the rate at 4.5 percent, in line with the forecast of analysts polled by Reuters this week. The bank lowered its 2015 economic growth forecast to a "most-probable" 3.6 percent from 4.3 percent previously. "This decline reflects growth in domestic demand that is adjusting itself to lower levels of national income," the central bank said in a statement. "The sharp drop in oil prices is already reflected in cuts in investment programs in the sector." Even so, Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said portfolio investment was flowing into the economy, offsetting some of the lost investment as foreign players remain undeterred. Oil is Colombia's biggest export. "There has been a very important entrance of portfolio investment, which shows that despite the fall in oil prices, confidence remains intact and foreigners are still bringing dollars into the country at an unprecedented rate," said Cardenas, who represents the government on the board. The bank also trimmed its forecast for full-year 2014 growth to a likely 4.8 percent, down from 5 percent. The economy accelerated 4 percent in the fourth quarter, the bank estimated. The reduction in growth projections opens the door to interest rate cuts this year, analysts said. Fourth quarter data is due in March. "We think that in the short term the bank will keep the rate steady," Bancolombia said in a note to investors. "However, if inflation loses strength and the expansion of internal demand is affected by external risks, we think that by the end of the first half of the year there will be space for a cut to the rate." Borrowing costs were raised 125 basis points last year after faster-than-expected first-quarter growth raised concerns about consumer prices. Inflation for 2015 will be slightly above 3 percent, the bank said, lower than the 3.66 percent in 2014. The board did not take any measures to curb volatility of the peso, which weakened around 12 percent in December alone and by around a fifth over a year. The board said the adverse effects of the drop in oil prices would be partly offset by the peso weakening, which will boost the competitiveness of exports. (Additional reporting by Helen Murphy, Peter Murphy, Luis Jaime Acosta and Carlos Vargas; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Chizu Nomiyama) ((julia.cobb@thomsonreuters.com; +57-1-634-4140)) Keywords: COLOMBIA INTEREST RATE/

UPDATE 2-Berlin says fresh Greek aid "not on agenda", denying media report

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

* Spiegel says Berlin might back fresh aid with conditions * Berlin denies report, urges Athens to obey rules * New Greek government strikes defiant tone (Adds German MP warning of consequences for Athens) BERLIN, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Germany's Finance Ministry denied on Friday a media report that Berlin would be ready to discuss a new aid package for Greece of up to 20 billion euros if the new leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accepted supervised economic reforms. "That is not on the agenda at all," said a spokesman for Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. The report in Der Spiegel magazine that Germany estimated Greece's additional aid needs at about 20 billion euros was "pure speculation", he added. Spiegel reported that Germany would be willing to grant Greece fresh aid on condition that it accepted reforms overseen by inspectors from the "troika" - the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Tsipras was elected last weekend on a promise to reverse precisely the kind of austerity measures prescribed by Berlin and supervised by the troika. He has already scrapped some of the privatisation plans agreed under the existing bailout deal and his finance minister said on Friday he had no intention of cooperating with the troika. ID:nL6N0V93VX Earlier on Friday, Schaeuble said Germany was open for talks with the new Greek government about its debt woes, but he also made clear that Athens had to implement further reforms. "We need solidarity in Europe, and besides we cannot be blackmailed," Schaeuble said. ID:nL6N0V92F7 Norbert Barthle, the parliamentary spokesman on budgetary affairs for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, told the business daily Handelsblatt that if Athens refused to cooperate with the troika, there would be serious consequences. "There are clear rules and we have legal stipulations about the conditions for giving European credit assistance," he told its Saturday edition. "If Greece can't accept these conditions, it must find the necessary funding on the capital markets." Spiegel also had an interview with the European Parliament's German president, Martin Schulz, who visited Tsipras this week. He ruled out a debt cut for Greece but suggested the euro zone should give Athens more time to pay back its debt. "Right now, the last repayment is due in 2057. It wouldn't make a big difference to postpone this by 10 years," said the politician from Germany's Social Democrats (SPD), the junior coalition partners to Merkel's conservatives. (Reporting by Stephen Brown and Michael Nienaber; Editing by Gareth Jones) ((stephen.brown@thomsonreuters.com; +49 30 2888 5216; Reuters Messaging: stephen.brown.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GREECE POLITICS/GERMANY REPORT

UPDATE 1-Hungary should ease monetary conditions further -IMF

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

* IMF sees persistent disinflationary pressures * Cbank sent dovish signal earlier this week * Cheap loans programme should be adjusted -IMF (Adds detail) BUDAPEST, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Hungary's central bank should consider further cautious monetary easing due to persistent disinflationary pressures, the International Monetary Fund said on Friday after concluding its regular annual country review. The National Bank of Hungary left its base rate on hold at a record low 2.1 percent NBHI for the sixth straight month on Tuesday, but sent a dovish signal, saying recent data had nudged it closer to looser monetary policy. ID:nL6N0V6157 "Inflationary pressures remain subdued and with output still below potential, a weak external environment, and falling commodity prices, inflation is likely to remain low for an extended period," the IMF said in a statement. "The mission, therefore, sees scope for further cautious monetary easing, particularly given the improved resilience of household balance sheets to exchange rate risk, and also in light of the recent quantitative easing by the ECB." The central bank could not comment immediately on the IMF report. Hungarian consumer prices fell 0.9 percent in December, as lower oil prices caused household energy costs to tumble. The central bank says it hopes to push inflation back to its 3 percent target in the second half of 2016. The IMF also said that while the Hungarian banking sector, which pays one of the highest taxes in the European Union, remained under pressure, its vulnerability to shocks had lessened. "The conversion of FX mortgages at market exchange rates has significantly reduced the exposure of the private sector to exchange rate risk, and is likely to improve asset quality while reducing the banking sector's reliance on FX swaps," it said. However it added that bank lending continued to contract, calling for adjustments to the central bank's cheap loans programme to better support economic growth as well as a reduction in the tax bill of the financial sector. Central bank Governor Gyorgy Matolcsy has said the bank's Funding for Growth Scheme, which provides free funding to banks that they can lend on to businesses, could be expanded to include big companies this year. ID:nL6N0V519R (Reporting by Gergely Szakacs and Sandor Peto; Editing by Mark Heinrich) ((gergely.szakacs@thomsonreuters.com; +36 1 327 4748; Reuters Messaging: gergely.szakacs.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: HUNGARY IMF/

GLOBAL MARKETS-Dlr set to end month with record run; GDP data weighs on stocks

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

* U.S. stocks lower; MSCI world index also down * Russian central bank unexpectedly cuts rates * Fourth-quarter U.S. GDP growth slows to 2.6 percent pace (Updates with European stocks close) By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The dollar index edged higher on Friday and was on track to end January with gains of more than 5 percent, while stock indexes around the world fell as data showed U.S. growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter. European stocks ended lower, but registered their biggest monthly gain in three years, while major U.S. stock indexes were on track for a second straight monthly decline. The dollar index .DXY , bolstered by expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will be the first major central bank to raise interest rates, also was poised to end January with its longest run of gains since the greenback was floated in 1971. It was up 0.1 percent on Friday. U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 2.6 percent annual pace after the third quarter's spectacular 5 percent rate, the Commerce Department said in its first snapshot of fourth-quarter GDP. The headline number was "well below consensus expectations and that is definitely one of the data points that many bulls were looking for to justify staying bullish," said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Clearpool Group in New York. Adding to concerns for stock investors, Greece's finance minister said the government would not cooperate with the European Union and International Monetary Fund mission bankrolling the country and would not seek an extension to the bailout program. "The equity market is trying to deal with all the uncertainty around the world," said Paul Zemsky, chief investment officer of Multi-Asset Strategies and Solutions at Voya Investment Management in New York. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 94.92 points, or 0.54 percent, to 17,321.93, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 9.85 points, or 0.49 percent, to 2,011.4 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.97 points, or 0.02 percent, to 4,682.43. The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares ended down 0.6 percent, but rose 7.2 percent in January, its biggest monthly gain in three years. The MSCI all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS declined 0.6 percent. European shares have been lifted recently by expectations that a bond-buying program by the European Central Bank will help the region's economic recovery, while U.S. stocks have been hit by falling oil prices and concern about weak overseas demand. U.S. Treasury debt prices jumped, with long-term yields hitting record lows after the slower-than-anticipated economic growth, which encouraged speculation the Fed will delay interest rate hikes. Friday's gains added to a strong Treasuries rally that has the 30-year Treasury US30YT=RR on track for total returns in January of more than 10 percent. Brent crude edged up 67 cents LCOc1 to $49.80 a barrel, supported by renewed violence in Iraq, but a persistent global supply glut kept the market on course for a seventh straight month of declines, its longest bear run on record. U.S. crude CLc1 was up 97 cents at $45.50. Russia surprised markets by cutting interest rates as fears of a Russian recession mount following a plunge in global oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. The move pressured the rouble RUB , which skidded as much as 4 percent against the dollar, and bolstered expectations that Turkey will cut rates again next week, sending the lira TRYTOM=D3 to a new record low. ID:nL6N0V90PX (Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York; Editing by Janet Lawrence, Susan Fenton, Meredith Mazzilli, and Chizu Nomiyama) ((caroline.valetkevitch@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6393; Reuters Messaging: caroline.valetkevitch.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

Interest rate cut in Russia evidence of economic chaos - White House spokesman

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - An unexpected move by Russia's central bank to cut its main interest rate shows continued chaos in the country's economy, some of it due to Western sanctions related to the Ukraine crisis, a White House spokesman said Friday. "There are specific and clear economic costs associated with President (Vladimir) Putin's expedition into eastern Ukraine," spokesman Josh Earnest told a daily briefing. "We're hopeful that as these costs mount it will prompt president Putin to re-evaluate his strategy," Earnest added. (Reporting By Amanda Becker; Editing by Sandra Maler) ((amanda.becker@thomsonreuters.com;)) Keywords: RUSSIA CRISIS/CENBANKRATES USA

Colombia's central bank interest rate decision was unanimous

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

BOGOTA, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The decision by Colombia's central bank to hold the benchmark interest rate at 4.5 percent was reached unanimously by its seven-member board of directors, bank chief Jose Dario Uribe said on Friday. (Reporting by Bogota newsroom) ((Peter.Murphy@thomsonreuters.com; +57 1 634 4133; Reuters Messaging: peter.murphy.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: COLOMBIA CENBANK/

Colombia's central bank statement does not mention forex measures

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

BOGOTA, Jan 30 (Reuters) - A statement by the board of directors of Colombia's central bank did not mention adoption of any measures to curb recent volatility in the peso, which weakened around 12 percent in December alone versus the dollar. (Reporting by Bogota newsroom) ((Peter.Murphy@thomsonreuters.com; +57 1 634 4133; Reuters Messaging: peter.murphy.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: COLOMBIA CENTRALBANK/MEASURES

Colombia cenbank sees 2015 GDP growth around 3.6 pct

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

BOGOTA, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Colombia's central bank on Friday said it estimated 2015 GDP growth at between 2 and 4 percent with 3.6 percent the most probable figure. The central bank revised its 2014 GDP growth estimate to 4.5 to 5.5 percent, with 4.8 percent the most likely level. (Reporting by Bogota newsroom) ((Peter.Murphy@thomsonreuters.com; +57 1 634 4133; Reuters Messaging: peter.murphy.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: COLOMBIA GDP/

Colombia's GDP growth in Q4 2014 seen around 4 pct - cenbank

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

BOGOTA, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Colombia's economy is likely to have grown around 4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, the central bank estimated on Friday. The national statistics agency is expected to release the final figure in March. (Reporting by Bogota newsroom) ((Peter.Murphy@thomsonreuters.com; +57 1 634 4133; Reuters Messaging: peter.murphy.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: COLOMBIA GDP/QUARTER

Colombia's central bank holds benchmark interest rate steady at 4.5 pct, as expected

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

BOGOTA, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Colombia's central bank kept its key lending rate unchanged for a fifth straight month on Friday, in an effort to boost slowing economic growth amid declining oil revenue and mounting problems in Europe. The seven-member board voted to maintain the lending rate at 4.5 percent, meeting the forecast of analysts in a Reuters survey this week. (Reporting by Bogota newsroom) ((Peter.Murphy@thomsonreuters.com; +57 1 634 4133; Reuters Messaging: peter.murphy.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: COLOMBIA INTEREST RATE

Scant relief seen for commodities from European monetary easing

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

* Europe only accounts for 10-20 pct of global commodity demand * Weak euro, strong dollar to weigh on commodity markets * Gold price, QE timeline: http://link.reuters.com/byw79s By Eric Onstad LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Beaten down commodities prices are unlikely to get much relief from an expected 1 trillion euros of monetary stimulus in Europe, as the plan is very different from the U.S. version several years ago that gave raw materials a huge boost. The European Central Bank last week launched a government bond-buying programme that will pump new money into a sagging euro zone economy. ID:nL6N0V120L This should indirectly buoy commodities by boosting economic growth and confidence, stimulating demand for raw materials used in sectors such as construction and automobiles. But the injection of liquidity is also designed to weaken the euro, indirectly boosting the dollar, which is largely negative for commodities priced in the U.S. currency because it makes them more expensive for non-dollar holders. The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB Index .TRJCRBTR rallied by more than 50 percent during the 29 months following the launch of quantitative easing (QE) in the United States in November 2008. Since then, the index has slipped just below levels seen when the Federal Reserve launched its QE programme, with the move down hastened by tumbling oil and growth concerns. "Overall it's hard to identify a particularly strong channel whereby this (QE) is going to boost commodity prices," said Julian Jessop, head of commodities research at London-based financial consultancy Capital Economics. "But at the margin, the effect has to be positive. It's better that the ECB did something than nothing. It does provide a bit of a lift to confidence." Injecting cash into the U.S. economy had a dramatic impact in the depths of recession, but while Europe is struggling, it is not in such a dire situation, Jessop said. The U.S. exercise also aimed to unfreeze the U.S. mortgage market, which led to credit easing, sending floods of cheap money chasing a range of risky assets including commodities. The ECB will buy government bonds, resulting in financial institutions swapping into very similar assets -- cash instead of bonds which already had yields at very low or negative yields. There is also less confidence in QE after subsequent bouts of U.S. stimulus failed to have the same impact, said Matthew Turner, analyst at Macquarie in London. "When the Fed launched the first QE, people thought it would lead to inflation but it didn't so people are more sceptical this time around," he said. "The ECB is trying to increase economic activity, but for most commodities, Europe only accounts for 10, 15, 20 percent of demand." The ECB's sovereign bond purchase programme was the latest salvo in its battle against deflation. BEST ODDS Platinum has the best odds of being given a shot in the arm from QE since demand for catalytic converters, one of the precious metal's main drivers of consumption, is strongest in Europe, he added. The government in China, the powerhouse of commodities demand, is engineering a gradual slowdown of economic growth, while a weak oil price is depressing cost curves and weighing on prices. "China has not, and is unlikely to subscribe to wholesale money printing," said Nomura analyst Matthew Kates in a note. "Non-dollar denominated QE is likely to push the U.S. dollar even higher, thereby feeding through to lower commodity prices." A stronger dollar makes commodities priced in the U.S. currency more expensive for buyers using other currencies. Gold is also caught in competing currents, with loose monetary policy positive but success at boosting the euro zone economy potentially eroding safe-haven buying, Jessop said. ($1 = 0.8843 euros) (Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Veronica Brown and Susan Thomas) ((eric.onstad@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 7093; Reuters Messaging: eric.onstad.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: COMMODITIES QE/

Hungary should ease monetary conditions further -IMF

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

BUDAPEST, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Hungary's central bank should consider further cautious monetary easing due to persistent disinflationary pressures, the International Monetary Fund said on Friday after concluding its regular annual country review. "Inflationary pressures remain subdued and with output still below potential, a weak external environment, and falling commodity prices, inflation is likely to remain low for an extended period," it said in a statement. "The mission, therefore, sees scope for further cautious monetary easing, particularly given the improved resilience of household balance sheets to exchange rate risk, and also in light of the recent quantitative easing by the ECB." (Reporting by Gergely Szakacs and Sandor Peto) ((gergely.szakacs@thomsonreuters.com; +36 1 327 4748; Reuters Messaging: gergely.szakacs.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: HUNGARY IMF

UPDATE 2-Codelco aims to cut 2015 costs by $1 bln as copper price plummets

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds CEO's comments, background details) By Fabian Cambero SANTIAGO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - World No.1 copper miner Codelco will look to slash costs by $1 billion in 2015, Chief Executive Nelson Pizarro said Friday, as the price of the base metal slumped to multi-year lows. It is seeking to cut direct cash costs by some $0.193 per pound of copper at its operations, Pizarro told journalists. In the January through September, Codelco's cash costs averaged $1.537 per pound. Still, none of the Chilean state-run copper miner's large investment projects will be at risk and no personnel will be laid off, Pizarro said. Instead, the company will look to implement efficiencies by such measures as the renegotiation of energy contracts, its task eased by slumping oil prices and a Chilean peso CLP=CL that has weakened around 25 percent versus the U.S. dollar over the last two years. Crude prices are poised for a seventh month of declines, the longest rout on record. As a country that imports almost all its hydrocarbons, Chile is reaping the benefit, with open pit mines that run diesel trucks among those positively impacted. The lower oil price and the weaker peso will "help reduce costs by $500 million, via the renegotiation of contracts," Pizarro said. Codelco will also look to boost copper production some 35,000 tonnes this year by optimizing metals recovery at two of its smelters. The additional copper output should translate into an extra $200 million in revenue, Codelco hopes. "This drop in prices is an opportunity to make Codelco a more efficient and productive company," said Pizarro. Copper prices CMCU3 reached 5-1/2 year lows on Friday, continuing a recent slide that has been driven by concerns about global economic growth and demand from China, which accounts for 40 percent of global refined copper demand. Codelco, battling falling ore grades at its decades-old flagship mines, is implementing an ambitious multi-billion investment plan over the next few years to open new projects and revamp older ones. (Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Bernadette Baum) ((anthony.esposito@thomsonreuters.com)(Twitter: @ReutersChile)(; +562-2370-4253; Reuters Messaging: anthony.esposito.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CODELCO COSTS/

UPDATE 1-UK trader who spent investors' cash on champagne, travel jailed for 7 years

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds more detail) By Huw Jones LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Alex Hope, who set himself up as a foreign exchange trader, has been jailed for seven years for defrauding investors of 5.5 million pounds ($7.5 million), of which he spent nearly half on a globe-trotting, champagne lifestyle, Britain's Financial Conduct Authority said on Friday. Hope was found guilty of fraud by Southwark Crown Court in central London earlier this month and was sentenced on Friday. The sentence equals the longest prison term following a prosecution by the UK markets regulator. The watchdog said Hope had spent more than a million pounds in a casino, over 200,000 pounds on designer watches and shoes, 60,000 pounds on foreign travel, and over 600,000 pounds in bars and nightclubs in London, Miami and New York. The UK media have reported that Hope spent more than 200,000 pounds on Britain's most expensive round of drinks at a Liverpool nightclub. He was also sentenced to 16 months in prison for operating an investment scheme without authorisation, a charge he admitted to. This sentence will run concurrently with the other term. "Alex Hope presented himself as a trader with a flair for trading on the foreign exchange markets when in reality he spent a good deal of his investors' money on himself," Georgina Philippou, acting FCA director of enforcement, said. More than 100 investors gave Hope a total of 5.5 million pounds before the investment scheme was shut by the FCA in April 2012. Only 12 percent of the money was ever traded and when Hope did trade, almost all of the money was lost, the FCA said. About half the money was identified and frozen, and consideration of confiscation and other financial orders will take place at a later date. Hope's co-defendant, Raj Von Badlo, who had earlier pleaded guilty, was sent to prison for two years for recklessly making false representations to investors and promoting a collective investment scheme without authorisation. ($1 = 0.6669 pounds) (Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Carolyn Cohn and Jane Merriman) ((huw.jones@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 3326; Reuters Messaging: huw.jones.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BRITAIN CRIME/HOPE

Ghana 91-day bill yield rises to 25.8463 pct

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

ACCRA, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The Bank of Ghana said the yield on its 91-day bill rose to 25.8463 percent at an auction on Friday, from 25.8335 percent at the last sale. The bank said it had accepted 833.59 million cedis ($252.6 million) worth of bids out of the total 833.61 million cedis bids tendered for the 91-day paper. For full details please click here: http://www.bog.gov.gh/privatecontent/Treasury/Auctresults%201418.pdf ($1 USD = 3.300 Ghana cedis) (Writing by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Joe Bavier) ((kwasi.kpodo@thomsonreuters.com;)(+233 24 469 6990)(Reuters Messaging: kwasi.kpodo.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GHANA BONDS/

Berlin says fresh Greek aid "not on agenda", denying media report

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

BERLIN, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Germany's Finance Ministry denied on Friday a media report that Berlin would be ready to discuss a new aid package for Greece of up to 20 billion euros if the new leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accepted supervised economic reforms. "That is not on the agenda at all," said a spokesman for Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. The report in Der Spiegel magazine that Germany estimated Greece's additional aid needs at about 20 billion euros was "pure speculation", he added. (Reporting by Stephen Brown; Editing by Alison Williams) ((stephen.brown@thomsonreuters.com; +49 30 2888 5216; Reuters Messaging: stephen.brown.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GREECE POLITICS/GERMANY REPORT

UPDATE 1-Stock funds worldwide post $3.8 bln inflows in latest week -EPFR and BofA

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds quotes on inflows at bond and precious metal funds) NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Investors worldwide poured $3.8 billion into stock funds in the week ended on Wednesday, marking the first inflows in four weeks, according to data released on Friday by EPFR Global and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Bond funds worldwide, meanwhile, attracted $10.1 billion over the week, the most since October, the data showed. The inflows into stock funds were all in exchange-traded funds largely traded by hedge funds and other institutional investors. "Global monetary easing has opened the floodgates of liquidity and given investors the green light to expand their holdings on long-term bonds," said Bank of the West Chief Economist Scott Anderson. Precious metal funds worldwide posted $900 million of inflows, according to the EPFR and BofA data. In the past two weeks, they had their strongest performance since September 2012. The inflows came after the Swiss National Bank abandoned its three-year old cap at 1.20 francs per euro in mid-January. "Gold back in fashion following brutal break of Swiss franc-euro peg," wrote Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist, and Brian Leung, investment strategist, of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Hartnett and Leung said the "risk-on winners" in the latest week included European equities funds, which had their strongest inflows since December 2013 at $5.1 billion, and high-yield bond funds, with their largest inflows since Oct. 13. They said emerging market equity funds posted their first week of inflows in 11 weeks. (Reporting by Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Von Ahn) ((jennifer.ablan@thomsonreuters.com; tel 646 223 6297)) Keywords: INVESTING FUNDFLOWS/EPFR

RPT-Denmark suspends issue of domestic and foreign bonds

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

(Repeats to link to news alert) COPENHAGEN, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Denmark has suspended its issuance of domestic and foreign bonds, the central bank said on Friday, to help stop the inflow of foreign currencies and help keep the crown within a tight range against the euro. "Denmark's National bank expects that stopping the issuance of government bonds will contribute to reducing the interest-rate spreads in the longer maturity segments and thereby limit the inflow of foreign exchange," the central bank said in a statement. (Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki, Ole Mikkelsen; Editing by Ruth Pitchford) ((sabina.zawadzki@thomsonreuters.com; +45 33 96 96 50, +45 20 54 86 88;)) Keywords: DENMARK BONDS/

Resources lead South African stocks higher

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 30 (Reuters) - South African shares were led higher by the mining sector on Friday and the market looked set to make further gains in coming sessions after the government slashed fuel prices. The retail price of 95-grade petrol in South Africa will drop by 93 cents or 8.3 percent a litre from next Wednesday, which traders expect to place more purchasing power in consumers' wallets. The stimulus programme planned for the eurozone is also expected to unlock fresh money that the market sees trickling down to emerging markets such as South Africa. "It seems that some overseas funds underweight in emerging markets are coming through and buying," said Greg Davies, an equities trader at Cratos Capital. Johannesburg's Top-40 index .JTOPI ended 0.8 percent higher at 45,111 while the All-share .JALSH rose 0.6 percent to 51,266. Resource companies were the best performers as gold producers .JGLDX led the pack with a 2.4 percent rise. Gold shares were boosted by spotbullion prices, which were up nearly 0.9 percent at 1534 GMT. AngloGold Ashanti ANGJ.J was at the top of the blue chip gainers list with a 4.7 percent increase. The banking index ended 1.2 percent higher with lenders such as FirstRand FSRJ.J and Nedbank NEDJ.J adding more than 1 percent each. Activity was robust with some 214 million shares changing hands, outpacing last year's average daily volume of 183 million shares. (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by James Macharia) ((helen.nyambura@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 775 3034; Reuters Messaging: helen.nyambura.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS SAFRICA/STOCKS

Stock funds worldwide post $3.8 bln inflows in latest week -EPFR and BofA

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Investors worldwide poured $3.8 billion into stock funds in the week ended Jan. 28, marking the first inflows in four weeks, according to data from EPFR Global and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Bond funds worldwide, meanwhile, attracted $10.1 billion over the weekly period, the largest since October 2014, the data showed on Friday. The inflows into stock funds were all in exchange-traded funds, largely traded by institutional investors including hedge funds. Precious metal funds worldwide posted $900 million of inflows over weekly period, the largest two-week inflows since September 2012, according to the EPFR and BofA data. (Reporting By Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama) ((jennifer.ablan@thomsonreuters.com; tel 646 223 6297)) Keywords: INVESTING FUNDFLOWS/EPFR

PRECIOUS-Gold rebounds on Friday after previous day's big drop

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

* Gold higher a day after 2 pct drop * Set for biggest weekly fall since Nov * Still on track for best month in 1-1/2 years * Data shows U.S. growth cooled in Q4 (Updates prices, adds comment) By Jan Harvey LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Gold firmed on Friday as investors weighed up the prospect of a U.S. interest rate rise later this year, with data showing economic growth cooled in the fourth quarter helping prices recover from the previous day's 2 percent plunge. Gold is still on track to post its biggest weekly fall in two months, however, on expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike rates this year for the first time in nearly a decade. The metal had hit a five-month high hit earlier this month but concerns that its rally, above $1,300 an ounce, had gone too far prompted some investors to cash in gains on Thursday, knocking all the precious metals sharply lower. Gold recovered some lost ground after the latest U.S. growth report, but struggled to make significant new headway. ID:nLNSUCEB6E "(The data) was soft, but many of the underlying components were strong, so it was not very bullish as far as gold is concerned," INTL FCStone analyst Ed Meir said. Spot gold XAU= was up 0.3 percent at $1,260.40 an ounce at 1457 GMT, while U.S. gold futures GCv1 for February delivery were up $4.70 an ounce at $1,260.60. Appetite for physical gold in Asia overnight remained muted despite lower prices. Gold is up 6.5 percent so far this month helped by uncertainty over European stability, after the Swiss National Bank scrapped the franc's peg to the single currency and the European Central Bank said it would pump billions into the economy. "We've seen these sentiment-driven recoveries in the gold market a couple of times in the past two years, with the start of last year being one example, when it got support from the Ukraine crisis, before fading," Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said. "We think this is very much comparable to what we saw last year." Recent weakness across precious metals is likely being driven by long liquidation, UBS said in a note on Friday, as participants look to square positions and book profits ahead of month-end. "In terms of positioning, gold is most at risk after net longs jumped by as much 58 percent since the beginning of the year," it said. Silver XAG= was down 0.5 percent at $16.83 an ounce. Spot platinum XPT= was down 0.3 percent at $1,216.55 an ounce, while spot palladium XPD= was down 0.5 percent at $768.72 an ounce. (Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr; editing by Jason Neely and Elaine Hardcastle) ((jan.harvey@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 0207 542 7744)(Reuters Messaging: jan.harvey.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS PRECIOUS/

London gold 1500 fix - Jan 30 - 1260.25 dlrs

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

London platinum/palladium 1400 fix - Jan 30

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

BRIEF-Roxgold recieves approval for Yaramoko gold project from Burkina Faso

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

Jan 30 (Reuters) - Roxgold Inc ROG.V : * Says has received its final permitting approval for the yaramoko gold project from the government of burkina faso * Says expects to commence initial site works in the coming weeks * Source text for Eikon ID:nPn5pXgl1 * Further company coverage ROG.V ((Bengaluru Newsroom; +1 646 223 8780))

CANADA STOCKS-Stock futures fall as economy shrinks in Nov

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

(Updates data, story) Jan 30 (Reuters) - Stock futures pointed to a lower start for Canada's main stock index on Friday after GDP data showed economy unexpectedly shrank 0.2 percent in November. March futures on the S&P TSX index SXFc1 were down 0.56 percent at 8.45 a.m. ET. Canada's economy shrank on weaker manufacturing, mining and oil and gas extraction, Statistics Canada data indicated on Friday. ID:nL1N0V8335 Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures 1YMc1 were down 0.92 percent at 8.45 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures ESc1 were down 0.88 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures NQc1 were down 0.47 percent. .N (Morning News Call newsletter http://link.reuters.com/nex49s; The Day Ahead newsletter http://link.reuters.com/mex49s) TOP STORIES TOP/CAN Greece's new left-wing government will cancel plans to sell the state natural gas utility and is firmly opposed to a Canadian gold mine that is among the biggest foreign investment projects in the country, the energy minister told Reuters on Friday. ID:nL6N0V91ZJ Bankrupt drugmaker Dendreon Corp DNDNQ.PK has reached a stalking-horse deal with Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO to sell the worldwide rights to its cancer vaccine, Provenge, and certain assets for $296 million. ID:nL4N0V91NL Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO is trimming its workforce as part of a realignment of its resources to help boost efficiency, the country's fifth-biggest lender said on Thursday. ID:nL1N0V9019 COMMODITIES AT 8.45 a.m. ET COM/WRAP Gold futures GCc1 : $1,263.10; +0.73 pct GOL/ US crude CLc1 : $44.66; +0.29 pct O/R Brent crude LCOc1 : $49.05; +0.16 pct O/R LME 3-month copper CMCU3 : $5,432.50; +0.70 pct MET/L ANALYST RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS RCH/CA Wilan Inc WIN.TO : Paradigm cuts to "hold" from "buy"; cuts price target to C$4 Blackpearl Resources Inc PXX.TO : Paradigm raises to "buy" from "hold" U.S. ECONOMIC DATA DUE ON FRIDAY 0830 GDP Advance for Q4: Actual 2.6 pct; Prior 5.0 pct 0830 GDP sales advance for Q4: Actual -1.80 pct; Prior 5.0 pct 0830 GDP deflator advance for Q4: Actual -0.10 pct; Prior 1.4 pct 0830 Core PCE prices advance for Q4: Actual 1.10 pct; Prior 1.4 pct 0830 PCE prices advance for Q4: Actual -0.50 pct; Prior 1.2 pct 0830 Employment wages qq for Q4: Actual 0.50 pct; Prior 0.8 pct 0830 Employment benefits qq for Q4: Actual 0.60 pct; Prior 0.6 pct 0830 Employment costs for Q4: Actual 0.60 pct; Prior 0.7 pct 0945 Chicago PMI for Jan: Expected 57.5; Prior 58.3 1000 U Mich sentiment final for Jan: Expected 98.2; Prior 98.2 1000 U Mich conditions final for Jan: Expected 108.0; Prior 108.3 1000 U Mich expectations Final for Jan: Expected 91.5; Prior 91.6 FOR CANADIAN MARKETS NEWS, CLICK ON CODES: TSX market report .TO Canadian dollar and bonds report CAD/ CA/ Reuters global stocks poll for Canada EQUITYPOLL1 EPOLL/CA Canadian markets directory CANADA ($1= C$1.27) (Reporting by Abhinav Kaul in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey) ((Reuters Messaging:)(abhinav.kaul.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; phone +1 651 848 5900 or +91 80 6749 4946)) Keywords: MARKETS CANADA/STOCKS

BRIEF-New Gold receives environmental approvals for Rainy River project

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

Jan 30 (Reuters) - New Gold Inc NGD.TO : * Receives environmental approvals for rainy river project * Says received approval from Canadian environmental assessment agency and the Ontario ministry of environment and climate change * Receipt of approvals now enables the company to apply for other permits through the development and operational phases of the project * Source text for Eikon ID:nCNW3kzN5a * Further company coverage NGD.TO ((Bengaluru Newsroom; +1 646 223 8780))

CANADA STOCKS-Futures indicate lower start ahead of GDP data

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

Jan 30 (Reuters) - Stock futures pointed to a lower start for Canada's main stock index on Friday ahead of the release of data on the country's economic growth in November. Canada's gross domestic product is expected to have remained flat in the month from October, according to a Thomson Reuters poll. The data is due 8.30 a.m. ET ECONCA . March futures on the S&P TSX index SXFc1 were down 0.48 percent at 7.15 a.m. ET. Canada's main stock index was little changed in choppy trading on Thursday after a decline in energy shares was offset by gains in financials and most other major sectors. ID:nL1N0V83H8 Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures 1YMc1 were down 0.73 percent at 7.15 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures ESc1 were down 0.66 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures NQc1 were down 0.30 percent. .N (Morning News Call newsletter http://link.reuters.com/nex49s; The Day Ahead newsletter http://link.reuters.com/mex49s) TOP STORIES TOP/CAN Bankrupt drugmaker Dendreon Corp DNDNQ.PK has reached a stalking-horse deal with Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO to sell the worldwide rights to its cancer vaccine, Provenge, and certain assets for $296 million. ID:nL4N0V91NL Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO is trimming its workforce as part of a realignment of its resources to help boost efficiency, the country's fifth-biggest lender said on Thursday. ID:nL1N0V9019 Canadian Oil Sands Ltd COS.TO , the largest-interest owner in the Syncrude oil sands project, slashed its dividend and further reduced 2015 capital spending on Thursday as fourth-quarter profit dropped 87 percent due to lower oil prices. ID:nL1N0V83KJ COMMODITIES AT 7.15 a.m. ET COM/WRAP Gold futures GCc1 : $1,263.10; +0.68 pct GOL/ US crude CLc1 : $44.93; +0.90 pct O/R Brent crude LCOc1 : $49.41; +0.57 pct O/R LME 3-month copper CMCU3 : $5,457.50; +1.16 pct MET/L ANALYST RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS RCH/CA Wilan Inc WIN.TO : Paradigm cuts to "hold" from "buy"; cuts price target to C$4 Blackpearl Resources Inc PXX.TO : Paradigm raises to "buy" from "hold" U.S. ECONOMIC DATA DUE ON FRIDAY 0830 GDP Advance for Q4: Expected 3.0 pct; Prior 5.0 pct 0830 GDP sales advance for Q4: Expected 3.3 pct; Prior 5.0 pct 0830 GDP deflator advance for Q4: Expected 1.0 pct; Prior 1.4 pct 0830 Core PCE prices advance for Q4: Expected 1.2 pct; Prior 1.4 pct 0830 PCE prices advance for Q4: Expected 0.8 pct; Prior 1.2 pct 0830 Employment wages qq for Q4: Prior 0.8 pct 0830 Employment benefits qq for Q4: Prior 0.6 pct 0830 Employment costs for Q4: Expected 0.6 pct; Prior 0.7 pct 0945 Chicago PMI for Jan: Expected 57.5; Prior 58.3 1000 U Mich sentiment final for Jan: Expected 98.2; Prior 98.2 1000 U Mich conditions final for Jan: Expected 108.0; Prior 108.3 1000 U Mich expectations Final for Jan: Expected 91.5; Prior 91.6 FOR CANADIAN MARKETS NEWS, CLICK ON CODES: TSX market report .TO Canadian dollar and bonds report CAD/ CA/ Reuters global stocks poll for Canada EQUITYPOLL1 EPOLL/CA Canadian markets directory CANADA ($1= C$1.27) (Reporting by Abhinav Kaul in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey) ((Reuters Messaging:)(abhinav.kaul.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; phone +1 651 848 5900 or +91 80 6749 4946)) Keywords: MARKETS CANADA/STOCKS

London gold 1030 fix - Jan 30 - 1263.50 dlrs

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

London platinum/palladium 0945 fix - Jan 30

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

Vietnam domestic market commodity prices-Jan 30

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

Jan 30 (Reuters) - Following are domestic prices of Vietnam's key commodities. Unit: million dong VND= per tonne. Item Jan 26-30 Jan 19-23 Location Robusta beans 39.0-40.7 39.1-40.4 Central Highlands Black pepper 155.0-160.0 158.0-164.0 Southern region Refined sugar 13.0-15.5 13.0-15.5 Southern region Summer-autumn paddy 5.10-6.20 5.20-6.30 Mekong Delta ___________________ SJC gold 3.533-3.570 3.557-3.586 Hanoi, HCM City NOTES: Gold prices are low/high selling prices quoted in million dong during the week by top manufacturer SJC per 3.75-gram ingot. Coffee export prices COFFEE/ASIA1 Rice export prices RICE/ASIA1 Historical data VNCOMM01 Central bank's gold auction SBVGOLD2013 ($1=21,310 dong) (Compiled by Hanoi Newsroom) ((ho.minh@thomsonreuters.com +844 3825 9623)) Keywords: VIETNAM COMMODITIES/PRICES

INDICATORS - Kazakhstan - Jan 30

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

Tanzania's current account deficit narrows 11 pct in year to Nov

January 30, 2015 - reuters.com

DAR ES SALAAM, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Tanzania's current account deficit narrowed 11 percent in the year to November despite a sharp fall in gold exports as declining crude oil prices curbed the import bill, its central bank said on Friday. The gap narrowed to $4.755 billion in the 12 months to November from $5.342 billion in the same period in 2013, the Bank of Tanzania said in its latest monthly economic report. "Meanwhile, current transfers inflows declined substantially, albeit with limited impact on the overall current account balance," the central bank said in the report. Current transfers comprise aid and loans. Tanzania is one of Africa's biggest per-capita aid recipients. A group of international donors said in October they will only pay outstanding pledges of budget support worth nearly $500 million to the aid-reliant nation if the government took appropriate action against graft allegations in the energy sector. Current transfers fell to $513.1 million in the year to November, a 35.1 percent drop from $790.5 million previously. The bank said overall balance of payments swung into a deficit of $259.9 million from a surplus of $538.4 million in the year ending November 2013. Earnings from tourism, the main foreign exchange source, rose to $1.93 billion from $1.85 billion previously due to more visitor arrivals. Imports of goods and services were $13.347 billion, a 6.1 percent decline from a year before, helped by falling global oil prices and lower machinery imports. Earnings from gold, the other main source of foreign income, continued a downward spiral, falling 32.45 percent to $1.29 billion, reflecting lower export volumes and global prices. Tanzania, which has a population of around 45 million, is Africa's fourth-largest gold producer after South Africa, Ghana and Mali. The value of traditional exports - such as tobacco, cotton and coffee - fell to $785.1 million from $867.1 million previously due to a decline in export volumes and prices. Gross official foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank fell to $4.25 billion in the year to November, or about four months of import cover, from $4.538 billion a year ago. (Reporting by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing by George Obulutsa and Sunil Nair) ((george.obulutsa@thomsonreuters.com)(Tel: +254 20 499 1232)(Reuters Messaging: george.obulutsa.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: TANZANIA ECONOMY/

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