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UPDATE 2-US Senate votes to grant Obama fast-track power on trade deals

May 23, 2015 - reuters.com

(Recasts with bill's passage; adds Obama reaction, comments from Senator Hatch and Ford Motor) By Richard Cowan and Jason Lange WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama scored a major victory on Friday when the U.S. Senate voted to give him "fast-track" powers that would help wrap up negotiations on a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal central to projecting American influence in Asia. Attention now turns to the House of Representatives, where opposition is deeper to granting the president power to negotiate trade deals that can be approved or rejected by Congress but not amended. Obama needs trade promotion authority (TPA) to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement this year, an economic alliance that would encompass 40 percent of the world's economies in countries ranging from Japan to Chile. "Today's bipartisan Senate vote is an important step toward ensuring the United States can negotiate and enforce strong, high-standards trade agreements," Obama said in a statement issued immediately after the Senate passage. If eventually enacted into law, the up to six-year TPA would extend to any trade deals negotiated by Obama's successor, who would take office in January 2017. The Senate voted 62-37 for TPA, or fast-track as it is known in Washington, following weeks of bitter debate and White House lobbying. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, the Republican who shepherded the legislation through the Senate, said: "This is an historic piece of legislation...likely the most important bill we'll pass this year." Before the final vote, the Senate defeated, 51-48, an amendment that the White House considered toxic, which would have imposed penalties on countries found to be manipulating their currencies in order to sell more goods abroad. Opponents argued that the amendment would sink the TPP and would violate international trade rules, while also making it harder for central bankers to manage their economies. Instead, the Senate approved milder currency manipulation language that lacks enforcement tools. This version was supported by the White House. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, a leading opponent of fast-track, said the lobbying against the tough currency manipulation amendment was overwhelming. "The president has been lobbying against it and Wall Street's been lobbying against it and...the same people that pushed this trade agreement are lobbying against it. It's a lot of power," Brown said. Given the close vote on the amendment in the Senate, some supporters of tough enforcement against currency manipulation vowed to continue to fight for it. Ford Motor Co F.N Vice President Ziad Ojakli said in a statement that the company will "work with lawmakers to address this critical issue as TPA moves through the legislative process." Ford is among U.S. automakers that fear increased competition from Japan. Earlier on Friday, Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said ministerial meetings on TPP are unlikely until Congress approves fast-track authority for Obama. ID:nT9N0XI081 The deep divisions within the U.S. Congress were on display on Friday. "We all know that by passing this legislation, we can show we're serious about advancing new opportunities for bigger American paychecks, better American jobs, and a stronger American economy," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid dismissed the emerging TPP as just another trade deal, like past ones, that does little more than help rich, multinational corporations while jeopardizing American jobs. "This trade bill is another example of how we have ignored in this Congress working men and women in this country," Reid said. As the action moves to the House, when it returns on June 1 from a 10-day Memorial Day holiday recess, labor unions and environmentalists opposed to free-trade deals are expected to ratchet up pressure on Democrats to vote against the legislation. Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner, who backs fast track, will also have to try to minimize opposition from fellow Republicans, some of whom do not want to give Obama the additional powers. (Additional reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Leslie Adler) ((Richard.Cowan@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: richard.cowan@thomsonreuters.com; 202-898-8391; Reuters Messaging; richard.cowan.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA TRADE/

U.S. Senate votes to grant Obama fast-track trade power

May 23, 2015 - reuters.com

WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama scored a major victory on Friday when the U.S. Senate voted to give him "fast-track" powers that would help wrap up negotiations on a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal central to projecting American influence in Asia. The Senate voted 62-37 to approve the Trade Promotion Authority bill, or fast-track as it is known in Washington. The bill will next be considered by the House of Representatives. (Reporting by Richard Cowan, David Lawder and Jason Lange; Editing by Eric Beech) ((jason.lange@thomsonreuters.com; 202 310 5487; Twitter @langejason; Reuters Messaging: jason.lange.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA TRADE/VOTE

U.S. fast track trade bill clears final Senate procedural hurdle

May 23, 2015 - reuters.com

WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuters) - Legislation key to sealing a Pacific trade pact passed another critical test in the U.S. Senate on Friday, boosting hopes for a deal that is central to President Barack Obama's strategic shift toward Asia. For the second time in two days, the Senate voted to limit debate on a bill, 61 to 38, granting the White House authority to speed trade deals through Congress, which is opposed by many of Obama's fellow Democrats. The bill will now face a final Senate vote before being considered by the House of Representatives. (Reporting by Richard Cowan and Jason Lange; Editing by Sandra Maler) ((jason.lange@thomsonreuters.com; 202 310 5487; Twitter @langejason; Reuters Messaging: jason.lange.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA TRADE/HURDLE

UPDATE 1-Colombia cuts 2015 coal output forecast, Q1 volume falls 5 pct

May 23, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds details, gold, silver production) BOGOTA, May 22 (Reuters) - Colombia, the world's fourth biggest coal exporter, produced 23.2 million tonnes of the fuel in the first three months of the year, down 5 percent from the same period last year, the National Mining Agency (ANM) said on Friday. The agency expects output for all of 2015 to be at least 87 million tonnes, down from an initial forecast of around 97 million tonnes due to a recent legal restriction halting overnight use of the country's main coal railway that has cut capacity. The ANM said production could be higher if the restriction on the Fenoco railway is resolved with engineering works being carried out by its owners, miners Drummond DRMND.UL , Prodeco, a Glencore GLEN.L subsidiary and CNR, a unit of Goldman Sachs GS.N . The works involve construction of gabions, or barriers, to deaden noise from passing trains to address complaints of noise by residents of one town the line crosses. Works began last month and are expected to take a month more to finish. The reopening of the line will depend on the approval of inspectors at the environmental regulator ANLA and a regional court in Cesar province where the residents' complaint was made. A decrease in coal output this year comes at a bad time for Colombia. The plunge in the price of crude oil, its top export, has left the government with less revenue to fund infrastructure investment as well as ongoing peace initiatives. The country's gold production in the first quarter totaled 271,848 troy ounces and silver was 50,309 troy ounces, the ANM said. Coal prices in Europe, where most of Colombia's coal is now exported for power generation, were around $56.70 per tonne this week for 2016 delivery. (Reporting by Peter Murphy; editing by Leslie Adler and G Crosse) ((Peter.Murphy@thomsonreuters.com; +57-1-634-4133; Reuters Messaging: peter.murphy.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: COAL COLOMBIA/

UPDATE 1-U.S. Senate closer to approving fast-track trade bill

May 23, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds rejection of currency rules mandating sanctions) By Richard Cowan and Jason Lange WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Friday was poised to approve the "fast-track" authority that President Barack Obama says he needs to complete a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal central to projecting American influence in Asia. The Republican-controlled Senate narrowly rejected a push by some lawmakers to include rules to punish currency manipulators, a measure the Obama administration worked to defeat. ID:nW1N0YA034 An alternative amendment, one that opponents said lacks enforcement, was approved. ID:nW1N0YA02V Even if a six-year "trade promotion authority" (TPA) bill, as fast-track is known, passes as expected, it faces a difficult future in the House of Representatives, where supporters must overcome opposition from most Democrats and some conservative Republicans. Under fast-track, lawmakers would give Obama and his successor in 2017 the power to negotiate trade deals with foreign governments knowing that Congress could offer input but only approve or disapprove the deals and not amend them. Most immediately, it is the tool Obama needs to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement this year, an economic alliance that would encompass 40 percent of the world's economies in countries ranging from Japan to Chile. Earlier on Friday, Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said ministerial meetings on TPP are unlikely until Congress approves fast-track authority for Obama. ID:nT9N0XI081 But the deep divisions within the U.S. Congress were on display on Friday. "We all know that by passing this legislation, we can show we're serious about advancing new opportunities for bigger American paychecks, better American jobs, and a stronger American economy," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said, urging his 99 Senate colleagues to vote for the bill. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid dismissed the emerging TPP as just another trade deal, like past ones, that does little more than help rich, multinational corporations while jeopardizing American jobs. "This trade bill is another example of how we have ignored in this Congress working men and women in this country," Reid said. Assuming Senate passage on Friday, just before the start of a 10-day Memorial Day holiday congressional recess, the House likely would take it up in June. House Speaker John Boehner and Obama will have to use all of their powers of persuasion to overcome spirited opposition from U.S. labor and environmental groups, as well as some conservative lawmakers and lobbying groups that do not want to give Obama any new powers. (Additional reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Leslie Adler) ((Richard.Cowan@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: richard.cowan@thomsonreuters.com; 202-898-8391; Reuters Messaging; richard.cowan.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA TRADE/

U.S. Senate rejects trade bill currency rules mandating sanctions

May 23, 2015 - reuters.com

WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Friday rejected a push to beef up rules against currency manipulation in a key trade bill, avoiding a clash with the Obama administration and U.S. trade partners. The Senate voted 51 to 48 against an amendment that would have allowed sanctions against countries that deliberately weaken their currencies to make their exports cheaper. (Reporting by Richard Cowan and Jason Lange; Editing by Eric Beech) ((jason.lange@thomsonreuters.com; 202 310 5487; Twitter @langejason; Reuters Messaging: jason.lange.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA TRADE/CURRENCY SANCTIONS

U.S. Senate approves trade bill currency rules lacking sanctions

May 23, 2015 - reuters.com

WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Friday voted for a compromise on currency manipulation rules in a key trade bill, avoiding a clash with the Obama administration and U.S. trade partners. The Senate voted 70 to 29 in favor of an amendment that beefs up existing rules but stops short of allowing sanctions against countries that deliberately weaken their currencies to make their exports cheaper. (Reporting by Richard Cowan and Jason Lange; Editing by Sandra Maler) ((krista.hughes@thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 354 5854; Reuters Messaging: krista.hughes.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: USA TRADE/CURRENCY

BRIEF-Minco Silver announces purchase of Changkeng Gold project

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

May 22 (Reuters) - Minco Silver Corp MSV.TO : * Announces purchase of the changkeng gold project * Says deal valued at C$13.7 million * Says samson siu, the company's interim chief financial officer and corporate controller, is no longer with the company * Has commenced a search for a replacement to samson siu * Source text for Eikon ID:nCCN2687Pc * Further company coverage MSV.TO ((Bengaluru Newsroom; +1 646 223 8780))

BRIEF-Proshares to close, liquidate Proshares ultra Australian dollar

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

May 22 (Reuters) - Proshares: * Proshares says it plans to close and liquidate proshares ultra Australian dollar * Proshares - after close of business on June 18, 2015, the proshares ultra Australian dollar will no longer accept creation orders * Proshares - proshares ultra Australian dollar has lacked the demand necessary to remain open * Source text for Eikon ID:nBw5z9C1Fa ((Bengaluru Newsroom; +1 646 223 8780))

UPDATE 2-Brazil central bank chief vows to slash inflation by end-2016

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds more quotes from Tombini, comment from economist) By Walter Brandimarte and Alonso Soto RIO DE JANEIRO, May 22 (Reuters) - Brazil's central bank chief on Friday renewed his commitment to slash inflation to the center of a government target by the end of 2016, signaling more interest rate hikes in Latin America's largest economy. Speaking at a central bank event in Rio de Janeiro, Alexandre Tombini stressed that policymakers would remain "vigilant" to ensure the inflationary impact of sharp rises in government-managed prices this year does not spread out into 2016 and beyond. He said the central bank was focused on bringing consumer inflation, currently running at an 11-year high of 8.2 percent, back to the midpoint of a government target that ranges from 2.5 percent to 6.5 percent. "This is our commitment, and we'll do whatever is necessary to meet it," Tombini told reporters after delivering his speech. Economists said his comments suggest the central bank will continue to raise the benchmark Selic rate, currently at 13.25 percent, despite a looming recession. "Tombini's tone remains very hawkish," Santander Securities strategist Sandro Sobral wrote in a note to clients. Investors in the interest-rate futures market have already priced in a Selic at 14 percent by the end of the year, Sobral added. BCBWATCH Tombini said the current monetary tightening cycle has already caused inflation expectations to ease modestly. "This progress (in inflation expectations) is welcome, but it is not enough for us to meet the 4.5 percent target by 2016," he said. Tombini added that a consistent fiscal policy would help the central bank bring inflation back to the target while allowing the economy to grow at a sustainable pace in the future. Brazil is expected to unveil on Friday a major spending freeze to restore investors' confidence in President Dilma Rousseff's fiscal policy. ID:nL1N0YD0LM Tombini also said a weaker exchange rate would help Brazil reduce its current account deficit, a comment some analysts interpreted as a sign that the central bank may further reduce its support for the currency. (Editing by W Simon and Lisa Von Ahn) ((Stephen.Eisenhammer@thomsonreuters.com; +55 21 2223 7157; Reuters Messaging: Stephen.Eisenhammer.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: BRAZIL TOMBINI/INFLATION

Speculators pare dollar bets to lowest since late July -CFTC, Reuters

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

May 22 (Reuters) - Speculators further scaled back bullish bets on the U.S. dollar in the latest week, pushing the currency's net long position to the lowest over nine months, according to Reuters calculations and data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released on Friday. The value of the dollar's net long position fell to $25.81 billion in the week ended May 19, from $29.11 billion the previous week. Net longs on the dollar declined for a eighth straight week. It was also the sixth consecutive week that longs on the dollar came in below $40 billion. (Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli) ((richard.leong@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6313; Reuters Messaging: richard.leong.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net; Twitter @RichardLeong2)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/CFTC

FOREX -Dollar rallies on U.S. price data, Fed's Yellen rate talk

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

* Yellen paints picture of 2015 rate rise potential * Dollar on track for best week against euro in over 3-1/2 years * Broad greenback gains; CPI shows underlying inflation pressures * Bank of Japan keeps policy unchanged, as expected (Adds comments from Fed's Yellen, updates prices) By Daniel Bases NEW YORK, May 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar turned higher on Friday, spurred off early losses after a U.S. inflation report that indicated underlying pressures are building bolstered the case for the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates later this year. Remarks by Fed Chair Janet Yellen later in the day that a rate increase was on track this year added support for the greenback. "Stronger inflation, along with stronger growth data, is something that the Fed certainly wants to see," said Brian Daingerfield, currency strategist at the Royal Bank of Scotland in Stamford, Connecticut. "Rate hike expectations have likely been brought forward as a result of some of the stronger data today." While the U.S. Consumer Price Index gained only 0.1 percent in April, down from the prior month, the core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, increased 0.3 percent, the largest rise since January 2013, after advancing 0.2 percent in March. The euro fell 0.99 percent to a session low of $1.10025 EUR=EBS on the EBS trading platform. It was the weakest point since April 29. For the week the euro is down 3.83 percent, its worst performance since September 2011 and not far from an even poorer performance in August 2010. Against the yen, the dollar climbed 0.45 percent, to 121.57 yen JPY=EBS , a 10-week high. For the week, the dollar is up 1.95 percent against the Japanese currency, its best weekly tally since early December. Yellen said she expected the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates this year, as the U.S. economy was on course to bounce back from a sluggish first quarter and headwinds at home and abroad waned. ID:nL1N0YD1IH Demand for U.S. dollars firmed on the speech. "June appears to be out of the question," Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist at Ridgeworth Investments in Atlanta, said of a possible rate hike. "I think September is still a question mark, but Yellen seems to be confident that the economy will improve enough that the Federal Reserve will safely begin to raise interest rates this year. That is putting a little gas behind the dollar." (Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Leslie Adler) ((daniel.bases@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6131; Reuters Messaging: daniel.bases.reuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter: @djbases)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

UPDATE 2-Colombia cenbank holds key interest rate at 4.5 pct, as expected

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds quotes, background) By Julia Symmes Cobb and Nelson Bocanegra BOGOTA, May 22 (Reuters) - Colombia's central bank voted unanimously to hold its benchmark interest rate steady for a ninth consecutive month on Friday, as policymakers try to boost the economy without stoking inflation. The bank's seven-member board said in a statement it voted to maintain the lending rate at 4.5 percent as the economy adapts to slowing consumption and a decline in exports. "The Colombian economy is adjusting in an appropriate way to new conditions in the global economy and I would class it as a positive evaluation," bank chief Jose Dario Uribe told reporters after announcing the lending rate. The decision met the forecast of all analysts in a Reuters survey this week. The decline in internal demand and exports would be somewhat offset by a weaker peso and heavy investment in infrastructure, the central bank said in its statement. "We do not note any change in the board's tone or its arguments for keeping interest rates steady," Citibank said in a note to investors. "Despite a new inflation surprise, the board showed no signs of considering a preemptive hike." The weaker peso, which makes imports more expensive, was a minor driver in higher inflation in April, the bank said, with higher food prices the key factor. Analysts expect consumer prices to increase as much as 3.85 percent this year. In April, 12-month consumer price growth hit 4.64 percent, well above the 2 to 4 percent target range. Government revenue in Latin America's fourth-largest economy has been dented by the global fall in oil prices, Colombia's biggest export and source of foreign exchange. Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas, who sits on the central bank's board, expects the economy to grow between 3.5 percent and 4 percent this year, down from 4.6 percent in 2014, chiefly due to lower prices for crude oil. The plunge in oil has sent the peso to multi-year lows. "It is expected that investment in public works and construction will continue to be dynamic, and over time, the real devaluation of the peso will have a positive impact on the performance of the sectors that export and compete with imports." Analysts polled by Reuters lowered their forecasts for economic expansion to 3.2 percent from 3.4 percent, matching a recent revision by the central bank, which earlier this month lowered its forecast from 3.6 percent. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Key economic data: http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/2014/06/19/1417204601.htm) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> (Reporting by Bogota newsroom; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Leslie Adler) ((Peter.Murphy@thomsonreuters.com; +57 1 634 4133; Reuters Messaging: peter.murphy.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: COLOMBIA CENBANK/

Argentine trade surplus shrinks sharply in April, misses f'casts

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

BUENOS AIRES, May 22 (Reuters) - Argentina said on Friday its trade surplus ARTBAL=ECI plunged 69.2 percent in April from the same month a year earlier to $252 million, sharply undershooting market expectations. The median forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts was for a drop in the surplus to $698 million from $818 million in April 2014. President Cristina Fernandez's government relies on the surplus to boost dollar supplies on the tightly controlled currency market. Exports fell 19 percent, far outpacing a 12 percent fall in imports, the economy ministry data showed. (Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Eliana Raszewski; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli) ((sarah.marsh@thomsonreuters.com; +54 1145102505; Reuters Messaging: sarah.marsh.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: ARGENTINA TRADE/

IMF says BOJ, govt overly optimistic on Japan's economic prospects

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

By Leika Kihara TOKYO, May 22 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund warned the Bank of Japan will take longer than it expects to hit its inflation target even with more monetary easing, and said "bolder" structural reforms are required to shake off an entrenched deflationary mindset. In a statement after "Article 4" consultations with Japanese policymakers released on Friday, the IMF urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to speed up fiscal reform and not rely on "overly optimistic" estimates in fixing the country's finances. The value of the yen on a real, effective basis has broadly stabilised after weakening somewhat during the second half of 2014, it said. "Without bolder structural reforms and credible fiscal consolidation, domestic demand could remain sluggish, and any further monetary easing could lead to overreliance on the depreciation of the yen," the IMF said. Since deploying "quantitative and qualitative easing" (QQE) in April 2013 and expanding it in October last year, the BOJ has stood pat on policy on the view the economy will recover enough to nudge inflation to its 2 percent target. But inflation ground to a halt on falling oil costs and soft consumption, keeping alive expectations of more easing later this year. The IMF said that while there is not much slack left in the economy, lower energy costs and "deep entrenchment" of the deflationary mindset were keeping inflation subdued. Inflation expectations have been broadly flat at around 1 percent in recent months, suggesting the "regime shift" desired by the BOJ has not yet materialised, it said. "The monetary transmission is weak so that even with further easing, reaching 2 percent inflation in a stable manner is likely to take longer than envisaged by the BOJ," the IMF said. The comments contrast with the BOJ's view that the flood of money it is pumping will spur inflation expectations and encourage households to boost spending. "INCOMPLETE" REFORMS Having pushed back the timing for hitting its price target last month, the BOJ now expects inflation to hit 2 percent by around September next year, a forecast analysts still see as too optimistic. Given the delay in lifting inflation, the BOJ must stand ready for further easing such as through steps like increasing asset buying, targeting assets with longer durations and cutting a 0.1 percent floor set on market rates, it said. The IMF warned that the biggest risks for Japan came from weak domestic demand and "incomplete" fiscal policy and growth strategies. Abe will release a fiscal consolidation plan next month with the goal of returning to a primary surplus in fiscal 2020 and then lowering the debt-GDP ratio, which is among the worst for advanced economies. The economic assumptions behind the government's fiscal policy have been "overly optimistic" and risk hurting market trust in Japan's resolve to fix its finances, the IMF said. "A concrete and credible medium-term plan would remove uncertainties about fiscal intentions, which could be hampering domestic demand, and help to respond to downside risks," it said. (Additional reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Shri Navaratnam) ((leika.kihara@thomsonreuters.com; +813-6441-1828; Reuters Messaging: leika.kihara.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: IMF JAPAN/

UPDATE 1-Mexico officials extend dollar auction program to shield peso

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds details, background on intervention programs) MEXICO CITY, May 22 (Reuters) - Mexico's foreign exchange commission said Friday it would extend a daily dollar auction program and could take additional measures to help shield the peso from global volatility. Mexico's peso tumbled to a record low in March on a slump in oil prices and concerns that a possible U.S. interest rate hike, expected this year, may push investors to dump emerging market assets. The commission, made up of officials from the central bank and the finance ministry, said in a statement it had decided to extend daily auctions of $52 million, which were set to expire on June 8, until at least Sept. 29. The auction, announced in March, has no minimum price. ID:nL1N0WD139 The commission also said it will maintain a $200 million dollar auction announced in December that is triggered by losses of more than 1.5 percent. Mexico's central bank generally avoids the direct intervention used by other emerging markets, preferring more market-friendly mechanisms. Analysts polled by Reuters this week said they doubted policymakers would resort to discretionary intervention, expecting, rather, that the central bank could increase the amount of dollars it sells or lower the threshold that would trigger the auction. ID:nL1N0YB19K Mexico's weak peso has not yet fanned inflation, which reached a more than 9-year low in the first half of May, data showed on Friday. ID:nL1N0YD0R5 (Reporting by Michael O'Boyle and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Bernadette Baum) ((Alexandra.Alper@thomsonreuters.com; +5255-5282-7142; Reuters Messaging: alexandra.alper.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS MEXICO/AUCTIONS

Colombia's central bank interest rate decision was unanimous

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

BOGOTA, May 22 (Reuters) - The decision by Colombia's central bank to hold the benchmark interest rate at 4.5 percent was taken unanimously, bank chief Jose Dario Uribe said on Friday. (Reporting by Bogota newsroom) ((Peter.Murphy@thomsonreuters.com; +57 1 634 4133; Reuters Messaging: peter.murphy.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: COLOMBIA CENBANK/UNANIMOUS

Citigroup selling retail online FX trading platform to FXCM, Saxo Bank

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

By Daniel Bases NEW YORK, May 22 (Reuters) - Citigroup said on Friday it is selling its margin foreign exchange business, including the CitiFX Pro and TradeStream platforms to U.S.-based FXCM and Danish investment bank SAXO Bank. "We believe this transaction is in the best interest of Citi's Margin FX clients, who will experience a seamless transition to seasoned online retail specialists that can skillfully service their needs. The sale is expected to be completed in the second quarter," the bank said in a short statement released to Reuters. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. FXCM filed an 8K form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the company would "assume the vast majority of margin forex accounts of CitiFX Pro from Citibank N.A. and Citibank International Limited, which traded over $30 billion on average a month during 2014." In the filing, FXCM said that after the close of trading on Friday, June 26, "accepted CitiFX Pro" accounts will be transferred. "CitiFX Pro clients will be transitioned to FXCM's comparable trading solutions and parameters either on Trading Station, the MT4 Platform, or APIs according to their current settings and needs," FXCM said in its filing. ID:nWNAB070XF In April, Reuters reported according to a source that Citi was looking to offload its retail foreign exchange brokerage in an effort to streamline its operations. ID:nL5N0XB2H6 Industry surveys rank Citi as the single biggest banking player in the $5 trillion a day forex market. (Additional reporting by Patrick Graham in London; Editing by Bernard Orr) ((daniel.bases@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6131; Reuters Messaging: daniel.bases.reuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter: @djbases)) Keywords: FOREX CITIFXPRO/SALE

Ghana 91-day bill yield rises to 25.1502 pct

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

ACCRA, May 22 (Reuters) - The Bank of Ghana said the yield on its 91-day bill rose to 25.1502 percent at an auction on Friday, from 25.0768 percent at the last sale. The bank said it had accepted all 532.79 million cedis ($133.2 million) worth of bids tendered for the 91-day paper. For full details please click here: http://www.bog.gov.gh/privatecontent/Treasury/Auctresults%201434.pdf ($1 USD = 4.0000 Ghana cedis) (Writing by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Bate Felix) ((kwasi.kpodo@thomsonreuters.com; +233)(244696990; Reuters Messaging: kwasi.kpodo.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GHANA BONDS/

Mexico officials extend dollar auction program to shield peso

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

MEXICO CITY, May 22 (Reuters) - Mexico's foreign exchange commission has decided to extend a daily dollar auction ahead of expected global volatility in financial markets and said it could take additional measures, the finance ministry said on Friday. The commission, which is made up of officials from the central bank and the finance ministry, said in a statement it had decided to extend daily auctions of $52 million, which were set to expire in June, until at least Sept. 29. (Reporting by Veronica Gomez and Michael O'Boyle) ((michael.oboyle@thomsonreuters.com; +5255-5282-7153; Reuters Messaging: michael.oboyle.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS MEXICO/AUCTIONS

UPDATE 1-Russia and Kazakhstan raised gold holdings in April -IMF

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

(New throughout, adds Kazakhstan and Jordan, details from IMF data) NEW YORK, May 22 (Reuters) - The Russian Federation and Kazakhstan raised their gold holdings in April as the price of gold steadied, while Jordan entered as a steady buyer earlier this year, data from the International Monetary Fund showed on Friday. Russia increased its stocks by 8.333 tonnes to 1,246.625 tonnes in April, the data showed, buying for the second straight month after a pause early this year. This came after the major holder of gold reserves had bolstered its reserves for nine straight months to December 2014. Kazakhstan raised its gold holdings by 2.441 tonnes to 200.851 tonnes last month, the data showed. Jordan, a small holder of gold reserves, became a buyer in the first quarter of this year, bringing its holdings to 33.28 tonnes in March, after raising them by 3.4 tonnes in January, 8.087 tonnes in February and 2.488 tonnes in March, IMF data showed. This marked a 76 percent increase from the end of 2014. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by David Gregorio) ((Marcy.Nicholson@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6043; Reuters Messaging: marcy.nicholson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: IMF GOLD/

UPDATE 1-Falling inflation to support Malawi's currency: finance minister

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

(Adds) LILONGWE, May 22 (Reuters) - Declining fuel prices and a narrowing budget deficit in Malawi will help its economy grow, despite a fall in donor grants, the finance minister said in a budget speech on Friday. Foreign aid has traditionally accounted for about 40 percent of Malawi's national budget, but a scandal involving donor funds now threatens to deplete its scant revenues. ID:nL6N0WQ2CZ "There is a decline in total revenue and grants in the 2015/16 as a share of GDP (gross domestic product) entirely due to the continued decrease in donor grants," Gondwe told parliament. Total revenue and grants were expected to decline to 97.1 billion Malawian kwacha ($226 million) from 132.8 billion Malawian kwacha ($309 million) previously, the minister said. Gondwe said he expected inflation to slow to 18.2 percent in April 2015 from 24.4 percent in November 2014, due mainly to the fall in global fuel prices, which would also support the kwacha. "The better growth trend that was being achieved this year was disturbed by ... floods and dry spells, which have adversely affected the agricultural sector," Gondwe said. Days of torrential rains in January killed at least 48 people and left around 70,000 homeless, also damaging maize crops, a major export. ID:nL6N0UT4GJ Despite the setbacks, the finance ministry said it projected real economic growth at 7 percent in 2015/16. ($1 = 430.3500 kwacha) (Reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by James Macharia/Ruth Pitchford) ((mfuneko.toyana@thomsonreuters.com; +27117753153; Reuters Messaging: mfuneko.toyana.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MALAWI BUDGET/

BRIEF-FXCM says on May 19 its units agreed to assume majority of margin forex accounts of Citifx pro from Citibank,Citibank International

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

May 22 (Reuters) - FXCM Inc FXCM.N : * On may 21,co said that on may 19 its units agreed to assume majority of margin forex accounts of citifx pro from citibank,citibank international * After close of trading on Friday, June 26, 2015, accepted citifx pro accounts will be transferred to the corresponding FXCM entity * Source text for Eikon [ID:http://1.usa.gov/1FsRyxL] * Further company coverage FXCM.N ((Bengaluru Newsroom; +1 646 223 8780))

Austrian central bank to repatriate gold from Britain - Krone newspaper

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

VIENNA, May 22 (Reuters) - Austria's central bank plans to repatriate some of its gold reserves from Britain after facing criticism for storing too much of the precious metal abroad, the Krone newspaper reported on Friday without naming any sources for the information. Officials at the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) were not immediately available for comment. The OeNB in February rejected criticism of its gold storage policy by the country's Court of Audit and insisted that keeping the bulk of reserves in London was in the country's best interests, but also said a policy review was under way. ID:nL5N0VY42Q The central bank, which administers Austria's 280 tonnes of gold reserves, had argued it makes sense to store gold where it can be traded if need be, which made London a logical place given its role as an international market for the metal. Austrian gold reserves have been unchanged since 2007, according to the OeNB's 2013 annual report, which says around 80 percent is kept in Britain, 17 percent in Austria and 3 percent in Switzerland. Krone said in future 50 percent would be kept in Austria, 30 percent in Britain and 20 percent in Switzerland. (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by David Holmes) ((Michael.Shields@thomsonreuters.com; +43 1 531 12 258; Reuters Messaging: michael.shields.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: AUSTRIA GOLD/

Russia raised gold holdings in April -IMF

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

NEW YORK, May 22 (Reuters) - The Russian Federation raised its gold holdings by 8.333 tonnes to 1,246.625 tonnes in April, the International Monetary Fund showed on Friday. Kazakhstan raised its gold holdings by 2.441 tonnes to 200.851 tonnes in April, the data showed. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson) ((Marcy.Nicholson@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6043; Reuters Messaging: marcy.nicholson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: IMF GOLD/

Russian economy not out of woods yet as April data disappoints

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

MOSCOW, May 22 (Reuters) - Russia's economic slump deepened in April, official data showed on Friday, as steeper falls in retail sales and real wages pointed to a further deterioration in domestic demand. Some economists have recently turned more optimistic on prospects that Russia will avert a steep economic decline this year, helped by a rouble rally and recovery in oil prices. But the Federal Statistics Service said retail sales fell 9.8 percent and real wages by 13.2 percent in April, worse than forecast and than the March figures. Capital investment extended a one-and-a-half year decline but fell less steeply than in the previous month. "Conditions in consumer-facing sectors, which have been particularly hard hit by last year's rouble crisis, appear to have deteriorated even further," Liza Ermolenko, an emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, said in a note. When a 4.5 percent contraction in industrial output is also considered, Ermolenko said gross domestic product (GDP) probably fell by around 4 percent year-on-year in April. One positive note was that unemployment edged down to 5.8 percent in April, suggesting that so far the country's economic pain has not been accompanied by mass layoffs. Dmitry Dolgin, an economist at Alfa Bank, said that while he expected the GDP contraction to worsen in the coming months, increased budget spending and aggressive central bank interest rate cuts had helped soften the blow for the economy. "An annual economic contraction of 5 or 6 percent, which some feared in December, is too negative," he said. On Thursday the International Monetary Fund said it expected the economy to shrink by 3.4 percent in 2015, improving its previous forecast. Russia's official forecasts predict an economic decline of 2.8 percent this year, although officials have said the contraction may be smaller. ID:nL5N0YC3LM (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 ECONOMY/

Mexico cenbank sells $52 mln at 15.2788 pesos at daily auction

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

MEXICO CITY, May 22 (Reuters) - The central bank of Mexico sold $52 million on Friday at an average price of 15.2788 pesos per dollar, the bank said, part of an auction program to boost foreign exchange liquidity following a recent slide in the peso currency. (Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom) ((dave.graham@thomsonreuters.com; +52 55 5282 7146; Reuters Messaging: dave.graham.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MEXICO ECONOMY/PESO

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks get that Friday feeling as stimulus trumps growth concern

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

* Stocks on track to close week near record highs * Yellen, Draghi in focus * Euro zone bond yields dip, U.S. inflation data awaited (Updates prices, adds fresh quote) By Jamie McGeever and Jemima Kelly LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) - World shares neared record highs and bond yields fell on Friday, as investors shrugged off slowing global growth and focused instead on the continued stimulus provided by the world's major central banks. European shares edged down from three-week highs, pegged back partly by a rebound in the euro, but were still on track for their best week in six, and Germany's DAX for its best week since January. U.S. futures pointed to a slightly positive open on Wall Street SPc1 , after the S&P 500 .SPX hit an all-time high on Thursday. A batch of soft manufacturing data on Thursday from the United States, China and Germany pointed to sluggish global growth but cemented investor hopes that central banks will keep stoking activity. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will take centre stage later on Friday. Earlier this week Fed meeting minutes appeared to push the timing of the first U.S. rate hike out to late 2015, while the ECB's Benoit Coeure said the euro zone bank could increase its bond purchases in the near term. "There are chances of more rate cuts in China, the Fed is delaying its rate hikes and Europe is treading a steady course so the risks are on the limited side for the market," said ABN Amro Chief Investment Officer Didier Duret. "We are seeing the tail of the slowdown in the United States in the first quarter, meaning it is probably the last set of data that are rather negative." By 1155 GMT the FTSEuroFirst 300 index .FTEU3 was down 0.2 percent, with luxury goods group Richemont CFR.VX falling on weak sales. Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE was up 0.6 percent at its highest level in 10 days in the wake of a better-than-expected improvement in UK public finances. Earlier, Wall Street's record high helped China's main index to leap nearly 3 percent to a fresh 7-year high, rounding off a weekly gain of 8 percent, its strongest week this year. It has risen 45 percent in only six weeks. MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS , which tracks shares in 45 countries, was up 0.2 percent at 443.54, close to a record high of 443.98 hit in April. BONDS STEADYING U.S. inflation data for April is due at 1230 GMT. Muted price pressures are expected to give the Fed more breathing space regarding of the timing of what will be its first rate hike since June 2006. The U.S. economy's recovery has not been as robust as expected. U.S. data released overnight appeared to vindicate the Fed officials' cautious policy stance. With weaker-than-expected existing home sales, manufacturing sector and U.S. Mid-Atlantic business activity, U.S. Treasury yields fell, helping nudge the dollar away from recent highs. The euro rose 0.6 percent to $1.1175 EUR= , shrugging off data showing German business morale deteriorated slightly in May for the first time in seven months. It had hit a three-week low of $1.1062 earlier this week amid Greek debt concerns and was poised to lose almost 2.5 percent on the week, snapping a five-week winning streak. The dollar also eased slightly to 120.975 yen JPY= after scaling a two-month peak of 121.49 midweek. The benchmark 10-year German bond yield fell four basis points to 0.60 percent DE10YT=TWEB and the 10-year U.S. yield to 2.17 percent US10YT=RR . Analysts at Barclays noted "tentative" signs that the euro zone bond market was stabilising after a rout that drove Bund yields to 0.80 percent from 0.05 percent. That high is unlikely to be retested any time soon. "Were financial conditions to tighten further, the ECB could respond more forcefully," they said in a note on Friday. Oil prices slipped on Friday as worries over the impact of war in the Middle East on crude supplies were outweighed by reports of profit-taking ahead of a long weekend. O/R Brent LCOc1 was down 45 cents at $66.09 a barrel after closing up 2.3 percent on Thursday. (Additional reporting by Marc Jonees in London and Saikat Chatterjee in Hong Kong; Editing by Toby Chopra/Ruth Pitchford) ((jamie.mcgeever@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 0 207 542 8510)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL

RPT-Red Kite co-founder plans new Orion metals fund - sources

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

(Repeats with no changes) * Hires Mike Sheehan to join new fund * Red Kite co-founder wants to replicate Red Kite model * Sets up merchant business to sell copper By Josephine Mason and Clara Denina NEW YORK/LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) - U.S. mining financier Oskar Lewnowski is preparing to launch a base and precious metals fund, sources say, his latest step in recreating the famed trading and investment enterprise he co-founded a decade ago, Red Kite. Two years after striking out on his own to create private equity investment firm Orion Resource Partners, the 50-year-old New York native has already deployed almost $1 billion in equity, loans and royalty streams into at least 17 junior mining firms, and hired a physical metals trader to handle supply. Now, Lewnowski is preparing for the third phase of his growth plan: setting up a hedge fund that will initially focus on precious and base metals, according to four sources familiar with the plan who are unauthorized to speak to the media. Mike Sheehan, precious metals portfolio manager at Red Kite's RK Capital Management, will join the yet-to-be-named fund when he leaves Red Kite at the end of July, two of the sources said. The size and timing of the fund were not known, nor was it clear what role he would assume there. Sheehan worked at Red Kite for nine years and has almost 25 years experience dealing in gold and silver. With $1.8 billion in assets under management at end-December, Orion Mine Finance has helped finance EMED Mining EMED.L , which is reviving the historic Rio Tinto copper mine in Spain, and Weatherly International Plc WETI.L , which has built the Tschudi copper operation in Namibia. Its biggest deal was a $200 million financing of diamond explorer Stornoway Diamond Corp SWY.TO . Earlier this year, Orion Merchant Services made its first foray into the lucrative and competitive business of merchanting metals, hiring veteran copper and zinc trader Joe Spiciarich to market the copper from Tschudi, the fund's first base metals project to go into production. Orion Mine Finance also has a stake in Scale, a metals warehousing firm shared with Macquarie Group Ltd MQG.AX . Lewnowski, who started his career in the 1980s in investment banking at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, was not available to comment for this article. Sheehan declined to comment on the move. FROM INVESTOR TO TRADER The aim is to replicate the investment-and-trader model perfected by Red Kite and other big merchants like Trafigura and Louis Dreyfus over the past decade, drawing on close ties to the physical metals to give the funds investing in the futures market an edge over rivals, sources said. For Lewnowski, the fund would be a significant milestone in a career stretching more than two decades. He was a founding partner and head of mine finance investment at Red Kite, which since 2004 has grown into one of the world's biggest physical metal merchants. The mine finance business Red Kite Mine Finance fund had $2 billion in assets under management as of January 2015, according to its website. Lewnowski, a keen supporter of the New York Rangers ice hockey team, oversaw 10 projects worth $400 million in a three-year period til September 2012. He split with Red Kite's British co-founders, David Lilley and Mike Farmer, a year later. While the separation was amicable, two of the sources who know the men say the rivalry between Lewnowski and his former partners is strong. Before Red Kite, he was head of corporate development at Varomet Ltd, which was formed to buy parts of Enron's metals and mining assets. The fund would also stand out as one of the few commodity fund launches in recent years after plunging oil, copper and grain prices forced the closure of some big names, including Hermes, Brevan Howard and Hall Commodities, last year. Still, many merchants are expanding to fill the gap left by the retreat of European and U.S. banks, which have retrenched from physical trading amid regulatory glare and tight margins. Revenues from base and precious metals at the world's ten largest investment banks fell for a third straight year hitting $1.2 billion in 2014, according to analysis from industry analytics firm Coalition. That was down almost a third from the record set in 2009. (Editing by Jonathan Leff and Marguerita Choy) ((Josephine.Mason@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8925; Reuters Messaging: josephine.mason.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: METALS FUND/LEWNOWSKI

CORRECTED-GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks get that Friday feeling as stimulus trumps growth concern

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

(Corrects 3rd paragraph to say Chinese stocks had their best week this year, not in a year.) * Stocks close week on a high * Yellen, Draghi in focus * Euro zone bond yields dip By Jamie McGeever LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) - Global stocks rose and bond yields fell on Friday, as investors shrugged off slowing global growth and focused instead on the continued stimulus provided by the world's major central banks. Wall Street's record high on Thursday lifted Asian stocks on Friday, a day that will be packed with key European and U.S. economic data as well as speeches from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank president Mario Draghi. China's main index leapt nearly 3 percent to a fresh 7-year high, rounding off a weekly gain of 8 percent, its best week this year. Boosted by hopes of further central bank stimulus, it has risen 45 percent in only six weeks. European shares struggled to match that, but the leading index of European shares was still poised for its biggest gain in six weeks and Germany's DAX its best week since January. A batch of soft manufacturing data on Thursday from the United States, China and Germany pointed to sluggish global growth but cemented investor hopes that central banks will continue to do all they can to support activity. To that end, Yellen and Draghi will take centre stage on Friday. Earlier this week Fed meeting minutes appeared to push the timing of the first U.S. rate hike out to late 2015, while the ECB's Benoit Coeure said the ECB could increase its bond purchases in the near-term. "Risk assets continue to edge higher ... and Draghi is set to make a speech. Listen out for further assurance of the QE program running until September 2016 but more importantly any clues as to inflation expectations," said Angus Campbell, senior markets analyst at FxPro in London. In early trade the FTSEuroFirst 300 index .FTEU3 , Germany's DaX and France's CAC 40 .FCHI were all flat on the day. Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE was up 0.3 percent. Earlier, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 1 percent and Japan's Nikkei rose 0.3 percent. Japanese stocks have been boosted this week by data showing stronger-than-expected first quarter growth. The Bank of Japan kept its policy as widely expected. U.S. futures pointed to a slightly positive open on Wall Street SPc1 , after the S&P 500 .SPX inched up 0.2 percent to close at a new all-time high overnight on Thursday. BONDS STEADYING On the data front, U.S. inflation for April is the main event. Price pressures are expected to remain muted, giving the Fed more breathing space in terms of the timing of what will be its first rate hike since June 2006. The U.S. economy has shown patchy signs of strength and its recovery has not been as robust as expected. Soft U.S. data released overnight - weaker-than-expected existing home sales, manufacturing sector and U.S. Mid-Atlantic business activity - appeared to vindicate the Fed officials' cautious policy stance. U.S. Treasury yields fell in wake of the soft economic indicators, helping nudge the dollar away from recent highs. The euro rose 0.4 percent to $1.1160 EUR= . It had hit a three-week low of $1.1062 earlier this week amid Greek debt concerns and was poised to lose 2.7 percent on the week, snapping a five-week winning streak. The dollar also eased slightly to 120.75 yen JPY= after losing 0.3 percent overnight to end a five-day winning run. The greenback scaled a two-month peak of 121.49 midweek on bets the currency was ready for a run higher after weeks in the doldrums. The benchmark 10-year German bond yield fell three basis points to 0.60 percent DE10YT=TWEB and the 10-year U.S. yield slipped back to 2.17 percent US10YT=RR . Analysts at Barclays noted "tentative" signs that the euro zone bond market was stabilizing after the recent rout that saw Bund yields rocket to 0.80 percent from 0.05 percent. That high is unlikely to be retested any time soon. "Were financial conditions to tighten further, the ECB could respond more forcefully," they said in a note on Friday. In commodities, U.S. crude took a breather, flat on the day at $60.66, after surging nearly 3 percent overnight on data that eased supply glut concerns and fighting in Iraq ID:nL5N0YC1AZ . Brent LCOc1 was flat at $66.53 a barrel after rising 2.3 percent. O/R (Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in Hong Kong; Editing by Toby Chopra; To read Reuters Global Investing Blog click on http://blogs.reuters.com/globalinvesting; for the MacroScope Blog click on http://blogs.reuters.com/macroscope; for Hedge Fund Blog Hub click on http://blogs.reuters.com/hedgehub) ((jamie.mcgeever@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 0 207 542 8510)) Keywords: MARKETS GLOBAL

Tanzania's gold output rises in 2014, snaps two-year decline

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

DAR ES SALAAM, May 22 (Reuters) - Tanzania's gold output edged up 1.26 percent in 2014 to 1.27 million ounces, snapping a two-year decline, government data showed on Friday. Tanzania is Africa's fourth-biggest gold producer after South Africa, Ghana and Mali and gold exports are a key source of foreign exchange. Export earnings however fell last year, reflecting lower metal prices globally. "The total value of mineral exports by the seven major gold mines decreased by 6.7 percent from $1.78 billion in the year 2013 to $1.66 billion in the year 2014," the state-run Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency (TMAA) said in a report. Government revenues from gold mining companies, in form of taxes and royalties, rose 29.5 percent last year to 428.24 billion shillings ($210 million), the agency said. Tanzania's gold production has fallen consecutively since 2012 following the closure of two large-scale mines after they reached the end of mine life. Gold mining companies operating in Tanzania include AngloGold Ashanti ANGJ.J and Acacia Mining Ltd ACAA.L , formerly African Barrick Gold Plc. Diamond output from a mine owned by South Africa's Petra Diamonds Ltd PDL.L was up 28.5 percent last year to 203,786 carats, with exports fetching $73.6 million. ($1 = 2,040.0000 Tanzanian shillings) (Reporting by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing by James Macharia) ((duncan.miriri@thomsonreuters.com; Tel: +254 20 4991239; Reuters Messaging: duncan.miriri.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: TANZANIA GOLD/

INDICATORS - Kazakhstan - May 22

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

Asia Gold-Slow demand as China eyes equities; lack of weddings in India

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

* Premiums fall in Hong Kong, up slightly in mainland China * Gold sold up to $5 discount in India's black market By Manolo Serapio Jr and A. Ananthalakshmi SINGAPORE, May 22 (Reuters) - Gold buying was slow this week in Asia even as global benchmark prices dropped from a three-month high, with the Chinese hooked on surging equities while demand in India stayed weak and was unlikely to pick up as the wedding season cools. Premiums for bullion over international spot prices XAU= dropped in Hong Kong while prices in India were on par with the global benchmark. "Demand is extremely slow. Customers are focusing on equity markets and aren't really interested in gold for the time being," said Dick Poon, general manager at Heraeus Precious Metals in Hong Kong. Gold premiums in Hong Kong dropped to around 50 cents an ounce, he said, from over a dollar last week. Spot gold held above $1,200 an ounce this week, supported by expectations the Federal Reserve may not be in a rush to hike U.S. interest rates given recent signs of weakness in the economy. But a stronger dollar pushed the precious metal off a three-month high of $1,232.20 touched on Monday. "Even if the price drops to $1,100 I really don't see demand coming back," said Poon, as more investors move to higher-yielding equities. Chinese stocks climbed to fresh seven-year highs on Friday and looked set for their biggest weekly gain in two months. .SS Premiums in top consumer China edged up slightly to around $1.50-$2 an ounce on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, compared with 50 cents to $1 last week. Indian prices were on par with the global benchmark, compared with discounts of up to $2 earlier this month, traders said. In the black market, gold was sold at a discount of up to $5 an ounce this week. "Demand has not improved much. Summer holidays have begun so demand is slightly lower. Prices have also gone up, hitting demand," said Bachhraj Bamalwa, director at All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation. Demand will not pick up now as there are no festivals or weddings in the next three months or so, Bamalwa said. (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Sunil Nair) ((manolo.serapio@thomsonreuters.com)(+65 6870 3884)(Reuters Messaging: manolo.serapio.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GOLD PHYSICALS/ASIA

Vietnam domestic market commodity prices-May 22

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

May 22 (Reuters) - Following are domestic prices of Vietnam's key commodities. Unit: million dong VND= per tonne. Item May 18-22 May 11-15 Location Robusta beans 35.7-38.2 36.6-37.7 Central Highlands Black pepper 176.0-185.0 176.0-181.0 Southern region Refined sugar 13.0-15.5 13.0-15.5 Southern region Winter-spring paddy 5.00-5.75 5.00-5.75 Mekong Delta ___________________ SJC gold 3.498-3.512 3.501-3.515 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=21,760 dong) (Compiled by Hanoi Newsroom) ((ho.minh@thomsonreuters.com +844 3825 9623)) Keywords: VIETNAM COMMODITIES/PRICES

Red Kite co-founder plans new Orion metals fund - sources

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

* Hires Mike Sheehan to join new fund * Red Kite co-founder wants to replicate Red Kite model * Sets up merchant business to sell copper By Josephine Mason and Clara Denina NEW YORK/LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) - U.S. mining financier Oskar Lewnowski is preparing to launch a base and precious metals fund, sources say, his latest step in recreating the famed trading and investment enterprise he co-founded a decade ago, Red Kite. Two years after striking out on his own to create private equity investment firm Orion Resource Partners, the 50-year-old New York native has already deployed almost $1 billion in equity, loans and royalty streams into at least 17 junior mining firms, and hired a physical metals trader to handle supply. Now, Lewnowski is preparing for the third phase of his growth plan: setting up a hedge fund that will initially focus on precious and base metals, according to four sources familiar with the plan who are unauthorized to speak to the media. Mike Sheehan, precious metals portfolio manager at Red Kite's RK Capital Management, will join the yet-to-be-named fund when he leaves Red Kite at the end of July, two of the sources said. The size and timing of the fund were not known, nor was it clear what role he would assume there. Sheehan worked at Red Kite for nine years and has almost 25 years experience dealing in gold and silver. With $1.8 billion in assets under management at end-December, Orion Mine Finance has helped finance EMED Mining EMED.L , which is reviving the historic Rio Tinto copper mine in Spain, and Weatherly International Plc WETI.L , which has built the Tschudi copper operation in Namibia. Its biggest deal was a $200 million financing of diamond explorer Stornoway Diamond Corp SWY.TO . Earlier this year, Orion Merchant Services made its first foray into the lucrative and competitive business of merchanting metals, hiring veteran copper and zinc trader Joe Spiciarich to market the copper from Tschudi, the fund's first base metals project to go into production. Orion Mine Finance also has a stake in Scale, a metals warehousing firm shared with Macquarie Group Ltd MQG.AX . Lewnowski, who started his career in the 1980s in investment banking at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, was not available to comment for this article. Sheehan declined to comment on the move. FROM INVESTOR TO TRADER The aim is to replicate the investment-and-trader model perfected by Red Kite and other big merchants like Trafigura and Louis Dreyfus over the past decade, drawing on close ties to the physical metals to give the funds investing in the futures market an edge over rivals, sources said. For Lewnowski, the fund would be a significant milestone in a career stretching more than two decades. He was a founding partner and head of mine finance investment at Red Kite, which since 2004 has grown into one of the world's biggest physical metal merchants. The mine finance business Red Kite Mine Finance fund had $2 billion in assets under management as of January 2015, according to its website. Lewnowski, a keen supporter of the New York Rangers ice hockey team, oversaw 10 projects worth $400 million in a three-year period til September 2012. He split with Red Kite's British co-founders, David Lilley and Mike Farmer, a year later. While the separation was amicable, two of the sources who know the men say the rivalry between Lewnowski and his former partners is strong. Before Red Kite, he was head of corporate development at Varomet Ltd, which was formed to buy parts of Enron's metals and mining assets. The fund would also stand out as one of the few commodity fund launches in recent years after plunging oil, copper and grain prices forced the closure of some big names, including Hermes, Brevan Howard and Hall Commodities, last year. Still, many merchants are expanding to fill the gap left by the retreat of European and U.S. banks, which have retrenched from physical trading amid regulatory glare and tight margins. Revenues from base and precious metals at the world's ten largest investment banks fell for a third straight year hitting $1.2 billion in 2014, according to analysis from industry analytics firm Coalition. That was down almost a third from the record set in 2009. (Editing by Jonathan Leff and Marguerita Choy) ((Josephine.Mason@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8925; Reuters Messaging: josephine.mason.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: METALS FUND/LEWNOWSKI

India Morning Call-Global Markets

May 22, 2015 - reuters.com

EQUITIES NEW YORK - The S&P 500 closed at a record high on Thursday after disappointing economic data bolstered expectations that an interest rate hike is likely to come only later in the year. Traders warned that below-average volume in recent sessions suggests that not all of Wall Street may be confident in the market's gains. For a full report, click on .N - - - - LONDON - Britain's top share index ended a shade up, just below last month's record highs, on Thursday, with energy stocks tracking a rally in oil prices and miners banking on China further stimulating its economy. The UK Oil and Gas index .FTNMX0530 was up 1 percent as crude prices rose for a second day, helped by expectations that a global supply glut is starting to ease and by fighting in oil-producing Iraq. Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L and BP BP.L rose 0.8 percent and 1.4 percent respectively. For a full report, click on .L - - - - TOKYO - Japan's Nikkei share average edged down on Friday morning, snapping a five-day winning streak as investors carefully await for the outcome of the Bank Of Japan's two-day policy meeting. The Bank of Japan is set to maintain its massive monetary stimulus on Friday and may offer a slightly more upbeat view of the economy. The Nikkei 225 .N225 fell 0.1 percent to 20,180.89 in mid-morning trade. The index rose 3.2 percent, or 632 points over the past five sessions. For a full report, click on .T - - - - HONG KONG - Hang Seng Index .HSI is up 1.4 percent. For a full report, click on .HK - - - - FOREIGN EXCHANGE SYDNEY - The dollar nursed modest losses early on Friday, after snapping three days of gains as unimpressive data prompted light profit-taking ahead of speeches by major central bankers and holidays in Britain and the United States. The dollar index last traded at 95.380 .DXY , below Wednesday's 2-1/2 week peak of 95.837 though still up more than 2 percent on the week and poised to end five consecutive weeks of declines. For a full report, click on USD/ - - - - TREASURIES NEW YORK - U.S. Treasuries yields declined on Thursday as a batch of disappointing economic reports revived worries about the U.S. economy and prompted further questions whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this year. An exit of bearish bond bets in advance of a government report on consumer prices in April and an economic speech from Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Friday further pushed a drop in yields, with the 30-year falling below 3 percent, analysts said. For a full report, click on US/ - - - - COMMODITIES GOLD SINGAPORE - Gold held steady just above $1,200 an ounce on Friday, remaining on course for its steepest weekly decline in four weeks as the dollar regained momentum, hurting the metal's safe-haven appeal. Spot gold XAU= was little changed at $1,205.65 an ounce by 0306 GMT, after dropping 0.3 percent in the previous session. The metal is down 1.4 percent for the week, its biggest fall since the week ended April 24. For a full report, click on GOL/ - - - - BASE METALS SINGAPORE - Copper edged lower on Friday and was on course for its biggest weekly decline since March, with prices unlikely to stage a sharp recovery unless Chinese demand picks up. Copper has come off since hitting this year's peak of $6,481 a tonne in early May, touching a three-week low on Wednesday on account of a firmer dollar. For a full report, click on MET/L - - - - OIL SINGAPORE - Oil prices edged down on Friday after rising more than 2 percent in the previous session, buoyed by lower U.S. crude inventories and geopolitical tension in the Middle East. U.S. crude futures are in their longest winning streak since records began in 1983, helped by a drop in crude and product stockpiles last week, reflecting better demand in the world's largest oil consumer. EIA/S For a full report, click on O/R (Compiled by Swati Bhat) ((swati.bhat@thomsonreuters.com; twitter.com/swatibhat22; +91-22-61807353; Reuters Messaging: swati.bhat.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MORNINGCALL INDIA/

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