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Germany's Steinmeier fears sanctions could destabilise Russia

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

BERLIN, Dec 19 (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed concern on Friday that EU sanctions against Moscow for its actions in Ukraine could destabilise Russia and warned against "turning the screw" any further. The comments to German weekly Der Spiegel suggest a possible softening in the stance of Steinmeier, a member of the traditionally Russia-friendly Social Democrats (SPD) who has stuck closely to Chancellor Angela Merkel's tough line with Moscow until now. Steinmeier said the dramatic fall in the rouble currency and falling energy prices had created an economic and financial crisis in Russia, which would affect the political landscape there. "It cannot be in our interests that this runs out of control," he said. "We need to keep this in mind in our sanctions policy." Asked if he feared destabilisation in Moscow if Europe didn't ease sanctions he said, "I have that concern." He added that the crisis in Russia would only create more uncertainty, and that was why he opposed further penalties. European Union leaders on Friday warned Moscow they are ready to "stay the course" in a long confrontation if President Vladimir Putin refuses to pull back from Ukraine. Some in the EU have said they should switch focus away from supporting Ukraine to seeking a detente with Moscow. But leaders voiced their determination to stick together as they have over the past year, while brandishing at Putin the stick of more sanctions and carrot of renewed cooperation. L6N0U32I7 Germany has taken the lead in trying to convince Putin to engage with the West but to no avail. Steinmeier visited Kiev on Friday seeking to bring new momentum into the peace process. (Reporting by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Noah Barkin) ((alexandra.hudson@thomsonreuters.com; 49 30 2888 5217; Reuters Messaging: alexandra.hudson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: UKRAINE CRISIS/STEINMEIER RUSSIA

Sterling near one-month high vs euro as ECB moves closer to QE

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

By Jemima Kelly and Patrick Graham LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Sterling edged down against the dollar bur hovered near a five-week high versus the euro on Friday, as the prospect of full-scale quantitative easing in the euro zone looked all but certain. Reuters reported on Friday that European Central Bank officials were considering ways to ensure weak countries that stand to gain most from money-printing bear more of the risk and cost, fuelling speculation that QE is imminent and helping drive the euro close to a 28-month low against the dollar EUR= . ID:nL6N0U22L5 Against the pound, the euro fell to as low as 78.315 pence EURGBP= , its weakest since November 12. It was last trading flat at 78.445 pence, a day after posting its biggest daily losses against sterling since February. In contrast to the ECB, where a sovereign-bond-buying programme could start as early as January to shore up the faltering euro zone economy, the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled on Wednesday that it is on track to start raising interest rates next year. "The monetary policy divergence story has become more evident again following the Fed meeting ealier this week," said Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. "The view in the market seems to be that if the Fed starts to raise rates, the Bank of England will be more comfortable raising rates as well." Against the dollar, sterling was down 0.2 percent at $1.5641 GBP=D4 , staying close to a 15-month low of $1.5539 hit earlier in the week. Phyllis Papadavid, a currency strategist with BNP Paribas in London, said she saw the pound trading around $1.53-$1.56 over the next few months. GBP= Diminishing expectations the BoE will raise interest rates soon have been at the heart of sterling's fall against the dollar since July. And concern over next May's parliamentary elections looks set to weigh increasingly on the currency in 2015. Polls suggest neither major party may be able to put together a majority coalition. Depending on who eventually wins power, a referendum on whether to leave the European Union may follow. "I expect things to calm down into Christmas now," said one London-based dealer. "We will probably see a ramping up of the political talk in the new year, which clearly carries some risks." (Editing by Andrew Roche) ((jemima.kelly@thomsonreuters.com)(+44)(0)(20 7542 7508)(Reuters Messaging: jemima.kelly.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS STERLING/CLOSE

POLONIA Rate falls 0.25 pp.

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

WARSAW, Dec 19 (Reuters) - POLONIA the reference rate for Overnight deposits amounted to 1.79 percent. The volume of transactions concluded till 16:30 by banks participating in POLONIA fixing amounted to 3,470 mln PLN. Note: Description of reference rate at: http://www.acipolska.pl/ ((warsaw.newsroom@reuters.com))

South Africa's rand flat, global risks in focus

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 19 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand ended flat against the U.S. dollar on Friday after see-sawing during a session dominated by bets on when the U.S. might cut interest rates and how long Russia's currency crisis would persist. The local unit firmed in early trade, before slipping by close to half a percent at one stage and ending 0.08 percent softer at 11.5700 by 1503 GMT ZAR=D3 . The rand has shed nearly 5 percent in the past month, touching six-year lows, pressured by yawning budget and current account deficits and the worst power crisis since 2008. ID:nL6N0TS0YK U.S. Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen said on Wednesday the bank would take a patient approach to lifting borrowing rates from near-zero, boosting sentiment toward developing currencies. ID:nL3N0U204K But some analysts predict emerging market currencies will see-saw between now and the beginning of a U.S. Fed tightening cycle as developing market assets are sold off by investors anticipating higher returns in the world's number one economy. ID:nL6N0U31JX "There are bound to be concerns that the onset of tighter Fed policy will rattle the emerging market in due course by sapping investors' appetite for risk," Capital Economics said in a market note. Emerging market currencies staged comeback against the dollar on Friday as the Russian rouble recovered some of its recent dramatic losses. ID:nL1N0U30XP] Yields on government bonds edged up, with the benchmark issue due in 2026 ZAR186= adding 2.5 basis points to 8.005 percent. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Joe Brock) ((mfuneko.toyana@thomsonreuters.com; +27117753153; Reuters Messaging: mfuneko.toyana.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS SAFRICA/CURRENCY

FOREX-Dollar inches higher on diverging central bank policies

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

* Euro near 28-month lows against dollar * Russian rouble and oil stabilize * Dollar hits over one-week high against yen (Updates prices, adds comments; changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON) By Sam Forgione NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose against major currencies for a third straight session on Friday on diverging monetary policy between the Federal Reserve and other major central banks. The euro hovered near a 28-month low against the greenback, while the dollar touched a more than one-week high against the yen in a continuation of dollar strength on the back of the Fed's hints at tighter monetary policy on Wednesday and looser policies in Europe, Japan and Switzerland. "Looking into 2015, the prospect of European Central Bank quantitative easing and Fed normalization will make it very hard for the euro not to go down further," said Jens Nordvig, head of G10 FX strategy at Nomura Securities International in New York. He said the euro would test $1.20 by early January. The euro EUR= was last down 0.18 percent against the dollar at $1.2263, near a 28-month low of $1.2245 touched Dec. 8. Analysts said a lack of U.S. economic data and some pause in the dollar's rally was keeping the euro from hitting those lows. "To get to new extremes, sometimes we need an external force," said Marc Chandler, chief currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York. The dollar has gained against other major currencies on the view that expected Fed interest rate increases will boost the greenback by driving investment flows into the United States. The dollar slipped against the rouble, meanwhile, and was last down 4.35 percent against the Russian currency to trade at 59.28 roubles RUB= . The rouble has seen intense selling pressure this week, and at one point was down about 20 percent against the dollar. Analysts attributed the dollar's decline against the rouble to a rebound in oil prices and Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov confirming his ministry had sold foreign currency. Expectations that exporters will increase dollar sales also helped the rouble. ID:nL6N0U30NL Sales of oil and gas are Russia's chief source of export revenue. The dollar was last up 0.12 percent against the Swiss franc CHF= at 0.9810 franc, off a 28-month high of 0.9847 touched Thursday. The dollar was last up 0.48 percent against the yen JPY= at 119.38 yen after hitting a more than one-week high of 119.50. The U.S. dollar index .DXY , which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was last up 0.18 percent at 89.394. On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX stock index was last up 0.29 percent. ID:nL1N0U30ZP (Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by James Dalgleish) ((Sam.Forgione@thomsonreuters.com; 646-223-6189; Reuters Messaging: sam.forgione.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

BRIEF-Lundin Gold to start trading on Nasdaq Stockholm on Dec. 22

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

Dec 19 (Reuters) - * Lundin Gold to commence trading on Nasdaq Stockholm and publishes listing prospectus * All the conditions have now been met, and the shares are expected to commence trading on the Main Market on December 22, 2014 Source text for Eikon: ID:nSSN5D8R (Reporting By Anna Ringstrom) ((Anna.Ringstrom@thomsonreuters.com;)) Keywords: LUNDINGOLD LISTING/

PRECIOUS-Gold below $1,200/oz on dollar, shares; heads for weekly loss

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

* European, U.S. shares rise after sharp gains in Asia * Dollar firms vs basket of currencies * Indian gold importers offer discount (Updates prices, adds comment) By Clara Denina LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower on Friday, struggling with the $1,200 an ounce mark as the dollar firmed and investor appetite for risk increased on expectations of rising U.S. interest rates. Spot gold XAU= was down 0.1 percent at $1,196.60 an ounce by 1512 GMT. The metal was heading for a 2 percent weekly fall after two weeks of gains. U.S. gold futures for delivery in February GCcv1 gained 0.2 percent to $1,196.80 an ounce. The Fed, after wrapping up a two-day meeting on Wednesday, signalled it was on track to increase rates next year but said it was taking a patient stance, keeping gold's losses in check. Higher interest rates would hurt non-interest-bearing bullion, which was boosted by central bank liquidity and a low interest rate environment in the years following the 2008 financial crisis. "It was surprising to see that gold didn't fall sharply after the Fed's meeting, given the strength in the dollar," Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said. "We expect some pressure on the gold price in the first half of the year, with prices around $1,100 an ounce due to the effect of higher U.S. interest rates, possibly in the second quarter, falling inflation expectations, lower oil prices and weak economic conditions outside the U.S.," he added. The Fed's no-rush stance to withdraw stimulus from the U.S. economy sent European and U.S. shares up, after Asian stocks enjoyed their best day in 15 months. .EU The dollar rose 0.2 percent versus a basket of leading currencies, while the safe-haven yen fell on expectations of further stimulus next year to bolster Japanese inflation. Benchmark Brent crude oil futures rose around 1.5 percent. Gold is usually seen as a hedge against oil-led inflation. In India, gold importers are offering a discount of $2 an ounce versus London prices for the first time in almost five months due to excess market supply. ID:nL3N0U23OJ Importers generally charge a premium over London prices but demand in the world's second-biggest gold consumer is expected to fall sharply this month after shipments surged in the past three months. Among other precious metals, silver XAG= rose 0.8 percent to $15.95 an ounce. Platinum XPT= was unchanged at $1,194.24 an ounce and palladium XPD= gained 0.7 percent at $793.55 an ounce. (Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Singapore; Editing by David Evans and Mark Potter) ((clara.denina@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 207 542 9420)(Reuters Messaging:)(clara.denina.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS PRECIOUS/

London gold 1500 fix - Dec 19 - 1195.50 dlrs

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

UPDATE 2-Nigeria central bank limits interbank dollar holdings to 48 hours

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

(Adds closing price, details) LAGOS, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Nigeria's central bank decreed overnight that dollars bought from the interbank market can be held only for up to 48 hours, as it sought to get tough on speculators it blames for a sharp fall in the currency since last month. After the 48-hour interval has elapsed, the dollars must be sold back to the central bank at its own day rate, according to a circular seen by Reuters, which is likely to result in a loss. The naira closed up 1.5 percent at 182.20 to the dollar in limited trade. "There is no major trading going on now at the interbank, as a result of the new rules. Most people are merely giving an indicative rate," one dealer said. The naira has been hit hard in the past few months by falling oil prices, and central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele told Reuters on Thursday that "we do not want speculators in this market any longer." ID:nL6N0U22C4 He was explaining a move made overnight to ban banks from holding any of their own funds in dollars. Within minutes, dealers sent the naira to a record low of 188.85 against the greenback, before it recovered marginally on the back of a central bank intervention. Despite assurances from Emefiele that "if there is genuine demand ... for dollars for legitimate purposes ... it will be met," dealers complained the bank's restrictive measures were making the market extremely illiquid. "It impracticable to maintain zero open position limit. You need a matching deal before you give a quote of trade," said a dealer. "Trading is going to be dull today." Nigeria officially devalued its currency by 8 percent last month and widened its target trading band to 160-176 against the dollar, but few analysts believe that level can hold, given dwindling state oil revenues and declining reserves. As of Dec. 8, foreign reserves stood at $35.95 billion, down nearly 20 percent from a year ago, largely from attempts to defend the naira in the face of a near-halving of global oil prices in five months. The interbank lending rate eased to an average of 15.25 percent on Friday, from 42.5 percent last week, after some lenders re-discounted their treasury bills to get access to some cash and dealers anticipated a budget disbursal. ID:nL6N0U32NL This was a sign that naira liquidity is coming back despite substantial central bank tightening, which could weigh on the currency as the markets approach the year-end close. (Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Larry King) ((tim.cocks@thomsonreuters.com; +234 803 400 4248; Reuters Messaging: tim.cocks.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: NIGERIA CURRENCY/

Turkish inflation expectations improve but no immediate rate cut seen

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

* Year-end inflation expectation falls to 9.02 pct * Only one of 18 economists see immediate rate cut * Govt wants strong growth ahead of June election By Nevzat Devranoglu ISTANBUL, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Oil and commodity price falls have helped bring down inflation expectations in Turkey, a central bank survey showed on Friday, although economists expect no immediate interest rate cuts. The average forecast for year-end inflation fell to 9.02 percent from November's 9.22 percent in the bank's monthly survey of business leaders' and economists' expectations. ID:nEONECJ0RX Inflation in 12 months' time was seen at 7.21 percent, down from 7.5 percent in last month's survey. But despite the optimism, only one of 18 economists in a Reuters poll expect the central bank to cut interest rates at its policy meeting on Dec. 24. "Inflation expectations started to improve and we think that the improvement will continue on the back of collapsing commodity prices," Ozgur Altug, chief economist at BGC Partners, said in a note to clients. "However, 12-month CPI inflation expectations, which are now at 7.21 percent, tell us that there is still a big credibility gap for the central bank," he said. Economists lowered their growth forecasts for this year to an average of 3.0 percent from 3.2 percent a month ago in the central bank survey, after growth slowed more sharply than expected in the third quarter to 1.7 percent. ID:nL6N0TU0Y9 Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci said last week that falling oil prices could help inflation drop near to 5 percent next year, suggesting the bank would have more room to deliver the interest rate cuts President Tayyip Erdogan has long called for. ID:nL6N0TU0Y9 The ruling AK Party has built much of its reputation on strong economic management over the past decade. Erdogan, who takes the view that high rates cause inflation, has repeatedly called for cuts to support growth, particularly ahead of a general election in June. But a slump in the lira in recent days driven by a sell-off in emerging markets, plus investors' nerves about domestic politics may delay such a move, for this year at least. ID:nL6N0U026K "We continue to believe that the Bank will deliver 50-75 basis point rate cuts in the first months of 2015 when annual CPI inflation will fall sharply mainly on favourable base effects," Altug said. (Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Hugh Lawson) ((nicholas.tattersall@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: nicholas.tattersall.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: TURKEY ECONOMY/

London platinum/palladium 1400 fix - Dec 19

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to open higher as inflation eases

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

(Updates with inflation and retail sales data) Dec 19 (Reuters) - Stock futures pointed to a higher start for Canada's main stock index on Friday after data showed annual inflation rate cooled in November, aligning with Bank of Canada's targeted level, as gasoline prices fell. The annualized inflation rate eased to 2.0 percent in November from 2.4 percent in October, according to data released by Statistics Canada. Economists had expected 2.2 percent. ID:nL1N0U30L8 December futures on the S&P TSX index SXFc1 were up 0.29 percent at 8.45 a.m. ET. Canadian retail sales were unchanged in October, holding at a record high as gains in most sectors were offset by declines at motor vehicle and parts dealers, data from Statistics Canada showed. ID:nL1N0U30LE Canada's main stock index rose on Thursday, with energy stocks bucking weak oil prices as investors returned to riskier assets after an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy by the Federal Reserve. ID:nL1N0U221K Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures 1YMc1 were up 0.16 percent at 8.45 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures ESc1 were up 0.06 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures NQc1 were up 0.28 percent. .N (Morning News Call newsletter http://link.reuters.com/nex49s; The Day Ahead newsletter http://link.reuters.com/mex49s) TOP STORIES TOP/CAN BlackBerry Ltd BB.TO reported a bigger-than-expected drop in third-quarter revenue, sending shares of the struggling smartphone maker lower, even as it eked out a small adjusted profit and began generating cash flow again. ID:nL1N0U30L5 Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO said on Thursday that it would suspend operations at its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia following the passage of legislation that raises the royalty rate on open-pit mining operations in the country to 20 percent from 6 percent. ID:nL1N0U20VF COMMODITIES AT 8.45 a.m. ET COM/WRAP Gold futures GCc1 : $1,197.70; +0.25 pct GOL/ US crude CLc1 : $54.95; +1.55 pct O/R Brent crude LCOc1 : $60.14; +1.48 pct O/R LME 3-month copper CMCU3 : $6,384.50; +1.10 pct MET/L ANALYST RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS RCH/CA Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO : Canaccord Genuity cuts to "sell" from "hold" Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd CP.TO : BMO cuts target to C$250 from C$260 U.S. ECONOMIC DATA DUE ON FRIDAY 1030 ECRI Weekly Index: Prior 132.3 1030 ECRI Weekly Annualized: Prior -2.3 pct 1100 KC Fed Manufacturing for Dec: Expected 5: Prior 9 1100 KC Fed Composite Index for Dec: Prior 7 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$1.16) (Reporting by Abhinav Kaul and Samarendra Sahoo in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey) ((Reuters Messaging:)(samarendra.sahoo.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; phone +1 651 848 5900 or +91 80 6749 6286)) Keywords: MARKETS CANADA/STOCKS

Kazakh miner GoldBridges joins London exchange main board

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

* CEO was former director at company taken over by Polyus * Kazakhstan selected GoldBridges as strategic project * Will benefit from tax exemptions LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - GoldBridges GBGR.L , a small Kazakh gold miner led by a member of the well-connected Assaubayev family, on Friday joined the main board of the London Stock Exchange and is hoping to improve the image of Kazakh businesses in the mining sector. The company, which already produces about 30,000 ounces of gold a year at its Sekisovskoye gold mine in east Kazakhstan and is exploring the Karasuyskoye field nearby, had traded until Friday on the London AIM exchange for smaller companies. It hopes the listing will help it raise capital and debt to grow its output to 100,000 ounces by 2018. This is the first Kazakh company to join the main board of the London bourse since the delisting in 2013 of ENRC, a mining firm led by a trio of Kazakh billionaires and partly owned by the government, which was hit by boardroom battles and corruption investigations. While the corruption allegations against ENRC have tarnished the image of Kazakhstan in the international mining community, the head of GoldBridges hopes his company will help restore confidence. "In every investor meeting we feel this responsibility to change market perception about Kazakhstan," Chief executive Aidar Kanatovich Assaubayev said in a phone interview. Assaubayev was previously a director at KazakhGold, a small London-listed gold producer founded by his family, which became the target of a reverse takeover from large Russian producer Polyus Gold PGIL.L in 2011. "The government is not a shareholder in our company but it's being very supportive to attract foreign investment," he said, praising recent appointments of new, younger executives in the Kazakh government. GoldBridges' mine has been included in a state program created to boost projects of strategic importance for Kazakhstan. Under this program, the government will help build infrastructure and will also offer the company tax exemptions and reimbursements of part of capital expenditure, Assaubayev said. (Reporting by Silvia Antonioli; Editing by Michael Urquhart) ((silvia.antonioli@thomsonreuters.com; +44)(0)(20 7542 1755; Reuters Messaging: silvia.antonioli.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: KAZAKHSTAN MINING/GOLDBRIDGES GLBL

TABLE-MCX-SX Currency Futures traded on Dec 19

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

FOREX-Euro heads lower to 28-month lows as ECB inches towards QE

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

(Recasts) * Euro on track for biggest weekly loss in more than a year * Russian rouble and oil stabilise, boosting risk appetite * Expectations of more Japanese stimulus weigh on yen By Anirban Nag LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The euro fell towards recent 28-month lows against the dollar on Friday, as the European Central Bank moved towards a fully-fledged government buying programme to kickstart the economy. Reuters reported on Friday that ECB officials were considering ways to ensure weak countries that stand to gain most from money printing bear more of the risk and cost. The ECB declined to comment. ID:nL6N0U31LG Separately, data showed combined direct and portfolio investments into the euro zone fell to 53 billion euros in October, from 62.6 billion a month ago ECONEZ , indicating another support for the euro was waning. The euro fell to $1.2253 EUR= , close to 28-month lows of $1.2247 struck on Dec. 8. "The current measures from the ECB, like the targeted long term refinance operations, are falling short in helping the balance sheet size increase to 1 trillion euros," said Alvin Tan, currency strategist at Societe Generale. "So the ECB will have to buy government bonds and we are expecting them to announce that in January." In contrast to the ECB, the Federal Reserve is expected to start raising interest rates in the second half of next year. The gap between U.S. two-year bonds US2YT=RR and their German counterparts DE2YT=RR hit its highest in almost eight years and underpinned the dollar. .DXY Traders said the Swiss National Bank's decision to implement negative deposit rates on the day the ECB next meets on Jan. 22 had also triggered talk that the ECB could take action then. "While our longer-term euro/dollar target of $1.12 for end- 2015 is based on existing policy, quantitative easing (QE) by the ECB is likely to see this target achieved more rapidly," Morgan Stanley said. YEN WEAKENS Earlier, the yen fell on expectations of further stimulus next year to bolster Japanese inflation and also on a revival of global risk sentiment after battered oil prices and Russia's rouble stabilised. The dollar gained 0.4 percent against Japan's currency to buy 119.35 yen JPY= , while the euro rose 0.2 percent to 146.30 yen EURJPY= . The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy unchanged at the end of its two-day meeting on Friday, as expected, and offered a more upbeat view on the economy, signalling that no immediate expansion of stimulus was on the horizon. ID:nT9N0T8029 BoJ chief Haruhiko Kuroda said Japan was still halfway towards meeting an inflation goal of 2 percent and policymakers would do anything necessary to achieve it. In October, the BoJ surprised markets by expanding its QE programme, sending the yen to multi-year lows. ID:nL3N0U306K (Editing by Andrew Roche) ((anirban.nag@thomsonreuters.com;)(+44 20 7542 8399; Reuters Messaging: anirban.nag.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

CANADA STOCKS-Futures indicate higher start before inflation data

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

Dec 19 (Reuters) - Stock futures pointed to a higher start for Canada's main stock index on Friday ahead of the release of inflation data. December futures on the S&P TSX index SXFc1 were up 0.24 percent at 7.15 a.m. ET. Data on consumer price inflation in November and retail sales in October is due at 8.30 a.m. ET ECONCA Canada's main stock index rose on Thursday, with energy stocks bucking weak oil prices as investors returned to riskier assets after an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy by the Federal Reserve. ID:nL1N0U221K Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures 1YMc1 were up 0.39 percent at 7.15 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures ESc1 were up 0.22 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures NQc1 were up 0.46 percent. .N (Morning News Call newsletter http://link.reuters.com/nex49s; The Day Ahead newsletter http://link.reuters.com/mex49s) TOP STORIES TOP/CAN BlackBerry Ltd BB.TO said it had completed its acquisition of Secusmart, a privately held firm specializing in voice and data encryption. ID:nL1N0U22HO Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO said on Thursday that it would suspend operations at its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia following the passage of legislation that raises the royalty rate on open-pit mining operations in the country to 20 percent from 6 percent. ID:nL1N0U20VF COMMODITIES AT 7.15 a.m. ET COM/WRAP Gold futures GCc1 : $1,196.50; +0.15 pct GOL/ US crude CLc1 : $54.97; +1.59 pct O/R Brent crude LCOc1 : $60.20; +1.57 pct O/R LME 3-month copper CMCU3 : $6,427.25; +1.78 pct MET/L ANALYST RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS RCH/CA Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO : Canaccord Genuity cuts to "sell" from "hold" Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd CP.TO : BMO cuts target to C$250 from C$260 U.S. ECONOMIC DATA DUE ON FRIDAY 1030 ECRI Weekly Index: Prior 132.3 1030 ECRI Weekly Annualized: Prior -2.3 pct 1100 KC Fed Manufacturing for Dec: Expected 5: Prior 9 1100 KC Fed Composite Index for Dec: Prior 7 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$1.16) (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

Brazil posts current account gap of $9.333 bln in November

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

BRASILIA, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Brazil posted a current account deficit BRCURA=ECI of $9.333 billion in November, surpassing market forecasts, central bank data showed on Friday. The median forecast of 17 economists surveyed by Reuters was for a current account deficit of $8.6 billion in November. The central bank also revealed its forecasts for the current account gap and foreign direct investment in 2015 at $83.5 billion and $65 billion, respectively. (Reporting by Alonso Soto and Luciana Otoni) ((asher.levine@thomsonreuters.com; +55-11-5644-7756; Reuters Messaging: asher.levine1.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BRAZIL ECONOMY/EXTERNAL

Recent forint falls cause no problems -Hungary cbanker

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

BUDAPEST, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Hungary's forint is moving in tandem with the Polish zloty as a result of the Russian rouble crisis, central bank Deputy Governor Adam Balog said on Friday, adding that recent falls in the currency cause no particular problems. "In the short and medium term I can see no impact on the real economy (from the Russian situation) that would significantly affect Hungary," Balog told a news conference in response to a question. "Along with regional currencies, especially the zloty, we have also moved a little, but in my view this does not cause any particular problems," he said. (Reporting by Krisztina Than and Gergely Szakacs) ((gergely.szakacs@thomsonreuters.com; +36 1 327 4748; Reuters Messaging: gergely.szakacs.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: HUNGARY FORINT/

India cbank working to remove 2-step security for small online transactions

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

MUMBAI, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The Reserve Bank of India is working on a system that would allow small value electronic transactions without a second level of verification that is now required for most transactions involving domestic credit cards, Deputy Governor H.R. Khan said on Friday. Khan said the central bank was likely to come up with a structure in two months while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event. India's central bank currently requires online transactions undergo a two-step verification process. Global e-commerce companies such as Uber Technologies Inc had sought to avoid the two-step process by routing online payments through an offshore server. ID:nL4N0QT03O (Reporting by Suvashree Dey Choudhury; Writing by Himank Sharma; Editing by Rafael Nam) ((Himank.Sharma@thomsonreuters.com; http://twitter.com/@wolvhim; +91 22 6180 7207; Reuters Messaging: himank.sharma.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: INDIA CENBANK/INTERNET

TABLE-NSE Currency Futures traded on Dec 19

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

Hungary's MKB Bank is not insolvent -cbanker

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

BUDAPEST, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Hungarian MKB Bank is not insolvent and faces no such risk in the near term, central bank deputy Governor Adam Balog said on Friday, adding that in the longer term the lender might have faced difficulties if no action was taken. Balog told a news conference that the central bank had informed the European Central Bank about Thursday's takeover of control at loss-making lender MKB in the "appropriate time," but declined to give further detail. (Reporting by Gergely Szakacs and Krisztina Than) ((gergely.szakacs@thomsonreuters.com; +36 1 327 4748; Reuters Messaging: gergely.szakacs.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: HUNGARY MKB BANK

Sri Lankan rupee forwards end steady for 5th straight session

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

COLOMBO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan rupee forwards closed steady for a fifth straight session on Friday, as the central bank capped trading at 132.00 per dollar through moral suasion. The four-day forwards or spot-next-next, which were actively traded, closed at 131.98/132.02 per dollar, little changed from Thursday's close of 131.98/132.05. The spot currency LKR=LK and three-day forwards, or spot-next, were not traded after the central bank capped the currency at predetermined levels to prevent volatility, traders said. Central bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said the rupee would be stable during this month. Dealers said Cabraal's statement was not a surprise for the market because the central bank has been holding the currency at the current level. Overseas investors sold a net 367 million rupees worth of government securities during the week that ended Dec. 17. They sold a net 44.27 billion rupees ($337.42 million) worth in the 12 weeks to Dec. 17, data from the central bank showed. ($1 = 131.2000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi) ((shihar.aneez@thomsonreuters.com; +94-11-232-5540; Reuters Messaging: shihar.aneez.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net twitter:@shiharaneez)) Keywords: MARKETS SRI LANKA/FOREX

WEEKAHEAD-AFRICA-FX-Uganda shilling may suffer while Tanzania shilling gains

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Uganda's shilling may struggle next week due to dollar demand from commercial banks and corporates, while Tanzania's shilling may gain on hard currency inflows from companies and charities. Kenya's shilling and Zambia's kwacha are both expected to hold steady. KENYA Kenya's shilling KES= is expected to remain stable as activity slows before the end of the year and trade volumes decline due to a fall in tourist arrivals after a spate of militant Islamist attacks this year. At 1120 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 90.40/60 to the dollar, compared with last Thursday's close of 90.55/65. "We are (going to be) range-bound. Most businesses will close by Friday," said a senior trader at one commercial bank. Traders forecast the shilling will trade in the 90.30-90.80 range into next week. UGANDA The Ugandan shilling UGX= is forecast to trade with a bearish tone next week, weighed down by dollar demand from commercial banks and corporates. At 1138 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 2,775/2,785, weaker than last Thursday's close of 2,765/2,775. "Market balance is still against the shilling ... corporate buyers and banks are still expected to maintain healthy appetite in the short term," said Faisal Bukenya, head of market making at Barclays Bank. Traders say some commercial banks are squaring positions ahead of book closure for the year, while importers are building long dollar positions in anticipation of further weakening of the local currency. TANZANIA The Tanzanian shilling is seen extending its year-end rally against the dollar, helped by sluggish demand from importers and hard currency inflows from companies and charities. Commercial banks quoted the shilling at 1,690/1,700 to the dollar on Thursday, stronger than 1,733/1,738 a week ago. "The shilling will likely continue to gain some ground against the U.S. dollar next week and it could trade below 1,700 levels, which is the lowest since mid year," said Sameer Remtulla, a dealer at Commercial Bank of Africa Tanzania. Market participants expected the shilling to trade in the 1,720-1,730 range over the coming days. The Bank of Tanzania said on its website it had traded $61.55 million on the interbank foreign exchange market over the past week. ZAMBIA Zambia's kwacha is likely to remain firm against the U.S. dollar, although the currency faces headwinds after the IMF urged Africa's second-largest copper producer to quickly resolve tax issues with mining companies. The kwacha ZMW= is expected to be supported by corporates converting hard currency to the local unit in order to pay tax and salaries. At 1100 GMT on Friday, commercial banks quoted the currency of Africa's second-largest copper producer at 6.30 per dollar, up from a close of 6.34 per dollar a week ago. "If the last trading sessions are anything to go by the inclination is for the year to close in the low 6.300s," one commercial bank trader said. As Zambia approached the Jan. 20 presidential election of a new leader following the death of president Michael Sata in October, the local unit's performance was also expected to be influenced by how smooth the transition would be, he said. (Reporting by George Obulutsa, Elias Biryabarema, Chris Mfula and Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing by Mfuneko Toyana, Ed Stoddard and Hugh Lawson) ((james.macharia@thomsonreuters.com; Tel: +254 204 991 232 ; Reuters Messaging: james.macharia.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: AFRICA CURRENCY/

SNAPSHOT-India stocks, bonds, rupee, swap, call at close

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

STOCKS .BSESN .NSEI ----------------------- The benchmark BSE index ended up 0.9 percent and the broader NSE index 0.81 percent higher, led by gains in IT stocks after global rival Accenture Plc raised its revenue forecast while Reliance Industries rose on bets it will roll out its telecom services in the next few months. .BO RUPEE INR=D2 -------------- The partially convertible rupee ended weaker at 63.2950/3050 per dollar compared with Thursday's close of 63.11/12, posting its worst weekly fall since August as sentiment remained subdued after a volatile week marked by concerns about financial contagion from the tumbling Russian rouble. INR/ GOVERNMENT BONDS IN084024G=CC ------------------------------- The benchmark 10-year bond yield ended up 3 basis points at 7.96 percent on profit-taking ahead of the weekend. Weakness in the rupee also hurt bonds. IN/ INTEREST RATE SWAPS INROIS MIOIS= ------------------------------------- The benchmark five-year rate ended up 5 bps at 7.33 percent, while the one-year rate closed 4 basis points higher at 7.89 percent. CALL MONEY INROND= -------------------- The cash rate ended at 8.00/8.05 percent, unchanged from Thursday's close. (Compiled by Dipika Lalwani) ((Dipika.Lalwani@thomsonreuters.com; +91 22-61807098; Reuters Messaging: dipika.lalwani@thomsonreuters.com)) Keywords: INDIA SNAPSHOT/

London gold 1030 fix - Dec 19 - 1197.50 dlrs

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

London platinum/palladium 0945 fix - Dec 19

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

India's chief economic adviser suggests investment stimulus

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (Reuters) - India should increase public sector spending to revive economic growth in the medium term, a move that would require reviewing all fiscal targets, its chief economic adviser said on Friday. Arvind Subramanian said the government was committed to meet a tough 4.1 percent fiscal deficit target in the 2014/15 fiscal year and that it would consider all measures, including expenditure cuts. (Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; editing by Malini Menon) ((frank.daniel@thomsonreuters.com; +91 11 4178 1003; Reuters Messaging: frank.daniel.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: INDIA ECONOMY/INVESTMENT

IMF urges Zambia to resolve tax issues with mining companies

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

LUSAKA, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund has urged Zambia, Africa's second-largest copper producer, to quickly resolve issues with mining companies over value-added tax refunds and an increase in royalties. Lower world copper prices and the announced shift to a royalty-only mining tax regime with high rates were likely to adversely affect the companies, the IMF said in a statement late on Thursday. Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO said on Thursday it would suspend operations at its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia after laws were passed raising the royalty rate on open-pit mining operations to 20 percent from 6 percent. ID:nL1N0U20VF "The authorities indicated that they are looking to assuage the concerns of mines and prevent closures," the IMF said after a mission to Zambia. Greater policy stability and consistency would help anchor confidence in Zambia as an investment destination, it said. "It will be important to enhance dialogue between stakeholders, particularly between government and the mining sector, where there is a need to build mutual trust." Zambia's outlook was buoyed by several mining and electricity supply projects that were about to come on stream, the IMF said. Other mining companies operating in Zambia include First Quantum Minerals FM.TO , Vedanta Resources VED.L and Glencore GLEN.L . (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Ed Stoddard and Larry King) ((chris.mfula@thomsonreuters.com;)) Keywords: ZAMBIA TAXES/IMF

INDICATORS-Kazakhstan - Dec 19

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

BOJ stands pat, offers brighter view on economy

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

TOKYO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan kept monetary settings unchanged on Friday and offered a more upbeat view on the economy, signalling that no immediate expansion of stimulus was on the horizon. As widely expected, the BOJ decided to maintain its pledge to increase base money, or cash and deposits at the central bank, at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen ($673 billion) through purchases of government bonds and risky assets. BOJ board member Takahide Kiuchi dissented from the decision, arguing that it was appropriate to revert to the BOJ's monetary policy before the Oct. 31 decision to expand stimulus. The BOJ also revised up its assessment of the economy to say that it continues to recover moderately as a trend with the effect of the sales tax hike in April waning as a whole. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold a news conference at 3:30 p.m. (0630 GMT) to explain the policy decision. The BOJ in October unexpectedly expanded monetary stimulus in a stark admission that economic growth and inflation have not picked up as much as expected after the April sales tax hike. ($1 = 118.9600 yen) (Reporting by Leika Kihara and Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chris Gallagher) ((leika.kihara@thomsonreuters.com; +813-6441-1828; Reuters Messaging: leika.kihara.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: JAPAN ECONOMY/BOJ

China revises down Q3 current account surplus to $72.2 bln

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

BEIJING, Dec 19 (Reuters) - China revised down its current account surplus for the third quarter of 2014 to $72.2 billion from a preliminary figure of $81.5 billion, the country's foreign exchange regulator said on Friday. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) also sharply revised down the country's capital and financial account deficit for July-September, to $9 billion from $81.6 billion. (Reporting by Judy Hua and Kevin Yao; Editing by Richard Borsuk) ((kevin.yao@thomsonreuters.com; +8610 6627 1215; Reuters Messaging: kevin.yao.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CHINA ECONOMY/

Indian FX/debt factors to watch - Dec 19

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

India Morning Call-Global Markets

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

EQUITIES NEW YORK - U.S. stocks surged on Thursday, extending a Federal Reserve-fueled rally from the previous session and giving the S&P 500 its best two-day advance in three years. The rally follows the Fed's commitment on Wednesday to take a "patient" approach toward raising interest rates while signaling it was on track to raise rates in 2015, which analysts said provided clarity and relief to investors over the policy outlook. For a full report, click on .N ---- LONDON - Britain's main equity index enjoyed one of its best days so far this year on Thursday, as the U.S. Federal Reserve's pledge for a "patient approach" to any interest rate increase lifted stock markets around the world. Financial services company Old Mutual OML.L and British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) ICAG.L were among the best performers on the blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE. For a full report, click on .L ---- TOKYO - Japanese stocks jumped on Friday after Wall Street enjoyed its best two days since late 2011, with sentiment boosted by the Federal Reserve's pledge of patience in its approach to raising interest rates. The Nikkei benchmark .N225 rose 1.7 percent to 17,504.46 by 0129 GMT, set for its third straight day of gains. For a full report, click on .T ---- HONG KONG - Hang Seng Index .HSI is trading 1.4 percent higher. For a full report, click on .HK ---- FOREIGN EXCHANGE SYDNEY - The safe-haven yen was on the back foot on Friday, as risk assets staged a broad recovery and investors awaited the outcome of a Bank of Japan meeting. The dollar added 0.2 percent against the yen to buy 119.06 yen JPY= , while the euro tacked on 0.2 percent to 146.21 yen. EURJPY= For a full report, click on USD/ ---- TREASURIES NEW YORK - U.S. Treasuries yields rose on Thursday as Wall Street shares gained a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled it might raise interest rates in 2015 but would do so at a gradual pace. Most U.S. government yields touched one-week highs as some traders exited positions that were betting shorter-term rates would rise faster than longer-term rates. Traders were expecting the U.S. central bank would raise short-term rates even as domestic growth remains subpar and inflation falls short of its 2 percent goal next year. For a full report, click on US/ ---- COMMODITIES GOLD SINGAPORE - Gold steadied below $1,200 an ounce on Friday and was set to end a two-week rally as the dollar firmed on expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve is on course to raise interest rates next year. But some buying interest from Asia may be supporting bullion at current levels, traders say, allowing it to hold up despite rising equity markets. For a full report, click on GOL/ ---- BASE METALS SYDNEY - London copper futures inched up in early trade on Friday as oil prices climbed, while Shanghai futures dipped on gloomy Chinese housing data. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 had firmed 0.31 percent to $6,334.75 a tonne by 0130 GMT, reversing losses of 0.82 percent in the previous session. For a full report, click on MET/L ---- OIL NEW YORK - Global crude oil prices slumped anew on Thursday, a day after a short-covering rally, as traders placed fresh bets the market would resume a six-month rout on worries about a supply glut. Benchmark Brent and U.S. crude tumbled $2 a barrel each in late trading after initially extending Wednesday's short-covering, which lifted oil prices by more than $3. For a full report, click on O/R (Compiled by Dipika Lalwani) ((Dipika.Lalwani@thomsonreuters.com; 022-61807098; Reuters Messaging: dipika.lalwani@thomsonreuters.com)) Keywords: MORNINGCALL INDIA/

Japan finmin: hope Russia to prevent recurrence of 1998 crisis

December 19, 2014 - reuters.com

TOKYO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Friday he expects the Russian government will prevent falls in its currency from leading to the kind of financial crisis seen in 1998. Speaking to reporters after a regular cabinet meeting, Aso also said that oil prices have fallen a lot but are still high compared with in the past. "I can only say that I imagine the Russian government will deal with it so that it won't lead to turmoil as seen in 1998," Aso said, when asked about sharp falls in the rouble and the impact on markets. (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chris Gallagher) ((tetsushi.kajimoto@thomsonreuters.com; +81-3-6441-1829; Reuters Messaging: tetsushi.kajimoto.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: JAPAN ECONOMY/ASO

South Africa stocks log biggest gain in nearly 6 years

December 18, 2014 - reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Fuel-maker Sasol led the charge as South African stocks booked their biggest daily gain since March 2009 on Thursday, swept along by a wave of positive global equity market sentiment. Sasol SOLJ.J , the world's biggest maker of fuel from coal and gas, was among the top gainers on the blue-chip Top-40 index .JTOPI , rising 10.5 percent to 446 rand, boosted by a 2 percent rebound in the Brent crude. Sasol benefits from a higher oil price because it sells its synthetic fuel at the same price as companies that import and refine crude oil. Overall, investors bought everything from insurers and retailers to mining shares after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would take a patient approach toward raising interest rates, boosting global stock markets. ID:nL1N0U12H4 "The Fed seems to have reminded everyone that things are not so bad, maybe this is the start of the Christmas rally that everyone has been waiting for," said Sasha Naryshkine, fund manager at Vestact. The benchmark JSE Top-40 index .JTOPI ended 4.8 percent higher at 43,609, the biggest daily percentage gain since March 2009. The broader All-share index .JALSH climbed 4.25 percent to 49,290. One of this year's investor favourites, Naspers NPNJn.J featured among the top gainers, surging 10.9 percent to 1,457.25 rand, extending gains so far this year to about 31 percent. Boosted by a rally in the price of gold, AngloGold Ashanti ANGJ.J was up 8.75 percent to 100 rand and rival Gold Fields GFIJ.J added 4 percent to 51.05 rand. Ellies Holdings ELIJ.J was one of the few stocks to fall after the maker of satellite dishes launched a deeply discounted rights issues to raise more than 100 million rand ($8.66 million). Shares in the company, which have slumped by nearly 80 percent so far this year on worries about its financial wealth ended 2.48 percent lower at 1.18 rand. Trade was brisk, with 421 million shares changing hands, according to preliminary data from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, more than double last year's daily average of 176 million shares. ($1 = 11.5417 rand) (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Joe Brock) ((tiisetso.motsoeneng@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 775 3122; Reuters Messaging: tiisetso.motsoeneng.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS SAFRICA/STOCKS

London gold 1500 fix - Dec 18 - 1199.00 dlrs

December 18, 2014 - reuters.com

China's top lead smelter to slash output amid price slump

December 18, 2014 - reuters.com

HONG KONG, Dec 18 (Reuters) - China's top refined lead producer Henan Yuguang Lead and Gold Ltd 600531.SS has cut its output by up to 30 percent due to low prices, a senior company executive said on Thursday. Yuguang, which has an annual capacity of 400,000 tonnes, will cut its production for about two months starting Thursday by as much as 20,000 tonnes, Li Xiaodong, the firm's sales director, told Reuters in an interview. "We are going to cut production immediately, by 15 to 30 percent. Current prices are too low and are far below production costs," he said, adding that the firm has halted spot sales and will review its production plans again in mid-February. Hit by weak demand and oversupply, lead on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SPBcv1 has fallen by nearly a fifth this year and on Thursday struck its lowest since the contract began in 2011. Lead on the London Metal Exchange CMPB3 is down 6.4 percent so far this week and hit its lowest since August 2012 on Thursday. Li said that two other lead smelters in Henan province with a combined capacity of 500,000 tonnes a year, Jinli Gold and Lead Ltd and Wanyang Smelter Group, have also started cutting production by up to 30 percent during the same period. Neither Jinli Gold and Lead or Wanyang Smelter Group were immediately available for comment outside normal business hours. China is the world's top lead producer with an output of 4.48 million tonnes in 2013. Falling prices this year has forced some smaller producers out of the market, with total production in the first 11 months down nearly 6 percent to 3.90 million. MTL/CHINA6 ($1 = 6.2140 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Polly Yam; Writing by Fayen Wong; Editing by Michael Urquhart) ((fayen.wong@thomsonreuters.com; +86 21 6104 1779; Reuters Messaging: fayen.wong.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CHINA YUGUANG/LEAD

London platinum/palladium 1400 fix - Dec 18

December 18, 2014 - reuters.com

Barrick to suspend operations at Zambian mine on tax increase

December 18, 2014 - reuters.com

TORONTO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp ABX.N said on Thursday it is initiating procedures to suspend operations at its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia, following the passage of legislation that raises the royalty rate on the country's open pit mining operations from six percent to 20 percent. The Toronto-based miner had earlier said it would consider such a move in the event the legislation passed. The new tax regime, expected to go into effect on Jan, 1, eliminates corporate income tax, but imposes a 20 percent gross royalty on revenue without any consideration of profitability. (Reporting by Euan Rocha Editing by W Simon) ((euan.rocha@thomsonreuters.com; +1 416 941 8185; Reuters Messaging: euan.rocha.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BARRICK GOLD ZAMBIA/TAXATION

Indian dealers offer gold discount for first time in 5 months

December 18, 2014 - reuters.com

By Rajendra Jadhav and Meenakshi Sharma MUMBAI, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Indian gold importers are offering a discount of $2 an ounce versus London prices for the first time in almost five months due to market oversupply. Importers generally charge a premium over London prices but demand in the world's second-biggest gold consumer is expected to fall sharply this month after shipments surged in the past three months. "Supply is in excess but demand is very weak because there are no weddings and festivals until mid January. The overall sentiment is weak," said Prithviraj Kothari, executive director of India Bullion & Jewellers' Association. The south Asian country imported 151.6 tonnes of gold in November, up nearly 38 percent from October, as traders bought aggressively expecting curbs on overseas purchases. ID:nL3N0U02M0 But instead of putting in place more restrictions, the government last month surprisingly scrapped the so-called 80:20 rule mandating traders to export a fifth of all imported gold. Traders now have few takers for the gold they bought in November. "Trading agencies were expecting curbs on imports and subsequently higher premium in December," said Daman Prakash Rathod, director with Chennai-based wholesaler MNC Bullion. "So they imported more than their requirement. They are now struggling to find buyers." India last year levied a record import duty of 10 percent on gold and introduced the 80:20 rule after surging trade and current account deficits sparked the worst currency turmoil since the 1998 balance of payment crisis. India's gold imports are typically strong in the second half of the year as banks and retailers stock up for weddings and major festivals such as Dhanteras and Diwali, celebrated in October. "New imports are not happening because of a liquidity crunch and subdued demand," Kothari said. Lower gold imports in December will help India bring down the trade deficit which widened to an 18-month high in November. ID:nL3N0TZ43B "In December imports would be around 30-40 tonnes. Trading activity is quite dull now and it will remain so in the next few days," said a Mumbai-based bank dealer. (Editing by Krishna N. Das; editing by Jason Neely) ((rajendra.jadhav@thomsonreuters.com; +91-22-6180-7153 ; Reuters Messaging: rajendra.jadhav.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: INDIA GOLD/DISCOUNT

BRIEF-Rubicon Minerals Phoenix gold project to start production in 2015

December 18, 2014 - reuters.com

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Rubicon Minerals Corp RMX.TO : * Says construction of the Phoenix gold project continues on schedule for projected initial production in mid-2015 * Says the project remains well-funded to completion * Says expects that the mill will be fully commissioned in the second quarter of 2015 * Says construction of the refinery, mill thickener and cyanide destruction circuits are progressing as planned * Says has about C$27 million (as at November 30, 2014) of mill capital expenditures remaining to projected initial production * Says company is currently evaluating debt alternatives for approximately C$50 million * Source text for Eikon ID:nMKWNjBP4a * Further company coverage RMX.TO ((Bengaluru Newsroom; +1 646 223 8780))

BRIEF-Lake Shore Gold targets 170,000-180,000 ounces gold production in 2015

December 18, 2014 - reuters.com

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Lake Shore Gold Corp LSG.TO : * Gold targets continued strong production, low unit costs and aggressive exploration in 2015 * Says production is targeted at 170,000 to 180,000 ounces of gold in 2015 * Says cash operating costs in 2015 are expected to average between US$650 and US$700 per ounce sold * Says total production costs in 2015 are estimated at approximately $125.0 million * Says all-in sustaining cost per ounce sold in 2015 is targeted at US$950 to US$1,000 * Says mining grades in 2015 are expected to be slightly lower than in 2014, averaging approximately 4.4 grams per tonne * Source text for Eikon ID:nMKWstd8Wa * Further company coverage LSG.TO ((Bengaluru Newsroom; +1 646 223 8780))

London gold 1030 fix - Dec 18 - 1210.75 dlrs

December 18, 2014 - reuters.com

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