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UPDATE 2-German lawmakers approve Greek bailout extension

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

* German lawmakers vote "yes" with huge majority * Bundestag was only major hurdle to Greek bailout * Debate reflects doubts about new govt in Athens (Recasts after vote, adds quotes) By Stephen Brown BERLIN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Germany's parliament approved an extension of Greece's bailout on Friday after Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has voiced doubts about whether Athens can be trusted, promised he would not let Greece "blackmail" its euro zone partners. With 542 members of the Bundestag voting "yes", including almost all of Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-left coalition and the opposition Greens, it was the biggest majority so far for a euro zone rescue package. There were 32 "no" votes and 13 abstentions. The Bundestag vote was the only major parliamentary hurdle for a four-month extension to the bailout programme for the most heavily indebted country in Europe's single currency zone. Schaeuble urged lawmakers to take what he acknowledged was a difficult decision, appealing to their sense of responsibility. "We Germans should do everything to keep Europe together as far as we can and bring it together again and again," said 72-year-old Schaeuble, who makes no secret of his doubts about how far Greece's leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis can be trusted to deliver on reforms. Addressing public misgivings in Germany about making further concessions to Greece - whipped up by top-selling daily Bild's front-page campaign for lawmakers to say "NEIN!" - Schaeuble said no new financial aid was at stake. "We're not talking about new billions for Greece, we're not talking about any changes to this programme - rather it's about providing or granting extra time to successfully end this programme," he said, adding that solidarity among members of the single currency "doesn't mean you can blackmail each other". The debate reflected widespread misgivings about granting the Greeks more time, with one poll this week showing that only 21 percent of Germans back an extension for Greece. "Look at Tsipras, look at Varoufakis: would you buy a used car from them?" asked Klaus-Peter Wilsch, one of a small group of dissidents from Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU). The CDU's Bavarian sister party, the CSU, said Athens was being given a "last chance" to get its economic act together. Germany's ruling conservatives do not disguise their dislike of what their parliamentary leader Volker Kauder has called the "loutish" behaviour of the Greek government. Schaeuble has told lawmakers in private that Varoufakis' remarks reviving talk of a debt "haircut" had strained EU solidarity with Greece. While Merkel and Schaeuble's tough stance on Greece goes down well with German voters, the euro zone crisis has created space for a new Eurosceptic party to the right of the CDU/CSU - the fast-growing Alternative for Germany (AfD). AfD leader Bernd Lucke wants Greece kicked out of euro and said extending the bailout was "a bad decision for Germany and for Greece ... because economic misery in Greece will continue". But the European Commission's financial affairs chief Pierre Moscovici reminded Berlin in an interview with German radio just before the debate that allowing any country to exit the euro zone would merely raise the question "who is leaving next?". (Additional reporting by Caroline Copley, Gernot Heller and Hans-Edzard Busemann; Writing by Stephen Brown; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Alison Williams) ((stephen.brown@thomsonreuters.com; +49 30 2888 5216; Reuters Messaging: stephen.brown.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: EUROZONE GREECE/GERMANY

PRECIOUS-Gold down on strong shares, set for biggest monthly loss since Sept

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

* Gold up 0.3 pct on week, could end 4-week losing streak * European shares close to seven-year highs * Coming up: U.S. Q4 GDP revision; 1330 GMT (Updates throughout, changes dateline from SINGAPORE) By Clara Denina LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Gold edged down on Friday and was heading for its biggest monthly loss since September as European shares traded near seven-year highs and upbeat U.S. data supported expectations of a rate hike by the Federal Reserve this year. Gold has fallen more than 7 percent from a five-month high above $1,300 an ounce hit in January as expectations of a U.S. rate increase hurt its appeal as an insurance against risk. Spot gold XAU= was down 0.2 percent at $1,206.20 an ounce by 1052 GMT, while U.S. gold futures GCcv1 were down $3.90 at $1,206.20 an ounce. Spot prices have gained 0.3 percent on the week, but have fallen nearly 6 percent in February. "If the Fed really hikes interest rates in the second quarter and you can't really discount that entirely, there is still that shorter-term target that you could go towards $1,150," Bank of America-Merrill Lynch strategist Michael Widmer said. The dollar slipped 0.3 percent against a basket of leading currencies .DXY but was still on track for its eighth straight month of gains on better U.S. economic data and comments from Federal Reserve officials that bolstered bets for a rate rise this year. Dovish signals from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen this week fizzled out after a 2.8 percent jump in U.S. durable goods orders in January, putting the prospect of a mid-year rate rise back on the table. ID:nL1N0W01N0 In addition, San Francisco Fed President John Williams and St. Louis Fed chief James Bullard both suggested the U.S. central bank might end its near-zero interest rate policy sooner than some traders expect. ID:nL1N0W01XH But the fact that gold was holding up above $1,200 indicated "that an eventual (U.S.) rate rise has been largely digested by the market and may therefore be largely priced in", HSBC said in a note. The market will now focus on the GDP revision for the fourth quarter due on Friday, traders said. China's gold imports from Hong Kong rebounded in January from a three-month low in December, reflecting increased demand ahead of the Lunar New Year. ID:nL4N0W03IB Premiums on the Shanghai Gold Exchange remained around $4 an ounce over the global spot price on Friday, down slightly after Chinese buyers returned to the market following the Feb. 18-24 Lunar New Year holiday. Spot silver XAG= dropped 0.5 percent to $16.44 an ounce. Palladium XPD= fell 0.4 percent to $803.90 an ounce and platinum XPT= was down 0.1 percent at $1,172.45 an ounce. (Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr in Singapore; Editing by Liisa Tuhkanen) ((clara.denina@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 207 542 9420)(Reuters Messaging: clara.denina.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS PRECIOUS/

UPDATE 1-Turkish lira hits record lows on central bank concerns

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds fresh lira declines, shares fall 2 percent) By Nevzat Devranoglu ISTANBUL, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira tumbled to a fresh record low on Friday as investors worried about the future of Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci after President Tayyip Erdogan's blistering criticism of the bank. Erdogan said on Wednesday that the bank's monetary policy was "unsuited to the realities of the Turkish economy" after it failed to meet his demands for rate cuts larger than those it made on Tuesday. He questioned whether the bank was under external influence. ID:nL5N0VZ44P Market attention was focused on whether Erdogan would keep up the pressure or seek to lower tension when he speaks at a lunch he is hosting for provincial governors at the presidential palace at 1130 GMT. "President Erdogan's comments will be critical for the market today. We could see strong selling pressure if he continues his criticisms of Basci today. Even worse, we could start to price in Erdem Basci not continuing (in his post)," said one senior banker. The lira TRYTOM=D3 hit a low of 2.5185 against the dollar, weaker than 2.4960 late on Thursday and exceeding a low of 2.5155 which it hit two weeks ago. The main share index .XU100 fell 2.14 percent to 84,076.91 points, having fallen 0.94 percent on Thursday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond tTR240724TA=IS rose to 8.56 percent from a spot close of 8.21 percent on Thursday. As speculation swirled around Basci's future, a central bank spokesman on Thursday said the governor had had a health check but no serious health problem was found and he will return to his duties on Friday afternoon. Traders viewed Erdogan's questioning of whether the bank was under external influence as a thinly veiled reference to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally whom Erdogan accuses of infiltrating state institutions in a bid to unseat him. In the past year, his followers have been systematically purged from bodies including the police and judiciary. Erdogan's criticism has also triggered speculation about the future of respected Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, an anchor of investor confidence in Turkey for more than a decade. Babacan, who is in charge of the economy and has been a staunch defender of central bank independence, met Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for more than two hours following Erdogan's comments, which rattled financial markets. (Writing by Daren Butler) ((daren.butler@thomsonreuters.com; +90-212-350 7122; Reuters Messaging: daren.butler.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS TURKEY/

Turkish cenbank governor remains in post, resignation rumours untrue, says spokesman

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

ISTANBUL, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Turkish Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci remains in his post and rumours of his resignation are untrue, a spokesman said on Friday. President Tayyip Erdogan's harsh criticism of Basci over the central bank's interest-rate policy had fuelled worries the governor may step down. The lira currency extended losses and hit a fresh record low of 2.5230, prior to the statement. (Reporting by Asli Kandemir, Writing by Humeyra Pamuk, Editing by Ayla Jean Yackley) ((humeyra.pamuk@thomsonreuters.com; +90 212 3507000; Reuters Messaging: humeyra.pamuk.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: TURKEY CENTRALBANK/

Vietnam's Jan-Feb FDI inflow rises 7 pct y/y -govt

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

HANOI, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Foreign direct investment into Vietnam rose 7.1 percent on year during most of the first two months of 2015, the Planning and Investment Ministry said on Friday. The country received $1.2 billion worth of FDI between Jan. 1 and Feb. 20, the ministry's Foreign Investment Agency said in a statement on its website. (fia.mpi.gov.vn) New pledges in the period, however, dropped 14.3 percent from a year ago to $712 million, with most of the funds going to the manufacturing and processing industries, it said. Additional funds to existing projects fell 32.2 percent in the same period to $480 million, the agency said. Foreign investment inflows are an important source of foreign exchange for Vietnam. The FDI inflow last year was below what the country needed to fund planned infrastructure projects. ID:nL3N0UA023 (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Ho Binh Minh and Biju Dwarakanath) ((mai.nguyen@thomsonreuters.com; +844 3825 9623; Reuters Messaging: mai.nguyen.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net;)) Keywords: VIETNAM ECONOMY/FDI

Hungary bank sector deeply in the red in 2014

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

BUDAPEST, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Hungary's bank sector posted an after-tax loss of 446.5 billion forints ($1.65 billion) last year due to a rise in provisions related to government-mandated compensation to clients on past loans, national news agency MTI said citing central bank data on Friday. In 2013, the Hungarian bank sector had a profit of 31.2 billion. Preliminary data from the central bank showed that banks booked provisions and writeoffs worth 776.3 billion forints last year, compared with 286.6 billion forints in 2013. Banks operating in Hungary have to compensate customers for loan charges that the government and courts have deemed unfair. ($1 = 269.9500 forints) (Reporting by Krisztina Than) ((krisztina.than@thomsonreuters.com; +36 1 327 4745; Reuters Messaging: krisztina.than.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: HUNGARY BANKS/

India fwd/annualised dlr premia-Feb 27

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

London gold 1030 fix - Feb 27 - 1205.00 dlrs

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

Three killed over gold discovery on Mali-Guinea border

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

BAMAKO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Mali said three of its nationals were killed in a village near the Guinean border during a violent skirmish between miners over a gold discovery. Guinean miners armed with guns and knives killed them in the village of Sanafara, about 100 kilometres west of the capital, according to a Malian government statement. "The provisional death toll is three and several Malians injured," said the statement late on Thursday, describing an incident the day before. Government officials in Guinea were not immediately available for comment. Vast, underground gold deposits in the remote border area have lured thousands of people to labour in rudimentary conditions, and accidents are common. (Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Mark Potter) ((emma.farge@thomsonreuters.com; +221 33 864 5077; Reuters Messaging: emma.farge.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MALI MINING/VIOLENCE

German parliament approves Greek bailout extension

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

BERLIN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Germany's parliament approved an extension of Greece's bailout on Friday after Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has voiced doubts about whether Athens can be trusted, promised it would not be allowed to "blackmail" its euro zone partners. With 542 lawmakers voting in favour, including almost all of Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-left coalition plus the opposition Greens, it was the biggest majority for any euro zone rescue package so far in the 631-seat chamber. The Bundestag vote was the only major parliamentary hurdle for a four-month extension to the bailout programme for the most heavily-indebted country in the single currency zone. (Reporting by Stephen Brown; Editing by Alexandra Hudson) ((stephen.brown@thomsonreuters.com; +49 30 2888 5216; Reuters Messaging: stephen.brown.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: EUROZONE GREECE/GERMANY VOTE

Turkish lira hits record low on central bank worries

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

ISTANBUL, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira dropped to a record low of 2.5170 against the dollar on Friday, extending losses triggered earlier this week by harsh criticism of the central bank from President Tayyip Erdogan, and on expectations of a U.S. rate hike. The lira TRYTOM=D3 stood at 2.5170 at 1018 GMT, compared with 2.4960 late on Friday. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Daren Butler) ((humeyra.pamuk@thomsonreuters.com; +90 212 3507000; Reuters Messaging: humeyra.pamuk.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS TURKEY/LIRA

London platinum/palladium 0945 fix - Feb 27

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

Dymon Asia's $3 bln macro hedge fund lost 10.45 pct in Jan - data

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

By Nishant Kumar LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Dymon Asia's $3.1 billion macro hedge fund lost 10.45 percent in January, performance data seen by Reuters showed, a month where many peers lost heavily after a surprise rise in the Swiss franc. Singapore-based Dymon, set up by Danny Yong, a former founding partner and chief investment officer of Abax Global Capital, is one of Asia's biggest home-grown hedge fund firms with about $4.5 billion worth of assets under management. The exact reason for the decline could not be confirmed but the loss wiped out a large chunk of the gains the hedge fund earned in 2014. The fund returned 18.75 percent last year, when macro hedge funds as measured by industry tracker Eurekahedge gained just 4 percent on average. Dymon Asia President Jay Luo declined to comment. Macro hedge funds, which focus on major economic trends and bet on assets such as stocks, currencies, bonds, commodities and indices, gained 2.2 percent last month, but several of them suffered losses after a surprise decision by the Swiss National Bank to remove a cap on the franc. ID:nL1N0UU1W6 Losers include London-based hedge fund COMAC Capital, the $750 million Harness Macro Currency Strategy, which lost 8.8 percent, and the Fortress Macro Fund, which declined by about 7 percent. ID:nL5N0VK3T9 (Editing by Simon Jessop) ((nishant.kumar@thomsonreuters.com; twitter: @nishantkumar07; +44 020 7542 7942; Reuters Messaging: nishant.kumar.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: HEDGEFUNDS DYMON/

UPDATE 1-Indonesia c.bank comfortable with weakening rupiah, says helps exports

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds central bank governor's comments) By Adriana Nina Kusuma and Gayatri Suroyo JAKARTA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Indonesia's central bank said it was not worried about the rupiah weakening as the currency fell near a 17-year low on Friday, and would intervene in the foreign exchange market when needed. The rupiah, along with other emerging Asian currencies, has come under pressure due to a revival in expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon increase interest rates. "There's no need to be worried about Indonesia's economy, the rupiah is in good condition and Bank Indonesia will always be in the market to guard it," central bank governor Agus Martowardojo told reporters. The rupiah IDR= fell nearly 1 percent to 12,940 per dollar, its weakest since August 1998, as investors saw more chances for further interest rate cuts by Bank Indonesia after a surprise reduction earlier this month. Central bank officials said the weak rupiah is mainly a consequence of a broadly stronger dollar, noting that the rupiah has actually appreciated against several other currencies this year. Data from the Bank for International Settlements showed the real effective exchange rate of the rupiah appreciating since the start of 2014. Martowardojo said foreign investors remained confident in Indonesia's economic outlook, with inflows in the stock and bond markets reaching 53 trillion rupiah ($4.10 billion) so far this year, up 77 percent from the same period last year. The central bank governor said annual inflation was expected to ease to below 6.5 percent in February from 6.96 percent in January. Consumer prices likely fell 0.2 percent in February from the previous month due to lower fuel prices and stable rice prices. The Bureau of Statistics will release February inflation data on Monday. Last week, Bank Indonesia unexpectedly cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 7.50 percent, saying inflation at the end of the year will fall below 4 percent. President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday that the central bank has scope to cut its policy rate again this year if inflation falls below 4 or 5 percent. ID:nL4N0VZ2QN Standard Chartered Economist Eric Sugandi said he expects another 25 basis point cut in the benchmark rate in March due to good inflation data. "It's better to cut in the first quarter rather than the second because we could have the seasonal ballooning current account problem in the second quarter," Sugandi said. ($1 = 12,925 rupiah) (Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore) ((gayatri.suroyo@thomsonreuters.com; +622129927609; Reuters Messaging: gayatri.suroyo.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: INDONESIA CURRENCY

EM euro issuance will be highest in a decade on QE

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

By Michael Turner LONDON, Feb 24 (IFR) - Euro-denominated emerging market sovereign issuance will soar to its highest levels in 10 years on the back of the European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme, as issuers outside the eurozone seek to take advantage of falling euro yields, according to bank analysts. Euro debt issuance from emerging market sovereigns is expected to rise by 67% to EUR35bn this year because of the ECB's EUR1.1trn bond buying plan, which has already pushed yields down in the single currency region before a security has even been bought. The ECB move will have a knock-on effect on euro-denominated issuance outside the eurozone, as investors look outside their regular stomping ground in search of higher returns, driving down the yields of emerging market euro curves in the process. There is evidence that ECB fever has already hit the market following a tightly-priced dual-tranche offering from Mexico on Thursday. The sovereign printed two euro bonds, due in 2024 and 2045, inside its dollar curve on a headline basis, though on a post-swap basis issuing in dollars would have been more cost effective. Still, the deal allows Mexico to consolidate its euro investor base. SAME SIZE, MORE EUROS Euro issuance from emerging market sovereigns in 2014 reached around EUR21bn, or about 27% of a sovereign market that totalled roughly USD100bn-equivalent last year, according to Societe Generale. "I would expect the size of the market to remain roughly the same at around USD100bn sovereign issuance this year," Régis Chatellier, director, EM sovereign credit strategy at Societe Generale told IFR. "But the share of euro sovereign bonds should increase to 40%, which means the share of US dollar bonds should be lower." If euro-denominated emerging market sovereign issuance hits the EUR35bn level Chatellier forecasts, it will be the highest such amount raised in the currency in the last decade, according to Thomson Reuters data. Until last year, EM sovereign euro issuance had struggled to break through EUR20bn - the only exception being the EUR23bn raised in 2010. Those emerging market issuers within the eurozone are already seeing their debt rally hard. Latvia 2024s, for example, are trading at a yield of 0.7%, according to Tradeweb, nearly 100bp lower than at the end of 2014. Sovereigns with plenty of room to issue new debt are likely to be some of the biggest beneficiaries of ECB bond buying, according to Martin van Vliet, a strategist at ING. "Issuers such as Slovakia...will benefit more from the programme than the likes of Belgium and Italy, given its much lower amount of outstanding bonds in the two- to 30-year maturity range in proportion to its GDP," said van Vliet. Croatia, not in the eurozone, is seeking to raise euros, although it could print its transaction before the ECB begins buying debt. Sovereign issuers from outside Europe with an existing euro curve are expected to capitalise on falling yields, with South Africa, Turkey, Brazil, Morocco and Indonesia all highlighted by Chatellier as possibilities to issue new euro debt. All of those sovereigns "would be inclined to issue in euros, either in order to fund their financing gap, or to boost their FX reserves," said Chatellier. (Reporting By Michael Turner; editing by Sudip Roy, Julian Baker) ((michael.turner@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 9077;)) Keywords: ECB QE/

Sterling pulls back after jump vs euro, election starts to weigh

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

By Patrick Graham LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Sterling dipped back below $1.54 on Friday, more than a cent below 8-week highs hit a day earlier, with a growing focus on political risks ahead of May elections helping cool the past month's stronger mood towards Britain. The pound was also 0.3 percent weaker against the euro after breaking below 73 pence per euro EURGBP=D4 to a more than seven-year high on Thursday, as interest rate expectations moved further in favour of British assets just days before the European Central Bank embarks on a huge asset-buying spree. This week has seen a raft of warnings from analyst teams at major banks on risks to the pound, with worries over heavier spending and taxes and regulation on the financial sector by a centre-left Labour government top of the list. Options market pricing shows a jump in the cost of derivatives allowing investors to hedge against volatility around the most widely contested parliamentary elections of the modern era. Three-month implied volatility traded at 9 percent compared to around 7.35 percent for the equivalent 2-month option. GBPVOL= "Although FX markets currently appear indifferent, we expect politics to matter a lot for sterling as the election gets closer," analysts from RBC Capital Markets said in a report analysing the possible fallout of the May poll. "Based on current policy priorities, trading around previous elections, and our assessment of current market pricing, the only clearly GBP-positive scenario would be a limited swing in voting intentions toward the Conservatives." That could also turn bad on UK markets. Even if he avoids being forced into a coalition with anti-EU party UKIP, Prime Minister David Cameron is committed to a referendum on EU membership that many is his own party believes should take Britain out. "It feels like the electoral risks are finally coming into focus," said Michael Sneyd, a strategist with BNP Paribas in London. "After the strong performance since the start of this year, people are thinking that these are good levels to start to position for some nerves around the election. We are certainly in that camp." By 0913 GMT, the pound was trading at $1.5404 GBP=D4 and 72.87 pence per euro respectively. (Editing by Toby Chopra) ((anirban.nag@thomsonreuters.com)(+44207 542 8399)(anirban.nag.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/STERLING

Egypt to launch Eurobond by June - finance minister

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Egypt plans to launch a Eurobond by June, the country's finance minister said on Friday. "I expect maybe by June, with all the documents, all the procedures, we will be at the market," Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian said during a speech in London. (Reporting by Karin Strohecker, writing by Marc Jones) ((marc.jones@thomsonreuters.com; +44 (0)207 542 9033; Reuters Messaging: marc.jones.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net Twitter @marcjonesrtrs)) Keywords: EGYPT EUROBONDS/

Turkish lira hovers near record lows on central bank concerns

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

By Nevzat Devranoglu ISTANBUL, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira hovered near record lows on Friday as investors worried whether Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci would continue in his post after President Tayyip Erdogan's blistering criticism of the bank. Erdogan said on Wednesday that the bank's monetary policy was "unsuited to the realities of the Turkish economy" after it failed to meet his demands for rate cuts larger than those it made on Tuesday. He questioned whether the bank was under external influence. ID:nL5N0VZ44P Market attention was focused on whether Erdogan would keep up the pressure or seek to lower tension when he speaks at a lunch he is hosting for provincial governors at the presidential palace at 1130 GMT. "President Erdogan's comments will be critical for the market today. We could see strong selling pressure if he continues his criticisms of Basci today. Even worse, we could start to price in Erdem Basci not continuing (in his post)," said one senior banker. The lira TRYTOM=D3 stood at 2.5015 against the dollar at 0907 GMT, weaker than 2.4960 late on Thursday and near an all-time low of 2.5155 which it hit two weeks ago. The main share index .XU100 was 0.11 percent higher at 86,010.72 points, having fallen 0.94 percent on Thursday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond tTR240724TA=IS rose to 8.37 percent from a spot close of 8.21 percent on Thursday. As speculation swirled around Basci's future, a central bank spokesman on Thursday said the governor had had a health check but no serious health problem was found and he will return to his duties on Friday afternoon. Traders viewed Erdogan's questioning of whether the bank was under external influence as a thinly veiled reference to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally whom Erdogan accuses of infiltrating state institutions in a bid to unseat him. In the past year, its followers have been systematically purged from bodies including the police and judiciary. Erdogan's criticism has also triggered speculation about the future of respected Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, an anchor of investor confidence in Turkey for more than a decade. Babacan, who is in charge of the economy and has been a staunch defender of central bank independence, met Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for more than two hours following Erdogan's comments, which rattled financial markets. (Writing by Daren Butler) ((daren.butler@thomsonreuters.com; +90-212-350 7122; Reuters Messaging: daren.butler.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS TURKEY/

REFILE-China outstanding QFII quota at $70 bln at end Feb

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

(Corrects day of announcement to Friday, not Thursday, in first paragraph) BEIJING, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The outstanding amount of China's dollar-denominated Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) programme rose to $69.7 billion at the end of February, China's currency regulator said on Friday. The quota was worth $68 billion at the end of January. The QFII programme was created years ago by China to allow foreigners to invest in Chinese capital markets. Norges Bank, Norway's central bank which manages the country's sovereign wealth fund, was given another $1 billion QFII quota in February, taking its total quota to $2.5 billion, the largest among investors outside China. Hong Kong's central bank also hold a $2.5 billion QFII quota. South Korea's central bank was given a $900 million quota in February. (Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore) ((guiqing.koh@thomsonreuters.com; +86 10 6627 1242; Reuters Messaging: guiqing.koh.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CHINA ECONOMY/QFII

Sri Lankan rupee forwards weaker on importer dollar demand

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

COLOMBO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan rupee forwards traded slightly weaker on Friday due to importer dollar demand, while traders awaited the results of open market operations to find clues to interest rate direction, dealers said. One-week forwards, which were active, traded a tad weaker at 133.45/55 per dollar at 0850 GMT, compared with Thursday's close of 133.40/45. "Traders and exporters are waiting to see whether the central bank jacks up overnight rates," said a currency dealer. The spot currency LKR=LK was steady at 132.90/133.10 per dollar for a sixth straight session, keeping to the limits set by the central bank. Central bank officials were not immediately available for comment. Market players are worried there could be further depreciation despite Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake's statement on Wednesday that Sri Lanka would defend the currency and that the country has enough foreign exchange reserves to prevent any further fall, dealers said. ID:nL4N0VZ31I Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said on Thursday that foreign currency reserves were stable after it spent over $1 billion in January to defend the rupee, and ample dollar inflows would enable it to cover the country's repayments. ID:nL4N0W02LT Rupee forwards have been falling since Monday after the central bank lifted a 2-cents-per-day premium limit on the currency, dealers said. The central bank had defended the spot currency at 132.80 since Feb. 6 through Feb. 18, before allowing it to fall 10 cents against the dollar on Feb. 19. The rupee has fallen 1.4 percent this year through Feb. 20 due to higher imports, the central bank said on Tuesday. The main stock index .CSE was down 0.21 percent, or 15 points, at 7,302.44 at 0854 GMT with a turnover of 905.1 million rupees ($6.81 million). ($1 = 132.9000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu) ((ranga.sirilal@thomsonreuters.com; +94-11-232-5540; Reuters Messaging: ranga.sirilal.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net ; www.twitter.com/rangaba)) Keywords: MARKETS SRI LANKA/

Turkish central bank injects 23 bln lira in repo, bids 44.32 bln

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

ISTANBUL, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The Turkish central bank on Friday injected 23 billion lira ($9.19 billion) into the market in a one-week repo auction at a fixed simple rate of 7.50 percent, central bank data CBTG showed. Total bids for the repo, which matures on March 6, were 44.32 billion lira, it said. ($1 = 2.5040 liras) (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Daren Butler) ((humeyra.pamuk@thomsonreuters.com; +90 212 3507000; Reuters Messaging: humeyra.pamuk.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: TURKEY REPO/

Hong Kong Exchange Fund assets rise to HK$3.22 trln by Jan end -HKMA

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Assets at the Exchange Fund, which is used to back the Hong Kong dollar, totalled HK$3,219.1 billion ($415.19 billion) at the end of January, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said on Friday. The figure was HK$67 billion higher than the total at the end of December, with foreign currency assets and Hong Kong dollar assets rising HK$14.2 billion and HK$52.8 billion respectively, the city's de facto central bank said in a statement. The HKMA said the rise in foreign currency assets was mainly due to the purchase of foreign currencies with Hong Kong dollars and valuation gains on foreign currency investments, which were partly offset by exchange losses. The rise in Hong Kong dollar assets was mainly due to placements received from the fiscal reserves. For more details, click (http://bit.ly/1G0iG9e) ($1 = 7.7533 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Twinnie Siu and Christina Lo in HONG KONG; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath) ((twinnie.siu@thomsonreuters.com)(+852 2841 5763)(Reuters Messaging: twinnie.siu.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: HONGKONG ECONOMY/EXCHANGE FUND ASSETS

Kenya's central bank says in market to mop up 6 bln shillings

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

NAIROBI, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The central bank of Kenya said on Friday it planned to mop up 6 billion shillings ($66 million) in excess liquidity from the money markets. CBK04 By absorbing excess liquidity, the bank makes it costlier to hold dollars, which in turn lends support to the shilling KES= . ($1 = 91.3200 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by James Macharia) ((Edith.Honan@thomsonreuters.com; +254 715 336 233;)) Keywords: KENYA MARKETS/CENBANK

FOREX-Dollar on track for eighth month of gains on US data, Fed outlook

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

* Dollar index eases from previous day's 1-month high * U.S. Jan CPI, durables goods data raise rate-hike bets * Fed's Bullard, Williams keep alive hopes of higher rates (Recasts, adds comment, details) By Anirban Nag LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The dollar index slipped on Friday, pegged back by month-end selling, but was still on track for its eighth straight month of gains on better data and comments from Federal Reserve officials that bolstered bets for a rate rise this year. The index .DXY , which measures the dollar's performance against major currencies, was set to mark its longest streak of monthly gains since the greenback was floated as a fiat currency in 1971. On the day however, the index was off 0.2 percent at 95.124, having hit a one-month high of 95.357 on Thursday. The index had rallied 1.1 percent on Thursday, bringing it close to the more than 11-year high of 95.481 struck on Jan. 23. Data released on Thursday showed U.S. core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy costs, rose 0.2 percent in January, more than the 0.1 percent increase economists had expected. ID:nL1N0W01N0 U.S. durable goods orders also rose 2.8 percent in January. "It is the data, especially core inflation and durable goods, that is catching attention. We are still calling for a June rate hike and the market is not pricing that. They are looking for a hike much later. So yes, we think the dollar will outperform," said Hamish Pepper, strategist at Barclays. He added that month-end hedging flows were also playing a role on Friday. A Barclays note said rebalancing of hedges by stocks and bonds investors at month-end would lead to decent amounts of dollar selling against major currencies. That was because U.S. stock markets rose much more than some of its global peers, while moves in bond markets were rather limited, they said. A Citi note echoed that view. The dollar eased 0.1 percent against the yen to 119.30 yen JPY= , but remained above Thursday's low of 118.68 yen. San Francisco Fed President John Williams and St. Louis Fed chief James Bullard both suggested on Thursday that the U.S. central bank might end its near zero interest rate policy sooner than some traders expect. ID:nL1N0W01XH The dollar's dip gave the euro a breather. It edged up 0.15 percent to $1.1215 EUR= , but was not far from a one-month low of $1.1184 touched on Thursday. The euro was down 0.6 percent for the month as German Bund yields tumbled with investors bracing for the European Central Bank asset-purchase programme to start next month. "ECB QE is going to cap any euro rebound. But I think the catalyst for next leg lower in the euro will come from the dollar side of the story," said Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist for Bank of Singapore. (additional reporting by Masayuki Kitano) ((anirban.nag@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 8399; Reuters Messaging: anirban.nag.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

Polish c.banker Chojna-Duch: Q4 GDP data positive, show stability

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

WARSAW, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Polish central banker Elzbieta Chojna-Duch said on Friday that economic growth data for 2014 were positive. "The data present an optimistic outlook, they indicate a stability of good economic growth," she told Reuters. (Reporting by Marcin Goettig) ((marcin.goettig@thomsonreuters.com; +48226539720; Reuters Messaging: marcin.goettig.reuters.com@thomsonreuters.net)) Keywords: POLAND CENBANK/CHOJNA DUCH

RPT-Norway to sell NOK 700 mln of FX per day in March

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

(Repeats without changes) OSLO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Norway's central bank will sell foreign exchange equivalent of 700 million Norwegian crowns ($91.60 mln) per day in March after selling the same amount of currency per day in February, it said in a statement on Friday. The bank is selling the currency because the government's transfers to its $880 billion sovereign wealth fund have been smaller than earlier expected and the budget is spending more of its oil related income. The bank usually puts foreign currency to be given to the fund into a "buffer portfolio", which had become bigger than necessary and has said it would gradually reduce the size of this buffer this year by selling foreign exchange in the market. "Norges Bank aims for the petroleum buffer portfolio to be between NOK 5 billion and NOK 10 billion at the end of each year," the bank said in a statement on its web page. The bank made its first purchase of crowns in October to cover the government's non-oil-related budget deficit. ($1 = 7.6422 Norwegian krones) (Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, editing by Terje Solsvik) ((stine.jacobsen@thomsonreuters.com; +47 23 31 65 98; Reuters Messaging: stine.jacobsen.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: NORWAY FOREX/

Norway to sell NOK 700 mln of FX per day in March

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

OSLO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Norway's central bank will sell foreign exchange equivalent of 700 million Norwegian crowns ($91.60 mln) per day in March after selling the same amount of currency per day in February, it said in a statement on Friday. The bank is selling the currency because the government's transfers to its $880 billion sovereign wealth fund have been smaller than earlier expected and the budget is spending more of its oil related income. The bank usually puts foreign currency to be given to the fund into a "buffer portfolio", which had become bigger than necessary and has said it would gradually reduce the size of this buffer this year by selling foreign exchange in the market. "Norges Bank aims for the petroleum buffer portfolio to be between NOK 5 billion and NOK 10 billion at the end of each year," the bank said in a statement on its web page. The bank made its first purchase of crowns in October to cover the government's non-oil-related budget deficit. ($1 = 7.6422 Norwegian krones) (Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, editing by Terje Solsvik) ((stine.jacobsen@thomsonreuters.com; +47 23 31 65 98; Reuters Messaging: stine.jacobsen.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: NORWAY FOREX/

Airbus says studying A320 production ramp-up beyond 50/month

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

MUNICH, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Airbus Group AIR.PA is studying whether to increase its production rate for the A320 family single-aisle jet to beyond 50 per month, contemplating rates of 60 or more, its chief executive said on Friday. "The demand is clearly there to move the rates to 60-plus," Tom Enders told journalists. "There are studies underway." Airbus announced on Friday it would move production of the A320 to 50 from 2017 as it unveiled stronger than expected 2014 results. ID:nL5N0W10J4 Industry sources have said rival Boeing BA.N is gauging supplier capacity for rates of 58 a month for its competing 737 jet, compared with current output of 42 and a 2018 target of 52. Enders said the group was confident it would not have to take any more charges for the A400M military transporter in 2015. "The provision we are taking is based on the view we have today of the challenges and extra costs... We're confident at this point we should not add further provisions in 2015 and hopefully not in other years," he told journalists. He also said Airbus should start to see the benefits of the strong US dollar from 2017 onwards. (Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Cyril Altmeyer) ((victoria.bryan@thomsonreuters.com; +49 30 2888 5169; Reuters Messaging: victoria.bryan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net Twitter:@vl_bryan)) Keywords: AIRBUS GROUP RESULTS/STUDIES

PRECIOUS-Gold holds up on Chinese demand, set to snap 4-week losing run

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

* Gold down nearly 6 pct in Feb, biggest monthly loss since Sept * Coming up: U.S. Q4 GDP revision; 1330 GMT (Recasts with latest prices) By Manolo Serapio Jr SINGAPORE, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Gold advanced for a third straight session on Friday and was on track to end a four-week losing streak, supported by firm Chinese demand and a softer dollar. However, the gains were limited, with hopes that a looming U.S. rate rise would be delayed until later this year after dovish signals from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen fizzling out after upbeat U.S. data and comments from other Fed officials. Gold has fallen more than 7 percent from a five-month high above $1,300 hit in January as expectations of a U.S. rate increase dimmed bullion's safe-haven appeal. But it has found support at around $1,200, thanks to demand from No. 2 consumer China. "The downside risk for gold is quite limited because buying interest from emerging markets like China will support the price at low levels," said Chen Min, an analyst at Jinrui Futures in Shenzhen. Premiums on the Shanghai Gold Exchange remained around $4 an ounce over the global spot price on Friday, slightly less than earlier this week after Chinese buyers returned to the market following the Feb. 18-24 Lunar New Year holiday. Spot gold XAU= was up 0.2 percent at $1,210.80 an ounce by 0717 GMT, as the dollar took a breather after hitting a one-month high against a basket of currencies. Bullion has gained 0.7 percent on the week. But the metal is still headed for its biggest monthly loss since September, having fallen nearly 6 percent in February, reflecting the U.S. rate rise worries. Chinese buying interest tends to weaken when gold is above $1,200 an ounce, said Chen, explaining the limited upside for spot gold prices. "When the price goes below $1,150, Chinese buying should be more aggressive," she said. China's gold imports from Hong Kong rebounded in January from a three-month low in December, reflecting increased demand ahead of the Lunar New Year. ID:nL4N0W03IB U.S. gold for April delivery GCcv1 was steady at $1,210.40 an ounce. U.S. durable goods orders jumped 2.8 percent in January and core consumer prices rose more than expected, putting the prospect of a mid-year rate rise back on the table. ID:nL1N0W01N0 In addition, San Francisco Fed President John Williams and St. Louis Fed chief James Bullard both suggested the U.S. central bank might end its near-zero interest rate policy sooner than some traders expect. ID:nL1N0W01XH But the fact that gold was holding up above $1,200 indicated "that an eventual (U.S.) rate rise has been largely digested by the market and may therefore be largely priced in", HSBC analyst James Steel said in a note. Precious metals prices 0717 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Spot Gold 1210.80 2.50 +0.21 2.30 Spot Silver 16.57 0.05 +0.30 5.81 Spot Platinum 1175.45 2.55 +0.22 -2.04 Spot Palladium 808.70 1.30 +0.16 2.02 COMEX GOLD APR5 1210.40 0.30 +0.02 2.22 COMEX SILVER MAR5 16.57 -0.02 -0.11 6.19 Euro/Dollar 1.1212 Dollar/Yen 119.28 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Alan Raybould) ((manolo.serapio@thomsonreuters.com; +65 6870 3884; Reuters Messaging: manolo.serapio.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS PRECIOUS/

Vietnam domestic market commodity prices-Feb 27

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Following are domestic prices of Vietnam's key commodities. Unit: million dong VND= per tonne. Item Feb 24-27 Feb 9-13 Location Robusta beans 38.0-41.1 39.2-40.8 Central Highlands Black pepper 155.0-163.0 153.0-160.0 Southern region Refined sugar 13.0-14.0 13.0-15.5 Southern region Winter-spring paddy 5.00-5.75 5.00-5.70 Mekong Delta ___________________ SJC gold 3.535-3.577 3.526-3.548 Hanoi, HCM City NOTES: Gold prices are low/high selling prices quoted in million dong during the week by top manufacturer SJC per 3.75-gram ingot. Coffee export prices COFFEE/ASIA1 Rice export prices RICE/ASIA1 Historical data VNCOMM01 Central bank's gold auction SBVGOLD2013 ($1=21,320 dong) (Compiled by Hanoi Newsroom) ((ho.minh@thomsonreuters.com +844 3825 9623)) Keywords: VIETNAM COMMODITIES/PRICES

UPDATE 2-Thailand says to let Kingsgate gold mine restart

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

* Kingsgate says gets verbal OK, wants written clearance * Government confirms official approval is coming * Kingsgate denies mine caused arsenic, manganese contamination * Shares remain under voluntary halt (Adds government comment) By James Regan SYDNEY, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Thailand's government said it would give official clearance on Friday for the country's only gold mine to restart, after it was shut last month over concerns it was responsible for arsenic and manganese contamination suffered by villagers. The mine's owner, Kingsgate Consolidated KCN.AX of Australia, said earlier it had been told verbally it could resume mining but was waiting for formal clearance. It has denied being responsible for the contamination. "It is allowed to open," Surapong Chiengtong, director-general of Thailand's Department of Primary Industries and Mines, told Reuters. "The official letter will be issued today and once that is received, then mining can resume," Surapong said. Kingsgate's shares will remain under voluntary suspension until the mine restarts, according to a spokeswoman for the company. Kingsgate requested a halt to trading in its stock in mid-January. Thai authorities ordered a temporary halt to mining after random urine and blood tests showed above-standard arsenic and manganese levels in villagers near the mine, located 280 km (175 miles) north of Bangkok. ID:nL3N0UV2XK Kingsgate has said the mine was not responsible for any arsenic or manganese present in the area and that it does not use or store either material at the site. It said it had called in independent experts from local universities to carry out tests on the villagers. The Chatree mine began operations in 2001. It is operated by Akara Resources Public Company, a Kingsgate subsidiary, and yields about 11,000 ounces of gold per month. (Additional reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre in Bangkok; Editing by Alan Raybould) ((jim.regan@thomsonreuters.com; +612 9373-1814; Reuters Messaging: jim.regan.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: THAILAND AUSTRALIA/MINE

INDICATORS - Kazakhstan - Feb 27

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

Australia's Kingsgate says Thai govt to allow its gold mine to restart

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

SYDNEY, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Australia's Kingsgate Consolidated KCN.AX said it was told by Thailand's mines department that its Chatree gold mine had been cleared to restart after being ordered to shut down last month over concerns of arsenic and manganese contamination of a nearby village. A Kingsgate spokeswoman in Sydney said management will await written confirmation from Thailand's Department of Primary Industries and Mines before taking steps to restart the mine in central Thailand. Kingsgate's Australian shares will remain under voluntary suspension until the mine restarts, the spokeswoman said. (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Himani Sarkar) ((jim.regan@thomsonreuters.com; +612 9373-1814; Reuters Messaging: jim.regan.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: THAILAND AUSTRALIA/MINE

Gold miner Newcrest cuts stake in Evolution to pay debt

February 27, 2015 - reuters.com

SYDNEY, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Australia's Newcrest Mining Ltd NCM.AX said on Friday it has sold just over half of its stake in fellow Australian gold producer Evolution Mining Ltd EVN.AX for A$106 million ($83 million) to help it pay down debt. The overnight sale at A$0.85 a share, below Evolution's last closing price, knocked the smaller company's shares down by more than 8 percent following a recent surge as a weaker Australian dollar boosted the value of its bullion in local currency terms. The proceeds from the sale will do little to dent Newcrest's overall debt of A$4.291 billion, but underscores a drive by Australia's biggest miner to clear its books of unwanted holdings. Newcrest, which recently paid off A$257 million of debt, said on Feb. 13 it was open to selling its Telfer gold and copper mine in Australia, once the company's flagship operation. ID:nL4N0VN1AU The miner said it had retained a 14.9 percent stake in Evolution, and had agreed to hold on to the shares until the release of the 400,000-ounces-per-year producer's full-year results, due around August. The Australian dollar gold price XAUAUD=R , against which the country's exports of the metal are priced, has risen from around A$1,426 an ounce at the beginning of December to A$1,550 at present. Evolution shares were last trading at A$0.85. ($1 = 1.2824 Australian dollars) (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin) ((jim.regan@thomsonreuters.com; +612 9373-1814; Reuters Messaging: jim.regan.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: NEWCREST AUSTRALIA/EVOLUTION MINING

GLOBAL MARKETS-Global equities fall as oil sinks; dollar rallies

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* U.S. CPI in biggest drop since 2008; core inflation rises * U.S. dollar rises to one-month high * Energy shares fall on steep oil decline (Updates U.S. market prices to close) By Sinead Carew NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Global equities dipped on Thursday as investor enthusiasm was dampened by a pullback in oil prices related to rising inventories, while the dollar rose as economic data drove expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. The U.S. S&P 500 .SPX ended down, led by an 1.8 percent drop in energy shares .SPNY . Brent crude .LCOc1 settled down 2.6 percent and U.S. crude CLc1 fell 5.5 percent. ID:nL5N0W028I The Nasdaq .IXIC was a bright spot in U.S. equities, rising on news of a technology deal as it drew closer to its lifetime peak, hit in 2000. U.S. consumer prices fell in the 12 months through January, the first such decline since 2009 as gasoline prices continued to tumble, but core prices, which exclude volatile items such as food and gasoline, rose more than expected. ID:nL1N0W01N0 The MSCI All-Country World equity index .MIWD00000PUS was down 0.2 percent after having hit a record high of 434.40 points earlier in the trading day. The dollar rose to a one-month high against a basket of currencies, as the data on core inflation and data showing a rise in U.S. durable goods orders supported bets that the Federal Reserve will raise interests rates. ID:nL1N0W02NT The president of the San Francisco Fed, John Williams, in an interview on Fox Business Network on Thursday, said that the Fed will probably start raising interest rates "sometime this summer, or this fall" as inflation bottoms out and begins to recover. The comments followed congressional testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, this week, that the U.S. central bank would consider rate hikes on a "meeting-by-meeting" basis. After those comments, Thursday's data was a key driver in currency and bond markets. "It undermined the view that there's domestic disinflation. It's more an international story about falling prices in goods and commodities," said Alan Ruskin, global head of currency strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York. U.S. Treasuries prices fell after the consumer price data pointed to marginally less dovish Fed policy and an auction of seven-year notes saw soft demand. ID:nL1N0W02P2 The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 10.15 points, or 0.06 percent, to 18,214.42, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 3.12 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,110.74, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 20.75 points, or 0.42 percent, to 4,987.89. News that Avago Technologies AVGO.O reached a deal to acquire Emulex ELX.N helped boost the Nasdaq. Avago jumped 14.7 percent to $129.47. Emulex shares surged 24.6 percent to $7.93. Earlier in the day European bond yields sank to fresh lows as investors positioned for an extended era of cheap money ahead of the European Central Bank's bond-buying scheme. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 closed up 1 percent. Greek equities .ATG fell 2 percent, after Greece said on Wednesday that it would struggle to make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank this year. The Russian rouble RUB= strengthened against the dollar for a third straight day but sharply pared gains as oil prices fell. The euro fell 1.5 pct against the dollar. Gold prices rose 0.35 percent, rallying for a second day on expectations of a Fed interest rate hike. (Reporting by Sinead Carew; Additional reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Leslie Adler) ((sinead.carew@thomsonreuters.com; +1)(646 223 6186; Reuters Messaging: sinead.carew.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

GLOBAL MARKETS-Global equities fall as decline in oil drags on energy shares

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* German 7-year debt goes sub-zero for first time * U.S. CPI in biggest drop since 2008; core inflation rises * U.S. dollar rises to one-month high (Updates U.S. market prices, adds comment on dollar move) By Sinead Carew NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Global equities declined slightly on Thursday as a pullback in oil prices due to rising inventories dampened investor enthusiasm while the dollar rose as data revived confidence in the U.S. economy. Major U.S. equities indexes were little changed. The S&P 500 .SPX was pressured by a 1.8 percent drop in energy shares .SPNY . Brent crude .LCOc1 was down 1.4 percent and U.S. crude CLc1 fell 1.9 percent. ID:nL5N0W028I U.S. consumer prices in January posted their biggest drop since 2008 as gasoline prices continued to tumble, but underlying inflation rose modestly. The MSCI All-Country World equity index .MIWD00000PUS was down 0.13 percent after having hit a record high of 434.40 points earlier in the trading day. The dollar rose to a one-month high against a basket of currencies after the rise in core inflation and data showing a rise in U.S. durable goods orders supported bets that the Federal Reserve will raise interests rates in the middle of the year. The president of the San Francisco Fed, John Williams, in an interview on Fox Business Network on Thursday, said the Fed will probably start raising interest rates "sometime this summer, or this fall" as inflation bottoms out and begins to recover. The comments followed congressional testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, this week, that the U.S. central bank would consider rate hikes on a "meeting-by-meeting" basis. Thursday's data showing a rise in the core inflation reading, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, was a key driver in currency markets. "It undermined the view that there's domestic disinflation. It's more an international story about falling prices in goods and commodities," said Alan Ruskin, global head of currency strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York. U.S. Treasuries prices edged lower on Thursday as debt investors also focused on the inflation data, which failed to bolster the case for dovish Federal Reserve policy, and as incoming supply weighed on prices. ID:nL1N0W01WV The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 3.41 points, or 0.02 percent, to 18,221.16, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.95 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,112.91, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 18.63 points, or 0.38 percent, to 4,985.77. In Europe bond yields sank to fresh lows as investors positioned for an extended era of cheap money ahead of the European Central Bank's looming bond-buying scheme. Central banks' battle to keep cash flowing into the financial system to avert a deflationary spiral has driven core European government bond yields into or close to negative territory. German seven-year bond yields on Thursday fell below zero for the first time. ID:nL5N0W01WE The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 closed up 1 percent. Greek equities .ATG fell 2 percent, with the country's fate in focus after it said on Wednesday that it would struggle to make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank this year. The Russian rouble RUB= strengthened against the dollar for a third straight day but pared gains as the day went on and oil prices fell. The euro fell 1.5 pct against the dollar. Gold prices rose 0.38 percent, rallying for a second day on expectations that the Fed would push its interest rate hike. (Reporting by Sinead Carew; Additional reporting by Richard Leong; and Leslie Adler) ((sinead.carew@thomsonreuters.com; +1)(646)(223 6186; Reuters Messaging: sinead.carew.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

GLOBAL MARKETS-Global equities fall; energy shares decline as oil tumbles

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* German 7-year debt goes sub-zero for first time * U.S. CPI in biggest drop since 2008; core inflation rises (Adds U.S. market prices, commentary) By Sinead Carew NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Global equities declined on Thursday after a mixed bag of U.S. economic indicators and a pullback in oil prices dampened investor enthusiasm. Major U.S. equities indexes were little changed, pressured by a 1.6 percent drop in energy shares .SPNY . U.S. consumer prices in January posted their biggest drop since 2008 as gasoline prices continued to tumble, while underlying inflation rose modestly. The figures could give a cautious Federal Reserve more room to hold off on raising interest rates. ID:nL1N0W01N0 The MSCI All-Country World equity index .MIWD00000PUS was down 0.18 percent after having hit a record high of 434.40 points earlier in the trading day. U.S. Treasuries prices edged lower on Thursday, as debt investors saw the rise in core CPI failing to bolster the case for dovish Federal Reserve policy and as incoming supply weighed on prices. Fed Chair Janet Yellen, in testimony before Congress this week, said the U.S. central bank would consider rate hikes on a "meeting-by-meeting" basis. "The way Yellen spelled it out, they're obviously looking at inflation, and it's still a bit too low for them to raise rates," said Justin Lederer, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 6.1 points, or 0.03 percent, to 18,218.47, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 2.46 points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,111.4, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 9.40 points, or 0.19 percent, to 4,976.54. In Europe bond yields sank to fresh lows as investors positioned for an extended era of cheap money ahead of the European Central Bank's looming bond-buying scheme. Central banks' battle to keep cash flowing into the financial system to avert a deflationary spiral has driven core European government bond yields into or close to negative territory. German seven-year bond yields on Thursday fell below zero for the first time. ID:nL5N0W01WE Bets that a U.S. rate hike might come later than expected also bolstered views that rock-bottom rates would remain for the near future. ID:nL1N0VZ2GO The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 rose 0.8 percent. Greek equities .ATG were down 2 percent, with the country's fate in focus after it said on Wednesday that it would struggle to make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank this year. The dollar rose 1 percent against a basket or currencies after a two-day decline following data showing a rise in U.S. durable goods orders. The Russian rouble RUB= strengthened against the dollar for a third straight day. Oil prices fell, with Brent crude .LCOc1 down 1.2 percent and U.S. crude CLc1 down 3.2 percent. Gold prices rose 0.35 percent, rallying for a second day on expectations that the Federal Reserve would push out its first interest rate hike. (Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak and Sam Forgione in New York and Lionel Laurent in London Editing by Leslie Adler) ((lionel.laurent@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 9746; Reuters Messaging: lionel.laurent.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

London gold 1500 fix - Feb 26 - 1208.25 dlrs

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

UPDATE 2-Kyrgyzstan threatens to nationalise Centerra mine if no deal soon

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds Centerra share price, details, background) By Olga Dzyubenko BISHKEK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan's parliament turned up the pressure on Centerra Gold CG.TO on Thursday, threatening to nationalise the Canadian company's Kumtor gold mine unless it agrees within a month to a proposed joint venture. The Central Asian state and the Toronto-listed company have been locked in talks for more than a year over a deal that would involve Kyrgyzstan swapping its 32.7 percent stake in Centerra for half of a joint venture that would control the Kumtor mine. After a day of heated debates, the parliament voted 76-1 on Thursday to pass a resolution obliging the government to finalise the talks in one month. It said that, while still negotiating with Centerra, the cabinet must also prepare a draft for Kumtor's possible nationalisation and submit it to the legislature by March 16. "We should finally end this epic," parliamentary speaker Asilbek Zheenbekov said after the vote. "Today we adopted a tough resolution." "But we still hope that you will be able to iron out all the disputed issues, and we expect you back in one month with good news," he told Kyrgyz government officials present. "Otherwise, we will have to begin work on nationalisation." Centerra Gold officials were not immediately available for comment. Shares of Centerra Gold fell 0.8 percent, or 5 Canadian cents, to C$6.19 in opening trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange, bucking the trend of broad gains for bullion miners as spot gold prices rose. ID:nL4N0W03KP Kumtor, which lies in a permafrost area in the Tien Shan mountains, is Kyrgyzstan's largest gold deposit and alone accounted for 7.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product and 15.5 percent of industrial output last year. The open-pit mine, which is the main hard currency earner for the impoverished nation of 5.5 million, has faced several setbacks since the project was started in 1994, including threats of nationalisation, riots and more recently a $300 million ecological damages lawsuit. The government has repeatedly rejected calls from nationalist opposition politicians to nationalise Kumtor. But in a sign that official patience in talks with Centerra Gold was running out, President Almazbek Atambayev said in December that nationalisation could become the only option if no deal with the company was reached soon. (Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Additional reporting by Susan Taylor in Toronto; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Keith Weir and Mark Potter) ((dmitry.solovyov@thomsonreuters.com; +7 727 3300 787 x 705; Reuters Messaging: dmitry.solovyov.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: KYRGYZSTAN CENTERRAGOLD/

London platinum/palladium 1400 fix - Feb 26

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

S.Africa's Sibanye Gold says not keen on Implat's Marula mine

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 26 (Reuters) - South Africa's Sibanye Gold SGLJ.J , which says it wants to expand into platinum, said on Thursday it was not interested in Impala Platinum's IMPJ.J Marula mine. Implats earlier announced on Thursday announced its intention to sell Marula, which produced 78,500 ounces if platinum in its 2014 financial year, as part of an effort to build cash. "It is probably too small for our purposes," said Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted. Wellsted said Sibanye remained interested in "more meaningful assets," such as Anglo American Platinum's AMSJ.J Rustenburg and Union mines. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia) ((Edward.Stoddard@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 775 3160; Reuters Messaging: edward.stoddard.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: SIBANYE GOLD ASSETS/

Kyrgyz MPs threaten to nationalise Kumtor if no Centerra deal in a month

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

BISHKEK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted on Thursday to give the government one month to finalise talks with Centerra Gold CG.TO on the future of the Kumtor project and threatened to nationalise the Canadian company's gold mine if no agreement is reached. (Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; writing by Dmitry Solovyov; editing by Jason Neely) ((dmitry.solovyov@thomsonreuters.com; +7 727 3300 787 x 705; Reuters Messaging: dmitry.solovyov.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: KYRGYZSTAN CENTERRAGOLD/

GLOBAL MARKETS-Global equities hit new record as cheap money reigns

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* German 7-year debt goes sub-zero for first time * Looming ECB bond-buying, Fed chair comments in focus * Raft of corporate earnings lift Europe higher (Updates and adds quotes, background) By Lionel Laurent LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Global equities set a new record high and bond yields sank to fresh lows on Thursday as investors positioned for an extended era of cheap money ahead of the European Central Bank's looming bond-buying scheme. There were also signs the euro zone economy may be turning a corner as consumer morale picked up in the bloc's largest economies and bank lending fell at a slower place. ID:nL5N0W030P ID:nL9N0QA018 Central banks' battle to keep cash flowing into the financial system to avert a deflationary spiral has driven core European government bond yields into or close to negative territory, with German seven-year bond yields the latest to go below zero for the first time on Thursday. That has pushed investors ever deeper into higher-yielding assets like equities and the MSCI All-Country World equity index .MIWD00000PUS climbed to a new record high of 434.40 points. Bets that a U.S. rate hike might come later than expected, triggered by comments by Fed chair Janet Yellen this week, also bolstered views that the environment of rock-bottom rates would hold for the near future. ID:nL1N0VZ2GO "We think central bank easing efforts will continue to provide liquidity to the markets and expect that could help drive flows into equities globally as investors search for yield," said Mark Mobius, emerging markets fund manager at Franklin Templeton. A new record low of -0.003 percent for German seven-year sovereign bonds DE7YT=RR came after Germany sold its first five-year debt with negative yields on Wednesday and after Irish borrowing rates fell below 1 percent for the first time. ID:nL5N0W01WE There was also good news from Germany on consumer morale, which rose to its highest level in more than 13 years heading into March as low oil prices fed through to households. ID:nL9N0QA018 On equity markets, Asian shares slipped back from a five-month high, but in Europe corporate updates from blue chips including Anheuser-Busch Inbev ABI.BR , Allianz ALVG.DE and Deutsche Telekom DTEGn.DE saw the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 rise 0.3 percent. About two thirds of the way into Europe's earnings season, 55 percent of companies have met or beaten profit forecasts. Overall, fourth-quarter earnings are expected to grow by 19.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, which would be Europe's best season in 3-1/2 years. The financial sector was also in focus after Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered STAN.L said former JPMorgan JPM.N investment bank boss Bill Winters will take over as chief executive in June. The bank's shares were up 2 percent. Shares of Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L fell 4 percent, meanwhile, after the lender reported a 2014 loss of 3.5 billion pounds. ID:nL5N0W016E Emerging markets .MSCIEF got support from Yellen's comments and a steadier U.S. dollar, with the Russian rouble RUB= strengthening for the third straight day. Greek equities .ATG were down more than 2 percent, with the country's fate in focus after it said on Wednesday it would struggle to make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank this year. In commodity markets, Brent crude LCOc1 fell towards $61 per barrel after a rally in the previous session, as bulging U.S. crude stockpiles offset indications of a demand recovery. London copper prices CMCU3 neared a six-week peak and gold gained for the second day on views of a U.S. rate-hike delay. (Editing by Susan Fenton) ((lionel.laurent@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 9746; Reuters Messaging: lionel.laurent.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

Metallon to spend $78 mln to raise gold output in Zimbabwe

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

HARARE, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The Zimbabwe unit of London-based Gold mining company Metallon Corporation said it will spend $78.3 million to buy new equipment and expand underground mining to increase production to 150,000 ounces of gold this year. Metallon Corporation runs five gold mines in Zimbabwe through its Metallon Gold unit which produced 98,864 ounces last year, just shy of its target of 100,000 ounces. Klara Kazmarek, Metallon head of communications said the investment would be financed from loans and internal cash and could vary depending with results of feasibility studies. Metallon also said in a statement on its website it would need $300 million to reach an output of 500,000 ounces by 2019. The company said it would cut costs to double net profit to $22 million this year, with gold production costs falling to $883 an ounce from $946 last year. Metallon said it was awaiting approval of its proposal to partially comply with the government's black economic empowerment. The southern African country requires foreign-owned mines to sell at least 51 percent to black Zimbabweans. Metallon, majority-owned by South African businessman Mzi Khumalo, said it plans to sell 10 percent stakes each to employees, local communities and a government empowerment agency. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by James Macharia) ((macdonald.dzirutwe@thomsonreuters.com; +263 4 799 112; Reuters Messaging: macdonald.dzirutwe.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: ZIMBABWE METALLON/GOLD

London platinum/palladium 0945 fix - Feb 26

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

GLOBAL MARKETS-Bond yields slide further as cheap money reigns

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* German 7-year debt goes sub-zero for first time * Looming ECB bond-buying, Fed chair comments in focus * Equities more mixed, though global stocks still near highs * Raft of corporate earnings keep Europe flat By Lionel Laurent LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - German seven-year bond yields fell below zero for the first time ever on Thursday, as investors positioned themselves for an extended era of cheap money ahead of the European Central Bank's looming bond-buying scheme. Central banks' battle to keep cash flowing into the financial system has driven other core European government bond yields into or close to negative territory. That has pushed investors into higher-yielding equities, which remained near all-time highs on Thursday despite a mixed performance. Bets that a U.S. rate hike might come later than expected, triggered by comments by Fed chair Janet Yellen this week, have also pushed bond yields lower. The new record low of -0.003 percent for German seven-year sovereign bonds DE7YT=RR came after Germany sold its first five-year debt with negative yields on Wednesday and after Irish borrowing rates fell below 1 percent for the first time. ID:nL5N0W01WE There was also good news from Germany on consumer morale, which rose to its highest level in more than 13 years heading into March as low oil prices fed through to households. ID:nL9N0QA018 U.S. Treasuries prices had risen modestly on Wednesday following two days of testimony from Yellen, which traders interpreted as suggesting the Fed could hike rates later than mid-year. ID:nL1N0VZ2GO "The massive liquidity on the market has been pushing yields down," said Saxo Bank trader Andrea Tueni. The MSCI All-Country World global share index .MIWD00000PUS ticked up 0.1 percent, though Asian shares slipped back from a five-month high and European shares opened flat. Corporate updates in Europe from blue chips including Anheuser-Busch Inbev ABI.BR , Allianz ALVG.DE and Deutsche Telekom DTEGn.DE left the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 up 0.1 percent. About two thirds of the way into Europe's earnings season, 55 percent of companies have met or beaten profit forecasts. Overall, fourth-quarter earnings are expected to grow by 19.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, which would be Europe's best season in 3-1/2 years. The financial sector was also in focus after Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered STAN.L said former JPMorgan JPM.N investment bank boss Bill Winters will take over as chief executive in June. The bank's shares were up 1.4 percent. Shares of Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L fell 2 percent, meanwhile, after reporting a 2014 loss of 3.5 billion pounds. ID:nL5N0W016E Emerging markets .MSCIEF got support from Yellen's comments and a steadier U.S. dollar, with the Russian RUB= up for the third straight day. Greek equities .ATG were down more than 2 percent, with the country's fate in focus after it said on Wednesday it would struggle to make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank this year. In commodity markets, Brent crude fell towards $61 per barrel after a rally in the previous session, as bulging U.S. crude stockpiles offset indications of a demand recovery. London copper prices neared a six-week peak and gold gained for the second day on views of a U.S. rate-hike delay. (Editing by Susan Fenton) ((lionel.laurent@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 9746; Reuters Messaging: lionel.laurent.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL/

PRECIOUS-Gold gains for 2nd day on view US rate hike may be delayed

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

* Firm Chinese physical demand also supporting gold * Coming up: U.S. durable goods orders; 1330 GMT (Adds more analyst comment, palladium, updates prices) By Manolo Serapio Jr SINGAPORE, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Gold rose for a second session on Thursday as recent comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen pushed back expectations for the first U.S. rate hike in nearly a decade to later in the year. Firm Chinese physical demand also supported bullion as buyers from the world's No. 2 consumer trickled back into the market after the long Lunar New Year break. Spot gold XAU= was up 0.6 percent at $1,211.11 an ounce at 0654 GMT after hitting a session high of $1,213.20. Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday that while the Fed was preparing to consider rate hikes on a "meeting-by-meeting basis", an increase was not likely for at least the next couple of meetings. ID:nL1N0VY1BV Since Yellen's congressional testimony, some analysts shifted expectations for the first U.S. rate hike since 2006 to happen in September or later this year instead of June previously. The comments support "market thinking that the Fed may hike rates later this year and the path will be a little flatter than what was previously expected," said ANZ Bank analyst Victor Thianpiriya. "It's certainly taken a bit of the wind out of the U.S. dollar's sails and that's been positive for gold." Yellen did not offer any additional insight on the timing of a rate increase before the House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. U.S. gold for April delivery GCcv1 rose 0.8 percent to $1,211 an ounce. Premiums on the Shanghai Gold Exchange remained firm around $4-$5 an ounce over the global spot price as buyers returned to the market after the Feb. 18-24 holiday in China. "China remains a supportive factor for the market. But whether it's enough to really get prices rocketing higher, I don't think so, because what you really need for that is a supply shortage and we just don't have that at the moment," said Thianpiriya. Gold's dip to a seven-week low below $1,200 on Tuesday lured bargain hunters, Phillip Futures analyst Howie Lee said in a note. He sees gold consolidating between $1,200 and $1,225 in the next few days. Other precious metals also advanced, with spot palladium XPD= rising almost 1 percent to $811.60 an ounce, its loftiest since Jan. 14. Precious metals prices 0654 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Spot Gold 1211.11 6.71 +0.56 2.33 Spot Silver 16.61 0.06 +0.36 6.07 Spot Platinum 1178.50 10.52 +0.90 -1.78 Spot Palladium 809.19 5.21 +0.65 2.08 COMEX GOLD APR5 1211.00 9.50 +0.79 2.27 COMEX SILVER MAR5 16.62 0.19 +1.16 6.55 Euro/Dollar 1.1364 Dollar/Yen 118.94 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Alan Rayboulda and Prateek Chatterjee) ((manolo.serapio@thomsonreuters.com; +65 6870 3884; Reuters Messaging: manolo.serapio.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS PRECIOUS/

INDICATORS - Kazakhstan - Feb 26

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

MIDEAST STOCKS - Factors to watch - Feb 26

February 26, 2015 - reuters.com

DUBAI, Feb 26 (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-Asian shares edge down from 5-month high, dollar steadies MKTS/GLOB] * Brent falls towards $61 as US crude stocks weigh O/R * MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets edge up on commodities, dovish Fed ID:nL5N0VZ43J * PRECIOUS-Gold steadies as US rate hike timing expectations ease ID:nL4N0W008K * U.S. charges 3 with conspiring to support Islamic State ID:nL1N0VZ215 * Israeli auditor criticises home prices, issue dogs election campaign ID:nL5N0VZ5PR * More moderate Syrians ready to battle Islamic State than expected -U.S. official ID:nL1N0VZ2K5 * Syrian Kurds cut IS supply line near Iraq; fears for Christians mount ID:nL5N0VZ0YT * Austria passes "Law on Islam" banning foreign money for Muslim groups ID:nL5N0VZ4SQ * Moroccan government proposes to boost central bank independence ID:nL5N0VZ5IS * Houthi militiamen storm two military bases in Yemen ID:nL5N0VZ1F3 * Libyan parliament proposes Haftar, a divisive figure, as head of army ID:nL5N0VZ4KC * Netanyahu accuses West of forsaking non-nuclear Iran pledge ID:nL5N0VZ590 * In holy city, Iran's Rouhani seeks clergy's backing for nuclear talks ID:nL5N0VZ36W TURKEY * Turkish Airlines profit almost triples, plans $3.74 bln investment ID:nL5N0VZ1U6 * Turkish Airlines planned bond issue may reach $2-3 bln - CFO ID:nL5N0VZ1YQ * Turkey's Erdogan questions whether central bank under external influence ID:nL5N0VZ44P * Turkish lira falls on Erdogan's criticism of central bank ID:nI7N0OI019 * Libyan parliament proposes appointing general Haftar as top commander - spokesman ID:nL5N0VZ3RS * EBRD lends 175 million euros for Turkey's Dalaman airport financing ID:nL5N0VZ2ZN EGYPT * Egyptian central bank seen keeping rates steady ID:nL5N0VZ3PT SAUDI ARABIA * UAE's Etisalat Q4 profit jumps 45 pct, below forecast ID:nL5N0VZ1VN * ANALYSIS-Saudi satisfaction with 'calm' oil markets signals $60 anchor ID:nL5N0VZ5D4 * Saudi Aramco sees Jizan refinery's first units starting up in 2017 ID:nL5N0VZ52J * Saudi Mobily suffers 2014 loss, loan covenant breach ID:nL5N0VZ2BI * Saudi's Mobily removes CEO Kaf after accounting probe ID:nL5N0VZ0LL * Saudi's Naimi says oil demand growing as prices stabilise ID:nL5N0VZ1SU UNITED ARAB EMIRATES * UAE firm signs $235 mln support contract with Oshkosh ID:nL5N0VY31E * INTERVIEW-Emirates airline urges U.S. to ignore subsidy claims ID:nL5N0VZ47U * UAE's First Gulf Bank sees 9-11 pct loan growth in 2015 -CFO ID:nL5N0VZ3X8 QATAR * Qatar's Hassad Food eyes Brazilian sugar, poultry assets IPO ID:nL5N0VZ615 * Qatar bank Al Khaliji gets shareholder assent for up to $1.75 bln bond sale ID:nL5N0VZ4A4 * INTERVIEW-Qatar investment slowing as oil slumps -Investment House CEO ID:nL5N0VX2RL * Qatar Navigation raises 2014 dividend as Q4 profit jumps 32.8 pct ID:nL5N0VZ0FX OMAN * Moody's changes outlook to negative on 5 Omani banks' deposit ratings ID:nMDY8MzdM0 BAHRAIN * Bahrain's GFH plans $230 mln sukuk issue in 2015 to fund acquisitions ID:nL5N0VY3ZH (Compiled by Dubai newsroom) ((dubai.newsroom@reuters.com)) Keywords: MIDEAST FACTORS/

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