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Vietnam domestic market commodity prices-March 28

March 28, 2015 - reuters.com

March 28 (Reuters) - Following are domestic prices of Vietnam's key commodities. Unit: million dong VND= per tonne. Item March 23-28 March 16-20 Location Robusta beans 37.4-39.5 36.0-39.5 Central Highlands Black pepper 173.0-178.0 174.0-186.0 Southern region Refined sugar 13.0-15.5 13.0-15.5 Southern region Winter-spring paddy 5.35-5.70 5.20-5.70 Mekong Delta ___________________ SJC gold 3.533-3.542 3.528-3.546 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=21,500 dong) (Compiled by Hanoi Newsroom) ((ho.minh@thomsonreuters.com; +844 3825 9623)) Keywords: VIETNAM COMMODITIES/PRICES

UPDATE 2-Fed's Yellen sees gradual rate hikes starting this year

March 28, 2015 - reuters.com

* Yellen outlines case for 'gradualist approach' to rate hikes * Traders see October as likely first Fed rate rise (Adds more comments, background) By Ann Saphir and Michael Flaherty SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON, March 27 (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled that the U.S. central bank will likely start raising borrowing costs later this year, even before inflation and wages have returned to health, but emphasized the return to normal interest rates will be gradual. A downturn in core inflation or wage growth could force the Fed to delay the first increase to borrowing costs since 2006, the central bank's chief said on Friday, but policymakers should not wait for inflation to near the Fed's 2-percent goal before tightening monetary policy. The Fed has held short-term borrowing costs near zero since December 2008. After the first rate increase, Yellen said, a further, gradual tightening in monetary policy will likely be warranted. If incoming data fails to support the Fed's economic forecast, the path of policy will be adjusted, she said. "With continued improvement in economic conditions, an increase in the target range for that rate may well be warranted later this year," Yellen said at a monetary policy conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Yellen added that while the Fed is giving "serious consideration" to beginning to reduce its accommodative monetary policy, the timing and the path of a Fed hike would depend on the incoming economic data. "The actual path of policy will evolve as economic conditions evolve, and policy tightening could speed up, slow down, pause, or even reverse course depending on actual and expected developments in real activity and inflation," Yellen said. U.S. Treasury yields fell and held near session lows on Friday after the mildly hawkish comments and as investors bought bonds ahead of month-end rebalancing. ID:nL3N0WT519 Still, traders of U.S. rate futures kept their bets that the Fed will wait until October to raise rates. "It turned out to be pretty much a replay" of last week's Fed statement, said Alfonso Esparza, senior currency Strategist at Oanda in Toronto. "They're waiting for the data," he said in reference to Fed policymakers. With labor markets looking set to improve further, and one-time downward pressure on inflation likely to dissipate, a "modest" rate rise would be unlikely to put a halt to jobs growth, Yellen said. At the same time, she said, raising rates too fast could undercut an economy that has for years been laboring against lingering headwinds from the severe recession. CAUTIOUS APPROACH Yellen, returning to the regional Fed bank she used to run, is under pressure to begin tightening monetary policy without disrupting the U.S. economic recovery underway. The Fed signaled in its March statement that it was moving a step closer toward raising rates, though the central bank cut its economic outlook and slashed its median estimate for the federal funds rate, in a sign that it was prepared to move more slowly than the market expected ahead of the meeting. While June remains on the table for the timing of the Fed's first rate hike, Yellen's comments since then suggest the central bank is more likely to move later in the year. With the unemployment rate dropping to 5.5 percent last month, and after more than six years of loose monetary policy, the Fed is eager to begin raising rates and returning to more normal policy. Several Fed officials have said the central bank has waited too long to bump rates higher, and the delay risks stoking inflation and asset bubbles. But inflation has remained stubbornly low, complicating the Fed's plan to part ways with its accommodative monetary policy. Yellen said that if economic conditions evolve how the Fed's policy setting committee anticipates, "I would expect the level of the federal funds rate to be normalized only gradually, reflecting the gradual diminution of headwinds from the financial crisis and the balance of risks I have enumerated of moving either too slowly or too quickly." (Reporting by Ann Saphir and Michael Flaherty; Editing by Diane Craft) ((michael.flaherty@thomsonreuters.com; 202-898-8411 ; Reuters Messaging: michael.flaherty.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA FED/YELLEN

UPDATE 1-U.S. Treasury's Lew to press China on currency - officials

March 28, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds comments on cybersecurity) WASHINGTON, March 27 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will press Chinese officials next week to adopt a more market-determined exchange rate policy, and the Obama administration thinks further yuan appreciation would help the global economy, Treasury officials said on Friday. The comments came ahead of Lew's planned meetings on Monday with top officials in Beijing. China's yuan was devalued sharply in the 1990s and for years China intervened heavily in exchange markets to keep it weak, raising complaints from U.S. manufacturers. Since 2005, China has let its currency appreciate by about 25 percent, and the Treasury officials repeated statements made in February that China recently appeared to be intervening a lot less. Even so, Lew will urge his Chinese counterparts to be more transparent about their actions in currency markets, one official said. U.S. officials traveling to Beijing will also bring up U.S. concerns with China's regulatory policies for cyber security, which one of the officials said were not consistent with the principals of free and open trade. (Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by G Crosse and Dan Grebler) ((jason.lange@thomsonreuters.com; +1-202-310-5487; Twitter @langejason; Reuters Messaging: jason.lange.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA CHINA/LEW

FOREX-Dollar ends week lower after Yellen comments have muted impact

March 28, 2015 - reuters.com

* Yellen speech reiterates dovish tone * Dollar posts second straight weekly loss * Long-term dollar uptrend remains (Adds comments, updates prices) By Sam Forgione NEW YORK, March 27 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar edged lower against a basket of major currencies on Friday after traders were reluctant to buy the greenback ahead of U.S. jobs data next week, and after comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Yellen said the Fed is giving "serious consideration" to beginning to reduce its accommodative monetary policy and a rate hike may be warranted later this year, although a downturn in core inflation or wage growth could force it to hold off. ID:nL3N0WT519 Analysts said the emphasis on considering rate hikes was slightly hawkish and led the dollar to pare some earlier losses, but that the remarks overall reiterated the message from the Fed's March 18 policy statement: that the timeline of the Fed's rate hikes would hinge on U.S. economic data. Yellen delivered the prepared remarks at a monetary policy conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. "It turned out to be pretty much a replay" of last week's Fed statement, said Alfonso Esparza, senior currency Strategist at Oanda in Toronto. "They're waiting for the data," he said in reference to Fed policymakers. The speech came after the latest Fed policy statement released March 18, which suggested a less aggressive timeline for hiking rates and led most of Wall Street's top banks to push out expectations for the first rate hike to September from June. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, posted its second straight weekly loss. The dollar had lost some ground ahead of the speech on predictions a dovish stance could push the dollar lower. The dollar index rallied over 25 percent from early May last year through March 17, but has since given back some gains since after the Fed's March 18 statement. Analysts said the long-term uptrend in the dollar remained in place given the likelihood that the Fed will still hike rates this year, but that traders were awaiting key data, including next week's U.S. employment report for March. "It's still a U.S.-dollar-long environment," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto. The euro was last up slightly against the dollar at $1.08910 EUR=EBS . The dollar was last down slightly against the yen at 119.150 yen JPY=EBS . The dollar was last down 0.12 percent against the franc at 0.96180 franc CHF=EBS . The dollar index was last down 0.06 percent at 97.374 .DXY . (Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by James Dalgleish and Diane Craft) ((Sam.Forgione@thomsonreuters.com; 646-223-6189; Reuters Messaging: sam.forgione.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

Fitch Downgrades Greece's IDRs to 'CCC'

March 28, 2015 - reuters.com

U.S. Treasury's Lew to press China on currency - official

March 28, 2015 - reuters.com

WASHINGTON, March 27 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will next week press Chinese officials to adopt a more market-determined exchange rate policy, and the Obama administration thinks further yuan appreciation would help the global economy, Treasury officials said on Friday. The officials made the comments ahead of Lew's planned meeting on Monday with top officials in Beijing. (Reporting by Jason Lange, editing by G Crosse) ((jason.lange@thomsonreuters.com; +1-202-310-5487; Twitter @langejason; Reuters Messaging: jason.lange.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA CHINA/LEW

Soccer-Montenegro v Russia suspended after flare hits Akinfeev

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

PODGORICA, March 27 (Reuters) - Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was hit on the head by a flare in the first minute of their Euro 2016 Group G qualifier away to Montenegro on Friday forcing the match to be suspended. Akinfeev appeared to be seriously injured and was wheeled off the pitch on a stretcher as German referee Deniz Aytekin ordered the teams back to the dressing rooms. (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; editing by Ken Ferris) ((zoran.milosavljevic@thomsonreuters.com; +38163341194; Reuters Messaging: zoran.milosavljevic.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: SOCCER EURO/MONTENEGRO VIOLENCE

Brazil's Levy warns of sharp slowdown in early 2015

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

SAO PAULO, March 27 (Reuters) - Brazilian Finance Minister Joaquim Levy said he expects economic growth to have deteriorated sharply at the beginning of the year, though he expressed optimism that export performance and investment would improve. Speaking to reporters in Rio de Janeiro, Levy also said he had spoken to many lawmakers about the importance of approving fiscal adjustment measures in order to achieve the government's savings targets. (Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Editing by Chris Reese) ((asher.levine@thomsonreuters.com; +55-11-5644-7756; Reuters Messaging: asher.levine1.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BRAZIL ECONOMY/LEVY

Fed rate hike may be warranted later this year: Yellen

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

SAN FRANCISCO, March 27 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve is giving "serious consideration" to beginning to reduce its accommodative monetary policy and a rate hike may be warranted later this year, although a downturn in core inflation or wage growth could force it to hold off, the central bank's chief said on Friday. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that after the first rate increase a further, gradual tightening in monetary policy will likely be warranted. If incoming data fails to support the Fed's forecast, the path of policy will be adjusted, she said. "With continued improvement in economic conditions, an increase in the target range for that rate may well be warranted later this year," Yellen said in prepared remarks at a monetary policy conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Yellen added that the timing and the path of a Fed hike would depend on the incoming economic data. "The actual path of policy will evolve as economic conditions evolve, and policy tightening could speed up, slow down, pause, or even reverse course depending on actual and expected developments in real activity and inflation," Yellen said. (Reporting by Ann Saphir and Michael Flaherty; Editing by Diane Craft) ((michael.flaherty@thomsonreuters.com; 202-898-8411 ; Reuters Messaging: michael.flaherty.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA FED/YELLEN

US dollar longs rise; euro shorts hit all-time high -CFTC, Reuters

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

March 27 (Reuters) - Positive bets on the U.S. dollar rose in the latest week, while net shorts on the euro jumped to a record high, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and ThomsonReuters released on Friday. The value of the dollar's net long position increased to $43.91 billion in the week ended March 24, from $38.59 billion the previous week. Net euro shorts hit a record 220,963 contracts in the latest week as the European Central Bank started its quantitative easing program. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Chris Reese) ((gertrude.chavez@thomsonreuters.com; 646-223-6322; Reuters Messaging: rm://gertrude.chavez.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/CFTC

ЦБР считает повышенные ставки по валютному репо соответствующими рыночному уровню

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

МОСКВА, 27 мар (Рейтер) - ЦБР с 30 марта вдвое увеличит ставки по аукционам валютного репо и считает повышение соответствующим рыночному уровню, сообщил регулятор в пятницу. Банк установит минимальные процентные ставки на аукционах репо в иностранной валюте равными ставкам LIBOR плюс 1,0 процентный пункт (плюс 0,5 процентного пункта ранее). Ставки для валютного рефинансирования под залог нерыночных активов будут подняты до LIBOR плюс 1,25 процентного пункта (плюс 0,75 процентного пункта ранее). "Решение Банка России связано с наметившейся нормализацией ситуации на внутреннем валютном рынке и снижением на этом фоне рисков для финансовой стабильности. При этом новый уровень ставок по операциям Банка России больше соответствует уровню рыночных ставок", - прокомментировал изменения ЦБР. "В целом повышение ставок может поддержать внутренний рынок кредитов в иностранной валюте, а также стимулировать банки более активно искать и развивать новые финансовые связи за рубежом". Как ранее говорил в интервью Рейтер первый зампред ЦБР Дмитрий Тулин, регулятор придерживается стратегии сохранности золотовалютных резервов и на текущий момент общий лимит на валютное рефинансирование составляет $50 миллиардов. На сегодняшний день задолженность банков по валютному репо превышает $30 миллиардов, а по рефинансированию под залог нерыночных активов - приближается к $3 миллиардам. (Максим Родионов) ((maxim.rodionov@thomsonreuters.com; +74957751242;))

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares up at end of down week, oil prices retreat

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

(New throughout, updates prices and market activity; adds dollar downturn, European stock close) * Wall St on track to break losing streak now at 4 sessions * Crude dips as market reassesses Yemen conflict impact * Ten-year Treasury yields under 2 percent * Markets await Fed Chair Yellen's speech By Michael Connor NEW YORK, March 27 (Reuters) - Wall Street and European stocks edged ahead on Friday but remained en route to a losing week while U.S. Treasury debt prices jumped on government data indicating U.S. economic growth was slowing. Brent oil fell below $50 a barrel after Thursday's spike on Saudi-led air attacks in Yemen, and the dollar was down. Investors awaited a speech on monetary policy on Friday by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that may contain hints on when U.S. interest rates may be increased. Wall Street's key indexes were modestly ahead after the Commerce Department said U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 2.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter and after-tax corporate profits had their biggest drop since early 2011. The economy grew at a 5 percent rate in the third quarter. ID:nL2N0WT0Q4 The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 9.81 points, or 0.06 percent, to 17,688.04, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 2.62 points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,058.77 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 14.03 points, or 0.29 percent, to 4,877.39. Healthcare stocks helped buoy the indexes that have been on a four-session losing streak, with biotech stocks .NBI bouncing 2.3 percent higher after suffering a 7 percent drop in the prior four sessions. Energy .SPNY was the worst performing sector as crude prices resumed their decline. "Yellen will be the big news of the day, certainly, so I don't expect a lot of movement before that," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois. European shares had their biggest weekly fall of the year but were ahead for the day. The pan European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 of top companies ended up 0.22 percent for the day. For the week the FTSEurofirst 300 was down 2.1 percent, but that was only a dent in its nearly 15 percent gains for the past three months. Asian shares dropped overnight. In New York, Treasury yields fell on the GDP data, which reinforced opinions the Fed would push back the launch of its first interest rate hikes since 2006. Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR were last up 13/32 in price to yield 1.96 percent, down from 2.00 percent late on Thursday. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Global assets in 2015 http://link.reuters.com/dub25t European bourses in 2015 http://link.reuters.com/pap87v Currencies vs dollar http://link.reuters.com/tak27s World interest rates: http://link.reuters.com/xyb96s Oil prices http://link.reuters.com/beb23v Commodities performance http://link.reuters.com/rac73w ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> Yellen's scheduled speech in San Francisco was also curbing trading in the dollar, which posted minor gains against the euro and dipped against the yen and Swiss franc. The dollar index .DXY , which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six currencies, fell 0.192 points or 0.2 percent, to 97.244. The yen JPY= was last up 0.03 percent, at $119.2100. and the euro at $1.0908, up 0.23 percent. Oil investors grew less worried about the escalating conflict in Yemen and focused on new supplies possibly coming to market after an Iranian nuclear deal. U.S. crude CLc1 was down 3 percent at $49.92 a barrel after jumping 4.5 percent, while Brent LCOc1 was down 2.35 percent at $57.80. O/R (Additional Reporting By Marc Jones, Jemima Kelly and Nigel Stephenson in London and Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio) ((michael.connor@thomsonreuters.com; 646 223 6309; Reuters Messaging: michael.connor.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

Ghana 91-day bill yield falls to 25.2752 pct

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

ACCRA, March 27 (Reuters) - The Bank of Ghana said the yield on its 91-day bill fell to 25.2752 percent at an auction on Friday, from 25.4518 percent at the last sale. The bank said it had accepted 679.88 million cedis ($179.39 million) worth of bids of the 734.66 million cedis tendered for the 91-day paper. For full details please click here: http://www.bog.gov.gh/privatecontent/Treasury/Auctresults%201426.pdf ($1 USD = 3.7900 Ghana cedis) (Writing by Kwasi Kpodo) ((kwasi.kpodo@thomsonreuters.com;)(+233 24 469 6990)(Reuters Messaging: kwasi.kpodo.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GHANA BONDS/

UPDATE 1-Raiffeisen execs in Warsaw to try to unblock Polish unit sale

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

* Raiffeisen International wants to sell Polish unit * Bank's CEO and CFO met officials from Polish watchdog * Dispute over whether IPO must precede sale of unit * Raiffeisen seeking a compromise: banking source (Adds more quotes and background) By Marcin Goclowski WARSAW, March 27 (Reuters) - Raiffeisen Bank International's (RBI) two top executives were in Warsaw on Friday to try to convince Poland's powerful financial regulator to allow the bank to sell its Polish business to a strategic investor, a banking source said. The regulator is insisting that before the sale can go ahead, Raiffeisen must carry out an initial public offering (IPO) of the unit, arguing this was a commitment the Austrian bank undertook in 2012. Chief Executive Karl Sevelda and Chief Financial Officer Martin Gruell met senior officials from the regulator, KNF. "Today's meeting with KNF was initiated by RBI, which is seeking a compromise and wants to hear the regulator's arguments," a banking source said on condition of anonymity. The source said the row was putting off bidders for the Polish unit, and Raiffeisen had been forced to delay by three weeks publishing a short-list of potential strategic investors. A spokesman for KNF declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Raiffeisen in Vienna said the meeting had taken place, but declined to give details and said the bank is in regular contact with supervisory bodies. The Polish unit, Raiffeisen Polbank, is the seventh biggest lender in Poland with a book value of 6 billion zlotys ($1.6 billion). Raiffeisen needs to sell it to help shrink its balance sheet and hit a core capital ratio of 12 percent by end-2017. But it has hit an impasse in KNF chief Andrzej Jakubiak, who has a reputation for an uncompromising approach. Asked by Reuters outside the KNF office on Friday if Raiffeisen could get a green light for the planned sale before an IPO was held, Jakubiak said: "No." He also said he would not allow Raiffeisen to sell the Polish bank if the new owner made a commitment to conduct the IPO after the sale. Banking sources say the regulator has told Raiffeisen it will strip it of its voting rights in Raiffeisen Polbank if it does not comply with the IPO demand. The regulator declined to comment on that assertion. ID:nL5N0W713H Sources say it will be impossible for Raiffeisen to get a decent price for any shares it lists when would-be investors do not know who is going to be the next owner of the business. "The Raiffeisen Polbank IPO looks weak, as RBI is at war with KNF," said one executive from the Polish banking sector. The executive said a listing would be further complicated by Raiffeisen Polbank's large portfolio of mortgages denominated in Swiss francs. ($1 = 3.7550 zlotys) (Additional reporting by Michael Shields in Vienna; Editing by Christian Lowe and David Evans) ((adrian.krajewski@thomsonreuters.com; +48 22 653 97 09; Reuters Messaging: adrian.krajewski.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: POLAND RAIFFEISEN BANK/REGULATOR

UPDATE 1-Barrick to keep operating Zambia copper mine, pending royalty change

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds details on government plans, background on Barrick's planned suspension and Lumwana mine, Barrick stock) TORONTO, March 27 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO ABX.N , the world's biggest gold producer by output, will continue operating its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia while awaiting changes to the country's mineral royalty tax, the company said on Friday. Barrick had said it would suspend operations after Zambia hiked mineral royalties for open pit mines to 20 percent from 6 percent in January. Major staff cuts to Lumwana's 4,000 workers were planned for March, Toronto-based Barrick had said. ID:nL1N0U20VF "We are encouraged by the President's recent statement and will carry on operating at Lumwana while we await details on the government's proposed solution," Barrick spokesman Andy Lloyd said in an email in response to a query from Reuters. The new royalty plan, which has rattled unions and mining companies in Zambia, Africa's second largest copper producer, also increased the royalty tax rate on underground mines to 8 percent from 6 percent. Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Wednesday directed the finance and mining ministers to change royalties on mining firms by April 8, saying the government could consider temporarily reverting to the 2014 tax regime as a new rate is negotiated. ID:nL6N0WR4DG Other options include modifying the 2015 royalty rates, delayed introduction of those rates, or negotiating interim arrangements for the most affected companies. Barrick booked a $3.8 billion impairment charge to write down Lumwana's value in 2013 due to higher costs and a drop in profit after a pullback in metal prices. Barrick acquired the mine, located in northwest Zambia, after its C$7.3 billion ($5.8 billion) purchase of copper miner Equinox in 2011. Barrick shares were 15 Canadian cents higher at C$14.24 on the Toronto Stock Exchange at mid-session Friday. ($1 = 1.2564 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by James Dalgleish and Jeffrey Benkoe) ((susan.taylor1@thomsonreuters.com; +1 416 941 8083; Reuters Messaging: susan.taylor1.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BARRICK ZAMBIA/

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares advance at end of down week, oil prices retreat

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds New York open, quotes and changes byline and dateline; previous LONDON) * Wall St, euro-zone shares edge up * Crude dips as market reassesses Yemen conflict impact * Markets await Fed Chair Yellen's speech By Michael Connor NEW YORK, March 27 (Reuters) - Wall Street and European stocks edged ahead on Friday but remained en route to a losing week as U.S. Treasury debt yields declined on government data indicating U.S. economic growth was slowing. Trading in many markets was choppy, with oil dropping back after Thursday's spike on Saudi-led air attacks in Yemen and investors awaiting a speech on monetary policy later on Friday by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. In currency markets, the dollar was mixed as the euro slipped against the dollar to below $1.09, according to Thomson Reuters. Wall Street's key indices were ahead after the U.S. Commerce Department reported U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 2.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter and after-tax corporate profits had their biggest drop since early 2011. The economy grew at a 5 percent rate in the third quarter. ID:nL2N0WT0Q4 The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was last up 31.03 points, or 0.18 percent, to 17,709.26, the S&P 500 .SPX was ahead 4.82 points, or 0.23 percent, to 2,060.97 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 20.05 points, or 0.41 percent, to 4,883.41. "Yellen will be the big news of the day, certainly, so I don't expect a lot of movement before that," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois. European shares were heading for their biggest weekly fall of the year but were ahead for the day. The pan European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 of top companies was last up 0.40 percent. For the week the FTSEurofirst 300 was down 1.7 percent, its worst run since mid-December but only a dent in its 18 percent gains for the past three months. Asian shares dropped overnight. In New York, Treasury yields fell on the GDP data, which reinforced opinions and forecasts that the Fed would push back the launch of its first interest rate hike since 2006. Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR were last up 12/32 in price to yield 1.97 percent, down from 2.00 percent late on Thursday. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Global assets in 2015 http://link.reuters.com/dub25t European bourses in 2015 http://link.reuters.com/pap87v Currencies vs dollar http://link.reuters.com/tak27s World interest rates: http://link.reuters.com/xyb96s Oil prices http://link.reuters.com/beb23v Commodities performance http://link.reuters.com/rac73w ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> Yellen's scheduled speech in San Francisco was also curbing trading in the dollar, which posted minor gains against the euro and slipped slightly against the yen and Swiss franc as bullish bets on the long-rising dollar thinned. The dollar index .DXY , which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six currencies, fell 0.085 points or 0.09 percent, to 97.351. The yen JPY= was last down 0.08 percent, at $119.0900, and the euro at $1.0875, off 0.08 percent. Crude oil prices were lower due to the dollar's bounce and as investors reassessed the potential impact of the escalating conflict in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and allies carried out air strikes on Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on Thursday and Friday. U.S. crude CLc1 was down 2.5 percent at $50.15 a barrel after jumping 4.5 percent, while Brent LCOc1 was down 2.25 percent at $57.81. O/R The Saudi-led operation has not affected the oil facilities of major Gulf producers, but the fear is the conflict could spread and further unsettle the Middle East and disrupt oil shipments. (Additional Reporting By Marc Jones, Jemima Kelly and Nigel Stephenson in London and Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama) ((michael.connor@thomsonreuters.com; 646 223 6309; Reuters Messaging: michael.connor.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

Miners' gold forward sales surged 103 T last year, most since 1999-report

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - The volume of gold sold forward by mining companies rose by 103 tonnes last year, the biggest annual increase since 1999, an industry report showed on Friday. That far outstrips an estimate given late last year of 42-52 tonnes, after Mexican gold and silver miner Fresnillo FRES.L said it was hedging 47 tonnes of output over five years. In their quarterly Global Hedge Book Analysis, Societe Generale and GFMS analysts at Thomson Reuters said the bulk of the rise in the global gold hedge book last year was driven by Fresnillo and Russia's Polyus Gold, which announced a major hedging deal in July. "Of the growth in the book in 2014, the majority (85 tonnes) came from these two companies. Together they now account for half of the outstanding global hedging," the report said. "What was also notable in the fourth quarter, and to a greater extent the year as a whole, was the rebalancing of the hedge book towards option contracts, rather than being dominated by forward sales," the report added. "The two largest hedgers, Polyus Gold International and Fresnillo, were two examples to employ such structures." Hedging, or selling future gold production, allows miners of the metal to lock in prices for their output. While it can protect producers when prices are falling, it can also stop them capitalising on a rising market. It fell out of favour during the 12-year bull run in gold prices XAU= that began in 2001, as mining companies spent billions of dollar closing out hedged positions. GFMS and Societe Generale said that while evidence of a return to broad-based producer hedging was "thin on the ground", they expect the uptrend in hedged volumes to continue. "Modest net hedging in the first quarter of 2015 (continued) to offset ongoing deliveries," their report said. (Reporting by Jan Harvey; Editing by Mark Potter) ((jan.harvey@thomsonreuters.com; +44)(0)(207 542 7744; Reuters Messaging: jan.harvey.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GOLD HEDGING/

Asia Gold-Buying slows amid price rally; India festival demand eyed

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

* Seven-day price rally discourages Asian consumers * Asian premiums weaken or remain unchanged * Higher prices, possible strike could hurt Indian demand By A. Ananthalakshmi SINGAPORE, March 27 (Reuters) - Gold bullion purchases across Asia slowed this week as a long rally in prices discouraged buyers, with traders keeping a close watch on top consumer India ahead of a festival that usually sparks strong demand for the metal. Before dipping on Friday, spot gold XAU= had rallied the seven days through Thursday in the longest winning stretch since 2012 on a softer dollar and caution from the Federal Reserve over U.S. interest rate hikes. GOL/ "The sudden jump in gold prices has dampened demand in the Indian market," said Prithviraj Kothari, executive director of the India Bullion & Jewellers' Association. The softness in demand comes ahead of April's Akshaya Tritaya festival, when it is considered auspicious to buy gold. Local prices in India were either on par or at a small premium of $1 an ounce to the global benchmark on Friday, lower than premiums of up to $2.50 in mid-March. Prices had swung to a discount of up to $5 on Thursday as global prices shot up to a 3-1/2-week high, dealers said. Also worrying traders was a government plan that would require customers to quote their tax code for major purchases from April 1 as part of a clampdown on so-called "black money", or money earned illegally that has not been taxed. Indian jewellers have already threatened to go on strike over the plan, which would require purchases of over 100,000 rupees ($1,597) to be accompanied by the so-called permanent account number (PAN). ID:nL3N0WI3VF "The PAN card requirement will definitely hit sales," said Bachhraj Bamalwa, director at the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation. A sharp slide in Indian demand could remove a key area of support for global gold prices. Premiums in other Asian markets either weakened or were unchanged from early March levels. In second-biggest consumer China premiums fell to $2-$3 an ounce this week, compared with last week's $5-$6. Premiums in Hong Kong were little changed near $1.30, with dealers saying the recent price rally to $1,200 an ounce has hurt buying. "Physical demand in Asia, which did so well to support the market when we were trading around $1,145-$1,155, is looking sparse in comparison at current levels," Alex Thorndike, senior precious metals dealer at MKS Group said this week. Demand is unlikely to re-emerge in meaningful quantities unless prices drop to $1,170-$1,175, he said. ($1 = 62.6300 Indian rupees) (Additional reporting by Meenakshi Sharma in Mumbai; Editing by Tom Hogue) ((ananthalakshmi.as@thomsonreuters.com; +65 6870 3726; Reuters Messaging: ananthalakshmi.as.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter: @AnanthalakshmiA)) Keywords: GOLD DEMAND/ASIA

Kinross settles shareholder lawsuit tied to Mauritania debacle

March 27, 2015 - reuters.com

By Euan Rocha and Jonathan Stempel TORONTO/NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) - Kinross Gold Corp K.TO has agreed pay $33 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit that had accused the Canadian gold miner of defrauding investors through an ill-advised mine acquisition in Mauritania that has resulted in over $6 billion in writedowns. According to documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York late on Thursday, Kinross said it settled the matter to eliminate the burden and expense of continued litigation but denied any wrongdoing. The Toronto-based miner and the lead plaintiff, the City of Austin Police Retirement System, have asked the court to approve the preliminary settlement. Kinross had tried and failed to get the case dismissed two years ago. Shareholders led by the Texas pension fund accused Kinross of inflating its share price by misleading them about the quality of its due diligence for, and timetable to develop, the Tasiast mine that it acquired via its $7.1 billion acquisition of Red Back Mining Inc in 2010. The mine has failed to live up to expectations and the big pullback in the price of gold over the last few years nly exacerbated issues for the miner. Last month, Kinross said it would not go ahead with a $1.6 billion expansion of Tasiast in Africa's northwest because of bullion prices. ID:nL1N0VK32U Kinross' shares have also taken a pounding in the last few years, with its share price now having fallen some 85 percent to $2.36 in New York, since the time the takeover was announced in August, 2010. The case is City of Austin Police Retirement System v. Kinross Gold Corp et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-01203. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Cynthia Osterman) ((euan.rocha@thomsonreuters.com; +1 416 941 8185; Reuters Messaging: euan.rocha.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: KINROSS SETTLEMENT/

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