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MIDEAST STOCKS - Factors to watch - June 2

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

DUBAI, June 2 (Reuters) - Here are some factors that may affect Middle East stock markets on Tuesday. Reuters has not verified the press reports and does not vouch for their accuracy. INTERNATIONAL/REGIONAL * GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar stands tall, Asian shares waver MKTS/GLOB * Oil dips on strong OPEC outlook, firm demand prevents bigger fall O/R * PRECIOUS-Gold treads water near $1,190 on robust US data, dollar ID:nL3N0YO07V * MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar rebounds further; other Gulf markets edge up ID:nL5N0YN2V1 * MIDEAST DEBT-As Saudi bourse opens to foreigners, debt market beckons ID:nL5N0XW11U * MIDEAST MONEY-With oil low, wealthy Abu Dhabi tightens belt a notch ID:nL5N0YA0W6 * Anti-Islamic State allies to press Iraq to court Sunni minority ID:nL5N0YN3ZP * HSBC set to cut thousands of jobs globally - Sky News ID:nL1N0YO02G * FIFA scandal deepens as Blatter aide linked to payments ID:nL1N0YN2MA * U.N. diplomat pushes to hold Yemen talks, Arab air strikes pound Houthis ID:nL5N0YN1W4 * Funding shortage threatens half UN's humanitarian operations in Iraq ID:nL5N0YN3AN * KKR, Fajr close in on stake in Mideast retailer Azadea - sources ID:nL5N0YN22P * Libya edges closer to economic collapse as currency dives ID:nL5N0YI55M * Iranian planes that drew US sanctions to fly outside country -Fars ID:nL5N0YN2HV * Tunisia's 2015 grain harvest seen falling 40 pct to 1.4 mln T -ministry ID:nL5N0YN23Y * Iraq exports first shipment of heavy crude -shipping sources, officials ID:nL1N0YN0AM TURKEY * Shareholders vow to challenge seizure of Turkey's Bank Asya ID:nL5N0YN3E5 * Opposition says Turkish foreign policy has left it isolated ID:nL5N0YN203 * Turkish lira weakens in political unease before election ID:nL5N0YN1O2 * Turkey's Erdogan challenges opposition to find his golden toilet seat ID:nL5N0YN1J6 * Turkey's Erdogan vows to punish journalist behind Syria trucks video ID:nL5N0YN0FR * Turkish business conditions improve slightly in May -PMI ID:nL9N0P701Y EGYPT * Egypt says uncovers Brotherhood plot, day before Mursi sentencing ID:nL5N0YN3ZY * Emaar Misr's $353 mln IPO in Egypt to run June 16-25 ID:nL5N0YN0KQ * Egyptian court adjourns Al Jazeera journalists trial to Thursday ID:nL5N0YN2OA * Egypt signs exploration deal with Italy's Eni worth $2 bln ID:nL5N0YN131 * Egyptian developer Palm Hills in three deals worth $63 mln ID:nL5N0YN14U SAUDI ARABIA * Naimi says Saudi oil strategy working, sees stronger demand ID:nL5N0YN3Z6 * Ashmore to apply for Saudi investing licence this week - director ID:nL5N0YN2UB * Saudi regulator approves shipper Bahri's sukuk issue ID:nD5N0Y2036 * Saudi's Kingdom Holding sells 50 pct stake in Mauritius resort to JV partner ID:nD5N0Y2035 * Saudi's Sipchem says commercial operations begin at cable affiliate's plant ID:nL5N0YN0E5 * Saudi Aramco sets June propane price at $405/T ID:nL3N0YN1OY UNITED ARAB EMIRATES * Etihad Airways rejects subsidy claims, attacks U.S. airline 'oligopoly' ID:nL1N0YN1WT * Bank of Sharjah prices $500 mln 2020 bond ID:nL3N0YN4GI QATAR * U.S., Qatar continue to discuss safeguards for ex-Taliban detainees -W.House ID:nL1N0YN1KX * Nepal urges Qatar to end controversial migrant sponsorship scheme ID:nL3N0YN4SM * Stung by FIFA furore, Qatar's soft power at risk ID:nL5N0YJ2AV * Qatar sues French far-right official for attacks comment ID:nL5N0YN2CT * Moody's Upgrades Qatar Islamic Insurance Company to Baa1 IFS Rating. Stable Outlook ID:nMDY63BjRH * TABLE-Qatar April trade surplus shrinks 52 pct y/y ID:nL5N0YN1L7 KUWAIT * Indian Oil Corp halves 2015/16 term crude import deal with Kuwait -source ID:nL3N0YN2RA OMAN * Oman's Ominvest says shareholders back proposed ONIC Holding merger ID:nL5N0YN08K * Dubai's DSI says unit wins $95 mln contracts in Oman ID:nL5N0YN06W (Compiled by Dubai newsroom) ((dubai.newsroom@reuters.com)) Keywords: MIDEAST FACTORS/

Australia, NZ dlrs drift higher ahead of RBA decision

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

By Cecile Lefort and Gyles Beckford SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, June 2 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars were off lows on Tuesday as investors waited to learn if the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) would give a clear easing bias at its monthly policy meeting. The RBA is seen certain to hold at 0430 GMT, having cut rates to an all-time low of 2.0 percent in May. The outlook is also steady with the probability of a further cut not reaching 50-50 until October, according to interbank futures 0#YIB: . The Australian dollar AUD=D4 edged up to $0.7629, but was still within a whisker of a seven-week trough of $0.7598 set on Monday. Support was found around $0.7570, then $0.7534. It has dropped more than five cents since mid-May, largely on U.S. dollar strength, but also because of patchy domestic data at home. While Australia's current account deficit widened to A$10.7 billion in the first quarter, net exports added 0.5 percentage points to the gross domestic product (GDP). That handily beat forecasts of zero impact on growth, suggesting some upside risk for GDP data due on Wednesday. ECONAU The New Zealand dollar NZD=D4 was clinging to $0.7100, having plumbed a four-and-a-half year low of $0.7072 overnight as the U.S. dollar bounded higher on strong data. The kiwi, which fell 3 percent last week, has been under pressure on rising expectations the Reserve Bank of New Zealand might cut rates at a policy meeting on June 11. "We are sceptical that the full extent of the decline is justified - the broader fundamental picture has changed little," Bank of New Zealand strategist Raiko Shareef said in a note. "But with a broader U.S. dollar upswing in motion, and now-strong technical resistance just below $0.72, we would not play against current momentum." Markets are pricing in a 52 percent chance the RBNZ will cut rates by 25 basis points at next week's review. CSSY The market took in its stride data showing that New Zealand's terms of trade rose 1.5 percent in the first quarter, as import prices fell faster than export prices. ID:nW9N0XB00M New Zealand government bonds 0#NZTSY= were a touch softer, with yields a tick higher along the curve. Australian government bond futures eased from one-month highs, with the three-year bond contract YTTc1 off 1 tick at 98.110. The 10-year contract YTCc1 was down 1.5 ticks at 97.2800. (Editing by Richard Borsuk) ((Cecile.Lefort@thomsonreuters.com)(+61 2 9321-1877)(Reuters Messaging: cecile.lefort.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS AUSTRALIA/FOREX

Dollar rises above 125 yen for first time since late 2002

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

TOKYO, June 2 (Reuters) - The dollar rose above 125 yen on Tuesday for the first time since late 2002 as bulls rode positive momentum after upbeat U.S. data overnight helped it overcome tough resistance. The dollar touched 125.07 yen JPY= , its loftiest level since November 2002, before dipping slightly to 124.90. A survey showing a pick up in U.S. manufacturing activity and construction spending had pushed Treasury yields higher overnight, giving a boost to the dollar. (Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Shri Navaratnam) ((shinichi.saoshiro@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: shinichi.saoshiro.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: JAPAN MARKETS/YEN

FOREX-Dollar climbs new peak against yen, Aussie awaits RBA decision

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

* Dollar flirts with 125.00 yen, fresh highs in over 12 years * Dollar bulls take heart after upbeat ISM data * Euro jumpy on Greek shadows, Aussie awaits word from RBA (Adds details, quotes) By Ian Chua and Shinichi Saoshiro SYDNEY/TOKYO, June 2 (Reuters) - The dollar hovered at fresh 12-1/2 year highs against the yen on Tuesday, having extended a bullish run after upbeat U.S. data helped it crack tough resistance. Dollar bulls latched onto a survey showing a pick up in U.S. manufacturing activity and construction spending that pushed Treasury yields higher, while discounting less upbeat data on consumer spending. ID:nL1N0YN0MG The U.S. currency came within a whisker of 125.00 yen JPY= , reaching highs not seen since late 2002. It last traded at 124.84 and on track for its eighth straight day of gains. "Some profits were taken on the dollar last weekend, but cash demand remains strong. The feeling in the market is to give 125 yen a try," said Kyosuke Suzuki, director of forex at Societe Generale in Tokyo. "The rise by the dollar against the yen has been steep but sentiment favours testing new highs rather than consolidating," he said. Momentum turned bullish for the dollar after it cracked a double-top resistance around 122.00 yen last week. The next chart hurdle is seen around 125.65-125.73, an area that capped the dollar back in the final months of 2002. "Despite the speed of the move, we are not looking to fade it - our end year target is still 132," said Elsa Lignos, senior currency strategist, at RBC Capital Markets. The euro eased to $1.0926 EUR= , having fallen as low as $1.0887 overnight as it continued to retreat from last week's peak of $1.1006. Traders said the fact that its decline has been relatively shallow suggested there was some degree of optimism that Greece will ultimately secure a deal and avoid a debt default. That could also explain why the common currency actually rose on the yen, reaching its highest in over two weeks at 136.62 EURJPY=R . The leaders of Germany, France and Greece's international creditor institutions agreed late on Monday to work with "real intensity" in the coming days as they try to clinch a deal in debt negotiations with Athens. ID:nL5N0YN3O Athens is due to make a 300-million-euro ($327.93 million) repayment to the IMF on Friday amid growing doubts about its ability to meet all this month's financial obligations. The dollar also gained ground on commodity currencies, with the Australian dollar briefly dipping below 76 U.S. cents AUD=D4 for the first time in seven weeks. It last stood at $0.7630, keeping a low profile ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's interest rate decision at 0430 GMT. While the central bank is considered almost certain to hold its cash rate at a record low 2.00 percent, traders said it will need to give a clear easing bias to discourage Aussie bulls. "Westpac is expecting a mild easing bias, with the RBA likely to use a phrase such as "scope" for further easing. We also expect the RBA to repeat that "further depreciation (of the AUD) seems both likely and necessary," said Sean Callow, senior strategist at Westpac. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam) ((shinichi.saoshiro@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: shinichi.saoshiro.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

Why has Asia's new liquidity hotspot for bonds dried up?

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

By Spencer Anderson HONG KONG, June 2 (IFR) - Taiwanese life insurance firms have cooled their frenzied bond buying, after record monthly purchases sapped cash balances and pushed them close to permitted trading limits. Foreign currency issues in Taiwan have surged this year as firms from Goldman Sachs to AT&T have taken advantage of rampant demand from yield-hungry local insurers. According to senior officials at Taiwanese asset managers, as well as bankers who recently marketed bonds there, life insurers have become more selective in their purchases as their ability to buy new bond issues has shrunken significantly. "Many insurance companies have used up their trading limits. So, they don't have much room to buy. Many hit their limits after the Deutsche Bank deal this month," said Ray Cheng, head of rates and credit trading at SinoPac Securities. The Deutsche deal was a Rmb1.65bn (US$266m) five-year Formosa that priced at 4.3%. "They aren't buying as much as they used to and have to look for other options. They are lobbying the Financial Supervisory Commission to buy more, but negotiations are ongoing." In May 2014, the FSC ruled that bonds issued in foreign currencies in Taiwan, known as Formosa bonds, would no longer be considered part of the 45% overseas investment cap. With five-year local government bonds paying 1.01%, life insurers have been eager buyers of higher-yielding foreign currency assets. While the reform helped them buy more Formosa bonds, there are still limits on how much they can buy from one issuer and one sector. Almost every Formosa bond to date has been from the financial sector and some related issuers, such as Deutsche Bank, have issued multiple Formosas. Figures from the Taipei Exchange show that bond trading volume in Taiwan hit T$1.273trn (US$41.5bn) in March, the busiest month since May 2013. Volume in January was not far behind at T$1.22trn. However, in the intervening month, trading plummeted. In February, it fell to T$436.42bn and, in April, it came in at T$912.75bn. Cheng added that this heavy buying has pushed yields down, and with no Central Bank rate hike on the horizon, Formosa bonds have become less interesting. Bankers who worked on a recent bond issued out of Hong Kong that had heavy take-up from life insurers, some of which were Taiwanese, described numerous conversations with officials at some such firms who told them that the cash simply was not there anymore. "Their cash levels are running much lower than before," said a Hong Kong-based syndicate banker. "We've had a lot of conversations with them, and they have been buying a lot since the start of the year, but they've been very frank and said they can't keep buying like they have been because there is less cash available. They had been buying anything close to 4% (yield), but now it's going to take a lot more to get them to invest." A number of foreign banks recently applied for licences to sell offshore products in Taiwan, believing that the Formosa market will become increasingly important. While they are rightly chasing what had been one of the more buoyant markets in Asia, they could arrive to a much quieter scene than anticipated. There is optimism however that lobbying efforts with the FSC will be successful. The FSC has stated its clear intention to expand the Formosa market, so market participants believe that ultimately it will loosen investing rules further. (Reporting By Spencer Anderson, editing by Daniel Stanton, Dharsan Singh, Vincent Baby and Steve Garton) ((spencer.anderson@thomsonreuters.com)(+852 6113 4287)(Reuters Messaging: spencer.anderson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: ASIA BONDS/

UPDATE 1-Japan's finance minister tight-lipped on fresh yen losses

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds details, background) By Leika Kihara TOKYO, June 2 (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso on Tuesday refrained from commenting on renewed weakness in the yen, after issuing a warning last week about its slide. Aso said on the sidelines of a Group of Seven finance leaders' gathering last week that recent declines in the yen had been "rough." The remark was stronger than mild warnings by other Japanese policymakers that while excessive turbulence was unwelcome, the yen's declines so far had not reached alarming levels. The dollar has continued its ascent since then, hitting a fresh 12-1/2-year high of just below 125 yen on Monday as investors bet that U.S. interest rates would rise later this year while Japanese monetary policy remains ultra-loose. Asked on Tuesday about how the yen continued to decline even after his warning, Aso said: "As a finance minister, I do not comment on currency moves ... Back then, I only said the moves were rough." "I will only repeat the same thing, which is that we must continue to watch currency moves carefully," he told a news conference after a regular cabinet meeting. Japan's export-reliant economy has historically suffered from a strong yen, so many policymakers have welcomed limited yen declines. But some economics and politicians have begun to worry about the drawbacks, such as boosting import costs and eroding consumers' purchasing power, which could outweigh benefits to exporters. (Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chris Gallagher & Kim Coghill) ((leika.kihara@thomsonreuters.com; +813-6441-1828; Reuters Messaging: leika.kihara.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: JAPAN ECONOMY/ASO

Japan finmin Aso says must watch FX moves carefully

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

TOKYO, June 2 (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday he will continue to monitor exchange-rate moves carefully, when asked about the dollar's rise to a 12-1/2-year peak against the yen. Aso fired a verbal warning shot against the yen's slide at a Group of Seven gathering last week, saying that recent declines had been "rough." Asked about how the yen continued to decline even after his warning, Aso said: "As a finance minister, I do not comment on currency moves ... Back then, I only said the moves were rough. I will only repeat the same thing, which is that we must continue to watch currency moves carefully." Aso made the remark in a news conference after a regular cabinet meeting. (Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chris Gallagher) ((leika.kihara@thomsonreuters.com; +813-6441-1828; Reuters Messaging: leika.kihara.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: JAPAN ECONOMY/ASO

FOREX-Dollar scales fresh peak vs yen, Aussie eyes rate decision

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

* USD flirts with 125.00 yen, fresh highs in over 12 years * Dollar bulls take heart after upbeat ISM data * Euro jumpy on Greek shadows, Aussie awaits word from RBA By Ian Chua SYDNEY, June 2 (Reuters) - The dollar hovered at fresh 12-1/2 year highs against the yen early on Tuesday, having extended a bullish run after a recent break through of tough resistance fuelled buying momentum. Dollar bulls also appeared to have latched onto a survey showing a pick up in U.S. manufacturing activity and construction spending, while discounting less upbeat data on consumer spending. ID:nL1N0YN0MG The greenback came within a whisker of 125.00 yen JPY= , reaching highs not seen since late 2002. It last traded at 124.90. Momentum turned bullish for the dollar after it cracked a double-top resistance around 122.00 yen last week. The next chart hurdle is seen around 125.65-125.73, an area that capped the dollar back in the final months of 2002. "Despite the speed of the move, we are not looking to fade it - our end year target is still 132," said Elsa Lignos, senior currency strategist, at RBC Capital Markets. The euro eased to $1.0928 EUR= , having fallen as low as $1.0887 overnight as it continued to retreat from last week's peak of $1.1006. Traders said the fact that its decline has been relatively shallow suggested there was some degree of optimism that Greece will ultimately secure a deal and avoid a debt default. That could also explain why the common currency actually rose on the yen, reaching its highest in over two weeks at 136.62 EURJPY=R . The leaders of Germany, France and Greece's international creditor institutions agreed late on Monday to work with "real intensity" in the coming days as they try to clinch a deal in debt negotiations with Athens. ID:nL5N0YN3O Athens is due to make a 300-million-euro ($327.93 million) repayment to the IMF on Friday amid growing doubts about its ability to meet all this month's financial obligations. The dollar also gained ground on commodity currencies, with the Australian dollar briefly dipping below 76 U.S. cents AUD=D4 for the first time in seven weeks. It last stood at $0.7612, keeping a low profile ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's interest rate decision at 0430 GMT. While the central bank is considered almost certain to hold its cash rate at a record low 2.00 percent, traders said it will need to give a clear easing bias to discourage Aussie bulls. "Westpac is expecting a mild easing bias, with the RBA likely to use a phrase such as "scope" for further easing. We also expect the RBA to repeat that "further depreciation (of the AUD) seems both likely and necessary," said Sean Callow, senior strategist at Westpac. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam) ((ian.chua@thomsonreuters.com; +61 2 9321 8174; RM: ian.chua.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

Japan's Amari: must be careful about declaring end to deflation

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

TOKYO, June 2 (Reuters) - Japanese Economics Minister Akira Amari said on Tuesday he is cautious about declaring an end to deflation because policymakers need to be sure the economy is strong enough to prevent a return to deflation. Amari, speaking to reporters, said the Bank of Japan was managing its monetary policy to achieve its inflation target in a stable manner and that it was too early to talk about its exit strategy. Amari also said capital expenditure is picking up, but there are still some concerns about consumer spending. (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim) ((stanley.white@thomsonreuters.com; +81 3 6441 1984 twitter.com/stanleywhite1; Reuters Messaging: stanley.white.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: JAPAN ECONOMY/AMARI

PRESS DIGEST- British Business - June 2

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

June 2 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. The Times The Land Registry said its data showed that house prices across England and Wales had now risen by 5.1 percent on an annual basis to take the average price to 179,817 stg. ($273,213.95) (http://thetim.es/1AGDj9T) Plus500 PLUSP.L , the troubled contracts for difference broker that has come under fire over its anti-money laundering procedures, is to be put out of its misery in a 460 million stg ($699.11 million) takeover by Playtech PTEC.L . (http://thetim.es/1BEDTjb) The Guardian Worries about the unbalanced nature of Britain's economic recovery intensified on Monday after news that UK factories struggled to crank up output in May amid flagging overseas demand. (http://bit.ly/1FpYHfX) George Osborne is expected to use his Mansion House address to senior City figures next week to sketch out how he intends to start the sale of the government's 79 percent stake in Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L since the 2008 crisis. (http://bit.ly/1SQMQRb) The Telegraph Greece's creditor powers convened a late-night emergency summit in Berlin on Monday, amid talks the debtor will finally be handed a "take it or leave it" from lenders over its eurozone future. (http://bit.ly/1dHLRmK) Europe's biggest oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L and BP BP.L , have written an open letter calling for a binding global system of carbon trading in a bid to head off climate change critics. (http://bit.ly/1I6vLwC) Sky News HSBC holdings PLC HSBA.L will next week set out plans to cut thousands more jobs across its global workforce as it tries to reassure shareholders that its focus on costs remains undiminished after a series of reputational crises. (http://bit.ly/1cu2n87) Planned strikes by Network Rail workers have been called off after a new pay offer was made following days of talks. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union were due to walk out for 24 hours from 5pm on Thursday and for 48 hours next week after rejecting two proposed deals. (http://bit.ly/1FQwf9n) The Independent Tom Hayes believed he was working in a 'grey area' in which there were 'no rules', Southwark Crown Court has heard. Hayes is the first trader in the world to face trial over the London Interbank Offered Rate scandal in which interest rates banks use to lend money to one another were fixed. (http://ind.pn/1JkXo6F) ($1 = 0.6580 pounds) (Compiled by Mirza Mohammed Ali Khan in Bengaluru) ((Mirza.AliKhan@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, outside U.S. +91 80 6749 7921; Reuters Messaging: mirza.alikhan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BRITAIN PRESS/BUSINESS

S.Korea April s/adj current account surplus up vs March

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

(For full table, please click ID:nL3N0YK2JO ) SEOUL, June 2 (Reuters) - South Korea's current account surplus in April expanded from March in seasonally adjusted terms as exports gained while imports fell, central bank data showed on Tuesday. Asia's fourth-largest economy posted a current account surplus of $10.41 billion in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from a revised surplus of $9.35 billion for March, the Bank of Korea data showed. Exports in April rose 3.3 percent from the previous month while imports dropped 3.0 percent. Before seasonal adjustment, the current account surplus in April stood at $8.14 billion, down from a surplus of $10.43 billion in March. In the financial account, South Korea saw a net outflow of $10.06 billion in April without seasonal adjustment, compared to a revised net outflow of $11.02 billion in March. (Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Choonsik Yoo & Shri Navaratnam) ((christine.kim@thomsonreuters.com; 822 3704 5665; Reuters Messaging: christine.kim.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: SOUTHKOREA ECONOMY/CURRENTACCOUNT

AngloGold in exclusive talks with Newmont on Colorado mine-sources

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

By John Tilak, Euan Rocha and Nicole Mordant TORONTO/VANCOUVER, June 1 (Reuters) - Newmont Mining Corp NEM.N is in exclusive talks with AngloGold Ashanti Ltd ANGJ.J as it moves closer toward clinching a deal to buy the African miner's Cripple Creek & Victor gold mine in Colorado, according to two sources familiar with the matter. A sale could be finalized soon, and the price for the gold asset is likely to be well below the $1 billion that was initially speculated on by analysts, said the sources, who asked not to be named as they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The sources said that if South African-based AngloGold agrees to a sale, the asset is likely to fetch a price somewhere in the $700 million to $800 million range. One source said that the divestiture process, which is being led by BMO Capital Markets, may still result in the partial sale and not an outright sale of the entire asset. Newmont and BMO declined to comment on the matter. AngloGold could not be reached for comment. Greenwood Village, Colorado-based Newmont is the world's second-biggest gold producer by output. Its stock, up 44 percent this year, has outperformed its peers as the company has cut debt while managing to fund growth projects and reduce operating costs. Other players that had been vying for the Cripple Creek asset and that may still re-enter the fray if Newmont fails to strike a deal, are Canadian gold miners Iamgold IMG.TO , Kinross K.TO , Goldcorp G.TO and Yamana YRI.TO . U.S.-based gold and silver miner Hecla Mining Co HL.N had looked at the asset but decided against making a bid for it, Luke Russell, the company's vice-president for external affairs said. Cripple Creek & Victor is an open pit mine that produced some 211,000 ounces of gold in 2014 and about 110,000 ounces of silver. AngloGold, the world's No. 3 gold miner by production, said in April it was looking for a partner or buyer for the mine as it attempts to reduce its $3.1 billion debt pile by at least $1 billion over the next one to three years. ID:nL6N0WX40D Large gold producers globally, including world No. 1 Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO , are selling non-core assets as they try to reduce debt and slim down operations at a time of weaker gold prices. (Additional reporting by Ed Stoddard in Johannesburg and Freya Berry in London; Editing by David Gregorio) ((euan.rocha@thomsonreuters.com; +1 416 941 8185; Reuters Messaging: euan.rocha.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: ANGLOGOLD ASHNTI M&A/NEWMONT MINING

UPDATE 1-Nigeria central bank officials accused of $40 mln fraud

June 02, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds central bank comment) ABUJA, June 1 (Reuters) - Nigeria's anti-corruption body is set to charge senior officials from the central bank and some commercial lenders following their arrest in connection with an alleged 8 billion naira ($40 million) currency fraud scheme, the agency said on Monday. The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) said six central bank officials and 16 commercial bank staff accused of currency theft and recirculating naira NGN=D1 notes intended for destruction would appear in court on Tuesday. "Instead of carrying out the statutory instruction to destroy the currency, they substituted it with newspapers neatly cut to naira sizes and proceeded to recycle the defaced and mutilated currency," the EFCC said in a statement. It was unclear from the statement which of Nigeria's banks were involved. The announcement comes three days after President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as leader of Africa's biggest economy and top oil exporter. A crackdown on corruption was one of his central election campaign pledges. The Central Bank of Nigeria said the alleged fraud scheme was uncovered last September when a routine audit revealed irregularities in the southwestern city of Ibadan. "The CBN has also conducted a nationwide audit of all 37 branches of the Bank and found that this was an isolated scheme at Ibadan branch," it said in a statement on Monday. The central bank regularly withdraws old or torn notes from circulation to replace them with new ones. Officials said the alleged scheme had no impact on money supply or inflation, which has hovered around 8.7 percent since April. The naira has lost 8.5 percent of its value since the start of the year after sharp falls in the price of oil, Nigeria's main export, forced the central bank into a de facto devaluation in February in order to save its dwindling foreign reserves. ($1 = 199.00 naira) (Reporting by Camillus Eboh and Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Alexis Akwagyiram and Leslie Adler) ((chijioke.ohuocha@thomsonreuters.com; +234 703 4180 621; Reuters Messaging: chijioke.ohuocha.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: NIGERIA CENBANK/ARRESTS

Deals of the day- Mergers and acquisitions

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds KKR, Enterprise Products; updates OM Group, Ferrellgas, Playtech, CVC Capital) June 1 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2020 GMT on Monday: ** Intel Corp INTC.O agreed to buy Altera Corp ALTR.O for $16.7 billion as the world's biggest chipmaker seeks to make up for slowing demand from the PC industry by expanding its line-up of higher-margin chips used in data centers. ID:nL3N0YN40D ** The sale of Portugal's Novo Banco is likely to end with a duel between two Chinese bidders, which have both presented offers of just over 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion), and could lead to a fourth stage involving direct negotiations, sources said on Monday. ID:nL3N0YN40L ** Enterprise Products Partners LP EPD.N said it would buy pipeline and processing assets in the Eagle Ford shale in Texas from Pioneer Natural Resources Co PXD.N and India's Reliance Industries Ltd RELI.NS for $2.15 billion. ID:nL3N0YN47C ** OM Group Inc OMG.N , a maker of magnetic and battery technologies and specialty chemicals whose sales have fallen for the past two years, has agreed to be taken private by Apollo Global Management LLC APO.N for about $1.03 billion in cash. ID:nL3N0YN3YK ** Propane retailer Ferrellgas Partners LP FGP.N agreed to buy Bridger Logistics LLC for about $837.5 million to expand its midstream services business, involving the shipping and storage of oil, giving it a new foothold in the crude oil market. ID:nL3N0YN3XP ** Playtech Plc PTEC.L , the online gaming company founded by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi, has agreed to pay about 460 million pounds ($700 million) to buy Plus500 PLUSP.L , a retail forex trading shop feeling the strain of money laundering rules. ID:nL3N0YN2WZ ** British American Tobacco BATS.L has agreed to buy tobacco company TDR from Croatia's Adris Grupa ADGR.ZA for 550 million euros ($600 million) to increase its scale in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. ID:nL5N0YN1GD ** Bermuda-based reinsurers PartnerRe Ltd PRE.N and Axis Capital Holdings Ltd AXS.N are embarking on a public campaign this week to convince shareholders of the merits of their $13 billion merger, with their top executives leading the charge. ID:nL1N0YM0IF ** KKR & Co KKR.N and Dubai-based Fajr Capital are close to buying a 25 percent stake in fashion retailer Azadea Group, said three sources aware of the matter, in what would be the U.S. private equity firm's first Middle Eastern investment. While the sources would not put a value on the bid by the two firms, the stake being sold by the owners was expected to fetch between $400 million and $500 million. ID:nL5N0YN22P ** General Electric Co GE.N has launched the sales process for a roughly $40 billion portion of its U.S. commercial lending assets as a part of its broad retreat from its finance businesses, sources familiar with the situation said on Sunday. ID:nL1N0YM0FD ** Bidders are offering from 1.0 billion-1.5 billion zlotys ($266 million-$399 million) for utility PKP Energetyka, a unit of Polish state railways group PKP, the Rzeczpospolita daily reported, citing unnamed sources. ID:nL5N0YN12T ** Three Philippine banks said they are considering bids for the government's majority stake in unlisted, medium-sized lender United Coconut Planters Bank UCPB.UL - a deal expected to be worth at least 16.1 billion pesos ($360 million). ID:nL3N0YN1YO ** Private equity group CVC Capital Partners CVC.UL is to buy perfume and cosmetics retailer Douglas from U.S. buyout firm Advent, betting on a lucrative expansion of the chain. ID:nL5N0YN2YC ** Indian generic drugmakers Lupin Ltd LUPN.NS and Cipla Ltd CIPL.NS are among the companies bidding for top Belgian drugmaker UCB SA's UCB.BR U.S. generic drugs business, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing unnamed people with knowledge of the matter. Lupin and Cipla, which rank among India's top five drugmakers by sales, submitted first-round offers in late April for UCB's Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals Inc unit that could be valued at about $1 billion, Bloomberg said. ID:nL3N0YN3SA ** The hotel unit of Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding 4280.SE has sold its 50 percent stake in Four Seasons Resort Mauritius to its joint-venture partner Sun Resorts SUNR.MZ , the investment firm owned by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said. ID:nD5N0Y2035 ** Chinese trainmakers CSR Corp Ltd 601766.SS 1766.HK and China CNR announced the completion of their merger on Monday and named Cui Dianguo, the former chairman of CNR, as the newly formed company's chairman. ID:nL5N0YN1WU ** Australia's Quadrant Private Equity on Monday said it agreed to buy V.I.P. Petfoods (Aust) Pty Ltd, the world's largest supplier of chilled petfood, for A$410 million ($314 million), with plans to grow exports to the United States. ID:nL3N0YN1K0 ** British defense contractor Ultra Electronics Holdings Plc ULE.L said it would buy Kratos Defense and Security Solutions' KTOS.O electronics product unit for $265 million in cash. ID:nL3N0YN2AQ ** Oman International Development and Investment Co (Ominvest) OMAN.OM and Oman National Investment Corp Holding ONIC.OM said on Monday that their respective shareholders had approved the proposed merger of the two companies. ID:nL5N0YN08K ** Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras PETR4.SA is considering selling some of its assets in the Gulf of Mexico as part of a divestment plan to shore up its finances, local daily Folha de S.Paulo reported on Sunday. ID:nL1N0YM09Y ** Kuwait's low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways JAZK.KW has begun the bidding process for acquiring a 35 percent stake in loss-making state carrier Kuwait Airways, it said on Sunday. Jazeera has submitted a letter of intent to buy the stake, it said, adding that this was expected to be the first privatization by the government that exceeds the $3 billion mark. ID:nL5N0YM09Y ** Poland's biggest insurer PZU SA PZU.WA has submitted an offer to buy Raiffeisen Polbank, Poland's seventh largest lender by assets, two sources familiar with the matter said, taking another step towards creating its own banking group. ID:nL5N0YN3A6 ($1 = 0.65 pounds) ($1 = 0.92 euros) ($1 = 3.76 zlotys) ($1 = 44.55 Philippine pesos) ($1 = 1.31 Australian dollars) (Compiled by Manya Venkatesh in Bengaluru) ((ManyaB.Venkatesh@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 1130; Reuters Messaging: manyab.venkatesh.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: DEALS DAY/

FOREX-Dollar hits 12-1/2-year peak against yen on U.S. data

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

* U.S. ISM manufacturing, construction spending data beat expectations * Dollar hits 124.920 yen, highest since Dec. 2002 * Greece misses self-imposed deadline for reaching agreement (Updates prices; adds comments) By Sam Forgione NEW YORK, June 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose on Monday, hitting a 12-1/2-year peak against the yen after the release of stronger-than-expected data on U.S. manufacturing and construction spending, while renewed worries over a Greek default contributed to the euro's weakness. Reports showed U.S. manufacturing picked up in May and construction spending surged in April to a nearly 6-1/2-year high. The data bolstered optimism about the health of the U.S. economy and hardened confidence the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates this year. ID:nL1N0YN0MG "There is an element of relief there," said Steven Englander, global head of G10 foreign exchange strategy at CitiFX in New York. "It gives more credence to the story that the Q1 slowdown was an aberration," he said in reference to data on Friday showing U.S. gross domestic product shrank at a 0.7 percent annual rate in the first quarter. ID:nLNNTGEBB2 The latest data fueled the greenback's rise to 124.920 yen, its highest since December 2002. The data underscored the divergence between the Fed's path toward tighter monetary policy and the Bank of Japan's ultra-loose policies. "It's not a huge shift, but it pushes expectations in a hawkish direction," said Vassili Serebriakov, currency strategist at BNP Paribas in New York, on the impact of the U.S. data on Fed hike expectations. "Dollar/yen is primarily at this point a trade on monetary policy divergence." The Fed's first rate increase in nearly a decade is expected to boost the dollar by driving investment flows into the United States. Analysts said worries about Greece weighed on the euro earlier in the session after the country missed a self-imposed Sunday deadline for reaching an agreement with its lenders to unlock aid. Greece faces a payment to the International Monetary Fund on Friday and the expiration of its bailout program on June 30. ID:nL5N0YM0RI The euro last traded down 0.54 percent against the greenback at $1.09310, retreating from Friday's one-week high of $1.1006 EUR=EBS . The dollar was last up 0.51 percent against the yen at 124.800 yen JPY=EBS . The dollar was last up 0.56 percent against the Swiss franc at 0.94565 franc CHF=EBS . The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was last up 0.53 percent at 97.416 .DXY . (Reporting by Sam Forgione; Additional reporting by Jemima Kelly in London; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Andre Grenon) ((Sam.Forgione@thomsonreuters.com; 646-223-6189; Reuters Messaging: sam.forgione.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

RPT--Peru elections seen fanning flames of mining disputes

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

(Repeats to fix format, no change to headline or text) By Mitra Taj LIMA, June 1 (Reuters) - Mining conflicts in Peru, a top global minerals exporter, will likely heat up ahead of presidential and congressional elections next year as political outsiders whip up anti-mining sentiment, government officials and business leaders said. Protests from local community groups have derailed three mining projects worth $7 billion in the past five years, and threaten to hold up more. ID:L1N0YK1G0 Carlos Galvez, head of Peru's main mining association, said opponents of mining projects can win votes in rural areas where poverty rates are high and many eke out a living as farmers. "Here everyone is anti. If you're anti-mining then you're in fashion," said Galvez, who leads the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy. Southern Copper Corp's SCCO.N $1.4 billion Tia Maria project was put on hold last month amid deadly protests. ID:nL1N0Y62JI David Montoya, a cabinet official tasked with conflict prevention, accused protest leaders of feeding fears about pollution from Tia Maria in order to win the dispute and pave a political future for themselves. "They shut down discussion," he said. Several leading opponents of Tia Maria belong to an environmental party, Tierra y Libertad ("Land and Freedom"), that plans to run a candidate in the presidential election in April 2016. The group currently has no seats in Congress and is not seen as a leading contender. Polls show most Peruvians favor mining, which accounts for about 60 percent of the country's export earnings. However, projects can run up against local opposition and leftist politicians can boost their reputations by leading protests, said Roland Luque with the country's ombudsman office. "Protest leaders get loads of public exposure," he said. Marco Arana, the head of Tierra y Libertad and its likely presidential candidate, said his party did not orchestrate protests against Tia Maria to promote itself. "That's a way to dismiss the legitimate concerns of farmers," Arana said. "What is true is that where there is conflict, candidates must make their positions clear ... that can prolong and deepen the conflict." He said opposition to Tia Maria and Conga, a gold mine peoject thwarted by protests in 2011, was strong in part because President Ollanta Humala had suggested when he was a candidate that he would oppose the projects. Humala ended up backing Tia Maria and Conga after his election. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ FACTBOX-Peruvian mining projects facing conflicts ID:nL1N0YK1G0 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> (Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by David Gregorio) ((mitra.taj@thomsonreuters.com; +51 1-221-2130; Reuters Messaging: mitra.taj.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: PERU MINING/CONFLICTS

South African rand weaker as investors dump risky assets

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG, June 1 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand fell more than 1 percent against the dollar on Monday, tracking a retreat in emerging market assets after renewed concerns about Greece's financial woes whittled investors' appetite for risk. The rand also weakened in line with other commodity currencies hit by worries about the growth prospects for China, a major consumer of South African minerals. At 1534 GMT the rand ZAR=D3 traded at 12.2625 versus the greenback, 0.93 percent lower compared with Friday's closing level in New York. The rand had hit a trough of 12.2900 earlier on Monday, its weakest level since latest April. "We're seeing the weakness across all EMEA currencies ... the focus still remains on Greece and risks surrounding Greece so there's risk-off sentiment being driven from the development," said Ricardo Da Camara, a market analyst at ETM. "Also we had weak Chinese economic data out early this morning, with the HSBC PMI number contracting for the third consecutive month, so that will obviously weigh on currencies such as the rand which are exposed to Chinese demand." Local government bonds were not spared from the sell-off, with the yield for the benchmark instrument due in 2026 ZAR186= climbing 9.5 basis points to 8.26 percent, its highest since October last year. (Reporting by Tendai Dube; Editing by James Macharia) ((stella.mapenzauswa@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 775 3161; Reuters Messaging: stella.mapenzauswa.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS SAFRICA/CURRENCY

FOREX-Dollar rallies on U.S. data, Greek debt worries

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

* U.S. ISM manufacturing, construction spending data beat expectations * Greece misses self-imposed deadline for reaching agreement * Dollar/yen hovers just below highest peak since 2002 (Updates prices, adds comments; changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON) By Sam Forgione NEW YORK, June 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar advanced against major currencies on Monday after stronger-than-expected data on U.S. manufacturing activity and construction spending, while mounting worries of a Greek default contributed to the euro's weakness. Reports on Monday showed U.S. manufacturing activity picked up in May and construction spending surged in April to a nearly 6-1/2-year high. The data bolstered optimism about the health of the U.S. economy and raised confidence that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates this year. ID:nL1N0YN0MG "It's a sigh of relief both to the point that the U.S. economy is clearly picking up growth and that the stronger dollar doesn't seem to be having much of a negative impact on manufacturing," said Boris Schlossberg, managing director at BK Asset Management in New York. "It strengthens the case for a September (rate) hike," he said. The Fed's first rate increase in nearly a decade is expected to boost the dollar by driving investment flows into the United States. Worries about Greece weighed on the euro after the country missed a self-imposed Sunday deadline for reaching an agreement with its lenders to unlock aid. The nation faces a payment to the International Monetary Fund on Friday and the expiration of its bailout program on June 30. ID:nL5N0YM0RI "Greece worries are there," said Richard Franulovich, senior currency strategist at Westpac in New York. "A country could potentially miss a payment to the IMF, which would be the first time it has happened in its 70-year history." The euro last traded down 0.8 percent against the greenback at $1.09050, retreating from Friday's one-week high of $1.1006 EUR=EBS . The dollar hit a session high against the Japanese yen of 124.430 yen, just shy of a recent roughly 12-1/2-year high of 124.460 reached on May 28. The U.S. data strengthened the case for tighter Fed policy, thereby underscoring the divergence between the U.S. central bank and the Bank of Japan's ultra-loose monetary policy, BK's Schlossberg said. Schlossberg said the dollar would probably shoot higher against the yen if it crosses the 125 yen mark, since traders who had bet against the U.S. currency against its Japanese counterpart would have to repurchase the greenback to cover their bets. The dollar was last up 0.12 percent against the yen at 124.320 yen JPY=EBS and up 0.4 percent against the Swiss franc at 0.94415 franc CHF=EBS . (Reporting by Sam Forgione; Additional reporting by Jemima Kelly in London; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn) ((Sam.Forgione@thomsonreuters.com; 646-223-6189; Reuters Messaging: sam.forgione.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

Mexico cenbank sells $52 mln at 15.4776 pesos at daily auction

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

MEXICO CITY, June 1 - The central bank of Mexico sold $52 million on Monday at an average price of 15.4776 pesos per dollar, the bank said, part of an auction program to boost foreign exchange liquidity following a recent slide in the peso currency. (Reporting by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein) Keywords: MEXICO ECONOMY/PESO

POLONIA Rate falls 0.09 pp.

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

WARSAW, Jun 1 (Reuters) - POLONIA the reference rate for Overnight deposits amounted to 1.40 percent. The volume of transactions concluded till 16:30 by banks participating in POLONIA fixing amounted to 660 mln PLN. Note: Description of reference rate at: http://www.acipolska.pl/ ((warsaw.newsroom@reuters.com))

Libya edges closer to economic collapse as currency dives

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

By Ulf Laessing TRIPOLI, June 1 (Reuters) - Libya's public finances, wracked by a dramatic loss in oil revenue that has been exacerbated by a power struggle between rival governments, are foundering. The crisis has prompted the authorities in Tripoli, who control much of western Libya, to plan cuts to petrol subsidies, to delay public salary payments and to ban on imports from cars to steel. And it has already been forcing the central bank - which is treading a fine line between rival governments and funds the whole country - to burn through its foreign reserves. Libya needs $30 billion to fund imports annually and typically spends $40 billion on its budget. "Libya is on the verge of economic and financial collapse," U.N. Special Envoy Bernadino Leon, who has been trying to end a power struggle between the two governments, said last week. Since last year, the central bank has frozen year infrastructure projects, limited spending to basic public salaries and food and petrol subsidies. This has led civil servants, the biggest workforce in Libya, now to say they have not been paid for at least two months and accuse the central bank if not providing local lenders with liquidity to issue paychecks. "We don't have a budget," said Colonel Abu Breeda, deputy head of Libya's police unit combatting illegal immigration. "I am the head of the department but what's the point? Salaries? Nothing. There are delays everywhere." The economy is essentially being hit on two sides. The dinar currency has lost 35 percent of its value against the dollar since January alone. Oil production, meanwhile, has fallen to 400,000 barrels a day, or a quarter of what was the case before an uprising toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Libya has earned only $5.5 billion so far in oil revenue fighting between the rival factions and Islamic State attacks have shut down major oilfields and ports, said Husni Bey, head of one of the biggest private firms and importers. But the country needs $3.5 billion every month, he said. DIVIDE AND FAIL? The internationally recognised government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni sits in the eastern town of Bayda while the parliament uses a naval base in Tobruk. Some 1,200 km (750 miles) to the west, a rival faction from Misrata and other western regions called Libya Dawn seized Tripoli in August, reinstating a previous assembly and setting up an alternative parliament. This government recently banned the import of 32 goods for six months. The list includes anything from cars, carpets to construction materials such as cement and as well as fruit juices, energy drinks and even the national passion Harissa, a hot pepper paste. But the ban has so far failed to halted a decline of the dinar which lost further ground this week on the black market as people ramped up food shopping ahead of the Muslim fasting month starting in mid-June. Libya imports most of its food. A dollar now buys up to 2.17 dinars on the parallel market, compared with the official rate of 1.3. Much of the country's import financing is conducted through Tripoli where banks have their headquarters - even for goods delivered to eastern ports. Banks in the main eastern city Benghazi offer only limited services and struggle with liquidity shortages due as the city is a war zone. "A currency devaluation is a must sooner or later," said Husni Bey, head of one of the biggest private firms and importers. A rate of 2.5 would be more realistic. The ban will save $2 billion annually in import funding but would paralyze the construction industry, which makes up 65 percent of the private business, he said. Similarly there is a move to lift petrol and food subsidies while giving Libyans cash instead, touching a system launched by Gaddafi to buy loyalty. Several governments have tried to change subsidies, which make up one third of the budget as much of the cheap fuel and food gets smuggled abroad, but have shied away in the end fearing pressure from armed factions. "The fact that the Tripoli-based authorities are now contemplating subsidies reform is a sign of just how bad finances are getting, even by the standards of the past two years," said Alex Warren of advisory group Frontier, which runs The Libya Report website. "But subsidies are arguably the last thing you'd want to cut in terms of social stability," he said. (Editing by Jeremy Gaunt) ((ulf.laessing@thomsonreuters.com; follow me on twitter @ulflaessing; Tripoli newsroom; Reuters Messaging: ulf.laessing.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: LIBYA SECURITY/ECONOMY

UPDATE 1-Fed's Rosengren: economy growing too slowly to justify rate hike

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds comments on global risks) By Svea Herbst-Bayliss HARTFORD, Conn., June 1 (Reuters) - With little evidence the U.S. economy is rebounding after a very weak first quarter, the Federal Reserve is in no position to start raising interest rates for the first time since 2006, a top Fed official said on Monday. "I would like to normalize (rates) as soon as possible ... but the conditions haven't been right," Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said, adding that there are side effects to keeping rates low for a long time. "In some sense when we start raising rates that's good news." The Fed has said it will raise rates only once it sees further improvement in the labor market, and is reasonably confident that inflation is headed back to the Fed's 2 percent target. But with growth in the first half of the year likely to run below the economy's potential of about 2 percent, "I do not expect to see timely improvements in the unemployment rate and sufficient progress towards the 2 percent inflation target," Rosengren said. "This, in my view, makes a compelling argument for continued patience in monetary policy." Global risks also loom. "I'm worried about what's happening in Europe," Rosengren said after his speech, adding, "It would be nice if they came to a conclusion over what's happening in Greece." Athens and its euro zone and International Monetary Fund creditors are in talks over Greece's debt and aid money, and without a deal, Greece could soon default or go bankrupt. "If there was a disorderly outcome in Europe it would have an impact on New England," Rosengren said. A slowdown in China is also a concern, he said. "The things I worry the most about are the things I can least control," he said. Rosengren's strongly dovish comments come as Fed policymakers prepare to meet in about two weeks to weigh a possible rate hike. Policymakers have kept interest rates near zero since December 2008, and most, including Rosengren, have long thought they would be able to begin to lift rates this year. Even after the economy's dismal first-quarter performance, policymakers stuck to that view, attributing the slowdown to the effects of a severe winter and predicting a snapback. So far there is little sign of such a rebound, Rosengren said. Past tightening cycles have typically taken place against the background of much stronger growth than seen currently. Rosengren is not a voting member this year on the U.S. central bank's monetary policy committee. (Reporting by Svea Herbst, writing by Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Meredith Mazzilli) ((Ann.Saphir@thomsonreuters.com; 415-677-2516; www.twitter.com/annsaphir; Reuters Messaging: ann.saphir.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA FED/ROSENGREN

Sterling hits three-week low on UK manufacturing PMI miss

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds details on US data, fresh quote) By Anirban Nag LONDON, June 1 (Reuters) - Sterling fell to a three-week low against the dollar on Monday, erasing all the gains it had made since last month's national election, after data showed the British manufacturing sector grew at a much slower pace than expected in May. The Markit/CIPS manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 52.0 in May from a downwardly revised 51.8 in April, but that was lower than the increase to 52.5 forecast by a Reuters poll of analysts. ECONGB . That added to the belief that the Bank of England is likely to keep interest rates lower for longer, an expectation that dragged down the pound. Sterling fell to $1.5198 GBP=D4 , its lowest in since May 7, and down from $1.5270 before the data was released. "Even though it was a moderate improvement from April, expectations of a broad rebound in UK economic growth in the second quarter are called into question by two successive low readings," said Sakis Paraskevov, an analyst at IronFX Global. On the other hand, the dollar was bolstered by robust manufacturing numbers. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity was 52.8 in May, up from April's reading of 51.5, which had tied with March's reading as the lowest since May 2013. The reading topped expectations of 52.0 in a Reuters poll of economists. The euro rose to 71.77 pence from 71.54 before the British PMI survey was released EURGBP=D4 . But the single currency was weak overall after Greece missed a self-imposed Sunday deadline for reaching an agreement with its lenders to unlock aid, keeping alive fears of a debt default. FRX/ Despite the euro's woes, sterling is suffering its worst run in nine months, falling for seven consecutive days against the dollar, as recent data has fallen short of expectations while many investors have fretted about a possible British exit from the European Union. The pound had rallied after the centre-right Conservatives unexpectedly triumphed in the May 7 vote with an overall majority. But since peaking at $1.5815 GBP=D4 a week later, it has shed 3.5 percent as the Conservatives' promised referendum on EU membership has come into focus. Prime Minister David Cameron's government introduced a law in parliament on Thursday to guarantee that the referendum will be held by the end of 2017. It also disclosed the question voters will be asked, making it "Yes" to stay in, "No" to leave. ID:nL5N0YI448 Net short positions against the pound increased to 25,539 in the week to May 26, compared with 23,362 a week earlier, indicating that speculative bets against the currency were on the rise. IMM/FX "There is still some room for sterling to drop," said John Hardy, head of FX strategy, at Saxo Bank. "We could see it test $1.50-$1.51 before the U.S. payrolls data on Friday." (Reporting by Anirban Nag; Editing by Andrew Heavens) ((anirban.nag@thomsonreuters.com)(+44)(0)(20 7542 8399)(Reuters Messaging: anirban.nag.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS STERLING/

Nigeria central bank officials accused of $40 mln fraud

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

ABUJA, June 1 (Reuters) - Nigeria's anti-corruption body is set to charge senior officials from the central bank and some commercial lenders following their arrest in connection with an alleged 8 billion naira ($40 million) currency fraud scheme, the agency said on Monday. The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) said six central bank officials and 16 commercial bank staff accused of currency theft and recirculating naira NGN=D1 notes intended for destruction would appear in court on Tuesday. "Instead of carrying out the statutory instruction to destroy the currency, they substituted it with newspapers neatly cut to naira sizes and proceeded to recycle the defaced and mutilated currency," it said in a statement. It was unclear from the statement which of Nigeria's banks were involved. The announcement comes three days after President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as leader of Africa's biggest economy and top oil exporter. A crackdown on corruption was one of his central election campaign pledges. The central bank regularly withdraws old or torn notes from circulation to replace them with new ones. Officials said the scheme had had no impact on money supply or inflation, which has hovered around 8.7 percent since April. The naira has lost 8.5 percent of its value since the start of the year after sharp falls in the price of oil, Nigeria's main export, forced the central bank into a de facto devaluation in February in order to save its dwindling foreign reserves. ($1 = 199.00 naira) (Reporting by Camillus Eboh and Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Alexis Akwagyiram) ((chijioke.ohuocha@thomsonreuters.com; +234 703 4180 621; Reuters Messaging: chijioke.ohuocha.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: NIGERIA CENBANK/ARRESTS

Deals of the day- Mergers and acquisitions

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds Intel, Novo Banco, EFS Midstream, Apollo Global Management, Ferrellgas Partners and others) June 1 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 1330 GMT on Monday: ** Intel Corp INTC.O agreed to buy Altera Corp ALTR.O for $16.7 billion as the world's biggest chipmaker seeks to make up for slowing demand from the PC industry by expanding its line-up of higher-margin chips used in data centers. ID:nL3N0YN40D ** The sale of Portugal's Novo Banco is likely to end with a duel between two Chinese bidders, which have both presented offers of just over 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion), and could lead to a fourth stage involving direct negotiations, sources said on Monday. ID:nL3N0YN40L ** Pipeline company Enterprise Products Partners LP EPD.N said it would buy member interests in EFS Midstream LLC from affiliates of Pioneer Natural Resources Co PXD.N and Reliance Industries Ltd RELI.NS for $2.15 billion. ** Private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC APO.N will buy industrial magnet and battery maker OM Group Inc OMG.N for about $1.03 billion in cash. ID:nL3N0YN3YK ** Propane retailer Ferrellgas Partners LP FGP.N said it would buy midstream services provider Bridger Logistics LLC for about $837.5 million. ID:nL3N0YN3XP ** Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi's Playtech Plc PTEC.L agreed to buy retail forex trading company Plus500 PLUSP.L for about 460 million pounds ($703.5 million) in cash to strengthen its position in the online trading platform business. ID:nL3N0YN2WZ ** British American Tobacco BATS.L has agreed to buy tobacco company TDR from Croatia's Adris Grupa ADGR.ZA for 550 million euros ($600 million) to increase its scale in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. ID:nL5N0YN1GD ** Bermuda-based reinsurers PartnerRe Ltd PRE.N and Axis Capital Holdings Ltd AXS.N are embarking on a public campaign this week to convince shareholders of the merits of their $13 billion merger, with their top executives leading the charge. ID:nL1N0YM0IF ** General Electric Co GE.N has launched the sales process for a roughly $40 billion portion of its U.S. commercial lending assets as a part of its broad retreat from its finance businesses, sources familiar with the situation said on Sunday. ID:nL1N0YM0FD ** Bidders are offering from 1.0 billion-1.5 billion zlotys ($266 million-$399 million) for utility PKP Energetyka, a unit of Polish state railways group PKP, the Rzeczpospolita daily reported, citing unnamed sources. ID:nL5N0YN12T ** Three Philippine banks said they are considering bids for the government's majority stake in unlisted, medium-sized lender United Coconut Planters Bank UCPB.UL - a deal expected to be worth at least 16.1 billion pesos ($360 million). ID:nL3N0YN1YO ** Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners CVC.UL is in talks to buy a stake in German perfume retailer Douglas DUGLY.PK , two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday. Dow Jones earlier reported that such a transaction could value the chain at roughly 2.8 billion euros ($3.06 billion). ID:nFWN0YN040 ** Indian generic drugmakers Lupin Ltd LUPN.NS and Cipla Ltd CIPL.NS are among the companies bidding for top Belgian drugmaker UCB SA's UCB.BR U.S. generic drugs business, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing unnamed people with knowledge of the matter. Lupin and Cipla, which rank among India's top five drugmakers by sales, submitted first-round offers in late April for UCB's Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals Inc unit that could be valued at about $1 billion, Bloomberg said. ID:nL3N0YN3SA ** The hotel unit of Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding 4280.SE has sold its 50 percent stake in Four Seasons Resort Mauritius to its joint-venture partner Sun Resorts SUNR.MZ , the investment firm owned by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said. ID:nD5N0Y2035 ** Chinese trainmakers CSR Corp Ltd 601766.SS 1766.HK and China CNR announced the completion of their merger on Monday and named Cui Dianguo, the former chairman of CNR, as the newly formed company's chairman. ID:nL5N0YN1WU ** Australia's Quadrant Private Equity on Monday said it agreed to buy V.I.P. Petfoods (Aust) Pty Ltd, the world's largest supplier of chilled petfood, for A$410 million ($314 million), with plans to grow exports to the United States. ID:nL3N0YN1K0 ** British defense contractor Ultra Electronics Holdings Plc ULE.L said it would buy Kratos Defense and Security Solutions' KTOS.O electronics product unit for $265 million in cash. ID:nL3N0YN2AQ ** Oman International Development and Investment Co (Ominvest) OMAN.OM and Oman National Investment Corp Holding ONIC.OM said on Monday that their respective shareholders had approved the proposed merger of the two companies. ID:nL5N0YN08K ** Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras PETR4.SA is considering selling some of its assets in the Gulf of Mexico as part of a divestment plan to shore up its finances, local daily Folha de S.Paulo reported on Sunday. ID:nL1N0YM09Y ** Kuwait's low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways JAZK.KW has begun the bidding process for acquiring a 35 percent stake in loss-making state carrier Kuwait Airways, it said on Sunday. Jazeera has submitted a letter of intent to buy the stake, it said, adding that this was expected to be the first privatization by the government that exceeds the $3 billion mark. ID:nL5N0YM09Y ** Central and eastern Europe's top insurer PZU PZU.WA would like to buy two more banks this year and merge them with Alior Bank to gain cost synergies, its chief executive told a Polish daily. ID:nL5N0YN0FC ($1 = 0.65 pounds) ($1 = 0.92 euros) ($1 = 3.76 zlotys) ($1 = 44.55 Philippine pesos) ($1 = 1.31 Australian dollars) (Compiled by Manya Venkatesh in Bengaluru) ((ManyaB.Venkatesh@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 1130; Reuters Messaging: manyab.venkatesh.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: DEALS DAY/

Aureus Mining pours first gold at New Liberty project in Liberia

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

YAOUNDE, June 1 (Reuters) - Toronto and AIM-listed Aureus Mining AUE.TO has poured the first gold at its New Liberty project in northwestern Liberia, the company said on Monday. The mine, around 100 km (62 miles) northwest of the capital Monrovia, is expected to have an eight-year mine life and annual production of 119,000 ounces for the first six years of production, according to a feasibility study. Following a phased ramp up of its plant feed, the company said in a statement the mine should reach full production in the third quarter of this year at which point it will be processing 95,000 tonnes of ore per month. Africa-focused Aureus Mining has permits for three properties in Liberia and a fourth in Cameroon. Liberia's economy, including its nascent mining sector, were hit hard during a year-long Ebola epidemic that has killed over 11,000 people across West Africa. The World Health Organization declared the country free of the disease last month after a 42-day period without a new case of infection. (Reporting by Tansa Musa; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by James Macharia) ((joe.bavier@thomsonreuters.com; +225 07074101; Reuters Messaging: joe.bavier.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GOLD LIBERIA/AUREUS MINING

INDICATORS - Kazakhstan - June 1

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

MIDEAST STOCKS - Factors to watch - June 1

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

DUBAI, June 1 (Reuters) - Here are some factors that may affect Middle East stock markets on Monday. Reuters has not verified the press reports and does not vouch for their accuracy. INTERNATIONAL/REGIONAL * GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares stumble as China PMIs fail to allay growth concerns MKTS/GLOB * MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar rebounds as World Cup fears ease; other markets weak ID:nL5N0YM0I1 * Oil prices fall as OPEC output seen staying high O/R * Gold holds up on Greek crisis, but dollar strength caps gains ID:nL3N0YN1HD * Middle East funds negative on Saudi after oil slides ID:nL5N0YL0EH * Yemen's Houthis in talks with U.S.officials in Oman - Yemen gov't ID:nL5N0YM0AW * Arab war planes bomb Yemen; exiles report U.S.-Houthi talks ID:nL5N0YM0I6 * Islamic State pushes back rival Syria insurgents near Turkey ID:nL5N0YM0G7 * Eastern Libyan Hariga port to export 1.7 million barrels of crude-officials ID:nL5N0YM0GB *Ship docks at Libya's Ras Lanuf port but oil terminal stays shut ID:nL5N0YM0LF *Suicide bombing claimed by Islamic State in western Libyan city kills five- official ID:nL5N0YM08P * Tunisia's phosphate production to resume after protests end ID:nL5N0YM0AT * Jordan to issue $1.5 bln US backed bonds in June - finance minister ID:nL5N0YM08Y * Iran says will discuss "other solutions" to nuclear inspections deadlock ID:nL5N0YM05N EGYPT * Egypt starts demolishing Mubarak-era ruling party headquarters ID:nL3N0YM09F * Egypt buys 5 mln tonnes of local wheat, above target ID:nL5N0YM0IK * Egypt money supply up 16.5 pct in April-central bank ID:nL5N0YM0DZ * Egypt bourse to move to next-day settlement soon- chairman ID:nL5N0YM0OH SAUDI ARABIA * Saudi PetroRabigh shuts down hydrogen production unit ID:nL5N0YM034 * Saudi's Yansab says completes plant maintenance ID:nL5N0YM02J QATAR * Qatar land price surge threatens property profitability ID:nL5N0YM0CB KUWAIT * Kuwait's Al Kharafi Group appoints new chairman after predecessor's death ID:nL5N0YM0HZ * Jazeera Airways lodges interest in buying 35 pct Kuwait Airways stake ID:nL5N0YM09Y (Compiled by Dubai newsroom) ((dubai.newsroom@reuters.com)) Keywords: MIDEAST FACTORS/

India Morning Call-Global Markets

June 01, 2015 - reuters.com

EQUITIES NEW YORK - U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday as data showed the economy contracted in the first quarter but indexes still posted gains for the month. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 115.44 points, or 0.64 percent, to 18,010.68, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 13.4 points, or 0.63 percent, to 2,107.39 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 27.95 points, or 0.55 percent, to 5,070.03. For the month, the Dow was up 1 percent, the S&P 500 was up 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq gained 2.6 percent. For the week, stocks posted losses, however. The Dow was down 1.2 percent, the S&P 500 fell 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq lost 0.4 percent. For a full report, click on .N - - - - LONDON - Britain's top share index fell sharply late on Friday as U.S. stocks dropped, taking the shine off May's gains. The FTSE 100 index .FTSE had fallen 56.49 points, or 0.8 percent at 6,984.43 by the close. The majority of the decline came in the last half hour of trade. The FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent in May. The index has rallied 2.6 percent since lows hit on May 7, boosted by a Conservative election victory that investors said removed uncertainties over regulation and the economy. For a full report, click on .L - - - - TOKYO - Japan's Nikkei share average fell on Monday morning, imperilling an 11-day winning streak, after U.S. stocks languished as weak economic data dented investor sentiment, triggering profit-taking on exporters. The Nikkei .N225 fell 0.3 percent to 20,495.73 in mid-morning trade. During its win streak that reached 11 days on Friday, it gained 5.1 percent. For a full report, click on .T - - - - HONG KONG - Hang Seng Index .HSI was up 0.7 percent. For a full report, click on .HK - - - - FOREIGN EXCHANGE SYDNEY - The euro was on the defensive on Monday after Greece missed a self-imposed Sunday deadline for reaching an agreement with its lenders to unlock aid, keeping alive fears of a debt default. The euro eased 0.4 percent to $1.0952 EUR=, retreating from Friday's high of $1.1006. Against the yen, it For a full report, click on USD/ - - - - TREASURIES NEW YORK - U.S. Treasury yields fell on Friday, with benchmark and long-dated U.S. yields hitting their lowest in more than three weeks, as data showing the U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter supported views of a later Federal Reserve interest-rate hike. U.S. 30-year Treasury yields hit their lowest in 3-1/2 weeks at 2.84 percent. Long-dated bonds benefited from institutional investors' purchases for the purpose of month-end portfolio readjustments. For a full report, click on US/ - - - - COMMODITIES GOLD SINGAPORE - Gold was trading close to its highest in nearly a week on Monday, supported by safe-haven bids from uncertainty over the Greek debt crisis, but gains were limited by a stronger dollar and the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates. Spot gold XAU= was steady at $1,190.40 an ounce by 0037 GMT, after earlier climbing to a session-peak of $1,196.35, its highest since May 26. For a full report, click on GOL/ - - - - BASE METALS SINGAPORE - London copper edged up on Monday after sliding 5 percent last month, but remained under pressure with data stoking worries about demand in top metals user China. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 had risen 0.4 percent to $6,040 a tonne by 0222 GMT, after 1.3-percent losses in the previous session. Copper prices shed 5 percent last month. The most-traded August copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SCFcv1 fell 1 percent to 43,730 yuan ($7,058) a tonne. For a full report, click on MET/L - - - - OIL SINGAPORE - Crude oil prices dipped early on Monday on expectations OPEC output would remain high after rising in May, stoking worries of oversupply despite declining U.S. rig operations. Crude oil prices jumped almost 5 percent on Friday, their biggest rally in over a month, as a bigger than expected drop in U.S. oil rigs in operation set off a renewed rush of bullish bets. Front-month Brent crude futures LCOc1 had fallen 51 cents to $65.05 per barrel at 0129 GMT on Monday. U.S. crude futures CLc1 were down 52 cents at $59.78 a barrel. For a full report, click on O/R (Compiled by Himank Sharma) ((swati.bhat@thomsonreuters.com; twitter.com/swatibhat22; +91-22-61807353; Reuters Messaging: swati.bhat.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MORNINGCALL INDIA/

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