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Hong Kong Exchange Fund assets HK$3,071 bln at end-June - HKMA

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

July 31 (Reuters) - Assets at the Exchange Fund, which is used to back the Hong Kong dollar, totalled HK$3,071.0 billion ($396.26 billion) at the end of June, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said on Thursday. The figure was HK$50.8 billion higher than the total at the end of May, with foreign currency assets rising HK$51.2 billion while Hong Kong dollar assets decreased by HK$0.4 billion, the city's de facto central bank said in a statement. The HKMA said the rise in foreign currency assets was mainly due to valuation gains on foreign currency investments, the purchase of foreign currencies with Hong Kong dollars and an increase in unsettled purchases of securities. The decline in Hong Kong dollar assets was mainly due to the sale of Hong Kong dollars for foreign currencies and fiscal drawdowns. These decreases were largely offset by an increase in Exchange Fund Bills and Notes issued but not yet settled. ($1 = 7.7500 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Twinnie Siu in HONG KONG; Editing by Sunil Nair) ((twinnie.siu@thomsonreuters.com)(+852 2841 5763)(Reuters Messaging: twinnie.siu.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: HONGKONG ECONOMY EXCHANGEFUNDASSETS

India fwd/annualised dlr premia-Jul 31

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

Sterling slips, on track for worst month in over a year

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

By Jamie McGeever LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) - Sterling slipped on Thursday, on track to post its biggest monthly loss against the dollar in over a year, after figures showed some steam coming out of the UK housing market and consumer confidence falling for the first time in six months. This dovetailed with a broad-based rebound in the dollar, as investors moved to bring forward the timing of a U.S. interest rate hike after figures on Wednesday showed the U.S. economy grew at a solid 4 percent pace in the second quarter. Comments from BoE policymaker Ben Broadbent on Thursday did little to relieve the pressure on sterling. He told Bloomberg News it was "quite possible" sterling was over-valued by as much as 10 percent, but only because the UK economy was relatively strong. At 0800 GMT on Thursday sterling was down 0.1 percent on the day against the dollar at $1.6891 GBP= , and the euro was up 0.2 percent at 79.30 pence EURGBP= . "UK consumer confidence fell for the first time in six months, which is keeping the lid on any sterling bounce," said Simon Smith, chief economist at FXPro. Consumer confidence, as measured by researchers GfK NOP, fell in July, and Nationwide's measure of UK house prices showed only a 0.1 percent rise in July, the slowest growth since April last year. ID:nL9N0O501N ID:nS8N0O001R Sterling is now on track for a fourth consecutive weekly decline against the dollar, its worst run since February/March last year, and its biggest monthly fall since May last year. JP Morgan technical analysts said the selling could accelerate in the coming weeks, noting that the dip below $1.69 on Wednesday was a "strong warning signal that a much deeper setback towards $1.6394 could be looming." Citi analysts agreed that $1.69 is a crucial pivot point for the pound, but pointed out that despite the softness in recent weeks sterling remains "incredibly resilient in the face of massive dollar strength". Earlier this month the pound nudged $1.72, its strongest level in almost six years. (Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Toby Chopra) ((jamie.mcgeever@thomsonreuters.com)(+ 44 207 542 8510)(Reuters Messaging: jamie.mcgeever.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS STERLING/

GLOBAL MARKETS-European shares sink again, dollar holds strong

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

* Dollar index steady, just off highest since mid-Sept * Growth concerns weigh on European markets * Fed says in no rush to raise rates but upgrades view on economy * Madrid shares hit after Argentina defaults again By Patrick Graham LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) - Doubts about the health of Europe's economy dominated trade on its major stock markets on Thursday after a cautious message from the U.S. Federal Reserve did little to stem the dollar's charge to 10-month highs. A steady rise for the U.S. currency is the central story for global financial markets so far this month and a jump in U.S. economic growth reported on Wednesday extended the dollar's gains against the euro to 6 cents since early May. U.S. growth of 4 percent in annualised terms in the second quarter came at a time when poor company results and concerns over a still escalating situation in Ukraine have added to worries that Europe will take far longer to recover. Euro zone inflation numbers on Thursday are expected to add to those doubts, and the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 was 0.2 percent lower in a choppy opening. "Despite some decent earnings from a number of blue-chips, the market is stuck in a range, with a number of negative catalysts including Argentina's default at the forefront of investors' minds," said Lionel Jardin, head of institutional sales at Assya Capital, in Paris. The euro was holding steady just below $1.34 after a rough ride this week that has seen it fall to its lowest since November. Currency traders said the inflation numbers - expected to show annual price growth of just 0.5 percent in the bloc - might provide the fuel for more sales but that any move might be capped ahead of another round of major U.S. figures on Friday. "Meagre inflation readings will underline the case for loose monetary policy for a very extended period of time," analysts from Dutch bank ING said in a morning note. "This would add to the negative sentiment behind the euro but given the scale of softness this week already, downside may be only modest." London's FTSE was the only major European market to buck the trend, with the oil and gas sector lifted by rising profits that included a 33 percent improvement for Royal Dutch Shell, the index's biggest stock. ASIAN SLIP While the prospect of a solid U.S. recovery gave equities some general support, many Asian shares slipped on profit-taking after making hefty gains since the middle of this month. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.3 percent but was still not far from a 6 1/2-year high hit on Wednesday .MIAPJ0000PUS . The Nikkei average .N225 rose 0.3 percent while Australian shares .AXJO inched up to six-year highs. Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years overnight after hopes for a last minute deal with holdout creditors were dashed. Traders said that helped fuel weakness in Spanish shares, with Madrid's main index down 1.3 percent. .IBEX But the broader global impact of any default is likely to be limited because Argentina has been effectively shut out of financial markets since its 2002 default. (editing by John Stonestreet) ((patrick.graham@thomsonreuters.com)(+44207 542 9429)(patrick.graham.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

FOREX-Eyes on euro zone inflation after Fed tempers dollar rally

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

* Upbeat U.S. Q2 GDP partly offset by mixed Fed views * Dollar index set for biggest monthly gain in over a year * Nonfarm payrolls, euro zone inflation are next focus By Jemima Kelly LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) - The dollar held just below a 10-month high against a basket of currencies on Thursday after the Federal Reserve said it was in no rush to raise interest rates, tempering a rally that dates back to early May. Dollar bulls took heart on Wednesday after a report showed the U.S. economy rebounded sharply in the second quarter, with gross domestic product grew at a 4 percent annualised pace. ID:nLNSUIEAJ0 But the Fed's affirmation of a broadly relaxed stance on monetary policy gave food for thought to those who wanted to push the greenback further. ID:nW1N0Q4007 Adam Myers, head of currency strategy at Credit Agricole in London, said the dollar still looked strong but that gains, particularly against the euro, may be almost over for now. The dollar index is up more than 2 percent so far this month, on track for its biggest monthly gain in more than a year. It traded at 81.457 .DXY , just off Wednesday's high of 81.545. "The market is now a little bit too far ahead of itself - there's not going to be any Fed interest rate rises in the first half of 2015 and that's what the market is pretty much pricing in at the moment," he said. "It will only take a weak payrolls number and we'll see quite a snapback." Data due on Friday is expected to show that U.S. employers added 233,000 new non-farm jobs in July. ECONUS The euro was flat in early European trade after hitting a 9-month trough of $1.3366 on Wednesday EUR=D4 . Data on Thursday will show whether euro zone inflation tumbled further in June. Economists polled by Reuters expect it stayed at 0.5 percent but some put the number as low as 0.3 percent. A lower-than-expected number could fuel expectations of further easing from the European Central Bank and in turn weigh on the euro. Data on Wednesday showed annual inflation in Germany slowed to 0.8 percent in July. "An outcome in line with our forecast (0.3 percent) would constitute a downward surprise and likely weigh on the euro," said analysts at BNP Paribas in a note. "This should not be a game-changer for the ECB as policymakers will take time to fully implement and assess the impact of the June policy actions." The two-year Treasury yield US2YT=RR jumped to its highest in more than three years at 0.59 percent, which in turn helped boost demand for the U.S. dollar. Against the yen, the greenback climbed to a four-month high of 103.15 JPY= , before steadying at 102.80. It was poised to gain about 1.4 percent on the month against the yen. The dollar also fared well against higher-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar, which plumbed a two-month low of $0.9301 AUD=D4 before edging back to $0.9310, down quarter of a percent. (Reporting By Jemima Kelly; Editing by Larry King) ((jemima.kelly@thomsonreuters.com)(+44)(0)(20 7542 7508)(Reuters Messaging: jemima.kelly.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX

SNAPSHOT-India stocks, bonds, rupee, swaps, call at 0755 GMT

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

STOCKS .BSESN .NSEI ----------------------- India's NSE index .NSEI is down 0.33 percent, dragged down by IT stocks as HCL Technologies slumps after June-quarter revenue disappoints investors while caution prevails ahead of the expiry of monthly derivatives contracts. .BO GOVERNMENT BONDS IN088323G=CC -------------------------------- India's soon-to-be benchmark 10-year bond yield down 2 basis points at 8.49 percent, while the existing benchmark 10-year bond yield down 1 basis point at 8.72 percent. A fall in global crude oil prices and some bargain-buying seen helping the new 10-year paper after yields rose 8 bps on Wednesday. IN/ RUPEE INR=D2 -------------- The partially convertible rupee falls to 60.36/37 after upbeat U.S. GDP data and month-end dollar demand also weigh. INR/ INTEREST RATE SWAPS INROIS MIOIS= ------------------------------------- The benchmark five-year swap rate is down 2 bps at 7.88 percent, while the one-year rate lower 4 bps at 8.35 percent. CALL MONEY INROND= --------------------- India's cash rate is at 8.10/8.20 percent against Wednesday's close of 7.00/7.05 percent. ---------------------- Double click on codes in <> Reuters MIOR/MIBOR MIBR= NSE MIBID/MIBOR MIBR=NS Reuters Corporate Bond Yield/Spread 0#AAAINBMK= For Reuters Benchmarks IN/BENCH (Compiled by Dipika Lalwani) ((dipika.lalwani@thomsonreuters.com)(+91-22-6180-7098)(Reuters Messaging: dipika.lalwani.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: INDIA SNAPSHOT/

German bond yields steady before euro zone inflation, US labour data

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

* Bunds steady after US-induced wobble * EZ July inflation expected unchanged but shock possible * US jobless claims, nonfarm payrolls eyed * Portugal bonds rise after BES posts losses By John Geddie LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) - German Bund yields steadied on Thursday before the latest euro zone inflation report, on expectations any downside surprise would probably be offset by a rebounding US economy. Euro zone inflation is forecast to remain unchanged in July at 0.5 percent, according to economists polled by Reuters, although many analysts are preparing for a shock after Spain reported on Wednesday that consumer prices fell more than expected in July. ECONALLEU ID:nL6N0Q527G Any fall in yields borne out of expectations that the European Central Bank will need to loosen monetary policy further to nurture a fragile economic recovery could be short-lived, however, as attention again turns to the rebounding US. After data on Wednesday showed a surge in output by the world's largest economy in the second half of 2013, pushing global bond yields higher, strategists are waiting for Friday's non-farm payrolls. A recovery in the labour market is key to convincing the US Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. "The ECB is far away from tightening policy, but in the US this prospect is much closer," said Piet Lammens, a strategist at KBC. US Fed policymakers on Wednesday took note of both faster economic growth and a decline in the unemployment rate, but reaffirmed it was in no rush to raise interest rates and expressed concern about remaining slack in the labor market. ID:nW1N0Q4007 Strategists will keep a close eye on US jobless claims and Chicago PMI later on Thursday, but the main market driver remain July's payrolls, due on Friday, which economists predict will drop to 233,000 from 288,000 last month. ECONALLUS German 10-year Bund yields edged up 1 basis point to 1.17 percent on Thursday, steadying after a sharp sell-off that followed Wednesday's U.S. GDP report. DE10YT=TWEB KBC's Lammens predicts that even with more evidence that the U.S. will raise rates sooner than expected, Bunds should trade in a fairly tight 38bp range through August - between record lows of 1.11 percent reached earlier this week and 1.40 percent. Portuguese 10-year bond yields were the worst performers on Thursday, after the country's largest bank posted losses of 3.6 billion euros late Wednesday and warned of possible illegal activity. PT10YT=TWEB Banco Espirito Santo has vowed to raise new cash to bolster finances and to investigate the losses. The Bank of Portugal said it would prefer if capital were raised from private sources, but that the country does have funds for a public bailout if one is needed. [ID: nL6N0Q56WL] All other euro zone bond yields were either flat or 1 bps higher on Thursday morning before the euro zone inflation report, due at 0900 GMT.

Keywords: MARKETS BONDS/EURO

UPDATE 1-Russian stocks, rouble stronger after new EU sanctions list

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

(Adds details and comments) MOSCOW, July 31 (Reuters) - Russian stock indexes rose strongly on Thursday after the European Commission published a new list of individuals and companies subject to sanctions over Ukraine which spared major listed companies. Analysts warned, however, that further EU sanctions expected to be announced later on Thursday could deflate the market mood. At 0700 GMT, the dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was up 1.5 percent to 1,241 points, while the rouble-based MICEX .MCX rose 1 percent to 1,395 points. The sanctions list published by the European Commission late on Wednesday included some associates of President Vladimir Putin as well as three companies, none of which are listed on the stock exchange. ID:nL6N0Q56LU Analysts said relief over the limited scope of EU sanctions so far may be misplaced as further measures targeting key sectors of the Russian economy are expected on Thursday. "Today's release of the texts of the EU Regulation on sectoral sanctions is the key item to watch in order to assess their scope," VTB Capital analysts said in a morning note. Analysts said one of the major issues for the stock market is whether the EU sanctions will include Sberbank SBER.MM , Russia's largest bank and one of its major listed companies. "The key question for the market is whether Sberbank is on the list as investors are certain about the inclusion of VTB after the U.S. declared sanctions on it," analysts at Uralsib said in a morning note. On Tuesday the EU reached agreement on sanctions that will shut major Russian banks out of European capital markets, but it has yet to say which banks will be impacted. ID:nL6N0Q449N Sberbank shares were up 1 percent on Thursday morning, in line with the MICEX index. Shares in VTB, Russia's other major listed bank, underperformed with a rise of 0.4 percent, having fallen on Wednesday after the U.S. sanctions. The rouble was 0.4 percent stronger against the dollar at 35.43 RUBUTSTN=MCX . It had gained 0.5 percent to 47.44 against the euro EURRUBTN=MCX and 0.5 percent to 40.83 against the dollar-euro basket. RUB=MCX For rouble poll data see FXRUB FXEURRUB FXRUS For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM Russia in graphics: http://link.reuters.com/dun63s (Reporting by Jason Bush; Editing by Catherine Evans) ((jason.bush@thomsonreuters.com)(+7 495 775 1242)(Reuters Messaging: jason.bush.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: RUSSIA MARKETS/

UPDATE 2-BOJ's Kiuchi warns GDP rebound may be weaker than expected

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

* Kiuchi warns of big potential costs of QQE * Repeats lone view BOJ should not set timeframe for price goal * BOJ in future should shift to zero rates from asset purchases * Kiuchi's views on QQE, its costs, a minority within board (Adds quotes from news conference) By Leika Kihara KOBE, Japan, July 31 (Reuters) - Sluggish exports and factory output could mean the Japanese economy's post-tax hike rebound in the third quarter may be weaker than expected, a central bank policymaker has said, warning of clouds hanging over its stimulus programme. Board member Takahide Kiuchi said the Bank of Japan's next policy move ought to be an exit from, not an expansion of, monetary stimulus, repeating his warning that keeping an unconventional policy in place for too long could cause distortions in the economy. The BOJ should consider shifting the focus of monetary policy to zero interest rates from asset purchases when moving to end its ultra-loose stance, Kiuchi said, the first board member to publicly discuss the best possible way to end its quantitative and qualitative easing (QQE) programme. "Under QQE, the BOJ purchases assets on an unprecedented scale. Therefore, it is necessary to be particularly vigilant against various potential risks," he said in a speech to business leaders in Kobe, western Japan, on Thursday. A former market economist, Kiuchi said there was no need to alter the BOJ's forecast for the economy to continue recovering moderately as robust domestic demand made up for weak exports. But he warned the sharp build-up of inventory in June suggests that companies may have overestimated demand and were caught off-guard by the weakness in exports and household spending after a sales tax hike in April. "I don't see the need to change our view that economic growth will pick up in the third quarter, but the pace will be moderate," Kiuchi told a news conference after his meeting with business executives in Kobe. "Monthly economic indicators have also been relatively weak, so while third-quarter economic growth is likely to be positive, it may not be as strong as initially expected." Kiuchi was the first board member to speak publicly after Wednesday's data showing factory output in June suffered its biggest fall since the devastating earthquake in March 2011, calling into question the BOJ's argument that the economy will ride out the April tax hike. Exports also unexpectedly fell for two months, disappointing policymakers who had hoped overseas shipments would rebound before the tax hike hits consumer spending. ID:nL4N0Q50K7 Kiuchi is among those on the BOJ board who tend to be more pessimistic about the economic and price outlook, and he warned that exports may not rebound any time soon due to structural factors such as the increase in the number of Japanese firms that have shifted production abroad. "I don't think the economy will falter because domestic demand continues to support the recovery even as exports fail to pick up," Kiuchi said. "But if exports don't grow as much as initially expected, we may have to cut our growth forecasts." In its latest forecast issued in July, the BOJ expected the economy to expand 1.0 percent in the business year ending March 2015. That was more upbeat than private sector analysts, some of whom now warn Japan may barely grow in the current fiscal year. The BOJ will next review its forecasts in October. REVERTING TO RATE POLICY AN OPTION Kiuchi repeated his view, which is not shared by others on the board, that the BOJ should consider its 2 percent inflation target as a long-term goal without a deadline, instead of setting a two-year timeframe for achieving it. Under the QQE programme put in place last April, the BOJ has pledged to double base money through aggressive asset purchases to achieve its 2 percent price growth target in two years. While the BOJ now targets base money, not interest rates, its asset purchases have pushed down bond yields across the curve with 10-year borrowing costs now around 0.5 percent. Kiuchi said that unconventional monetary policy, such as the asset purchases under QQE, is effective as a temporary measure to boost the economy but should not be used for too long because its drawbacks are still unknown. A conventional interest rate policy, on the other hand, is useful as a fine-tuning tool to guide the economy and prices to desirable levels after massive asset purchases lift sentiment, he said. "If developments in economic activity and prices continue to steadily improve, I think it will be necessary in the future to examine the option of gradually starting to shift the focus of monetary policy conduct from asset purchases to zero interest rates," he said. Kiuchi has shared doubts, also held by many private-sector analysts, that Japan will actually see 2 percent inflation in two years after having been mired in deflation for nearly two decades. At the news conference, Kiuchi said the level of desirable consumer inflation varied from country to country. For Japan, it was near current levels around 1 percent. "It may be feasible to aim for 2 percent inflation in the medium- to long-term. But for now, that's too high." (Editing by Chris Gallagher and Eric Meijer) ((leika.kihara@thomsonreuters.com)(+813-6441-1828)(Reuters Messaging: leika.kihara.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: JAPAN ECONOMY/BOJ

UPDATE 1-Swiss National Bank swings to first-half profit on forex gains

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

* H1 profit 16.1 bln sfr vs 7.3 bln sfr loss a year ago * 12.6 bln sfr in profit from foreign currency positions * Value of gold reserves rises by 3.5 bln sfr (Adds detail, bullets) ZURICH, July 31 (Reuters) - The Swiss National Bank (SNB) SNBN.S swung to a first-half profit, helped by gains from foreign currency positions, the bank said on Thursday. The central bank posted a profit of 16.1 billion Swiss francs ($17.7 billion) for the first six months, of which 12.6 billion came from gains on foreign currency. It had reported a consolidated loss of 7.3 billion for the same period in 2013. The SNB capped a soaring franc at 1.20 per euro in September 2011 to help stave off recession and the threat of deflation, boosting its foreign currency reserves. The value of its unchanged gold reserves rose by 3.5 billion francs, the SNB said. Switzerland's upper house in March rejected a popular initiative that would prohibit the SNB from selling any of its gold reserves, saying the proposal could hamper the central bank's ability to fulfill its mandate. ID:nL6N0M32VS The SNB said euro-denominated assets made up 46 percent of its portfolio at the end of June, down from 47 percent at the end of March, while 27 percent was held in dollars, unchanged from the end of the first quarter, and 9 percent in yen, up from 8 percent. ID:nWEB00QN1 The SNB, which has been trying to diversify its portfolio, said its holdings of other currencies - including the Swedish and Danish crowns and the Australian and Singapore dollars, and South Korean won - was unchanged at 7 percent. ($1 = 0.9084 Swiss Francs) (Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by David Holmes) ((joshua.franklin@thomsonreuters.com)(+41583067007)(Reuters Messaging: joshua.franklin.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: SNB RESULTS/

CORRECTED-S.Africa's Sibanye H1 profit falls after share issue

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

(Corrects headline and story to show H1 earnings declined by 53 pct, not an increase of more than double) JOHANNESBURG, July 31 (Reuters) - South African gold producer Sibanye Gold SGLJ.J said on Thursday its first-half earnings fell by more than 50 percent, reflecting the dilutive impact of a share issue this year. Diluted headline earnings for the six months to end-June totalled 8 U.S. cents a share, compared with 17 cents a year earlier. Gold production totalled 711,900 ounces, 8 percent higher than a year earlier. In May Sibanye issued nearly 157 million new shares, equal to 17 percent of its share capital, to Gold One International GDO.AX to acquire some of the junior miner's assets. (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; editing by David Dolan) ((zandi.shabalala@thomsonreuters.com)(+27 11 775 3158)(Reuters Messaging: zandi.shabalala.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: SIBANYEGOLD/RESULTS

South Africa's rand on the back foot ahead of PPI, trade data

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

* Producer inflation data due out at 0930 GMT * Trade numbers expected at 1200 GMT JOHANNESBURG, July 31 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand traded softer than its previous close against the dollar on Thursday and could weaken further if the latest trade data shows a wider-than-expected deficit for June. The rand ZAR=D3 was at 10.6880 per dollar by 0642 GMT, down 0.26 percent from where it ended the New York session on Wednesday. Government bonds were also a shade weaker, with yields for the heavily-traded 2026 ZAR186= and 2015 ZAR157= issues each nudging 1 basis point higher to 8.30 percent and 6.705 percent respectively. The rand fell to a 1-1/2 week low of 10.7190 on Wednesday, after U.S. GDP data beat market forecasts and the Federal Reserve issued a hawkish statement, reducing appetite for high yielding but riskier emerging currencies. "What these moves have created as far as the rand is concerned is an environment where there could be a lot at stake over the next few trading sessions," Standard Bank trader Warrick Butler said. The rand would find resistance at the 10.6200 and 10.5750 levels and support at 10.7170 and 10.7700, he said. On the domestic front, producer inflation data due out at 0930 GMT and trade numbers at 1200 GMT will give the market a steer on the state of the economy, and whether there is scope for the Reserve Bank to increase rates further this year. "While the median forecast is for a slight improvement of the trade deficit, a significant deviation will be rand negative as it suggests the economy continues to struggle to contain its current account deficit," RMB analyst Mamello Matikinca said. (Reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa; Editing by Ed Cropley) ((stella.mapenzauswa@thomsonreuters.com)(+27117753161)(Reuters Messaging: stella.mapenzauswa.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS SAFRICA/CURRENCY

UPDATE 1-UK engineer Bodycote's profit rises on buoyant demand

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

(Adds details from press release, context) July 31 (Reuters) - Bodycote Plc BOY.L , a provider of thermal processing services, said first-half pretax profit rose 8.5 percent buoyed by demand at its largest unit that caters to the automotive and general industrial sector. The company, which makes products to improve the properties of metals via heat treatment, metal joining and hot isostatic pressing, said a stronger pound will have a bigger impact on its organic growth and margin improvement in the second half. ID:nRSe8018Na Bodycote, which derives 90 percent of its total revenue from outside the UK, has been hurt by strengthening of the pound since last year. The pound has risen 12.4 percent against the dollar in the year to June 30. The British company said half-year headline operating margin jumped 140 basis points to 18.0 percent, helped by its performance in emerging markets. The FTSE-250 company has 28 facilities in Eastern Europe, China, Brazil, India, Singapore and Dubai. Pretax profit rose to 52.6 million pounds for the six months ended June 30 from 48.5 million pounds a year earlier. Group revenue slipped to 1.3 percent to 312.3 million pounds hurt by a strong pound. The company raised its interim dividend to 4.6 pence per share from 4.4 pence last year. (Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier) ((aashika.jain@thomsonreuters.com)(within UK +44 20 7542 1810)(outside UK +91 80 6749 1136)(Reuters Messaging: aashika.jain.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BODYCOTE RESULTS/

UPDATE 1-Poland's KGHM says launches production at key Chilean mine

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

(Adds more company comments, details) WARSAW, July 31 (Reuters) - Europe's No.2 copper producer KGHM KGH.WA launched production at its Sierra Gorda mine in Chile, one of the world's largest copper projects, the Polish group said on Thursday. The Polish state-controlled miner acquired the then unfinished project two years ago. It become a symbol of Polish industry's efforts to expand internationally after years of struggling with the transition from Communist rule. But since the acquisition the cost of getting production underway at Sierra Gorda, exceeding $4 billion, has been over a third more than KGHM initially expected, while falling global copper prices CMCU3 have hit its profits. "Following the ramp-up period, which will be completed in early 2015, the Sierra Gorda mine will produce approximately 120 thousand tonnes of copper, 50 million pounds of molybdenum and 60 thousand ounces of gold annually in the first years of operations," KGHM said in a statement. "The commencement of production at the Chilean mine will decrease the weighted average cost of copper production in the KGHM group and will decrease its sensitivity to changes in the copper price," the miner said. Sierra Gorda's target annual production is for 220 thousand tonnes of copper, 25 million pounds of molybdenum and 64 thousand ounces of gold. KGHM acquired the project in 2012 as part of a C$3 billion ($2.8 billion) purchase of Canada's Quadra FNX, now named KGHM International KILL.UL . That deal allowed it to book the world's fourth-largest copper deposits. The Polish miner controls 55 percent of the Chilean project, while Japanese partner Sumitomo 5713.T holds the rest. Across the group, KGHM wants to scale up copper production by over 40 percent to 1 million tonnes annually by the end of the decade as its overseas assets gradually kick in. To finance its investment plans, pegged at a company-wide total of 4.3 billion zlotys ($1.4 billion) this year alone, the miner signed a five-year revolving credit deal worth $2.5 billion with a group of lenders earlier this month. ID:nL6N0PM4BX ($1 = 1.0901 Canadian Dollars) ($1 = 3.1042 Polish Zlotys) (Reporting by Adrian Krajewski. Editing by Jane Merriman) ((adrian.krajewski@thomsonreuters.com)(+48 22 653 97 09)(Reuters Messaging: adrian.krajewski.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: KGHM POLSKA CHILE/MINERALS

Sri Lanka rupee steady on state banks' dollar buying

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

COLOMBO, July 31 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee traded steady on Thursday as dollar-buying by two state banks prevented sharp gains in the local currency due to inflows from inward remittances and exporter dollar sales amid mild importer demand for the greenback, dealers said. The rupee LKR=LK was traded at 130.21/22 per dollar, unchanged from Wednesday's close. "The appreciation trend is intact," said a currency dealer. State banks bought dollars at 130.21 rupees. Usually the central bank intervenes through the two state banks to direct the market to smoothen volatility. But dealers said it was not clear if the state bank buying was on behalf of the central bank. The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday urged Sri Lanka to limit its intervention in the foreign exchange market. ID:nL4N0Q518J The IMF said the central bank's intervention in the foreign exchange market may create a perception that the rupee was implicitly fixed and could lead market participants and firms to hold un-hedged foreign exchange risk on their balance sheets. The central bank has absorbed more than $750 million from the market to prevent a sharp appreciation and support exporters. "If the central bank buys rupee continuously, business may not bother about the exposure in the event of a sudden depreciation. That trend is really dangerous," a currency trader said on condition of anonymity. "We also don't see any pick-up in imports. The one-year T-bill yield has fallen to near the central bank's repurchase rate of 6.5 percent. We are yet to see any concrete reason why imports are not picking up despite very low interest rates." Finance Secretary P.B. Jayasundera said last week that Sri Lanka was building up its foreign exchange reserves while keeping its currency stable as the island nation sees more dollar inflows. ID:nL4N0PY3VX Jayasundera attributed the increased inflows, which the central bank has been absorbing, to a rise in inflows from exports, tourism and remittances. Dealers had been expecting the rupee to appreciate due to weak growth in imports and private sector credit, despite multi-year low interest rates. Private sector credit growth hit a more-than-4-1/2-year low of 2.2 percent in May on year, compared with 3.3 percent a month earlier. Imports fell 17.6 percent on year in May to $1.28 billion. Sri Lanka's main stock index .CSE was up 0.13 percent, or 8.76 points, at 6,810.60 at 0554 GMT, hovering around its highest since September 2011. Turnover was 528.5 million rupees ($4.06 million) with 28 million shares changing hands. ($1 = 130.2100 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez) ((ranga.sirilal@thomsonreuters.com)(+94-11-232-5540)(Reuters Messaging: ranga.sirilal.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)(www.twitter.com/ra ngaba)) Keywords: MARKETS SRI LANKA/

PRESS DIGEST- New York Times business news - July 31

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

July 31 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the New York Times business pages. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. * Argentina failed to make payments on its government bond, and a court-appointed mediator said that it would "imminently be in default." (http://nyti.ms/1lZn9es) * Energy companies executives are now acknowledging that the escalating tensions could sharply hurt companies with major investments in Russia. (http://nyti.ms/1tvYcPH) * Bitcoin has found another taker. On Wednesday, the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia, announced that it would allow people to make donations using bitcoin, becoming the latest adopter of the virtual currency as a payment option. (http://nyti.ms/1uJdsKk) * In an escalation of the confrontation between the United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, and Andrew Cuomo over the governor's cancellation of his own anti-corruption commission, Bharara has threatened to investigate the Cuomo administration for possible obstruction of justice or witness tampering. (http://nyti.ms/1xCDgUJ) * Nordstrom JWN.N plans to announce on Thursday that it has agreed to purchase Trunk Club, a five-year old website that sells about 100 brands of men's apparel, for an undisclosed amount. It is the latest sign that men are not the only ones taking their sartorial habits seriously. (http://nyti.ms/1oOii4G) * Industry trade groups quickly signaled their intention to ask the federal courts to overturn a ruling that holds McDonald's MCD.N liable for the actions of its franchisees. (http://nyti.ms/1tw0qi0) * Bank of America BAC.N and federal prosecutors have accelerated their negotiations to resolve an investigation into the bank's sale of toxic mortgage securities before the financial crisis. (http://nyti.ms/1s5U0mB) * AMC Networks AMCX.O , the home of AMC, SundanceTV and IFC channels, is in talks to acquire close to a 50 percent stake in BBC America, the United States television network owned by the commercial arm of the BBC, according to people briefed on the discussions. (http://nyti.ms/WOam9i) * When Snapchat spurned takeover interest from the likes of Facebook FB.O and Google GOOGL.O , investors scoffed at the audacity of the photo messaging service. But the start-up may have the last laugh. Snapchat has held talks to sell a stake to the Alibaba Group IPO-BABA.N , the Chinese Internet giant, people briefed on the matter said on Wednesday. (http://nyti.ms/1zxRYiG) (Compiled by Supriya Kurane in Bangalore) ((supriya.kurane@thomsonreuters.com)(within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6121)(Reuters Messaging: supriya.kurane.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: PRESS DIGEST NYT/

UK engineer Bodycote's first-half profit rises on buoyant demand

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

July 31(Reuters) - Bodycote Plc BOY.L , a provider of thermal processing services, said first-half pretax profit rose 8.5 percent buoyed by demand at its largest unit that caters to the automotive and general industrial sector. The company, which makes products to improve the properties of metals via heat treatment, metal joining and hot isostatic pressing, said organic growth and margin improvement were excepted to be impacted by a stronger pound in the second half. ID:nRSe8018Na Pretax profit rose 8.5 percent to 52.6 million pounds for the half-year ended June 30. Group revenue slipped to 1.3 percent to 312.3 million pounds hurt by a strong pound. (Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier) ((aashika.jain@thomsonreuters.com)(within UK +44 20 7542 1810)(outside UK +91 80 6749 1136)(Reuters Messaging: aashika.jain.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BODYCOTE RESULTS/

Russian stocks, rouble stronger after new EU sanctions list

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

MOSCOW, July 31 (Reuters) - Russian stock indexes rose strongly on Thursday after the European Commission published a new list of individuals and companies subject to sanctions over Ukraine but spared major listed companies. At 0603 GMT, the dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was up 1.3 percent to 1,238 points, while the rouble-based MICEX .MCX rose 0.8 percent to 1,393 points. The rouble was 0.5 percent stronger against the dollar at 35.42 RUBUTSTN=MCX . For rouble poll data see FXRUB FXEURRUB FXRUS For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM Russia in graphics: http://link.reuters.com/dun63s (Reporting By Jason Bush, editing by Elizabeth Piper) ((jason.bush@thomsonreuters.com)(+7 495 775 1242)(Reuters Messaging: jason.bush.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: RUSSIA MARKETS/

Argentina braces for market reaction to second default in 12 years

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

By Sarah Marsh BUENOS AIRES, July 31 (Reuters) - Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after hopes for a midnight deal with holdout creditors were dashed, setting up stock and bond prices for declines on Thursday and raising chances a recession could worsen this year. After a long legal battle with hedge funds that rejected Argentina's debt restructuring following its 2002 default, Latin America's third-biggest economy failed to strike a deal in time to meet a midnight deadline for a coupon payment on exchange bonds. Even a short default will raise companies' borrowing costs, pile more pressure on the peso, drain dwindling foreign reserves and fuel one of the world's highest inflation rates. "It is going to complicate life for businesses like YPF which were going to look externally for financing," said Camilo Tiscornia, a former governor of Argentina's central bank. State-controlled energy company YPF YPFD.BA needs funds to develop Argentina's huge Vaca Muerta shale formation. Argentina had sought in vain to win a last-minute suspension of a ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in New York to pay holdouts $1.33 billion plus interest. He ruled Argentina could not service its exchange debt unless it paid holdouts at the same time. A proposal for Argentina banks to buy out the hedge funds' non-performing debt also fell through, sources told Reuters. "This is a very particular default, there is no solvency problem, so everything depends on how quickly it is solved," said analyst Mauro Roca of Goldman Sachs. As dire as it is, the situation is a far cry from the mayhem following the country's economic crash in 2001-2001 when the economy collapsed around a bankrupt government. Millions of Argentines lost their jobs. This time the government is solvent. How much pain the default inflicts on Argentina, which is already in recession, will depend on how swiftly the government can extricate itself from its obligations. Buenos Aires had argued that agreeing to the hedge funds' demands to pay them in full would break a clause barring it from offering better terms than those who accepted steep writedowns in the 2005 and 2010 swaps. However, that clause expires on Dec. 31, after which the government would be able reach a deal with the funds. Many investors and economists still hope for a separate solution before then between the holdouts and private parties. "Our base case is that a default would be cleared by January 2015," said Alberto Bernal, a partner at Miami-based Bulltick Capital Markets. He projected that a default would cause the economy to shrink 2 percent this year compared with a previous market consensus for a 1 percent contraction. Failure to strike a deal will not cause financial turmoil abroad because Argentina has been isolated from global credit markets since its 2002 default on $100 billion, but domestic markets that had rallied on hopes of a deal in recent days will probably reverse course. Yields on Argentina's key dollar bond due 2033 fell to the lowest level in about three and a half years on Wednesday, and the country's MerVal index .MERV hit a record. "The correction will depend on perceptions of how long the default will take to solve," said Roca. HOW DIRE A DEFAULT? The default could get much messier and take longer to clear up if creditors force an "acceleration" for early payment on their bonds. "How bad the outcome ends up being depends on whether bondholders accelerate," said Alejo Costa, strategy chief at local investment bank Puente. "Acceleration would open a new legal battle for the government that could end up in a new restructuring." Argentina has foreign currency restructured debt worth about $35 billion while its foreign exchange reserves stand at $29 billion. U.S. ratings agency Standard & Poor's on Wednesday downgraded the country's long- and short-term foreign currency credit rating to "selective default". The default rating will remain until Argentina makes its overdue June 30 coupon payment on its discount bonds maturing in 2033, the agency said. Holders of insurance against an Argentine credit default will have their eyes peeled for an announcement from the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA). If ISDA declares an Argentine default, the total amount of money that would be paid out is just over $1 billion. After two days of talks with holdouts in New York, Argentine Economy Minister Axel Kicillof on Wednesday evening told reporters that Argentina was not in default because it had made the June $539 million interest payment to holders of exchanged bonds - even if this had not reached creditors by July 30, at the end of the month-long grace period. Judge Griesa called the payment illegal and blocked the funds' onward transfer to creditors. It remains in limbo in the Buenos Aires account of trustee agent Bank of New York Mellon. Argentines were sanguine about news of the default. "We have been in a similar situation before, and we will make it through," said a 27-year old employee at an automobile firm who declined to give his full name. "The sun rises each day. It will get resolved, be it next week, or next month." (Additional Reporting by Richard Lough and Eliana Raszewski; Editing by Ken Wills) ((sarah.marsh@thomsonreuters.com)(+54 1145102505)(Reuters Messaging: sarah.marsh.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: ARGENTINA DEBT/

DIARY- Turkey - to Sept 1

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

(All times are provisional and in GMT. For local time, add three hours. This diary is updated every day, and new listings or amendments are marked "*".) KEY INDICATORS DATE GMT/LOCAL INDICATOR PERIOD PRIOR 31/7 0700/1000 Consumer confidence July 73.7 *31/7 0700/1000 Tourism revenues Q2 4.8b 1/8 0730/1030 TIM Exports July $12.54b 4/8 0700/1000 CPI m/m July 0.31% 4/8 0700/1000 CPI y/y July 9.16% 4/8 0700/1000 PPI m/m July 0.06% 4/8 0700/1000 PPI y/y July 9.75% 5/8 1130/1430 Real exchange rate July 109.56 7/8 1430/1730 Treasury cash balance June -8.78b 8/8 0700/1000 Industrial production June +3.3% 14/8 0700/1000 Current account June -3.43b 15/8 0700/1000 Unemployment May 9.0% 15/8 1130/1430 Expectations survey Aug 8.30% 20/8 1430/1730 Debt stock July 593.4b 25/8 0800/1100 Foreign visitors July +6.4% 27/8 1100/1400 Interest rates August 8.25% *29/8 0700/1000 Trade balance July -$7.85b *25/8 1130/1430 Capacity usage August 74.9% *25/8 1130/1430 Manufacturing conf August 109.0 THURSDAY, JULY 31 *VAN/MERSIN - Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to hold presidential election rallies in the southeastern cities of Van (1200) and Mardin (1500). *SIVAS - Main opposition parties' candidate Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu to visit the central province of Sivas. *HATAY/MERSIN - Pro-Kurdish candidate Selahattin Demirtas visits the southern provinces of Hatay and Mersin (1430), where he will hold an election rally. *TURKISH MISSIONS - Voting in Turkish presidential election begins at the country's consulates and embassies around the world. Until Aug. 3. *ISTANBUL - Statistics institute to release second-quarter tourism revenues (0700). *ISTANBUL - The treasury to announce its domestic borrowing programme for August-October (1400). FRIDAY, AUGUST 1 ISTANBUL - Istanbul Chamber of Commerce releases inflation data for Turkey's largest city. ANKARA - Supreme Military Council to hold semi-annual meeting. Until Aug. 4. SUNDAY, AUGUST 10 NATIONWIDE - First round of voting in presidential election. MONDAY, AUGUST 11 ISTANBUL - Istanbul Bridge Conference to focus on developments in bridge design and construction. Until Aug. 12. SUNDAY, AUGUST 24 NATIONWIDE - Second round of voting in presidential election. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27 ANKARA - Central bank to hold monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting and announce decision on interest rates. SATURDAY, AUGUST 30 NATIONWIDE - Celebrations marking Victory Day. MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 *ISTANBUL - Istanbul Chamber of Commerce releases inflation data for Turkey's largest city. NOTE - The inclusion of diary items does not necessarily mean Reuters will file a story based on the event. For the Reuters index of All Available Diaries, please click inside the brackets: IND/DIARY . ((Istanbul newsroom tel +90 212 350 7122)(email:)(istanbul.newsroom@reuters.com)) Keywords: DIARY TURKEY/

South African Markets - Factors to watch on July 31

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

The following company announcements, scheduled economic indicators, debt and currency market moves and political events may affect South African markets on Thursday. DIARY For South Africa corporate diary, click on ZA/EQUITY For southern and South Africa diary, click on ZA/DIARY SOUTH AFRICAN MARKETS South African stocks stumbled on Wednesday after two straight days of gains, lead by banks such as FirstRand FSRJ.J with the sector caught in the cross hairs of a technical sell-off. .J South Africa's rand notched its third straight daily loss against the dollar on Wednesday, hitting 1-1/2 week lows as investors gravitated towards the greenback after U.S. GDP data came out stronger than forecast. ZAR/ GLOBAL MARKETS The dollar stayed strong and U.S. bond yields held firm on Thursday after data showed solid U.S. economic growth, even as the Federal Reserve repeated its message that it is in no hurry to raise interest rates. MKTS/GLOB WALL STREET The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended higher on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a rosier assessment of the U.S. economy while reaffirming that it is in no hurry to raise interest rates. .N GOLD XAU= Gold held steady below $1,300 an ounce on Thursday, headed for its second monthly drop in three, as optimism over U.S. economic growth curbed safe-haven appetite for the metal. GOL/ EMERGING MARKETS For the top emerging markets news, double click on urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nTOPEMRG - - - - Some of the main stories out in the South African press: BUSINESS DAY - Eskom set to claw back costs from consumers - Barclays Africa to expand in Nigeria BUSINESS REPORT - Brimstone leads BEE at Grindrod - Widespread lockouts in metals sector, says union (Compiled by Xola Potelwa) ((xola.potelwa@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 775 3098; Reuters Messaging: xola.potelwa.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS SAFRICA FACTORS/

SNAPSHOT-India stocks, bonds, rupee, swaps, call at 0506

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

STOCKS .BSESN .NSEI ----------------------- India's NSE index .NSEI is lower 0.1 percent, dragged down by IT stocks as HCL Technologies HCLT.NS slumps after June-quarter revenue disappoints investors while caution prevails ahead of the expiry of monthly derivatives contracts. .BO GOVERNMENT BONDS IN088323G=CC -------------------------------- India's soon-to-be benchmark 10-year bond IN084024G=CC yield down 1 basis point at 8.50 percent, while the existing benchmark 10-year bond IN088323G=CC yield lower 1 basis point at 8.72 percent. A fall in global crude oil prices and some bargain-buying seen helping the new 10-year paper after yields rose 8 bps on Wednesday. IN/ RUPEE INR=D2 -------------- The partially convertible rupee falls to 60.28 in early trading after upbeat U.S. GDP data. INR/ INTEREST RATE SWAPS INROIS MIOIS= ------------------------------------- The benchmark five-year swap rate is down 2 bps at 7.88 percent, while the one-year rate lower 2 bps at 8.37 percent. CALL MONEY INROND= --------------------- India's cash rate is at 8.10/8.15 percent against Wednesday's close of 7.00/7.05 percent. ---------------------- Double click on codes in <> Reuters MIOR/MIBOR MIBR= NSE MIBID/MIBOR MIBR=NS Reuters Corporate Bond Yield/Spread 0#AAAINBMK= For Reuters Benchmarks IN/BENCH (Compiled by Indulal PM) ((indulal.p@thomsonreuters.com)(+91-22-6180-7183)(Reuters Messaging: indulal.p.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: INDIA SNAPSHOT/

Turkey - Factors to Watch on July 31

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

ISTANBUL, July 31 (Reuters) - Here are news, reports and events that may affect Turkish financial markets on Thursday. The lira TRYTOM=D3 traded at 2.1310 against the dollar at 0530 GMT. Markets have been closed since last Friday due to the end-of-Ramadan Eid al-Fitr holiday. The lira stood at 2.0941 against the U.S. currency late on Friday. The benchmark 10-year government bond tTR200324T0=IS yield fell to 8.73 percent last Friday, close to its lowest since last October, compared with 8.69 percent on Thursday. The main Istanbul share index .XU100 closed 0.47 percent higher at 84,289.65 points last week. GLOBAL MARKETS The dollar stayed strong and U.S. bond yields held firm on Thursday after data showed solid U.S. economic growth, even as the Federal Reserve repeated its message that it is in no hurry to raise interest rates. The prospect of a solid U.S. recovery underpinned equities, with Japanese shares leading the gains thanks to the yen's fall against the dollar. ID:nL4N0Q603X ELECTION CAMPAIGNING Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to hold presidential election rallies in the southeastern cities of Van (1200 GMT) and Mardin (1500). Main opposition candidate Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu will be in the central province of Sivas and pro-Kurdish candidate Selahattin Demirtas will visit the southern provinces of Hatay and Mersin. IRAQI KURDISTAN OIL EXPORTS Iraqi Kurdistan's attempts to export oil independently of Baghdad hit another obstacle on Wednesday, as a Turkish energy official and industry sources said the autonomous region's pipeline to the Mediterranean has been shut for the past week. ID:nL6N0Q53CD TOURISM REVENUES TRTOUR=ECI The statistics institute will announce second-quarter tourism revenues (0700 GMT). CONSUMER CONFIDENCE TRCONC=ECI The statistics institute will announce July consumer confidence data (0700 GMT). BORROWING PROGRAMME The treasury will announce its domestic borrowing programme for August-October (1400 GMT). Note: For a list of forthcoming events, see TR/DIARY . For other related news, double click on: Turkish politics TR-POL Turkish equities TR-E Turkish money TR-M Turkish debt TR-D Turkish hot stocks TR-HOT Forex news FRX All emerging market news EMRG All Turkish news TR For real-time quotes, double click on: Istanbul National-100 stock index .XU100 , interbank lira trading IYIX= , lira bond trading 0#TRTSYSUM=IS (Reporting by Daren Butler) ((daren.butler@thomsonreuters.com; +90-212-350 7122; Reuters Messaging: daren.butler.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: TURKEY FACTORS/

INDICATORS - Kazakhstan - July 31

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

S.Korea scraps cash limit for nationals visiting N.Korea

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

SEOUL, July 31 (Reuters) - South Korea's government has lifted the limit on the amount of cash its citizens can carry into North Korea, the finance ministry said on Thursday, as part of foreign exchange regulatory reforms. The current cash limit of $1,000 for South Koreans visiting the North will be discontinued due to its "low effectiveness," as will a ban on credit card and debit card use in the isolated country, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said in a statement. A finance ministry official said the decision was not a "gesture of peace" towards the North. "You usually need more than $1,000 to pay for a stay in North Korea and this has led to visitors unwillingly breaking the law (and taking more than allowed)," said Lim Gang-taek, a senior researcher at the Korean Institute for National Unification. Lim said the decision was likely aimed to ease "unrealistic" regulations rather than to better relations with Pyongyang. North and South Korea are still technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. South Koreans cannot travel to North Korea, except in rare cases where approval is granted as an exception, including family reunions where hundreds are reunited at a time. According to government statistics, 76,403 South Koreans visited the North last year, down from 120,360 in 2012 after the North decided to temporarily shut down a border industrial zone shared with South Korea. The move by South Korea could potentially provide large amounts of cash to North Korea in the event ties do normalise, in which case up to 300,000 or more tourists could go to the North every year as they did in the 2000s before ties chilled. South Korean businesses have also been looking into expanding business in the North and recently visited the port city of Rajin, which the North hopes to develop as an industrial zone. Ties between North and South Korea have been tense since the fatal shooting of a South Korean tourist by a North Korean soldier in 2008 and the sinking of a warship in 2010 which was soon followed by a bombing of a border island that year. North Korea is heavily sanctioned under United Nations resolutions related to its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and has threatened to conduct a fourth nuclear test. (Reporting by Christine Kim; Additional reporting by Shin-hyung Lee; Editing by Matt Driskill) ((christine.kim@thomsonreuters.com)(822 3704 5665)(Reuters Messaging: christine.kim.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: SOUTHKOREA ECONOMY/

CNH Tracker-China offshore yuan bond pipeline robust on refinancing pressure

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

By Michelle Chen HONG KONG, July 31 (Reuters) - The supply of yuan bonds in China's offshore market is expected to remain robust in the coming months as issuers take advantage of cheaper financing costs to roll over maturing debt even amid concerns over a volatile currency and a slowing economy. The healthy pipeline of debt comes on top of a record issuance in the half-year ending June 30, which saw a record 350 billion yuan ($56.63 billion) of bond sales, close to the full-year total in 2013, according to Thomson Reuters data. Market watchers say the heavy issuance only offsets a chunk of the maturing so-called "dim sum" debt this year with a total of 48 billion yuan bonds remaining to be refinanced by the end of the year, according to estimates by HSBC analysts. "Besides frequent issuers, we also expect debut companies backed by first-tier provincial or city governments to come in the following months, such as domestic ratings of AA+," said Crystal Zhao, a fixed income analyst at HSBC. The $120 billion and growing dim sum market saw the first bond issuance from China's local government financing vehicle (LGFV) and the first bond backed by a standby facility of credit line from a bank in the past month. Beijing Infrastructure Investment, wholly owned by the Beijing municipality and with a rating of A+/A1/A+, sold a three-year dim sum bond at 3.75 percent, the second-lowest coupon this year from China state-owned companies. China's provincial government controlled Sichuan Development also completed the sale of a 1 billion yuan dim sum offering with the support of a standby loan last week. Though the dim sum market is yet to see a real default, negative news about China's onshore bond market has kept foreign investors alert to potential risks these Chinese names carry. And higher-quality debt issues will be more highly sought after. "Caution over China's credit events in H2 suggests issuance by IG (investment grade) names is likely to be well bid," said Liu Linan, a strategist at Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong. In fact, among the new issues of rated bonds in the first half of the year, investment-grade accounted for the majority, reversing the situation in 2013, as investors shunned risky names in the backdrop of defaults and a slowdown in the property market in China. Chinese construction company Huatong Road & Bridge Group avoided a bond default at the last minute last Wednesday. The case came after the country's first public bond default in March, when Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science and Technology 002506.SZ failed to make interest payments on a bond. Yang Xi, an analyst at China Citic Securities in Beijing, suggested buying into policy bank bonds with tenors of 3-5 years. While for credit products, Yang favoured non-rated debt sold by state-owned companies and property issues with a rating of BB or above. WEEK IN REVIEW: * South Korea's yuan payments value in June rose more than six-fold from a year earlier, taking it to eighth position in the world for yuan payments excluding China and Hong Kong, global transaction services organisation SWIFT said on Tuesday. ID:nL4N0Q40XQ * U.S. money manager Van Eck Global partnered with China Asset Management (Hong Kong) to launch an exchange-traded fund (ETF) tracking a China A-Shares index and the ChiNext board focusing on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME). * The Qianhai Bay economic zone in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen is to auction four parcels of land next month, the second auction this year, to draw more e-commerce and trade-related companies to the hub. ID:nL4N0Q612O * With the Hong Kong-Shanghai trade connect scheme linking both the city's stock markets set to become a reality by the four quarter of 2014, investors are wasting no time to position themselves. Large capital inflows have pressured the Hong Kong dollar higher while some analysts are busy upgrading exchange and brokerage stocks. CHART OF THE WEEK: Growing dim sum bond issuance: http://link.reuters.com/zam52w In the space of four years, China's offshore yuan bond market has gone from virtually zero to one of the biggest local currency bond markets in Asia. It is now beginning to rival the Singapore and the Hong Kong dollar bond markets both of which have been around for decades. RECENT STORIES: CNH Tracker-Australia's yuan business to catch up with peers as clearing bank deal looms ID:nL4N0PW1A6 Stronger stock delisting rules won't weaken government meddling ID:nL4N0PR0Y9 More stories about the CNH market CNH Daily onshore yuan reports CNY/ Daily China money market reports CN/ Offshore yuan rate CNH= Onshore yuan rate CNY=CN Offshore yuan dealt CNH=D3 Onshore yuan on CFETS CNY=CFXS THOMSON REUTERS SPEED GUIDES CN/OFFSHORE CN/HIGHLIGHT NDF/3 NDF/4 0#CNHBOND ($1 = 6.1800 Chinese yuan) (Editing by Saikat Chatterjee and Jacqueline Wong) ((michelle.chen@thomsonreuters.com)(+852 2843 6587)(Reuters Messaging: min.chen.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS OFFSHORE/YUAN

MIDEAST STOCKS - Factors to watch - July 31

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

DUBAI, July 31 (Reuters) - Here are some factors that may affect Middle East stock markets on Thursday. Reuters has not verified the press reports and does not vouch of their accuracy. INTERNATIONAL/REGIONAL * GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar shines, U.S. yields surge on upbeat U.S. data MKTS/GLOB * Oil prices tumble on ample supply, weak demand O/R * Gold stays below $1,300 as U.S. economic optimism dents demand GOL-RTRS * Israeli troops, with dogs and robots, track Gaza tunnels IL-PS * Asia a hard sell for Russian firms seeking cash RU-DBT * LyondellBasell seen as mystery U.S. buyer of Kurdish oil in May LYB.N IQ-OILG * Carnage at U.N. school as Israel pounds Gaza Strip UN1-IL-PS * Army breaks up protests as Yemen raises fuel prices YE-SDS * Iran frees US-Iranian, three journalists still held -source IR-JUDIC * Tunisia's chief of army land forces resigns - official TN-POL * U.S. approves $700 million sale of Hellfire missiles to Iraq LMT.N IQ-DEFBUY * U.S. judge says cannot seize Kurdish crude for now IQ-OILG-US * IMF agrees on $5 billion credit line for Morocco IMF-MA TURKEY * Turkish women laugh online to protest deputy PM's remarks TR-POL * Turkish court arrests 11 more police in wiretap probe -lawyer TR-JUDIC EGYPT * Iran says Egypt dragging its feet on allowing aid to Gaza IR-EG-PS * Egypt's GASC says buys 175,000 tonnes Russian wheat EG-WHT * Three killed in car bomb in Cairo -Egyptian state-run TV EG-SECUR UNITED ARAB EMIRATES * Alitalia to present final proposal to Etihad on Thursday AE-IT-AIRL (Compiled by Dubai newsroom) ((dubai.newsroom@reuters.com)) Keywords: MIDEAST FACTORS

India Morning Call-Global Markets

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

EQUITIES NEW YORK - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended higher on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a rosier assessment of the U.S. economy while reaffirming that it is in no hurry to raise interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 31.75 points, or 0.19 percent, to 16,880.36, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.12 points, or 0.01 percent, to 1,970.07, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 20.20 points, or 0.45 percent, to 4,462.90. For a full report, click on .N - - - - LONDON - Britain's top equity index finished lower on Wednesday as weaker mining stocks, dragged down by Chilean miner Antofagasta ANTO.L , outweighed a rally in banking stocks spurred by Barclays BARC.L . The FTSE 100 index ended 0.5 percent weaker at 6,773.44 points. For a full report, click on .L - - - - TOKYO - Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a fresh six-month high on Thursday after solid U.S. growth buoyed sentiment and as the weakening yen lifted exporters, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group's 8316.T earnings boosted the banking sector. The Nikkei .N225 rose 0.7 percent to 15,759.66 points in mid-morning trade, the highest since Jan. 23. For a full report, click on .T - - - - HONG KONG - Hang Seng Index .HSI set to open up 0.3 percent. For a full report, click on .HK - - - - FOREIGN EXCHANGE SYDNEY - The dollar held below a 10-month peak against a basket of major currencies on Thursday after soaring on upbeat U.S. growth data, with mixed views from the Federal Reserve tempering the rally. The dollar index last traded at 81.386 .DXY after rising as far as 81.545 - a high last seen in mid-September. For a full report, click on USD/ - - - - TREASURIES NEW YORK - - U.S. Treasuries yields surged on Wednesday and two- and three-year note yields rose to their highest in three years after data showed solid U.S. economic growth, though the Federal Reserve said it is in no rush to raise interest rates. The U.S. central bank pressed ahead with its plan to wind down its bond-buying stimulus and upgraded its assessment of the U.S. economy For a full report, click on US/ - - - - COMMODITIES GOLD SINGAPORE - Gold held overnight losses to trade below $1,300 an ounce on Thursday and looked likely to extend declines to a fourth day as optimism over U.S. economic growth curbed safe-haven appetite for the metal. Spot gold XAU= was flat at $1,295.20 an ounce by 0021 GMT, after dropping 0.3 percent in the previous session. For a full report, click on GOL/ - - - - BASE METALS SYDNEY - - London copper was underpinned on Thursday by indications that the U.S. Federal Reserve is not hurrying to raise interest rates, even as the world's top economy logged robust second quarter growth that brightened the outlook for demand. The U.S. economy rebounded sharply in the second quarter as consumers stepped up spending and businesses restocked, putting it on course to close out the year on a solid footing. For a full report, click on MET/L - - - - OIL NEW YORK - - Oil prices tumbled on Wednesday, with Brent leading the decline weakened by excess supplies in Europe and Asia while U.S. crude followed suit despite a larger-than-expected drop in nationwide stockpiles. Brent crude LCOc1 fell $1.21 to settle at $106.51 a barrel. For a full report, click on O/R (Compiled by Indulal PM) ((indulal.p@thomsonreuters.com)(+91-22-6180-7183)(Reuters Messaging: indulal.p.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MORNINGCALL INDIA/

UPDATE 1-Buenaventura's net income rose 22 pct on copper and silver sales

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

(Adds details on second-quarter results) LIMA, July 30 (Reuters) - Peruvian miner Buenaventura BUEv.LM BVN.LM said on Wednesday that its net income jumped 22 percent to 9 cents per share in the second quarter from the same period in 2013 on stronger silver and copper sales. The $23.1 million result for the second quarter came in below the $49.85 million average estimate of two analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The company said in a statement that its copper sales more than doubled on higher volumes from its El Brocal copper mine, and silver sales rose 9 percent on output from its Uchucchacua mine. The positive results for the April-through-June period followed two straight quarterly losses. However, Buenaventura's 43.7 percent stake in the aging Yanacocha gold mine represented a $12.9 million loss in the second quarter, leading its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for all of its operations to fall 27 percent. The company said its gold output slipped 4 percent in the second quarter on the year. Buenaventura is the biggest precious metals miner in Peru. (Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by David Gregorio and Andrew Hay) ((mitra.taj@thomsonreuters.com)(+51)(1)(221-2130)(Reuters Messaging: mitra.taj.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: PERU BUENAVENTURA/RESULTS

CORRECTED-(OFFICIAL)-UPDATE 2-Barrick cuts cost forecast, appoints directors

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

(Corrects job title of Brian Greenspun in paragraph 2 to chairman and chief executive of Greenspun Media Group following correction from Barrick) July 30 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO lowered its full-year cost forecast on Wednesday and again trimmed capital spending as the world's biggest gold producer works to rein in costs that soared industry-wide between 2008 and 2012, when bullion was rising. Barrick also said it appointed J. Michael Evans, the former vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs Inc GS.N , and Brian Greenspun, the chairman and chief executive of Greenspun Media Group and a prominent Nevada businessman, as independent directors on its board. Toronto-based Barrick this month said it would abolish its chief executive position, replacing it with two presidents in a move investors and analysts said cements the authority of its new executive chairman, John Thornton, a former Goldman Sachs executive. ID:nL2N0PR0X9 Barrick earlier reported slightly weaker-than-expected adjusted net earnings, which fell to $159 million, or 14 cents a share, in the quarter to end-June from $663 million, or 66 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Analysts expected the company to earn 15.9 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Earnings were down on weaker gold prices and lower gold and copper sales volumes. Results also were reduced by an impairment charge of $514 million related to the Jabal Sayid copper project. Barrick this month said it was forming a joint venture with Saudi Arabian Mining Co 1211.SE (Ma'aden) to run the long-delayed project. ID:nL2N0PO01W Barrick, which has mines in the Americas, Australia and Africa, said it was reducing its forecast for 2014 all-in sustaining costs, the industry cost benchmark, to between $900 and $940 per ounce from a previous forecast of between $920 and $980 an ounce. The company also cut its 2014 capital expenditure guidance range by $200 million, to between $2.2 billion and $2.5 billion. Barrick and its peers have beaten the cost-cutting drum for at least a year as the industry tries to restore profits hard hit in recent years by soaring mine site costs, over-priced acquisitions and a 28 percent fall in the bullion price last year. Barrick produced 1.49 million ounces of gold in the second quarter, down from 1.81 million ounces a year earlier. The miner has sold several higher-cost mines over the past year. It kept unchanged its full-year gold production forecast. All-in sustaining costs fell to $865 an ounce from $910 an ounce in the same period a year ago. Copper production in the second quarter was 67 million pounds, well down from 134 million pounds in the same quarter last year, reflecting a partial collapse of the main conveyor at its Lumwana mine in Zambia. Barrick said the conveyor had been repaired and normal plant operations resumed this month. Copper cash costs rose to $2.04 per pound in the quarter from $1.75 a pound in the second quarter of 2013. The company did not change its full-year copper production or cost forecasts. (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio, Leslie Adler, Dan Grebler and Diane Craft) ((nicole.mordant@thomsonreuters.com)(+1-604-664-7315)(Reuters Messaging: nicole.mordant.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BARRICK GOLD RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2,CORRECTED (OFFICIA

UPDATE 1-Yamana Gold earnings beat expectations, eyes asset sales

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

(Recasts with more financial details, company comment) July 30 (Reuters) - Yamana Gold YRI.TO reported higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, helped by higher production and lower costs. Yamana Chief Executive Peter Marrone said in a statement the miner would look at "strategic alternatives" for operations that are underperforming, as well as at assets that could provide more value through a sale. The Canadian-based gold miner said earnings were $5.1 million, or 1 cent a share, in the quarter, compared with a net loss of $7.9 million, or 1 cent a share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Adjusted earnings came in at $43.3 million, or 5 cents a share, down from $50.2 million, or 7 cents a share, in the second quarter of 2013. But the earnings beat analysts' estimates of 4 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper, quoting unnamed sources, reported in June that Yamana had put its three mines in Brazil up for sale at the beginning of the year. The Chapada, Jacobina and Fazenda Brasileiro mines are nearing the end of their lives and have faced a number of problems. Yamana said it produced 331,765 ounces of gold equivalent ounces in the second quarter from its mines in South America, Mexico and Canada, up from 295,545 ounces in the same period in 2013. Gold equivalent ounces are calculated using gold output plus the gold equivalent of silver using a ratio of 50:1. Yamana's all-in sustaining costs per gold equivalent ounce fell to $915 an ounce on a co-product basis in the quarter, from $950 per ounce in the same quarter a year ago. Yamana earlier this year triumphed in its joint bid for Canadian-based Osisko Mining Corp OSK.TO , which owns the mid-sized, low-cost Canadian Malartic gold mine in Quebec. Yamana's C$3.9 billion white-knight bid for Osisko, in concert with partner Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd AEM.TO , topped a bid for Osisko from another Canadian gold miner Goldcorp Inc. G.TO . (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio) ((nicole.mordant@thomsonreuters.com)(+1-604-664-7315)(Reuters Messaging: nicole.mordant.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: YAMANA GOLD RESULTS/

UPDATE 1-Canadian miner Kinross profit falls; could restart La Coipa

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

(Adds detail on La Coipa, production, costs and analyst estimates) TORONTO, July 30 (Reuters) - Kinross Gold Corp K.TO on Wednesday reported its adjusted earnings fell by more than two thirds in the second quarter, hurt by lower average gold prices, and said it could restart mining at La Coipa in Chile. The company said it has decided to start work on a pre-feasibility study on the possibility of resuming operations at La Coipa, after some promising exploration results. It suspended mining at the site late last year. Kinross produced 679,831 gold equivalent ounces in the second quarter, up from 655,381 a year earlier. But its average realized price dropped to $1,285 an ounce from $1,394. The Canadian gold miner, which has operations in North and South America, Africa and Russia, said its all-in sustaining costs improved to $976 per equivalent ounce from $1,038 a year earlier. Gold equivalent ounces include silver produced and sold, converted to a gold equivalent based on a ratio of the average spot market price for the commodities for each year. The company earned $46 million, or 4 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with a net loss of $2.48 billion, or $2.17 a share a year ago, when it took a $2.29 billion one-time charge after opting not to develop the Fruta del Norte project in Ecuador. Excluding the charge and a foreign exchange gain in the recent quarter as well as other unusual items, adjusted earnings fell to $32.9 million, or 3 cents a share, from $119.5 million, or 10 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts, on average, had been expecting earnings of 5 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue slipped 5.8 percent to $911.9 million, hurt by the lower gold price. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Allison Martell; Editing by Leslie Adler) ((allison.martell@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 416 941 8196)(Reuters Messaging: allison.martell.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: KINROSS GOLD RESULTS/

UPDATE 1-Canadian miner Agnico Eagle turns profit, boosts production forecast

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

(Adds updated forecast, context on acquisition, analyst expectations) July 30 (Reuters) - Canadian gold producer Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd AEM.TO reported a second-quarter profit on Wednesday compared with a loss a year earlier, as gold production jumped and costs improved. The miner boosted its gold production forecast for 2014 by 13 percent, to 1.35 million ounces, citing its recent acquisition of part of the Canadian Malartic mine as well as good performance at other operations. Grades improved at the Meadowbank mine in Nunavut, northern Canada. Company-wide, average cash costs per ounce of gold fell to $725 from $907 on a by-product basis, deducting revenue from other metals. In April, Agnico and Yamana Gold Inc YRI.TO agreed to buy most of Osisko Mining Corp's assets, including Canadian Malartic, located in the province of Quebec, in a deal then valued at C$3.9 billion. Agnico reported earnings of $37.7 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with a loss of $24.4 million, or 14 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $437.8 million from $336.4 million. Excluding a non-cash currency loss and other unusual items, earnings were $52.8 million, or 28 cents a share. Analysts, on average, had been expecting earnings of 30 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. (Reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto; Editing by Diane Craft) ((allison.martell@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 416 941 8196)(Reuters Messaging: allison.martell.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: AGNICO EAGLE RESULTS/

Miner Agnico Eagle turns profit as production rises

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

July 30 (Reuters) - Canadian gold producer Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd AEM.TO reported a second-quarter profit on Wednesday compared with a year earlier loss, as gold production jumped from a year earlier and costs improved. Agnico reported earnings of $37.7 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with a loss of $24.4 million, or 14 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $437.8 million from $336.4 million. (Reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto) ((allison.martell@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 416 941 8196)(Reuters Messaging: allison.martell.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: AGNICO EAGLE RESULTS/

Kinross reports quarterly profit but gold prices weighed

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

TORONTO, July 30 (Reuters) - Kinross Gold Corp K.TO on Wednesday reported a profit for the second quarter, after a year-earlier loss tied to a $2.29 billion one-time charge. Revenue slipped 5.8 percent to $911.9 million, as gold prices fell. The company earned $46 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $2.48 billion, or $2.17 a share a year ago. Excluding special items, it earned $32.9 million, or 3 cents a share, down from $119.5 million, or 10 cents a share, last year. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Allison Martell) ((alastair.sharp@reuters.com)(+1 416 941 8118)(Reuters Messaging: alastair.sharp.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: KINROSS GOLD RESULTS/

CORRECTED-PRECIOUS-Gold traders brush aside signs Fed in no hurry to raise rates

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

(Corrects spot gold price in paragraph 2) * Central bank reaffirms no rush to raise interest rates * Traders largely shrug off Fed statement * U.S. economy expands 4 percent in second quarter By Akane Otani and Clara Denina NEW YORK/LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - Gold futures ended lower on Wednesday, but traders largely shrugged off a statement from the Federal Reserve hinting the U.S. central bank was in no rush to hike interest rates, which would reduce appetite for the precious metal. Spot gold XAU= maintained earlier losses and was down 0.2 percent at $1,295.79 an ounce by 2:34 p.m. EDT (1834 GMT), below the previous close of $1,298.10. Prices were under pressure throughout much of the session after quarterly U.S. economic growth accelerated more than expected. ID:nLNSUIEAJ0 Following a two-day meeting that ended on Wednesday, Fed policymakers reiterated concerns about slack in the labor market and reaffirmed it will not hurry to raise rates. ID:nW1N0Q4007 Higher rates would encourage investors to withdraw money from non-interest-bearing assets such as gold. The metal hit record highs after the Fed slashed rates in the wake of the financial crisis. The central bank pressed ahead with a plan to wind down its bond-buying stimulus, in line with market expectations. It has typically cut $10 billion from its monthly bond-buying program at each recent policy meeting. "The bottom line continues to reflect the idea that rates will probably remain low for an extended period," said Bill O'Neill, managing partner at LOGIC Advisors. Even so, expectations remain that the Fed will tighten policy later in the year and threaten to pressure gold, O'Neill said. In earlier trade, prices fell on a report that U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 4.0 percent annual rate in the second quarter, compared with economists' consensus forecast for 3.0 percent growth. U.S. gold futures GCQ4 closed down $3.40, or 0.3 percent, at $1,294.90 an ounce. The metal was headed for a 2 percent monthly loss after a gain of around 6 percent in June, when international political tensions prompted risk-averse investors to seek gold. The dollar maintained gains after the Fed statement. It had climbed after the unexpected jump in U.S. economic growth overshadowed a weak report on the labor market. ID:nL2N0Q50TD Signs of economic recovery could eventually weaken investors' appetite for gold because it does not bear interest. Low volumes muffled dramatic price reactions, said James Steel, chief precious metals analyst for HSBC. The next big focus will be the release of July non-farm payrolls data on Friday, which is expected to signal further that the world's biggest economy is on a steady recovery path. Spot silver XAG= was up 0.2 percent to $20.55 an ounce. Platinum XPT= rose 0.1 percent to $1,474.40 an ounce, and palladium XPD= gained 0.02 percent to $875.40 an ounce. Markets were also keeping an eye on whether tensions would worsen in the Middle East and Ukraine after the European Union and the United States announced further sanctions on Tuesday against Russia. ID:nL6N0Q44PE (Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore and Chris Prentice in New York; Editing by Keiron Henderson, Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis) ((christine.prentice@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 646 223 6136)(Reuters Messaging: christine.prentice.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS PRECIOUS/

Barrick Gold reports second-quarter loss

July 31, 2014 - reuters.com

July 30 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO ABX.N , the world's largest gold miner, reported a net loss in the second quarter on the back of a weaker gold price and lower gold and copper sales volumes. Barrick reported a net loss of $269 million, or 23 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30, compared to a net loss of $8.56 billion, or $8.55 a share, a year earlier when it recorded a massive impairment on its Pascua-Lama project. (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio) ((nicole.mordant@thomsonreuters.com)(+1-604-664-7315)(Reuters Messaging: nicole.mordant.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BARRICK GOLD RESULTS/

UPDATE 1-Newmont to use dual approach to restart Indonesia mine exports-CEO

July 30, 2014 - reuters.com

(Recasts; adds fresh quotes from CEO, background) By Nicole Mordant July 30 (Reuters) - Newmont Mining Corp NEM.N will stick to a "parallel path" of arbitration and negotiation with the government of Indonesia in an attempt to resolve an impasse over copper concentrate exports, the company's chief executive said on Wednesday. The U.S.-based miner, which operates the Batu Hijau mine in Indonesia, said its revised production outlook assumes receiving an export permit by January 2015, a full year after exports were halted. "We're confident in our arbitration case. Otherwise, we wouldn't have filed it," Newmont CEO Gary Goldberg said, speaking on a conference call to discuss the gold and copper producer's results and plans to develop a new gold mine. "But we are really interested in finding a negotiated solution with the government and want to continue down this parallel path to resolve it as soon as possible," he said. Freeport-McMoRan Inc FCX.N , the biggest copper miner in Indonesia, clinched a deal with the government last Friday allowing it to resume copper concentrate exports from the Southeast Asian country. ID:nL4N0Q03JC Newmont last week said it is negotiating an agreement to restart exports, but an Indonesian official denied any talks had taken place. ID:nL4N0PZ182 The international arbitration filing by the Denver, Colorado-based miner has angered the Indonesian government. Exports of concentrate were halted in January when the government announced a sharp rise in export taxes, part of its drive to force miners to build smelters and processing plants in Southeast Asia's largest economy. Newmont halted production on June 5, saying its concentrate storage facilities were full. Goldberg said Newmont hopes to restart talks next week after a break due to religious holidays this week in Indonesia. Newmont is seeking interim relief from arbitrators so it can resume production, but estimates such a ruling could take several months, Goldberg said. Once received, a ramp up to full production would take several weeks. Newmont raised its gold production forecast for this year by 2 percent to between 4.7 million and 5 million ounces and trimmed its costs applicable to sales forecast by 3 percent to a range of $720 per ounce to $760 an ounce. ID:nL4N0Q5039 The miner also said late on Tuesday it plans to invest around $1 billion in building a gold mine in Suriname. ID:nL2N0Q4309 (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver, editing by G Crosse) ((nicole.mordant@thomsonreuters.com)(+1-604-664-7315)(Reuters Messaging: nicole.mordant.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: NEWMONT MINING INDONESIA/

REFILE-Air India staff found smuggling gold

July 30, 2014 - reuters.com

(Drops repeated word in headline) NEW DELHI, July 30 (Reuters) - Indian authorities have found 13 cases of gold smuggling by employees of the national carrier, Air India AIN.UL , over the past three years and the current year, the junior civil aviation minister said on Wednesday. India, the biggest buyer of gold after China, last year imposed a record 10 percent import duty and made it mandatory to export a fifth of all bullion imports to constrict its trade deficit. But this has led to heavy smuggling, with some gold in imported vehicles and even using human mules who swallow nuggets to try to get them past airport security. ID:nL4N0JD1WQ Junior Civil Aviation Minister G.M. Siddeshwara told parliament that disciplinary action has been taken against the Air India employees. He did not disclose the amount of gold smuggled or give any other details. Government figures show that only 2.34 tonnes of smuggled gold was retrieved last year, while the World Gold Council estimated 200-250 tonnes of gold illegally entering India. (Reporting by Krishna N Das, editing by William Hardy) ((Krishna.Das@thomsonreuters.com; +91-11-4178-1023, +91-98711-18314; Reuters Messaging: Krishna.Das.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net, Twitter handle: @Krishnadas56)) Keywords: INDIA GOLD/SMUGGLING

UPDATE 1-S. Africa's Bapo community to become shareholder in Lonmin

July 30, 2014 - reuters.com

(Adds details on the deal) By Silvia Antonioli LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - South Africa's Lonmin LMI.L has agreed to make a royalty payment in cash and shares to the Bapo community, which will make it a shareholder in Lonmin and will allow the firm to meet South Africa's requirement on Black Economic Empowerment. In exchange for the payment, the Bapo ba Mogale community, which owns land on which Lonmin mines northwest of Johannesburg, will waive its current right to receive royalties from Lonmin's subsidiaries Eastern Platinum Limited and Western Platinum Limited (Lonplats). The Bapo also agreed to sell to Lonmin their Bapo ba Mogale Mining Company, which owns 7.5 percent in the Pandora joint venture. This would make Lonmin, that already holds a 42.5 percent in Pandora, the largest shareholder in the joint venture with rival mining company Anglo American Platinum AMSJ.J , which also has a 42.5 percent stake in Pandora. Lonmin said last week it might buy Amplats out of the joint venture. ID:nL6N0Q01JO The Bapo will receive a total of 564 million rands ($53.18 million)worth of Lonmin shares and a deferred royalty payment of 20 million rand per year, for the five years following completion of the deal. Lonmin is also setting up a Bapo Trust to which it will transfer some shares in its subsidiaries and is carrying out an employee ownership plan and a community share ownership trust, that will boost its BEE ownership further. All together, these transactions will allow Lonmin to boost the Black Economic Empowerment equity ownership from 18 percent to 26 percent, which is the target the South African government asked companies to meet by the end of 2014. ($1 = 10.6050 South African Rand) (Editing by Jason Neely and William Hardy) ((silvia.antonioli@thomsonreuters.com)(+44)(0)(20 7542 1755)(Reuters Messaging: silvia.antonioli.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: LONMIN BAPO/

CORRECTED (OFFICIAL)-UPDATE 1-Russia's Polymetal ups 2014 output forecast by 5 pct

July 30, 2014 - reuters.com

(Company corrects H1 output figure to 652,000 troy ounces from 657,000) MOSCOW, July 30 (Reuters) - Russian precious metals miner Polymetal POLYP.L has raised its 2014 production forecast, it said on Wednesday, after reporting a 17-percent increase in first-half output. The London-listed firm said its gold equivalent production reached 652,000 troy ounces for the first half of 2014. "The original (2014) production guidance of 1.3 million ounces is likely to be exceeded by approximately 5 percent," it added in a statement. Gold equivalent is a measure of gold and other metals expressed in units of gold. Revenues at the company, part-owned by Russian tycoon Alexander Nesis, fell 3 percent in the second quarter of 2014, year-on-year, to $389 million. Fellow Russian businessman Alexander Mamut and Czech investment group PPF own minority stakes in Polymetal. Its free cash flow generation is expected to be significantly stronger in the second half of the year due to planned destocking at its Mayskoye deposit in Russia's far east and the seasonal reduction of the gap between production and sales, Polymetal said. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Maria Kiselyova) ((Polina.Devitt@thomsonreuters.com)(+7 495 775 12 42)(Reuters Messaging: polina.devitt.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: RUSSIA POLYMETAL INTRNL/

S. Africa's Bapo community to become shareholder in Lonmin

July 30, 2014 - reuters.com

(Writes through) July 30 (Reuters) - South Africa's Lonmin LMI.L has agreed to make a royalty payment in cash and shares to the Bapo community, which will make it a shareholder in Lonmin and will allow the firm to meet South Africa's requirement on Black Economic Empowerment. In exchange for the payment the Bapo community, which owns land on which Lonmin mines, will waive its current right to receive royalties from Lonmin's operating companies Eastern Platinum Limited and Western Platinum Limited (Lonplats). The transaction, will increase the Black Economic Empowerment equity stake in Lonplats by 3.3 percent, according to Lonmin. (Reporting by Silvia Antonioli; editing by Jason Neely) ((silvia.antonioli@thomsonreuters.com; +44)(0)(20 7542 1755; Reuters Messaging: silvia.antonioli.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: LONMIN BAPO/

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