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Reuters News

Ukraine central bank offers to sell dollars at 23.5 hryvnias, buys at 21.5

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

KIEV, April 2 (Reuters) - Ukraine's central bank said on Thursday it was offering to sell dollars at 23.50 hryvnias and buy at 21.50 in the third intervention this week to keep the domestic currency stable. The bank held its main interest rate at 30 percent this week and warned of further risks of depreciation and high inflation. The hryvnia lost 50 percent in value against the dollar in February, but has since stabilised after the bank hiked rates, launched interventions and tightened currency controls. The official rate stood at around 23.48 to the dollar as of Wednesday, compared with February's record highs of over 30. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Kevin Liffey) ((pavel.polityuk@thomsonreuters.com; +380 44 2449150; Reuters Messaging: pavel.polityuk.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: UKRAINE CRISIS/HRYVNIA

Kenya's central bank plans to mop up 24 bln shillings

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

NAIROBI, April 2 (Reuters) - Kenya's central bank said on Thursday it planned to mop up 24 billion shillings ($259 million) in excess liquidity from the money markets using repurchase agreements and term auction deposits. CBK04 Mopping up excess liquidity makes it more costly to hold dollars, which partly lends support to the shilling KES= . ($1 = 92.6 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Joe Brock) ((drazen.jorgic@thomsonreuters.com; +254 204 991 237; Reuters Messaging: drazen.jorgic.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: KENYA CENBANK/

Slovak debt agency to auction 2017, 2027 bonds on April 20

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

PRAGUE, April 2 (Reuters) - Slovakia will auction two government bonds maturing in 2017 SK190117219= and 2027 SK210127228= in a regular auction on April 20, the country's debt agency Ardal said on Thursday. In a monthly report, Ardal also said it had bought back two bonds coming due in January and November 2016 worth 76.5 million euros in March. In the previous month it had bought back 76.0 million worth of February 2016 bonds. (Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Jan Lopatka) ((jason.hovet@thomsonreuters.com; +420 224 190 476; Reuters Messaging: jason.hovet.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: SLOVAKIA BONDS/

India cbank net FX forward in up to 1-yr maturities rise $260 mln in Feb

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

MUMBAI, April 2 (Reuters) - The Reserve Bank of India's net forward dollar book rose by $260 million for up to one-year maturities in February, compared with a net fall of $1.27 billion in the previous month, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the central bank's website. The central bank is letting maturing part of its forward dollar liabilities in February, which could have led to an overall rise in the forwards position month-on-month, dealers said. The central bank may have also bought some fresh forwards to contain a strong rupee INR=D2 , which moved in a 61.55-62.47 per dollar band in February. Dollar purchases pushed up foreign exchange reserves to $338.08 billion in February from $327.88 billion in January, dealers added. The RBI's net forward outstanding position for up to one year maturities was $31.8 billion as of February-end compared with $31.54 billion in January, according to the calculations. The total short position in the up to one-year forwards market was $4.12 billion as of the end of February, little changed from $4.16 billion in January. The total long position was $35.92 billion versus $35.7 billion. The aggregate short positions in forwards for more than one year maturities stood at $25.97 billion, the RBI data showed. (Reporting by Suvashree Dey Choudhury; Editing by Anand Basu) ((suvashree.dchoudhury@thomsonreuters.com; +91-22-61807223; Reuters Messaging: suvashree.dchoudhury.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: INDIA CENBANK/FORWARDS

Russia c.bank says situation on currency market has normalised

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

MOSCOW, April 2 (Reuters) - The governor of Russia's central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, said on Thursday that the bank's forex repo instrument had fulfilled its function and that the situation on the currency market had normalised. Nabiullina told journalists: "We think that the situation on the currency market has normalised." "Forex refinancing as a mechanism has fulfilled the function that we set, to give additional foreign-currency resources based on our forecast for the balance of payments." (Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Jason Bush) ((alexander.winning@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242; Reuters Messaging: alexander.winning.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: RUSSIA CRISIS/FOREX ROUBLE

Sterling dips after weaker-than-expected UK construction data

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) - Sterling fell against the euro and dipped briefly versus the dollar on Thursday after data showed growth in Britain's construction industry slowed in March, hit by concerns about May's national elections. The monthly Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 57.8 last month after hitting a four-month high of 60.1 in February, though confidence surged to its highest in nine years. ECONGB Sterling fell to an intraday low of $1.4815 GBP=D4 after the data from $1.4835 before its release, before paring most of those losses to trade at $1.4825, flat on the day. The euro strengthened to 73.055 pence EURGBP=D4 from 72.96 pence beforehand. It was last trading at 72.995 pence, up half a percent on the day. Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE equity index rose slightly after the data, to stand 0.2 percent higher at 6,821.86 points. (Reporting by Jemima Kelly; Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by) ((jemima.kelly@thomsonreuters.com; +44)(0)(20 7542 7508; Reuters Messaging: jemima.kelly.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/STERLING

FOREX-Dollar hurt by weak U.S. data, helps euro trade above $1.08

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

* Spreads between U.S. and EU bond yields narrow * Traders to eye ECB minutes during European session * U.S. nonfarm payrolls next key test for dollar (Pm(Adds details and quotes)) By Anirban Nag LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) - The dollar fell on Thursday, nursing losses amid fresh signs that the U.S. economy slowed significantly in the first quarter, which could delay the Federal Reserve's decision to begin raising interest rates. Benchmark treasury yields dropped and spreads between their European counterparts narrowed US10YT=RR EU10YT=RR , with greater downside risks to Friday's key U.S. employment report expected after a weaker-than-forecast private sector jobs report on Wednesday. That should keep the greenback on the defensive, traders said. The dollar index was down 0.45 percent at 97.743 .DXY , trading weaker against the yen at 119.49 yen JPY= while the euro rose 0.6 percent to trade at $1.0831 EUR= . Traders will be scrutinising the minutes of the European Central Bank's meeting in March, due later on Thursday, which could lead to some swings in the single currency during the European session. "The ECB minutes are likely to show policymakers' diverse views about quantitative easing and that could help the euro," said Yujiro Goto, currency strategist at Nomura. "The weak U.S. data is weighing on the dollar and ahead of the non-farm payrolls number we expect it to trade with a weaker bias against the euro." Despite opposition from Germany -- the euro zone's biggest economy -- the ECB unleashed a 1 trillion euro asset purchase programme in March to boost inflation and growth in the euro zone. In recent weeks, data from the euro zone has beaten expectations and on Wednesday a survey showed that manufacturing activity in the region accelerated in March, with Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI) rising to 52.2 from 51.1 in February. In the United States, the ISM manufacturing index declined to 51.5 from 52.9 in February. Also on Wednesday, data showed U.S. private employers added the smallest number of workers in more than a year in March and factory activity hit a near two-year low, highlighting the impact of a harsh winter, weaker global demand and a strong dollar. ID:nL2N0WY12M "Right now the market's worry is the Fed showing concern about a strong dollar, and the data only compounded such fears," said Masashi Murata, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo. "Even if Friday's non-farm payroll number is decent -- it could come in around 250,000 -- that might not dispel strong dollar concerns. That is why there isn't much bargain hunting for the dollar," he said. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the non-farm payrolls report to show a rise of 245,000 jobs in March, following a gain of 290,000 in February. ECONUS (Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Susan Fenton) ((anirban.nag@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 8399 ; Reuters Messaging: anirban.nag.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

UPDATE 1-Russian rouble extends gains in thin market

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds detail) MOSCOW, April 2 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble extended gains on Thursday, helped by a modest retreat in the U.S. dollar on global markets and a strong rise in oil prices late on Wednesday. At 0750 GMT, the rouble was around 1.1 percent stronger against the dollar at 56.97 RUBUTSTN=MCX and was around 0.3 percent up on the euro at 61.77 EURRUBTN=MCX . Brent crude oil LCOc1 , a key driver for all Russian assets, was 0.4 percent down on the day at around $56.9 a barrel but was trading higher than on Wednesday evening in Moscow. Meanwhile, the dollar .DXY retreated around 0.4 percent against a basket of major currencies. Trading volumes were thin ahead of an extended Easter holiday weekend on which many Western markets will be closed and as the market awaited U.S. payrolls data on Friday. A forex trader said the rouble was also helped on Thursday by weaker demand for foreign currency than in recent weeks. Russian shares were mixed on Thursday, with the direction of two major indexes reflecting moves in the rouble. Russia's dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was up 0.8 percent to 918 points, while its rouble-based peer MICEX .MCX traded 0.1 percent lower at 1,660 points. Shares in the Moscow Exchange MOEX.MM rose around 5 percent after the central bank said it did not plan to sell out of the exchange this year given recent geopolitical developments. 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 Alexander Winning and Vladimir Abramov; Editing by Jason Bush) ((alexander.winning@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242; Reuters Messaging: alexander.winning.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: RUSSIA CRISIS/MARKETS ROUBLE

Russia c.bank: excessive debt burden could slow investment

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

MOSCOW, April 2 (Reuters) - An excessive debt burden could not only spur investment but also hinder it, Russia's central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said on Thursday. "In general, the decline in investment is associated with high interest rates," Nabiullina told an investment conference. "The availability of credit for investment financing of the economy is very important, ... but an excessive debt burden may not only stimulate development, encourage investment, but could also slow investment." Capital investment, or investment in firms' tangible goods such as buildings and infrastructure, fell by 6.5 percent year-on-year in February, according to the latest available data from the Federal Statistics Service. ID:nR4N0VT00E (Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya and Oksana Kobzeva; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Alexander Winning) ((lidia.kelly@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242; Reuters Messaging: lidia.kelly.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: RUSSIA CRISIS/CENBANK INVESTMENT

INSIGHT-China knocking on door of IMF's major league, US wavers

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

* Europeans aiming for yuan entry into SDR this year -sources * China would be first emerging nation to join IMF currency basket * U.S. and Japan more hesitant * Keen to avoid AIIB re-run, U.S. stresses conditions, not timing By Paul Taylor BRUSSELS, April 2 (Reuters) - China is closer to joining the major league of reserve currencies with a deal possible later this year to include the yuan in the International Monetary Fund's unit of account, international finance officials say. However the United States, where China's growing economic and political muscle is a source of strategic concern in Congress, is reluctant to add the yuan so soon to the basket of currencies that make up the IMF's Special Drawing Rights. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said after a visit to Beijing this week the yuan was not yet ready to join the virtual currency that defines the value of the IMF's reserves, used for lending to countries in financial difficulty. "While further liberalization and reform are needed for the (yuan) to meet this standard, we encourage the process of completing these necessary reforms," Lew said in a speech in San Francisco on Tuesday. The yuan, also known as the renminbi or RMB, is already the world's fifth most-used trade currency. Beijing has made strides this year in introducing the infrastructure needed to float it freely on global capital markets. European members of the Group of Seven major industrialised economies - Germany, Britain, France and Italy - favour adding the yuan this year to the basket that comprises the dollar, the euro, the yen and the pound sterling. Japan, like the United States, is more cautious, the officials said. The IMF's board will hold an initial discussion in May on China's request and a full five-yearly review of the SDR's composition will be conducted later in the year ahead of a decision expected in November, IMF officials said. "The German side supports China's goal to add the RMB to the SDR currency basket based on existing criteria," Joachim Nagel, a member of the executive board of the German central bank, said last weekend at a high-level forum in Boao, on the southern Chinese island of Hainan. The upcoming review could be a good opportunity to introduce the yuan into the basket, he said, adding: "We appreciate China's recent development and progress towards liberalisation." Chinese Premier Li Keqiang asked IMF chief Christine Lagarde last month to include the yuan in its SDR basket, pledged to speed up its "basic convertibility" and said China hoped to play an active role in international efforts to maintain financial stability, state news agency Xinhua said. ID:nL3N0WQ181 PHASED ENTRY? A euro zone central bank source said one route could see a phased entry into the SDR, linked to fulfilling the official criterion that the yuan must be "freely usable", which Western officials interpret as full convertibility. It would be the first emerging market currency to join the SDR, marking another stage in China's rise as a global economic player and requiring the United States to accept a dilution of its unrivalled power in international finance. While the Europeans are vying for commercial advantage in the world's second biggest economy, Washington sees Beijing also as an authoritarian strategic challenger that may not feel bound by rules written by the West. The U.S. Congress has held up ratification of a 2010 reform of voting rights in the IMF intended to give China and other emerging economies more say. Britain, keen to secure pole position for London as an offshore centre for international trading in yuan, has taken the lead in pressing publicly for China's admission to the SDR. David Ramsden, chief economic adviser at the UK Treasury, said much had changed since the makeup of the virtual currency was last reviewed in 2010, and including the yuan was now a "very live issue". Germany has ambitions to lure yuan trading to Frankfurt, home of the European Central Bank, and was irked when Britain last month jumped ahead of its EU partners to become a founder member of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Washington suffered a diplomatic reverse after trying to dissuade its allies from joining the Chinese initiative, seen as a potential rival to the World Bank and Asian Investment Bank, dominated by the United States and Japan. Keen to avoid a second rift with Europe - even though the United States can block IMF decisions - Lew focused on the terms for admitting the yuan to the SDR rather than the timing. "China will need to successfully complete difficult fundamental reforms, such as capital account liberalization, a more market-determined exchange rate, interest rate liberalization, as well as strengthening of financial regulation and supervision," he said. While Washington believed Beijing has stopped intervening to weaken its currency, Lew said the true test would come when market pressure increased for the yuan to strengthen. David Marsh, managing director of the central banking think-tank OMFIF, sees a "grand bargain" between China, the United States and the IMF taking shape under which Beijing would enter the heart of global finance in exchange for turning the yuan into a strong currency on world financial markets. The Chinese central bank was using its $3.8 trillion in reserves to keep the yuan steady against the dollar. The Chinese currency has appreciated by 11 percent in trade-weighted terms in the past year. "All of this is a potential challenge for the dollar and its pivotal position in world money," Marsh said in a briefing. While there is no fixed set of indicators to measure the eligibility of a currency for the SDR basket, in 2011 IMF staff set out a number of indicators that could show whether a currency is "freely usable": - currency composition of official reserve holdings; - currency denomination of international banking liabilities; - currency denomination of international debt securities; - volume of transactions in foreign exchange spot markets. More than 60 central banks hold the yuan in their reserves, according to China-focused bankers in London. Offshore trading in the yuan CNH= soared some 350 percent on Thomson Reuters trading platforms last year and rival platform EBS said the yuan was one of its top five traded currencies. A former high IMF official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 2015 was too soon for the yuan to qualify, but the Chinese central bank could use the review to persuade Communist Party leaders to move further towards convertibility. Zhu Min, the IMF's Chinese deputy managing director, noted the yuan was increasingly used in trade and was also growing in capital markets. "Clearly the RMB is already qualified, in a sense, on trade activity," he told reporters at the Boao Forum. "But on the freely usable side ... there are still some obstructions." (Additional reporting by Adam Jourdan in Boao, China, Rory Carroll in San Francisco, Randall Palmer in Ottawa and Patrick Graham in London; Writing by Paul Taylor. Editing by Mike Peacock.) ((paul.taylor@thomsonreuters.com; +322 2876987; Reuters Messaging: paul.taylor.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CHINA IMF/SDR

Sri Lankan rupee forwards rise on strong remittances

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

COLOMBO, April 2 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan rupee forwards rose on Thursday as inflows from strong remittances and exporter dollar sales outpaced thin importer demand for the greenback, dealers said. Actively traded one-week forwards were at 133.48/49 per dollar at 0658 GMT, compared with Wednesday's close of 133.60/70. Two-week forwards traded at 133.57/61, compared with their previous close of 133.68/72. "There are remittances and state bank dollar demand was not seen today," said a currency dealer on condition of anonymity. Dealers said people were converting dollars into rupees ahead of public holidays on April 3, 13, and 14. They expect the rupee to gain with a pick-up in seasonal inward remittances ahead of the Sinhala-Tamil New Year on April 14. The central bank through moral suasion prevented the spot rupee LKR=LK from dropping below 132.90/133.20, a limit it set in February. Central bank officials were not available for comment. Dealers said the market may wait for more cues on interest rates after T-bill yields fell for a third straight week. Yields on T-bills fell between 55 basis points and 63 basis points in the last three weekly auctions, though the fall in interest rates is slowing. ID:nL3N0WX382 ID:nL3N0WK2IQ ID:nL4N0WD2PJ The main stock index .CSE was up 0.65 percent at 6,961.16, on track for a third straight session of gains after it hit its lowest close since July 24 on Monday. Turnover was 435.1 million rupees ($3.27 million). Stockbrokers expect investors to be cautious until the political situation stabilises. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has formed a national government incorporating the main opposition, in a bid to push through reforms and preserve political stability. ID:nL3N0WO094 ($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/

PRECIOUS-Gold holds gains as market braces for weak US jobs data

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

* Gold up 1.8 pct on Wednesday, the most in two months * U.S. private jobs rose less than forecast in March * Coming up: U.S. weekly jobless claims; 1230 GMT (Adds analyst's comment, updates prices) By Manolo Serapio Jr SINGAPORE, April 2 (Reuters) - Gold hovered above $1,200 an ounce on Thursday, clinging to gains from the prior session when it rose the most in two months, after weak U.S. private jobs data suggested that a more comprehensive employment report could disappoint. Indications that the U.S. economy slowed significantly in the first quarter are boding well for safe-haven assets such as gold which is trading not far off a three-week high reached last week. U.S. private employers added the smallest number of workers in more than a year in March, missing market expectations. Other data also pointed to slower U.S. economic growth, with factory activity hitting a near two-year low in March. ID:nL2N0WY12M The report came ahead of Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls which is forecast to show an increase of 245,000 in March after rising 295,000 in February, according to a Reuters poll of economists. A weaker jobs number on Friday could push back expectations for a U.S. interest rate hike which some analysts had predicted to come as early as June. Spot gold XAU= was up 0.2 percent at $1,205.80 an ounce by 0655 GMT, after climbing 1.8 percent on Wednesday. That was bullion's biggest single-day rally since Jan. 30, nearly reversing a 2.4-percent slide in all of March. "We think there is little chance that the U.S. nonfarm payrolls are able to defy the odds this Friday by producing yet another resounding jobs report," said Howie Lee, investment analyst at Phillip Futures. "That could send gold prices spiraling upwards to $1,220." Gold hit $1,219.40 last week, its highest since March 2, at the end of a seven-day run-up on expectations that the U.S. central bank would go slow in raising interest rates. Trading activity is expected to be thin on Friday with many markets shut for the Easter holiday. U.S. gold for June delivery GCcv1 slipped 0.2 percent to $1,205.80 an ounce. Precious metals prices 0655 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Spot Gold 1205.80 1.80 +0.15 1.88 Spot Silver 16.94 0.05 +0.30 8.17 Spot Platinum 1160.24 2.24 +0.19 -3.31 Spot Palladium 747.65 4.12 +0.55 -5.68 COMEX GOLD JUN5 1205.80 -2.40 -0.20 1.83 COMEX SILVER MAY5 16.97 -0.09 -0.55 8.76 Euro/Dollar 1.0809 Dollar/Yen 119.58 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Ed Davies and Anand Basu) ((manolo.serapio@thomsonreuters.com; +65 6870 3884; Reuters Messaging: manolo.serapio.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS PRECIOUS/

Russian rouble stronger in early trade

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

MOSCOW, April 2 (Reuters) - Russia's rouble opened stronger on Thursday, helped by a slight retreat in the U.S. dollar on global markets and a strong rise in oil prices late on Wednesday. At 0709 GMT, the rouble was around 1 percent stronger against the dollar at 57.05 RUBUTSTN=MCX and was around 0.1 percent up on the euro at 61.93 EURRUBTN=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 Alexander Winning, editing by Jason Bush) ((alexander.winning@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242; Reuters Messaging: alexander.winning.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: RUSSIA CRISIS/MARKETS ROUBLE

South Africa's rand notches further gains, could lose steam

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG, April 2 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand consolidated its overnight gains against the dollar Thursday, but could struggle to hold its ground given weak domestic economic fundamentals and looming rate hikes in the United States. At 0647 GMT, the rand ZAR=D3 traded 0.43 percent firmer at 11.9440 to the greenback, compared with Wednesday's close at 11.9950 in New York. Government bonds were similarly firmer, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 government bond ZAR186= falling 6.5 basis points to 7.66 percent. The firmer rand was largely in response to the dollar's modest losses after data pointed to the world's biggest economy slowing significantly in the first quarter, which could delay the Federal Reserve's decision to begin hiking interest rates. Stronger than expected jobs numbers on Friday could, however, reignite the argument for policy tightening in the U.S., drawing investors away from emerging markets. A weak outlook for South Africa's own economy, worsened by chronic electricity shortages, also points to the rand eventually running of steam. "If tomorrow's U.S. labour data does indeed rekindle U.S. rate hike fears, then prevailing rand strength could reverse quickly over the coming days," Barclays Africa said in a market note. (Reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa; Editing by Joe Brock) ((stella.mapenzauswa@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 775 3161; Reuters Messaging: stella.mapenzauswa.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS SAFRICA/CURRENCY

Avocet Mining gets mining licence for Tri-K gold project in Guinea

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

April 2 (Reuters) - Avocet Mining Plc AVM.L said its subsidiary has been granted a mining licence for a gold project in north east Guinea. Avocet is in talks to secure financing and expects to start construction on the Tri-K project in 2016, the company said in a statement. ID:nRSB2485Ja The miner, whose main asset is the Inata gold mine in Burkina Faso, has been struggling with funding concerns and strikes at Inata. Avocet missed its own production expectations for 2014, producing 86,037 ounces for the year, lower than the 95,000 ounces it had forecast. ID:nL4N0VG45Q (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi) ((abhiram.nandakumar@thomsonreuters.com; UK: +44 20 7542 1810; outside UK: +91 80 6749 1136; Reuters Messaging: abhiram.nandakumar.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: AVOCET MINING MINING/

INDICATORS - Kazakhstan - April 2

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

UPDATE 1-Polish c.bank says proposal on FX debt swaps "fatal" for banks

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds background and Prime Minister's quotes) By Marcin Goclowski WARSAW, April 2 (Reuters) - Poland's central bank governor has criticised a regulator's proposal to let holders of mortgages denominated in Swiss francs convert the debt into zlotys at an historical exchange rate, saying it would be "fatal" for lenders. Andrzej Jakubiak, head of the regulator KNF, proposed in February that borrowers be allowed to convert their debt, although clients would have to pay banks some compensation. "I think this proposal would be fatal for banks. In any case difficult to accept. For us it would mean getting rid of almost half the currency reserves," Governor Marek Belka told Rzeczpospolita daily in an interview published on Thursday. Jakubiak has estimated the cost of the plan at 1.2 billion zlotys ($319 million) per year. This would add up to around 25 billion in 20 years' time, as a number of the mortgages have such a maturity. Banks have rejected Jakubiak's proposal, according to sources. But Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz told private Polsat News broadcaster late on Wednesday that Swiss franc-denominated mortgage holders should not be left alone with the whole risk of these loans. "I can assure you that we're discussing (it) a lot, looking for the most optimal solutions at the moment, and we haven't forgotten about those people," Kopacz said. Poland holds presidential and general elections this year. Belka said Poland should not help banks with government money to bail out more than 550,000 Poles who took on Swiss franc debts that have soared as the currency nearly doubled in value. Poles hold mortgages denominated in Swiss francs worth 8 percent of Poland's gross domestic product (GDP). Repayments soared in January after the Swiss central bank removed its cap on the franc. The currency has now stabilised at around 3.9 zlotys CHFPLN= . ($1 = 3.7618 zlotys) (Additional reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk and Wiktor Szary; Editing by Alan Raybould) ((marcin.goclowski@thomsonreuters.com; +48 22 6539724; Reuters Messaging: marcin.goclowski.reuters.com@thomsonreuters.net)) Keywords: POLAND C.BANK/CHFMORTGAGES

South Korean won hits 4-week high; shares flat

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

(For the midday report, please click ID:nL3N0WZ1AF ) SEOUL, April 2 (Reuters) - The South Korean won KRW= rose to a 4 week-high against the dollar on Thursday after soft U.S. data pressured the dollar globally. The won KRW=KFTC ended local trade up 0.6 percent at 1,095.5 per dollar, after rising as high as 1,095.2 during the session to hit the strongest intraday level since March 4. It closed on Wednesday at 1,102.4. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) .KS11 closed nearly flat at 2,029.07 points, just above the previous close at 2,028.45 points. (Reporting by Yeawon Choi; Editing by Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore) ((yeawon.choi@thomsonreuters.com; +82237045643; Reuters Messaging: yeawon.choi.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS SOUTHKOREA/

DIARY-Turkey - to May 1

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

South African Markets - Factors to watch on April 2

April 02, 2015 - 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 COMPANIES Discovery DSYJ.J Rights issue closes Sasol SOLJ.J Ex-dividend Liberty Holdings LBHJ.J Ex-dividend SOUTH AFRICAN MARKETS South Africa's rand gained as much as 1.4 percent against the dollar on Wednesday, after weak-than-expected U.S. data led investors to scale back their expectations of when the Federal Reserve will start hiking interest rates. ZAR/ Stocks ticked up slightly, buoyed by telecoms operator MTN Group MTNJ.J, spurred on by peaceful presidential elections in Nigeria where it is a market leader. .J GLOBAL MARKETS Asian shares rose on Thursday, shrugging off weak U.S. data overnight that raised concerns ahead of Friday's key employment figures, as investors covered positions ahead of the Easter holidays. MKTS/GLOB WALL STREET U.S. stocks eased on Wednesday as weaker-than-expected data spurred concerns over economic growth ahead of Friday's jobs report and first-quarter earnings. N GOLD XAU= Gold hovered above $1,200 an ounce on Thursday, clinging to gains from the prior session when it rose the most in two months, after weak U.S. private jobs data suggested that a more comprehensive employment report could disappoint. 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 - SARS beats tax collection target - Cash-strapped Sanral concerned after another bond flops - Minister misses power deadlines BUSINESS REPORT - Nene: New Eskom board to be appointed - Davies off to Washington to diffuse poultry spat (Compiled by Stella Mapenzauswa) ((stella.mapenzauswa@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 775 3161; Reuters Messaging: stella.mapenzauswa.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS SAFRICA/DAYBOOK

Turkey - Factors to Watch on April 2

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

ISTANBUL, April 2 (Reuters) - Here are news, reports and events that may affect Turkish financial markets on Thursday. The lira TRYTOM=D3 slipped slightly to 2.6000 against the dollar by 0448 GMT, from 2.5945 late on Wednesday. The main share index .XU100 closed up 0.45 percent at 81,208.54 on Wednesday. The benchmark 10-year government bond yield tTR240724TA=IS stood at 8.40 percent at Wednesday's spot close. GLOBAL MARKETS Asian shares rose on Thursday, shrugging off weak U.S. data overnight that raised concerns ahead of Friday's key employment figures, as investors covered positions ahead of the Easter holidays. ID:nL3N0WZ01N U.S. crude futures CLc1 shed 1.2 percent to $49.49 after surging more than 5 percent on Wednesday. Brent LCOc1 was down 1.1 percent at $56.47 after closing up 3.6 percent. O/R VIOLENCE IN ISTANBUL Turkish police shot dead a woman carrying guns and hand grenades and detained a man as they tried to attack Istanbul's police headquarters on Wednesday, officials and media said, the third attack on an official building in the past two days. ID:nL6N0WY1NS INTEREST RATES Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said on Wednesday the government aims for interest rates to fall further and reach "reasonable" levels. ID:nL6N0WY3T8 TURKCELL Turkey's Cukurova Holding on Wednesday launched an attempt to buy out Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's indirect stake in Turkcell TCELL.IS , the latest manoeuvre in a decade-long fight for control of the market-leading wireless operator. ID:nL6N0WY3QR TURKISH AIRLINES A Turkish Airlines THYAO.IS flight to Lisbon was diverted back to Istanbul on Wednesday after unaccompanied baggage was found on board, a spokeswoman told Reuters. ID:nL6N0WY2IN PMI Turkish factory activity fell to a six-year low in March and manufacturers laid off staff - albeit very slowly - for the first time in nearly six years, a monthly survey showed on Wednesday. ID:nL9N0VT01S ISTANBUL INFLATION Retail prices in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, rose 1.13 percent month-on-month in March, while wholesale prices climbed 1.57 percent, the Chamber of Commerce said on Wednesday. ID:nI7N0UZ01E EXPORTS Turkish exports fell 13.4 percent year-on-year in March to $11.23 billion, the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM) said on Wednesday. ID:nI7N0UZ01D BRITS JOINING ISLAMIC STATE Turkish security forces arrested nine British nationals trying to cross illegally into Syria, the Turkish military said in a statement on Wednesday. ID:nL6N0WY4SL 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 (Writing by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu) ((dasha.afanasieva@thomsonreuters.com; +90 212 350 7051)) Keywords: TURKEY FACTORS/

Regulator proposal to swap FX debt fatal for Polish banks - central bank head

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

WARSAW, April 2 (Reuters) - Poland's central bank governor has criticised a regulator's proposal to allow holders of mortgages denominated in Swiss francs to convert the debt at the historical exchange rate saying it would be "fatal" for lenders. "I think this proposal would be fatal for banks. In any case difficult to accept. For us it would mean getting rid of almost half the currency reserves," Marek Belka told Rzeczpospolita daily in an interview published on Thursday. He also said that Poland should not help banks with government money to deal with the burdens of more than 550,000 Poles who incurred Swiss franc debts that have soared as the currency nearly doubled almost doubled in value. (Reporting by Marcin Goclowski) ((marcin.goclowski@thomsonreuters.com; +48 22 6539724; Reuters Messaging: marcin.goclowski.reuters.com@thomsonreuters.net)) Keywords: POLAND C.BANK/CHFMORTGAGES

Tumbling ringgit raises stakes for budget gamblers in Singapore

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

By Aradhana Aravindan SINGAPORE, April 2 (Reuters) - The Malaysian ringgit's fall to 17-year lows against the Singapore dollar will limit the city state's mass-market gaming revenues even after the opening of Genting Singapore's GENS.SI new hotel close to Malaysia's border, analysts said. Like its rival Las Vegas Sands' LVS.N Marina Bay Sands, Genting is trying to improve its appeal to mass-market players as it battles a slowdown in its high-roller business amid weakness in the Chinese economy. But whereas the Chinese are the major players in Singapore's VIP gaming business, Malaysians and Indonesians are its top mass-market foreign gamblers, and this sector is being hit by the regional currency fluctuations. The Malaysian ringgit SGDMYR=R and the Indonesian rupiah SGDIDR=R both slumped to their lowest points versus the Singapore dollar since 1998 in January and December respectively, eroding how much gamblers from those countries can wager. "These two countries are significant contributors to Singapore's mass-market volumes," Macquarie analyst Somesh Kumar Agarwal said. "The weakening of those two currencies further negatively impacts the tourist arrivals and hence the revenue potential from the mass-market in our view." Agarwal expects Singapore's mass-market volumes to grow 5 percent this year compared with 6 percent in 2014. Volumes typically refer to the bet amounts placed. Singapore's casinos derive roughly half their annual gaming revenues - amounting to about $6 billion in 2013 - from mass-market visitors, who gamble a few hundred dollars in a sitting rather than thousands of dollars a hand like VIP guests. Genting's 550-room Hotel Jurong will open from next month, offering a free shuttle service to the company's integrated casino resort, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), about 25 minutes away. The hotel would "form an important part of the business strategy to drive greater visitation to Resorts World Sentosa," RWS said in an email to Reuters. RWS did not comment on the impact of regional currency movements. Indonesia, Malaysia and China are the top markets for Singapore tourism, and the city-state recorded a fall in visitor arrivals from all three countries in 2014, when annual tourism fell for the first time since 2009. ID:nL4N0VG1OF The Singapore Tourism Board has highlighted currency fluctuations as one of its challenges this year. "Middle-class tourists are always looking at what their purchasing power is in the country they are visiting," said Jonathan Galaviz, a partner at consultancy Global Market Advisors. "If the value of their currency is going down fast comparatively to where they want to visit, they will opt for cheaper destinations or even simply just stay home." (Additional reporting by Jongwoo Cheon; Editing by Stephen Coates) ((aradhana.aravindan@thomsonreuters.com; +65 6403 5659; Reuters Messaging: aradhana.aravindan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GENTING GAMBLING/SINGAPORE

CNH Tracker-Hong Kong's pool of yuan deposits is getting shallower

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

By Michelle Chen HONG KONG, April 2 (Reuters) - Yuan deposits in Hong Kong contracted for the second straight month in February, a sign that more measures to encourage yuan fund flows from the onshore market may be needed to grow the world's biggest offshore yuan pool. The city's yuan deposits fell 0.9 percent to 973 billion yuan ($157 billion) in February from a month earlier, when they declined 2.2 percent, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said on Tuesday. ID:nL3N0WX1N4 Last year, yuan deposits in the former British colony increased, but the rise was only 16.6 percent, compared to 46.2 percent in 2013 and 86.9 percent in 2012. An HKMA spokeswoman told Reuters that the February decline "was mostly from corporate deposits as companies sold more renminbi than buying it". She said individual customer deposits were relatively stable. Yuan deposits grew quickly in Hong Kong after China in 2009 allowed cross-border trade to be settled in its currency. However, as a series of pilot programmes kicked off to broaden the channels through which investors could enter China, the pace of expansion for the offshore yuan pool slowed. China needs to encourage fresh yuan outflows to offshore markets, as the movement of yuan back onshore has accelerated under schemes like Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (RQFII) and the Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect, market players say. "Although policymakers have not shown a preference for flows in one particular direction, the reality is that actual outflows have been much smaller," HSBC analysts said in a report. This is because overseas investment has not proved very profitable in the past, amid steady yuan appreciation, a large domestic versus global growth differential, and low interest rates in major G10 markets, they added. However, the situation is changing as the yuan began to depreciate last year and Beijing is about to roll out more initiatives such as the "one belt one road" that may encourage the yuan to be used more outside of China. "As China will shoulder the responsibility for most of the financing (for the initiative), it is likely that at least some of the loans and vendor financing will be provided in yuan," said Qu Hongbin, HSBC's China economist. Meanwhile, Chinese regulators on March 27 said restrictions on domestic mutual funds investing in Hong Kong shares would be eased under the stock connect scheme. That boosted southbound trading volumes. On Monday, southbound trading reached a record HK$5.593 billion ($721.41 million). Since the connect scheme started on Nov. 17, about 41 percent of the northbound quota has been used, but only 15 percent for the southbound, effectively draining a net 86 billion yuan ($13.88 billion) from Hong Kong's yuan pool. WEEK IN REVIEW: * Global payments in the Chinese yuan are increasingly being handled by offshore yuan hubs other than Hong Kong, as more clearing banks have been assigned in the past two years, transaction services organisation SWIFT said on Monday. ID:nL3N0WW1C7 * The United States feels China's yuan does not yet meet the standards for inclusion in the International Monetary Fund's basket of global currencies, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Tuesday. ID:nL2N0WX2II * The second Hong Kong-Malaysia private sector dialogue on offshore Renminbi business was held in Malaysia on March 27. The dialogue aimed to foster closer collaboration between the two territories on the development of RMB business. CHART OF THE WEEK: Hong Kong's yuan deposits have lost growth momentum: http://link.reuters.com/zaw44w RECENT STORIES: China aims for SDR inclusion of its currency through further reforms ID:nL3N0WP3LP China's CIPS payment system seen boosting yuan usage, foreign participation ID:nL3N0WI32C 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 = 6.1976 Chinese yuan renminbi) ($1 = 7.7529 Hong Kong dollars) (Editing by Richard Borsuk) ((michelle.chen@thomsonreuters.com; +852 2843 6587; Reuters Messaging: min.chen.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS OFFSHORE/YUAN

MIDEAST STOCKS - Factors to watch - April 2

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

DUBAI, April 2 (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 rise, US jobs data in focus MKTS/GLOB * Oil jumps after U.S. output drop as Iran talks drag O/R * MIDEAST STOCKS-Stronger oil supports Saudi Arabia; Hollywood deal lifts Dubai ID:nL6N0WY3AQ * PRECIOUS-Gold holds gains as market braces for weak US jobs data ID:nL3N0WZ15Z * Middle East Crude-PetroChina purchases underpin Dubai ID:nL3N0WY31K * Iran talks stretch into another day; deal seen close but elusive ID:nL6N0WY3EU * Islamic State seizes vast Damascus refugee camp ID:nL6N0WY4IC * Iraq oil exports hit record 2.98 mln bpd in March ID:nL6N0WY4OE * Yemen Houthi fighters backed by tanks reach central Aden ID:nL6N0WY3A0 * Yemen food imports disrupted, conflict pressures supply chain ID:nL6N0WY4H3 * Iraq claims victory over Islamic State in Tikrit ID:nL6N0WY1HA * Houthis say Saudi Arabia trying to split them from ex-president ID:nL6N0WY2UH * Malaysia's top banks offer $865 mln Islamic financing for Cititower ID:nL3N0WY4I8 * Kurdish firm aims to launch $100 mln Iraq broadband route in 2015 ID:nL6N0WX2V1 TURKEY * Turkey police shoot attackers at Istanbul HQ, govt vows to find "dark forces" ID:nL6N0WY1NS * Turkey's Cukurova launches attempt to buy out Turkcell rival ID:nL6N0WY3QR * Economics to trump politics in Turkey's rift with Iran ID:nL6N0WY2FV * Turkey's March exports fall 13.4 percent -exporters assembly ID:nI7N0UZ01D EGYPT * Egypt foodmaker Edita targets sales of more than $327 mln in 2015 ID:nL6N0WY3D2 * Egyptian pound steady on official and black market ID:nL6N0WY2FZ SAUDI ARABIA * Energy Recovery commissions first IsoGen Turbogenerator System for Saudi Aramco ID:nWNAB06FXD * Moody's affirms Saudi Arabia's Aa3 rating on strong fiscal buffers ID:nWNAB06FRT * Saudi Ma'aden restarts ammonia plant after brief shutdown ID:nL6N0WY36C] * Saudi Arabia's TAQA sets up firm with Norway's Archer ID:nL6N0WY292 * Saudi Arabia may raise crude OSPs for 2nd month in May ID:nL3N0WY1OA UNITED ARAB EMIRATES * UAE companies law eases flotations, seeks more investment ID:nL6N0WY4BR * ADNOC issues tender to buy gasoil, gasoline for Egypt ID:nL6N0WY40O * RBS sells $817 mln of UAE company loans to Dubai bank CBD ID:nL6N0WY2HH * UAE plans to boost its gas import capacity - energy minister ID:nL6N0WY24N * TAQA starts injecting gas into Dutch storage site Bergermeer ID:nL6N0WY2GB * UAE's TAQA slashes capex plans, dividend, after big Q4 loss ID:nL6N0WY0M6 * Dubai Islamic Bank makes offer for remaining Tamweel shares ID:nL6N0WY0AK * UAE's Al Jaber Group suspends CFO pending discplinary action ID:nL6N0WY08Z KUWAIT * Kuwaiti bank NBK to price $700 mln capital-boosting bond on Weds -leads ID:nL6N0WY2XX * Viva Kuwait Q4 profit up 17 pct as revenue rises faster than costs ID:nL6N0WY2DX * Indonesia's Pertamina defers three diesel cargoes from Kuwait - sources ID:nL3N0WY3I8 BAHRAIN * Bahrain launches wakala liquidity tool for Islamic banks ID:nL6N0WY1SQ * Bahrain's Ahli United Bank appoints new chairman ID:nL6N0WY0RU OMAN * HSBC Bank Oman completes sale of India assets to Doha Bank ID:nL6N0WY08E (Compiled by Dubai newsroom) ((dubai.newsroom@reuters.com)) Keywords: MIDEAST FACTORS/

UPDATE 1-Kinross Gold says Chile mine operations still down after flooding

April 02, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds details, background) April 1 (Reuters) - Kinross Gold Corp K.TO said on Wednesday its mining and crushing operations at its Maricunga mine in northern Chile remain suspended following severe floods in the region last week. Even so, the Toronto-based producer said it doesn't expect the temporary halt to affect its regional production forecast for the year. Its heap leach plant continues to operate. The mine site is relying on generators to supply electricity as power lines are down. Although the main road to Maricunga is currently impassable, facilities at the site have not been damaged, Kinross said. Torrential downpours in the north of Chile, the world's biggest copper producer, forced companies last Wednesday to suspend operations at several of the area's major mines. Some mines have already started to re-open. ID:nL2N0WS1CS Maricunga produced 247,216 ounces of gold in 2014, putting it in the middle of the pack of Kinross' mines in terms of size. (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Alan Crosby and Cynthia Osterman) ((nicole.mordant@thomsonreuters.com; +1-604-664-7315; Reuters Messaging: nicole.mordant.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: KINROSS CHILE/

CANADA STOCKS-Oil and gold price rallies boost TSX resource stocks

April 01, 2015 - reuters.com

* TSX ends down 40.11 points, or 0.27 percent, at 14,942.55 * Six of 10 main index sectors decline * Barrick, Goldcorp soar with bullion price By John Tilak TORONTO, April 1 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index gained on Wednesday as rising prices for commodities such as oil and bullion bolstered the energy and mining sectors, which together make up almost a third of the index. Oil prices jumped after three days of losses as U.S. crude output fell for the first time in two months. O/R Gold also rallied after a downbeat U.S. jobs report suggested policymakers there could delay a tightening of U.S. monetary policy. GOL/ Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO surged 9.5 percent to C$15.16 and Goldcorp Inc G.TO rose 4.7 percent to C$24. The pair, two of the world's largest gold miners, topped all positive influencers. Fund managers said Canadian trading would likely struggle to form a coherent narrative in coming weeks and months as a range of issues jostle for attention. "It doesn't feel very calm out there," said Marcus Xu, portfolio manager at M.Y. Capital Management Corp in Vancouver. "We are entering a quarter that's full of uncertainty, whether it is on corporate earnings, Fed interest rate (policy) or commodity prices. This quarter will be confusing and volatile." Trading in the benchmark Canadian index, which recorded a gain of 1.9 percent in the first quarter, has been choppy in recent months because of volatility in commodity prices. Xu said he was sticking to a forecast of single-digit gains for the second quarter but that a pullback was also possible. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 40.11 points, or 0.27 percent, at 14,942.55. Six of the 10 main sectors ended lower. "At least the fluctuations don't seem too violent in scope," said David Cockfield, portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management. "While I'm getting more negative on the energy sector, and in particular the oil stocks, I am becoming more positive on the longer-term economic outlook," he said. Shares of energy producers gained 1.1 percent, resuming an upward trend that began in mid-March. Crescent Point Energy Corp CPG.TO gained 3.2 percent to C$29.14 and Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO added 0.7 percent to C$37.25. Financial shares fell, with Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO slipping 1.1 percent to C$21.28. (Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Diane Craft) ((john.tilak@thomsonreuters.com; 1-416-687-7918; Reuters Messaging: john.tilak.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS CANADA/STOCKS

UPDATE 1-Barrick Gold must face U.S. lawsuit over mothballed mine

April 01, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds lawyer's comment, closing share price) By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO has lost its bid to dismiss a U.S. lawsuit that accuses the world's largest gold producer of concealing problems at a troubled South American mine and of fraudulently inflating the company's market value by billions of dollars. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan ruled on Wednesday that shareholders can pursue class action claims that Barrick intended to deceive them about environmental problems afflicting its Pascua-Lama project on the border of Argentina and Chile. "Though plaintiffs have not alleged a motive, they have sufficiently alleged strong circumstantial evidence of conscious misbehavior or recklessness," the judge wrote in a 55-page decision. Scheindlin also said shareholders can pursue claims that Barrick misled them about its accounting for the project. The judge dismissed claims alleging that Barrick intentionally misled them about costs and production delays. She also dismissed claims related to transactions conducted on the Toronto Stock Exchange, saying a key U.S. securities fraud law does not reach that far. Jim Hughes, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a phone interview: "It is a very good result for shareholders, and allows us to go forward on several very strong claims." Barrick bought the untapped Pascua-Lama mine in 1994, and had been counting on it to generate a large percentage of its overall gold production. But cost overruns, environmental issues, labor unrest, political opposition and falling bullion prices contributed to Barrick's decision on Oct. 31, 2013 to indefinitely halt the project, after it had already spent more than $5 billion. Investors who bought Barrick's common stock sued for losses covering the period from May 7, 2009, when Barrick said it would begin construction on Pascua-Lama, through Nov. 1, 2013. These investors said Barrick touted Pascua-Lama during this period as a "world-class project that will contribute low-cost ounces at double-digit returns," even as it became clear the project would fall short of expectations. Scheindlin said the shareholders may amend their lawsuit, though it was "difficult to believe that plaintiffs will be able to plead additional facts that are not already included in their almost 200-page, 548-paragraph complaint." Barrick shares closed up C$1.33, or 9.6 percent, at C$15.18 on Wednesday in Toronto. That gave Barrick a market value of C$17.7 billion ($14 billion), Reuters data show. Shares of several other mining companies also rose on Wednesday. The case is In re: Barrick Gold Securities Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-03851. ($1=$1.26 Canadian) (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker; and Peter Galloway) ((jon.stempel@thomsonreuters.com;)(646 223-6317; Reuters Messaging: jon.stempel.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BARRICK GOLD LAWSUIT/

Barrick Gold must face U.S. lawsuit over mothballed mine

April 01, 2015 - reuters.com

By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO lost its bid to dismiss a U.S. lawsuit accusing the world's largest gold producer of concealing problems at a troubled South American mine, and fraudulently inflated its market value by tens of billions of dollars. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan ruled on Wednesday that shareholders could pursue class action claims that Barrick intended to deceive them about environmental problems afflicting the Pascua-Lama project, on the border of Argentina and Chile. "Though plaintiffs have not alleged a motive, they have sufficiently alleged strong circumstantial evidence of conscious misbehavior or recklessness," the judge wrote in a 55-page decision. Scheindlin also said shareholders could pursue claims that Barrick misled them about its accounting for the project. The judge dismissed claims alleging that Barrick intentionally misled them about costs and production delays. A spokesman for Toronto-based Barrick and a lawyer for the shareholders did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Barrick bought the untapped Pascua-Lama mine in 1994, and had been counting on it to generate a large percentage of its overall gold production. But cost overruns, environmental issues, labor unrest, political opposition and falling bullion prices contributed to Barrick's decision on Oct. 31, 2013 to indefinitely halt the project, after it had already spent more than $5 billion. Investors who bought Barrick's common stock sued for losses covering the period from May 7, 2009, when Barrick said it would begin construction on Pascua-Lama, through Nov. 1, 2013. These investors said Barrick touted Pascua-Lama during this period as a "world-class project that will contribute low-cost ounces at double-digit returns," even as it became clear the project would fall short of expectations. Scheindlin said the shareholders may amend their lawsuit, though it was "difficult to believe that plaintiffs will be able to plead additional facts that are not already included in their almost 200-page, 548-paragraph complaint." Barrick shares were up C$1.36 at C$15.21 in afternoon trading in Toronto. The company's market value was C$16.1 billion ($12.8 billion) as of Tuesday's close, Reuters data show. The case is In re: Barrick Gold Securities Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-03851. ($1 = 1.262 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker) ((jon.stempel@thomsonreuters.com;)(646)(223-6317; Reuters Messaging: jon.stempel.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BARRICK GOLD LAWSUIT/

PRECIOUS-Gold jumps after downbeat March, awaits U.S. jobs data

April 01, 2015 - reuters.com

* Gold fell 2.4 pct in March, second monthly loss * Dollar falls after weaker-than-forecast ADP report * Investors await U.S. non-farm payrolls data on Friday * Silver rises most among precious metals in Q1, up 6 pct (Updates prices, adds comment) By Marcy Nicholson and Jan Harvey NEW YORK/LONDON, April 1 (Reuters) - Gold rallied 2 percent on Wednesday as the dollar retreated after a downbeat U.S. jobs report raised expectations that the Federal Reserve could be more cautious in tightening monetary policy. The dollar fell 0.2 percent against a basket of currencies, after weaker-than-expected ADP private jobs data raised concerns that Friday's impending jobs report could also point to worsening conditions in the labor market. ID:nL2N0TN0PG "There is so much discord in the U.S. data that is difficult to find what exactly the next report is going to be. It's the uncertainty that pushes people towards safe-haven assets such as gold," ING Bank senior strategist Hamza Khan said. Spot gold XAU= rose 2.2 percent to a session high of $1,208.90 an ounce, and was trading up 1.8 percent at $1,204.90 at 2:12 p.m. EDT (1812 GMT). U.S. gold futures GCv1 for June delivery settled up 2.1 percent at $1,208.20. A strong reading from the U.S. jobs data on Friday could boost bets the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates sooner rather than later, lifting the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold. ID:nL6N0WU0U6 However, a worse-than-expected report could support views that the Fed will hold off any rate hike until next year. Gold is particularly sensitive to shifts in U.S. interest rates, which also move the dollar, in which the metal is priced. "There's a lot of concern about the employment report that's coming out on Friday, that it might be worse than expected," said Phillip Streible, senior commodities broker at RJO Futures in Chicago. "Because of that, traders are positioning themselves with some safety ahead of the report." The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New York-listed SPDR Gold Trust GLD , in March recorded its biggest monthly outflow since December 2013. GOL/ETF Buying interest in China, the world's second-largest gold consumer after India, has been relatively soft of late, but dealers reported some interest overnight after prices eased. "Following yesterday's sell off, China was back as a buyer today," MKS said in a note. "We saw gold add a few dollars in Tokyo before Shanghai took over and sent the yellow metal to a session high." Silver XAG= rose 1.9 percent to $16.93 an ounce, while platinum XPT= was up 2 percent at $1,161.60 an ounce and palladium XPD= climbed 1.9 percent to $746.50 an ounce. Silver saw the biggest gain among the precious metals in the last quarter, rising 6 percent, while palladium fell 7.6 percent. Platinum fell just over 5 percent. (Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by William Hardy, Pravin Char, David Evans and Gunna Dickson) ((Marcy.Nicholson@thomsonreuters.com, +1 646 223 6043; Reuters Messaging Marcy.Nicholson.ThomsonReuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS PRECIOUS/

S.Africa's shares creep higher, MTN up on Nigeria election

April 01, 2015 - reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG, April 1 (Reuters) - South African stocks ticked up slightly on Wednesday buoyed by telecoms operator MTN Group MTNJ.J , spurred on by peaceful presidential elections in Nigeria where it is a market leader. Financial markets in Africa's most populous country, which is also MTN's most important market in terms of revenue and subscribers, rallied after an unprecedented win by opposition politician Muhammadu Buhari. ID:nL6N0WY252 ID:nL6N0WY252 MTN shares ended nearly 6 percent higher, pushing Johannesburg's Top-40 index .JTOPI up 0.2 percent to 46,128. The All-share index .JALSH added 0.2 percent to 52,281. "MTN was on the back of the Nigerian election. A lot of people thought the elections wouldn't go through smoothly," said Chad Bushnell, a trader at Anglorand Asset Managers. Capitec Bank Holdings CPIJ.J hit a life high of 537.65 rand per share as investors lapped up the stock anticipating it would be included in the blue chip Top-40 index, on the back of its rising market capitalisation, which has gained 57 percent so far this year. Gold producers listed in Johannesburg fell as job figures from U.S. private employers showed the smallest growth in more than a year, supporting views that the Federal Reserve will hold off any rate hike until next year. Gold is particularly sensitive to shifts in U.S. interest rates, which also move the dollar, in which the metal is priced. The gold index .JGLDX was down 2.3 percent as AngloGold Ashanti ANGJ.J shed 2.7 percent and Gold Fields GFIJ.J lost 3 percent. Activity was fairly brisk with more than 198 million shares changing hands, comparison to a daily average of 183 million shares last year. (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by James Macharia) ((helen.nyambura@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 775 3034; Reuters Messaging: helen.nyambura.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS SAFRICA/STOCKS

Iamgold in talks to buy AngloGold's stakes in two Mali mines

April 01, 2015 - reuters.com

April 1 (Reuters) - Canadian gold miner Iamgold Corp IMG.TO is in talks with AngloGold Ashanti Ltd ANGJ.J on buying AngloGold's stakes in two gold mines in Mali in which they are partners, Iamgold said late on Tuesday. Iamgold and AngloGold each own 41 percent of the Sadiola mine in southwestern Mali. The two miners also each own a 40 percent stake in the nearby Yatela mine. South African-headquartered AngloGold is the operator of both mines, in which the government of Mali owns the remaining interests. AngloGold, under pressure to reduce its debt, said earlier on Tuesday that it intends to dispose of its stakes in Sadiola and Yatela. It said it had been approached by a potential buyer that meets its criteria and has asked for a binding bid. ID:nL6N0WX40D The Sadiola mine is nearing the end of its supply of oxide ore, or soft rock, and an expansion to process hard rock is necessary. Iamgold has said that although the expansion will provide growth at lower costs it is not its preference to make the investment on its own. "Iamgold has been having ongoing dialogue with AngloGold, with respect to how the Sadiola expansion project could move forward and to help facilitate their exit from their share of the assets. Acquiring their share of the assets has always been one of the options," Iamgold spokeswoman Laura Young said in an email. (Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Peter Galloway) ((nicole.mordant@thomsonreuters.com; +1-604-664-7315; Reuters Messaging: nicole.mordant.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: IAMGOLD ANGLOGOLDASHANTI/

REFILE-UPDATE 2-AngloGold says may sell U.S. asset, approached on Mali mines

April 01, 2015 - reuters.com

(Refiles March 30 story to correct names of Mali mines) * AngloGold keen to reduce debt burden of $3 bln * Planned rights issue last year sunk by shareholders JOHANNESBURG, March 31 (Reuters) - Africa's top bullion producer AngloGold Ashanti ANGJ.J said it was seeking a partner or buyer for its Cripple Creek & Victor (CC&V) mine in the United States and had received an approach for the purchase of its stakes in two mines in Mali. AngloGold has said it wants to reduce debt and on Tuesday said the stake sales were in line with an "objective to simplify and improve the overall quality of its portfolio". CC&V is a surface mining operation in Colorado which produced 211,000 ounces of bullion last year. "AngloGold confirms that it has been approached by a potential buyer who meets its qualifying criteria, and a binding bid has been requested," the company said regarding its stakes in the Sadiola and Yatela mines in Mali. "The company intends to dispose of its 41 percent stake in Sadiola and its 40 percent stake in Yatela, which produced 85,000 and 11,000 attributable ounces of gold respectively, in 2014," the company said. AngloGold, which produced 4.44 million ounces last year, had debt at the end of 2014 of just over $3.1 billion, giving it a debt to EBITDA ratio of 1.88. It has said it wants to reduce this by at least $1 billion over the next one to three years. A sale of assets had also been widely expected since a shareholder revolt last year forced the company to scrap a planned demerger and rights issue just five days after the proposals were announced. The $2.1 billion rights issue was aimed at paring its debt, which Chief Executive Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan has called "unsustainably high". (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia and David Evans) ((Edward.Stoddard@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 775 3160; Reuters Messaging: edward.stoddard.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: ANGLOGOLD ASHNTI M&A/

Japan's Dowa expects flat H1 copper output

April 01, 2015 - reuters.com

PRECIOUS-Gold edges up after March drop as dollar slips

April 01, 2015 - reuters.com

* Gold snaps 3-day fall, lost 2.4 pct in March * Coming up: U.S. ISM manufacturing PMI; 1400 GMT (Updates prices) By Manolo Serapio Jr SINGAPORE, April 1 (Reuters) - Gold kicked off April by climbing on Wednesday as the dollar retreated, but expectations the Federal Reserve is on course to lift interest rates this year capped gains. Investors are looking to U.S. jobs data due on Friday, when another strong number could boost bets the U.S. central bank will hike interest rates sooner rather than later. Economists polled by Reuters have forecast a 244,000 rise in non-farm payrolls in March, which would mark the 13th straight month of job gains of over 200,000, matching a run in 1994-95. ID:nL6N0WU0U6 The Fed will have a "strong" case to hike interest rates in June, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said, dismissing recent weak U.S. economic data as transitory and perhaps due to unseasonable weather. ID:nL2N0WX0MF Spot gold XAU= was up 0.2 percent at $1,185.65 an ounce by 0632 GMT, after ending March with a loss of 2.4 percent. "There's some short-term support around $1,180, but I still believe the price will continue to go down given pressure from the Fed increasing rates," said Chen Min, analyst at Jinrui Futures in Shenzhen. Bullion has dropped nearly 3 percent since touching a three-week high last week, as the dollar gained momentum after Fed Chair Janet Yellen's comments on Friday suggested a rate hike is still on the cards for later this year. Yellen's remarks halted a seven-day rally in gold, its longest since 2012, that had been spurred by hopes the Fed would take it slow in raising rates. The greenback slipped against a basket of major currencies on Wednesday, making dollar-denominated assets such as gold cheaper for holders of other currencies. U.S. gold for April delivery GCcv1 rose 0.2 percent to $1,185.50 an ounce. Buying interest from China, the world's second largest gold consumer after India, is "relatively soft" at current prices, said Chen. "Buyers are waiting for prices to fall below $1,100," she said. The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New York-listed SPDR Gold Trust GLD , in March recorded its biggest monthly outflow since December 2013. GOL/ETF Investors were also keeping an eye on talks between Iran and six world powers to settle a dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme as discussions extended beyond a Tuesday deadline. ID:nL2N0WX2SG A deal could see the dollar "sell off slightly thus giving gold a bit of a lift," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said in a note. Precious metals prices at 0632 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Spot Gold 1185.65 2.55 +0.22 0.18 Spot Silver 16.61 -0.01 -0.06 6.07 Spot Platinum 1138.05 -0.80 -0.07 -5.15 Spot Palladium 735.95 3.52 +0.48 -7.16 COMEX GOLD APR5 1185.50 2.40 +0.20 0.12 COMEX SILVER MAY5 16.63 0.03 +0.16 6.58 Euro/Dollar 1.0779 Dollar/Yen 119.85 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Joseph Radford and Tom Hogue) ((manolo.serapio@thomsonreuters.com; +65 6870 3884; Reuters Messaging: manolo.serapio.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS PRECIOUS/

INDICATORS - Kazakhstan - April 1

April 01, 2015 - reuters.com

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