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UPDATE 1-Egyptian pound steady on official market, weaker on black market

December 21, 2014 - reuters.com

(Updates with trader comment, context on black market) CAIRO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The Egyptian pound EGP= held steady at a central bank dollar sale on Sunday but weakened on the unofficial market. The bank offered $40 million and said it had sold $37.8 million at a cut-off price of 7.1401 pounds CBEO to the dollar, unchanged from its sale on Thursday. The rates at which banks are allowed to trade dollars are determined by the results of central bank sales EGYTV3 , giving the bank effective control over official exchange rates. In the unofficial market, the pound was trading at 7.80 to the dollar, one trader said, weaker than Thursday's rate of 7.78 pounds. The pound began weakening on the black market last week after nearly two weeks of holding steady, traders said. It was not clear what caused the weakening. One trader said he thought it was due to an increased demand for dollars as people sought to settle debts and deals before the end of the year. The central bank last month pledged to eliminate the black market in the Egyptian pound after volatility resulting from a surge in commercial demand for dollars and concerns that plans to repay a deposit from Qatar would create a shortage. ID:nL6N0T958L A central bank official said on Nov. 28 that Egypt had paid back the $2.5 billion Qatari deposit. ID:nL6N0TI4FG Last month, before the bank's pledge, the pound was trading at up to 7.75 pounds per dollar on the black market. (Reporting by Maggie Fick; editing by Abigail Fielding-Smith) ((maggie.fick@thomsonreuters.com; +20 120 640 2000;)) Keywords: EGYPT FOREX/

Chinese yuan to stay basically stable, state media cites central banker

December 21, 2014 - reuters.com

BEIJING, Dec 21 (Reuters) - China's yuan, or renminbi, will stay basically stable despite fluctuations, state radio cited the deputy chief of China's central bank as saying on Sunday. The yuan CNY=CFXS has been under pressure in the past month due to increased year-end dollar demand by some firms and growing market expectations of more policy easing after the central bank made a surprise cut to interest rates in November. Such easing is seen as negative for the yuan. ID:nL3N0T317B "The renminbi has so far this year moved by about 2 percent against the U.S. dollar, not yet considered a depreciation," Yi Gang, deputy head of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), told state radio. The central bank has gradually been exiting regular intervention of the foreign exchange market, and China's foreign exchange reserve has held stable. "Judging from all angles, looking at the globalisation of the yuan ... we have all reason to believe that the exchange rate of renminbi will stay basically steady at a reasonable and balanced level," Yi said. The central bank has signaled it does not want the yuan to collapse, strengthening the official guidance rate CNY=SAEC , but traders said it has been intervening less in the spot market, which is allowed to trade 2 percent higher or lower than the midpoint on any given day. (Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Alison Williams) ((aizhu.chen@thomsonreuters.com; +8610 66271211; Reuters Messaging: aizhu.chen.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CHINA YUAN/

Egyptian pound steady on official market, weaker on black market

December 21, 2014 - reuters.com

CAIRO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The Egyptian pound EGP= held steady at a central bank dollar sale on Sunday but weakened on the unofficial market. The bank offered $40 million and said it had sold $37.8 million at a cut-off price of 7.1401 pounds CBEO to the dollar, unchanged from its last sale on Thursday. The rates at which banks are allowed to trade dollars are determined by the results of central bank sales EGYTV3 , giving the bank effective control over official exchange rates. In the unofficial market, the pound was trading at 7.80 to the dollar, one trader said, weaker than Thursday's rate of 7.78 pounds. (Reporting By Maggie Fick; Editing by Greg Mahlich) ((maggie.fick@thomsonreuters.com; +20 120 640 2000;)) Keywords: EGYPT FOREX/

China proposes broadening use of Yuan for trade with Russia - report

December 21, 2014 - reuters.com

BEIJING, Dec 21 (Reuters) - China's trade minister proposed more use of China's currency in settling trade with Russia in the face of a falling rouble to ensure safe and reliable trade, Hong Kong broadcaster Phoenix TV reported on Saturday. The rouble has fallen about 45 percent against the dollar this year, and suffered particularly steep falls early last week. President Vladimir Putin has declined to call it a crisis and said it would eventually rise again. ID:nL6N0U20J7 Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said the use of China's yuan, or renminbi, has been increasing for several years but western sanctions on Russia had made the trend more prominent, Phoenix TV said on its website news.ifeng.com. Gao said China and Russia were capable of achieving this year's trade target of $100 billion. Last year, trade between the two gained 1.1 percent at $89.2 billion, according to Chinese customs figures. "Capital investors may be more interested in a volatile stock or foreign exchange market. But in terms of concrete cooperations (between the two nations), we shall have a balanced mentality and push forward those cooperations," Gao was quoted as saying. Cooperation on energy and manufacturing projects would not be greatly affected by the situation in Russia, Gao said. China would instead focus on fundamental factors such as how the two economies complement each other, he said. For China, curtailing the influence of the dollar fits well with its ambitions to increase the influence of the yuan and eventually turn it into a global reserve currency. With 32 percent of its $4 trillion foreign exchange reserves invested in U.S. government debt, China wants to curb investment risks in the dollar. (Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Huang Kai; Editing by Robert Birsel) ((aizhu.chen@thomsonreuters.com; +8610 66271211; Reuters Messaging: aizhu.chen.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CHINA RUSSIA/

IKEA says resumes sales of kitchen appliances in Russia

December 20, 2014 - reuters.com

MOSCOW, Dec 20 (Reuters) - IKEA, the world's biggest furniture retailer, said on Saturday it had resumed selling kitchen furniture and appliances in Russia after suspending sales on Thursday as it was not able to meet increased demand. Consumers in Russia have rushed to buy goods, fearing higher prices as the rouble plummeted by over 40 percent year-to-date. The rouble has been hurt by the fall in oil prices and general risk aversion to Russian assets, due to the standoff with the West over the conflict in Ukraine. "Sales of kitchen furniture and appliances are now resumed in all IKEA Russia stores. Prices on the site are currently being updated, therefore they may differ from prices in stores," IKEA said on its website. The company said earlier it would start putting up prices in the country due to the recent sharp fall in the rouble. ID:nL6N0U12FP In the 2014 financial year, IKEA's Russian stores turned over more than 6 billion euros. Apple AAPL.O said on Tuesday that it had taken down its online store in Russia due to extreme fluctuations in the value of the rouble. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Stephen Powell) ((vladimir.soldatkin@thomsonreuters.com)(+7 495 775 12 42)(Reuters Messaging: vladimir.soldatkin.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: RUSSIA CRISIS/IKEA AB

Bulgaria approves 2015 budget targeting 3 pct/GDP fiscal deficit

December 20, 2014 - reuters.com

SOFIA, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Bulgaria's parliament approved a state budget bill on Saturday that aims to reduce the fiscal deficit to 3 percent of the gross domestic product from a revised 3.7 percent this year. The bill assumes that Bulgaria's economic growth in 2015 will stand at 0.8 percent, down from 1.5 percent in 2014, mainly due to an expected slowdown in the euro zone, the Balkan country's key trading partner. "I will not claim that it is a good budget, but this is a realistic budget," Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said. Analysts have largely welcomed the bill for its rather conservative macroeconomic assumptions, a sharp contrast to those of the previous Socialist-led government, but also said it did not spell out any reform plans. Prime Minister Boiko Borisov came to power after a snap election in October, promising reforms to spur growth. But his minority coalition is shaky and a proposal to lift the retirement age by four months was dropped after union protests in favour of more talks next year over broader reforms. Bulgaria, the poorest country in the European Union, needs to run a tight fiscal policy to preserve the lev currency's peg to the euro through a currency board. The minimum monthly wage will be increase two times next year - by 20 levs to 360 levs ($225) as of January and to 380 levs as of July. On Friday, Fitch Ratings affirmed Bulgaria's long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'BBB-'and 'BBB' respectively. The ratings outlook was stable. ID:nFIT874581 ($1 = 1.5994 leva) (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Tom Heneghan) ((angel.krasimirov@thomsonreuters.com; +359 887 988 196; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging: angel.krasimirov.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BULGARIA BUDGET/

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