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FOREX-Euro edges up, still shaky on ECB and Greece

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

(Updates with New York open, adds comment, new dateline, previous LONDON) * Euro recoups ground, off 2-year lows against U.S. dollar * Dollar at 2-week high against yen * Pre-holiday trade limiting trading volumes By Daniel Bases NEW YORK, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The euro recovered from two-year lows against the U.S. dollar on Monday, with traders citing limited volumes in the pre-holiday market for the narrow ranges and the greenback's mixed performance. "Not everyone has checked out of the markets just yet. We have tomorrow's slate of U.S. data to keep in mind," said Greg Anderson, global head of FX strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York. The dollar was knocked back after the weakest existing U.S. home sales data in six months on Monday. ID:nL1N0U32CZ Tuesday's data includes November durable goods orders, final third-quarter GDP, home prices and inflation data. ECONUS On the euro's recovery against the greenback, Anderson said it was mostly just profit-taking on short-euro positions that has lifted the currency in mid-morning New York trade rather than concerns about data or the possibility of a snap election in Greece. "Most of the market has remained fairly short of euros. A good spot to take it (short-position) off," said Anderson. The divergence in monetary policies between the U.S., which is on track to tighten policy next year, and the European Central Bank, which is positioning itself for looser policy, has put the euro on track for weakness in 2015. Luc Coene is the latest ECB policymaker to point the way towards outright buying of government bonds to stimulate a still-moribund euro zone economy. ID:nL6N0U40GV "We're at levels where from a long-term valuation perspective the euro is weak but here we have ECB officials saying they will ease further and the Fed headed the other way," said Jane Foley, a strategist with Rabobank in London. Foley and Anderson said the euro is getting some support around the $1.2200 level, limiting the currency's downside, although it is off about 11 percent so far this year and currently trades at $1.2258, up 0.25 percent on the day. EUR= Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, whose party is trailing the anti-bailout Syriza Party in opinion polls, may struggle to avoid a snap election in two remaining rounds of voting for his candidate for president, planned on Dec. 23 and Dec. 29. Investors are concerned this could lead to a renewed threat of Greece defaulting or even departing from the euro. The dollar rose to a two-week high of 120.01 yen JPY= , up 0.33 percent on the day. Sterling fell slightly to $1.5624 and traded at 78.45 pence versus the euro, a loss of about 0.27 percent. GBP= EURGBP= . (Additional reporting by Patrick Graham in London; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli) ((daniel.bases@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6131; Reuters Messaging: daniel.bases.reuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter: @djbases)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

UPDATE 2-Russia bails out Trust Bank in first rouble crisis rescue

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

* Trust is Russia's 15th biggest by retail accounts * Central bank hopes to find investor among a "major" bank * Finance Ministry plans to double deposit insurance (Adds details, quotes, background) By Katya Golubkova and Oksana Kobzeva MOSCOW, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Russian central bank on Monday announced the first bailout of the rouble crisis, providing up to $540 million to rescue Trust Bank and taking over supervision of the mid-sized lender. The move prompted questions about the banking system despite the state having pledged a big capital boost for the sector. The rouble has lost around 45 percent against the dollar RUBUTSTN=MCX this year, and with falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow's role in Ukraine, the domestic banking system is now highly vulnerable. The central bank said its Deposit Insurance Agency, responsible for managing crisis-hit lenders, would assume interim control of Trust and provide aid of 30 billion roubles via a loan from the central bank. The measures "will make it possible for Trust to continue smooth payments operations. All the bank's clients, including depositors, can use its services as usual", the central bank said in a statement. A source familiar with the situation said problems at the bank were mounting but last week they were worsened by a spike in consumer spending on cars, televisions and other goods. "People preferred to take out cash and spend it on purchases, postponing debt repayments on (credit) cards. Or they were buying foreign currency." "There was an outflow and it became clear that there could be 'a hole'", the source added Natalia Berezina, an analyst with Uralsib, said putting Trust under supervision was not unexpected as its capital adequacy ratios were close to minimum levels set by the central bank. Berezina said it was hard to evaluate potential problems across all Russia's 800 banks. "There are banks which are under question for a long time already, but it is impossible to bail out everyone," Berezina said. BRUCE WILLIS Trust, which hired actor Bruce Willis as the face of a major advertising campaign, is Russia's 32nd largest lender by assets, according to Interfax data. It is the 15th biggest by private personal accounts, including deposits. As of Dec. 1, Trust held 145 billion roubles ($2.63 billion) in private personal deposits, according to its accounts. Under increasing pressure, Russia's banking sector could get a capital boost of up to 1 trillion roubles ($18 billion) under a new law being prepared by the government. ID:nL6N0U20WV Last week, the Finance Ministry also proposed doubling deposit insurance to 1.4 million roubles ($25,000) if a bank fails. The central bank said it would soon select an investor to bail out Trust Bank, most likely one of the country's major banks. With the rouble under intense pressure and losing as much as 20 percent in a day last week, and the central bank hiking its key interest rate sharply to 17 percent, Russians have had to face a new economic reality. Many rushed to convert roubles into hard currency or buy domestic appliances and electronic gadgets. Central bank statistics do not yet show any deposit outflows. As of Dec. 1, retail deposits rose by 2.3 percent, month-on-month, with growth of almost 7 percent since the start of the year. That growth was however half the pace of a year ago. But Sberbank, Russia's top lender with around half of all retail deposits, experienced some outflows from retail accounts late last week, its executives were quoted as saying by local media, as some customers feared accounts could be frozen or withdrawals limited. Sberbank denied any limits on withdrawals. On Monday, it also denied a report by the RIA Novosti news agency that it had suspended taking requests for new car loans and mortgages. ID:nL6N0U6262 Russia's largest banking bailout so far was the Bank of Moscow rescue in 2011, which cost the state almost 400 billion roubles ($7 billion), or 1 around percent of gross domestic product at the time. (Reporting by Katya Golubkova and Oksana Kobzeva; additional reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Lidia Kelly, John Stonestreet and Giles Elgood) ((ekaterina.golubkova@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242;)) Keywords: RUSSIA CRISIS/CENBANK TRUST

UPDATE 2-Rouble at 10-day high as exporters follow Putin's call to buy

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

* Rouble at 55.33 vs dollar, highest in 10 days * Exporters sell foreign currency * Rouble seen stable later in the week (Adds latest prices, trader's comment) By Lidia Kelly and Vladimir Abramov MOSCOW, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble firmed to a 10-day high against the dollar on Monday as exporters sold foreign currency revenues, partly to meet tax obligations and partly in response to a call from President Vladimir Putin. At 1535 GMT, the rouble was up 5.5 percent against the dollar at 55.33 RUBUTSTN=MCX and 6.2 percent firmer at 67.75 versus the euro EURRUBTN=MCX . However, by 1615 GMT it had slipped back to 55.99 to the dollar and 68.50 to the euro as oil, Russia's chief export, fell 1.8 percent to $60.27 LCOc1 O/R . Putin and a series of officials have put pressure on Russian exporters to sell foreign currency earnings to increase the demand for roubles. "It's all due to exporters, (foreign currency sales) come only from them," said Igor Akinshin, trader at Alfa Bank. The exporters anyway have to pay tax bills at the end of the month that require them to convert foreign earnings into roubles. This, combined with increased verbal support of the rouble from officials, as well as practical measures to stabilise the market, has significantly reduced the rouble's volatility. The measures included the central bank raising its key interest rate by an unprecedented 6.5 percentage points last week, promises of additional sales of foreign currency, plans to increase banks' capital, and tougher rules to curb currency speculation. Alexander Medvedev, deputy CEO of Russia's top gas producer Gazprom GAZP.MM , told reporters his firm would sell foreign currency revenues on the domestic market as Putin had requested. ID:nL6N0U619C At one stage last week, the rouble, which began the year at around 33 to the dollar, spiked to over 80 to the dollar. Its fall, and the prospect of a sharp recession next year under the effect of the collapsing oil price and Western sanctions over Ukraine, have put at risk the stability on which Putin has built his popularity. Russian stocks were mixed, reflecting the rouble's performance. The dollar-traded RTS .IRTS was up 5.6 percent to 811 points and the rouble-based MICEX .MCX stood 0.8 percent lower at 1,437 points. (Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Kevin Liffey) ((lidia.kelly@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242; Reuters Messaging: lidia.kelly.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: RUSSIA CRISIS/MARKETS ROUBLE

BRIEF-Riverside Resources signs option agreement with Croesus gold corp. for Sugarloaf Peak Gold Project

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

Dec 22 (Reuters) - Riverside Resources Inc RRI.V : * Signs option agreement with croesus gold corp. for Sugarloaf Peak Gold Project, Arizona * Says croesus must incur $5 million in aggregate exploration expenditures, pay Riverside $3MLN in cash * Source text for Eikon ID:nMKWQKmvQa * Further company coverage RRI.V ((Bengaluru Newsroom; +1 646 223 8780))

POLONIA Rate falls 0.37 pp.

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

WARSAW, Dec 22 (Reuters) - POLONIA the reference rate for Overnight deposits amounted to 1.42 percent. The volume of transactions concluded till 16:30 by banks participating in POLONIA fixing amounted to 3,395 mln PLN. Note: Description of reference rate at: http://www.acipolska.pl/ ((warsaw.newsroom@reuters.com))

WRAPUP 1-Ex-minister Kudrin warns of "full-fledged crisis" in Russia

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

(Adds Putin in talks, Reuters poll, Sberbank denial, Rosneft calling off Morgan Stanley purchase) * Kudrin: Russia didn't tackle problems fast enough * Russia to be downgraded to 'junk' status next year * Putin to talk to Western leaders on Ukraine * Government announces tax on grain exports * Central bank moves to shore up Trust Bank * Rosneft makes loan payment, calls off Morgan Stanley deal * Sees 2015 inflation at 12-15 per cent By Darya Korsunskaya, Lidia Kelly and Katya Golubkova MOSCOW, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Russia's government has pushed the country into an economic crisis by not tackling its financial problems fast enough, former finance minister Alexei Kudrin said on Monday, as evidence mounted of trouble spreading through the economy. As he spoke President Vladimir Putin prepared to hold emergency talks with Western leaders to try to resolve the stand-off over Ukraine, the central bank bailed out its first victim of the collapsing currency and authorities announced a tax on grain exports to protect domestic stocks. A Reuters poll of 11 economists predicted that Russia's gross domestic product would fall 3.6 percent next year, after only 0.5 percent growth this year. ID:nL6N0U62BV Russia has been hit by what Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev recently called a "perfect storm" of plummeting oil prices, sanctions related to its military action in Ukraine, and a flight of investors' capital -- made worse by a lack of structural reforms that means the economy is overwhelmingly dependent on oil revenues. ID:nL6N0U20CW . Government officials have tried to minimise the impact of sanctions on the country and its rouble currency, which plunged 80 percent against the dollar last week despite a hike in interest rates to 17 percent. Putin has claimed "external factors" like oil were the key culprit behind the country's "tough times". ID:nL6N0U20J7 But Kudrin -- a darling of investors who is credited with building Russia's $170 billion sovereign wealth funds -- asserted that sanctions over Ukraine, not falling oil prices, were primarily behind the collapse of the rouble, and warned that Russia risked having its debt downgraded to junk status in 2015. "Today, I can say that we have entered or are entering a real, full-fledged economic crisis. Next year we will feel it clearly," the former minister told a news conference. "The government has not been quick enough to address the situation ... I am yet to hear ... its clear assessment of the current situation." Kudrin, one of few to criticise President Vladimir Putin, quit in 2011 in protest at proposals to increase defence spending, though the two men are still believed to be close. He has also criticised Putin's response to Western sanctions imposed following Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and its subsequent support for loyalist fighters. The Kremlin's foreign policy adviser said Putin would hold phone talks with the leaders of France, Germany and Ukraine on Monday that would "focus on the current crisis situation and prospects for the next meeting of the contact group." ID:nL6N0U61K9 MOUNTING PROBLEMS Mounting evidence suggested that Russia's economic pain and isolation were starting to bite. The country announced plans to impose a heavy tax on grain exports since rouble volatility and high global prices have caused exports to spike: Russian news agencies reported Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a meeting with officials that the country needed to hang on to its stocks. And Russia's central bank said it would have to bail out mid-sized Trust Bank with 30 billion roubles ($540 million) to stop it going bankrupt. Trust held 145 billion roubles ($2.63 billion) in private personal deposits as of Dec. 1, according to its accounts ID:nL6N0U61KU The country's largest lender Sberbank SBER.MM was forced to deny a report from RIA news agency that it had suspended taking new requests for auto loans and mortgages. Though Russia's biggest oil firm Rosneft partially eased some worries by saying it had made a $7 billion debt repayment from its own cash reserves -- investors had been concerned it could default because the sanctions cut off its access to Western finance -- ID:nL6N0U60XE it announced separately that a deal to acquire an oil trading business from Morgan Stanley had been terminated due to a refusal by regulators in the United States to clear it. ID:nL6N0U622K The termination of the deal is another blow for Rosneft after its partners including ExxonMobil XOM.N withdrew from projects to develop Arctic offshore oil deposits after the sanctions were introduced. Kudrin forecast a series of defaults among both medium and large companies -- though he said banks would probably be supported by the state -- which was likely to result in rating agencies downgrading Russia's debt to "junk" status. Most agencies have put Russia this year one notch above junk status. "Russia will get a downgrade," Kudrin said. "It will enter the 'junk' territory." MISTRUST The rouble firmed against the dollar RUB= on Monday, with exporters responding to Putin's urge to sell their foreign currency revenues on the market, and Brent crude prices LCOc1 stood close to $60 a barrel. ID:nL6N0U6111 While the currency, down some 45 percent against the dollar so far this year RUBUTSTN=MCX , may stabilise in the first quarter of next year, its decline will likely help to push inflation to a rate of 12-15 percent in 2015, Kudrin said. The central bank envisages next year's inflation at around 8 percent. Economists polled by Reuters see it at 9.2 percent. Kudrin said he believed that between 25 and 35 percent of the decline in the rouble could be attributed to sanctions. The rest, he said, was down to a stronger dollar and investors' mistrust of Russian authorities and their actions. His outlook for the economy next year was bleak: Even if the price of oil rose to $80 per barrel, gross domestic product was still likely to fall by more than 2 percent in 2015, Kudrin said. At $60 per barrel GDP would decline by 4 percent or more, he added, echoing the central bank's latest assessment, published last week. (Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Oksana Kobzeva and Polina Devitt; Editing by Sophie Walker) ((lidia.kelly@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242; Reuters Messaging: lidia.kelly.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: RUSSIA CRISIS/

PRECIOUS-Gold steadies as dollar weakens, strong shares limit gains

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

* Global shares rise, dollar index down 0.1 pct * Asian buying interest provides some support (Updates prices, adds comment) By Clara Denina LONDON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Monday as the dollar retreated against the euro, though stronger equities and appetite for risk continued to dull the metal's appeal as an alternative investment. Spot gold XAU= was unchanged at $1,195.30 an ounce at 1528 GMT. It lost about 2 percent last week on a strong dollar and expectations of rising U.S. interest rates. U.S. gold futures for delivery in February GCcv1 were down 0.1 percent at $1,195.30 an ounce. Prices were forecast to remain in tight ranges during the holiday-shortened week. They were heading for a 0.8 percent fall for the year. "Gold prices are unchanged from a year ago, despite a year of many dramatic market-moving and historic events: optimists will see gold still as a store of value and pessimists would say it shows it has lost relevance," Macquarie analyst Matthew Turner said. The dollar .DXY was down 0.1 percent against a basket of currencies, mostly because of euro strength, but remained within striking distance of a nine-year peak set on Friday. A weaker dollar makes gold cheaper for holders of other currencies. Capping gains in gold, global equities rose. MKTS/GLOB Gold received some early support from buying in top consumer China, where local prices were at a premium of about $3 an ounce to the global benchmark, though they slipped later in the session to about $1. Gains are proving difficult to retain due to expectations of higher U.S. interest rates and a strong outlook for the dollar. The market will monitor a series of U.S. economic data, including GDP, for the third quarter on Tuesday. ECONUS "I remain very bearish for 2015 ... If you have a sentiment of positive risk appetite and at the same time for a higher dollar and higher interest rates, gold will not be able to move higher," ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said. Higher interest rates would boost the dollar and hurt non-interest-bearing bullion, which was lifted by central bank liquidity and a low interest rate environment in the years following the 2008 financial crisis. Among other precious metals, silver XAG= was down 0.5 percent at $15.95 an ounce. Platinum XPT= was unchanged at $1,192.50 an ounce, falling below gold, and palladium XPD= gained 0.6 percent to $807.50 an ounce. (Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Singapore; Editing by Jason Neely and Dale Hudson) ((clara.denina@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 207 542 9420)(Reuters Messaging:)(clara.denina.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS PRECIOUS/

S.African rand recovers to end firmer against dollar

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 22 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand ended slightly firmer against the U.S. dollar on Monday, although it struggled to find momentum given the lack of market-moving news in lethargic holiday trade. The local unit had gained 0.21 percent versus the greenback ZAR=D3 to 11.54 by 1533 GMT, staging a late advance after trading in the red for most of the session. The rand has been on the back foot for most of this month, touching six-year lows, plagued by yawning budget and current account deficits, the worst power crisis since 2008 and a general souring in sentiment towards emerging markets. In fixed income, the benchmark issue due in 2026 ZAR186= added 5 basis points to 8.00 percent. (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Ed Stoddard) ((helen.nyambura@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 775 3034; Reuters Messaging: helen.nyambura.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS SAFRICA/CURRENCY

London gold 1500 fix - Dec 22 - 1195.25 dlrs

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

Euro zone consumer confidence rises in December

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

BRUSSELS, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Euro zone consumer confidence edged 0.6 points higher in December, a flash estimate from the European Commission showed on Monday. The Commission said that consumer confidence in the 18 countries using the euro rose to minus 10.9 from a revised minus 11.5 in November. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted an average value of minus 11.0. For European Commission data click on: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/db_indicators/surveys/index_en.htm (Reporting by Barbara Lewis and Robert-Jan Bartunek) ((jan.strupczewski@thomsonreuters.com; +32 2 287 68 37; Reuters Messaging: jan.strupczewski.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: EUROZONE CONFIDENCE/CONSUMERS

London platinum/palladium 1400 fix - Dec 22

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

BRIEF-China Hanking Holdings says unit entered partnership agreement with NPS Mining Alliance

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

Dec 22 (Reuters) - China Hanking Holdings Ltd 3788.HK : * Unit has entered into a partnership agreement with NPS Mining Alliance Pty Ltd * Says pursuant to this agreement, the parties will initially jointly develop the Nevoria East Underground Gold Mine owned by Hanking Gold * Partnership has been established for jointly developing the Nevoria East Underground Gold Mine * Says partnership is on a profit-sharing basis, 80% for Hanking Gold and 20% for PNP * Says it is estimated to produce 300,000 tonnes of ore for 30,000 ounces (approximately 1 tonne) of gold in 2015 * Says the total gold production for hanking gold is estimated to be increased to 100,000 ounces (3 tonnes) in 2015 * Source text for Eikon ID:nHKS3z7C5Q ((For more news, please click here 3788.HK )) ((Bengaluru Newsroom; +91 806749 1130))

Ugandan shilling firms on liquidity mop up, low dollar demand

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

KAMPALA, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Ugandan shilling UGX= strengthened on Monday due to dwindling dollar demand and a central bank mop-up of excess liquidity, traders said. At market close at 1300GMT commercial banks quoted the shilling at 2,760/2,770, a touch stronger than Friday's close of 2,765/2,775. "Because business activity is slowing, demand for the greenback is scarce," said Faisal Bukenya, head of market making at Barclays Bank. "The shilling also benefited from BoU (Bank of Uganda)'s repo." On Wednesday BoU removed a total of 339 billion shillings ($122.92 million) worth of excess liquidity from the market via a seven day repo. Removing excess local currency liquidity makes it relatively more expensive to hold longer dollar positions. The shilling is now 8.7 percent weaker against the greenback so far this year. ($1 = 2,758.0000 Ugandan shillings) (Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; editing by Drazen Jorgic/Jeremy Gaunt) ((Email:elias.biryabarema@thomsonreuters.com; Tel. +256772887571; Reuters Messaging: elias.biryabarema.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: UGANDA CURRENCY/

Russia entering "full-fledged economic crisis", says ex-minister Kudrin

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

* Kudrin: Russia to be downgraded to 'junk' status next year * Says government slow to respond to economic difficulties * Sees 2015 inflation at 12-15 per cent By Darya Korsunskaya MOSCOW, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Russia's government has pushed the country into an economic crisis by not tackling its financial problems fast enough, former finance minister Alexei Kudrin said on Monday, warning the full effects would be felt next year. Kudrin -- a darling of investors who is credited with building Russia's $170 billion worth of sovereign wealth funds -- added that sanctions over Ukraine, not falling oil prices, were primarily behind the collapse of the rouble and warned that Russia risked seeing its debt downgraded to junk status in 2015. "Today, I can say that we have entered or are entering a real, full-fledged economic crisis. Next year we will feel it clearly," the former minister told a news conference. "The government has not been quick enough to address the situation ... I am yet to hear ... its clear assessment of the current situation." Kudrin, one of few to criticise President Vladimir Putin, quit in 2011 in protest at proposals to increase defence spending. He has since criticised Putin's response to Western sanctions imposed following Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and its subsequent support for loyalist fighters. But the two men are still believed to be close. Russia has been hit by what Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev called a "perfect storm" of plummeting oil prices, sanctions and a flight of investors' capital, made worse by a lack of structural reforms that means the economy is overwhelmingly dependent on oil revenues. ID:nL6N0U20CW . Government officials have tried to minimise the impact of sanctions on the country and its rouble currency -- which plunged last week despite a hike in interest rates to 17 percent. Putin has claimed "external factors" like oil were the key culprit behind the country's "tough times". ID:nL6N0U20J7 But on Monday Russia announced plans to impose a heavy tax on grain exports since rouble volatility and high global prices have caused exports to spike. Russian news agencies reported Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a meeting with officials that the country needed to hang on to its stocks. And though the country's top oil firm Rosneft said it had made a $7 billion debt repayment from its own cash reserves, easing some investors' worries, ID:nL6N0U60XE Russia's central bank said it would have to bail out mid-sized Trust Bank with 30 billion roubles ($544.54 million) to stop it going bankrupt. ID:nL6N0U61KU DEFAULTS Kudrin said falling crude prices only partly accounted for the plunge in the rouble - which has fallen particularly steeply since autumn as concerns increased that the sanctions would prevent Russian companies from meeting debt obligations because they cannot access Western capital. Kudrin forecast a series of defaults among medium and large enterprises, -- though banks were more likely to be supported by the state -- which is likely to result in rating agencies downgrading Russia's debt to "junk" status. Most agencies have put Russia this year one notch above junk status. "Russia will get a downgrade," Kudrin said. " It will enter the 'junk' territory." Kudrin said he believed that between 25 and 35 percent of the decline in the rouble - down some 45 percent against the dollar so far this year RUBUTSTN=MCX - could be attributed to sanctions. The rest, he said, was down to a stronger dollar and investors' mistrust of Russian authorities and their actions. The rouble ticked up slightly against the dollar on Monday and the RTS .IRTS index of dollar-denominated shares rose more than 4 percent as Brent crude prices LCOc1 rose 2 percent to above $62 per barrel. ID:nL6N0U6111 While the currency may stabilise in the first quarter of next year, its decline will likely help to push inflation to a rate of 12-15 percent in 2015, Kudrin said. The central bank envisages next year's inflation at around 8 percent. And even if the price of oil rose to $80 per barrel, gross domestic product was still likely to fall by more than 2 percent in 2015, Kudrin said. At $60 per barrel GDP would decline by 4 percent or more, he added, echoing the central bank's latest assessment, published last week. ($1 = 55.0925 roubles) (Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Sophie Walker) ((lidia.kelly@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242; Reuters Messaging: lidia.kelly.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: RUSSIA CRISIS/

FOREX-Euro edges up, still shaky on ECB and Greece

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

(Updates prices, adds crown move) By Patrick Graham LONDON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The euro bounced back from two-year lows against a slightly weaker dollar on Monday, with Greece's presidential election and a batch of U.S. data on Tuesday the chief risks to a calmer holiday mood. Norway's crown EURNOK=D4 , whose moves have been exaggerated in the past month by its sensitivity to shifts in oil prices, was the biggest faller, down around 1 percent as Brent and U.S. crude gave back overnight gains. ID:nL6N0U61J7 The outlook into 2015 for the euro looks weak, with Luc Coene the latest European Central Bank policymaker to point the way towards outright buying of government bonds to stimulate a still moribund euro zone economy. ID:nL6N0U40GV Crossing that Rubicon -- effectively funding government deficits with newly-printed money -- is expected to test the bottom end of a range in which the euro has held for more than a decade against the dollar. "It's going to be interesting this week whether we can push a bit lower," said Jane Foley, a strategist with Rabobank in London. "We're at levels where from a long-term valuation perspective the euro is weak but here we have ECB officials saying they will ease further and the Fed headed the other way." The euro bottomed out against the dollar at $1.2220 on both Friday and early on Monday and Foley said that reflected strong technical resistance to it going below $1.22. The common currency has fallen about 11 percent so far this year. It last traded up 0.3 percent on the day at $1.2264. EUR= Dealers at other banks said there was interest in buying euros around $1.2220-30 and positioning data also showed both that investors had cut back on bearish "short" bets against the euro and that there was still room for more to do so if they choose to cash in profits before the end of the year. IMM/FX There is no major data due in Europe this week, but U.S. numbers on Tuesday will fuel the debate over the divergent policy paths being taken on either side of the Atlantic. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, whose party is trailing the anti-bailout Syriza Party in opinion polls, may struggle to avoid a snap election in two remaining rounds of voting for his candidate for president, planned on Dec. 23 and Dec. 29. The concern for markets is that that could lead to a renewed threat of Greece defaulting or even departing from the euro. "The markets may be quiet for now due to holidays but the Greek vote on Dec. 29 could really shake things up," said a trader at a Japanese bank. Sterling, also a sufferer against the dollar since July, was up 0.1 percent at $1.5630, but 0.2 percent weaker at 78.48 pence per euro. (Editing by Ruth Pitchford) ((patrick.graham@thomsonreuters.com)(+44207 542 9429)(patrick.graham.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS FOREX/

Sri Lankan rupee forwards end steady; seen stable until end 2014

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

COLOMBO, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan rupee forwards ended steady for a sixth straight session amid dull trade on Monday, as the central bank capped trading at 132.00 per dollar through moral suasion. The four-day forwards, which were actively traded, closed at 131.99/132.05 per dollar. The three-day forwards, or spot-next, started to trade on Monday around 131.99 per dollar level. The spot currency LKR=LK was not traded after the central bank capped the currency at predetermined levels to prevent volatility, traders said. Central bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said on Thursday that the rupee would be stable during this month. Overseas investors sold a net 367 million rupees worth of government securities during the week that ended Dec. 17. ($1 = 131.1000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee) ((shihar.aneez@thomsonreuters.com; +94-11-232-5540; Reuters Messaging: shihar.aneez.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net twitter:@shiharaneez)) Keywords: MARKETS SRI LANKA/FOREX

TABLE-MCX-SX Currency Futures traded on Dec 22

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

Kazakhstan says prepared for oil as low as $40 per barrel

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

ASTANA, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan, the second largest ex-Soviet oil producer after Russia, has plans in place should global oil prices fall as low as $40 per barrel, President Nursultan Nazarbayev told local TV channels. "Kazakh people should not be worried. We have a plan if oil price are $70, $60, $50, $40 per barrel," he said, according to a transcript published on his website www.akorda.kz. "There are reserves which could support people, preventing living conditions from worsening," he said, without providing any details. Kazakhstan's National Fund, which collects oil revenues, stood at $76.8 billion at the end of November. Separately, the central bank's net gold and foreign exchange reserves stood at $27.9 billion. Nazarbayev has also urged the Kazakh people not to worry about the slide in Russia's rouble currency, which has lost some 45 percent of its value versus the dollar this year. RUBUTSTN=MCX (Reporting by Raushan Nurshayeva; writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Lidia Kelly and Jason Neely) ((ekaterina.golubkova@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242;)) Keywords: RUSSIA CRISIS/KAZAKHSTAN

Ukraine central bank says average rate of hryvnia at auction 15.7532/$1

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

Ukraine's central bank said the average exchange rate set at a daily currency auction was 15.7532 hryvnia per dollar on Monday, compared with 15.7578 at the previous sale. The rate, which is published on the central bank's Reuters terminal page NBU01 , is based on an average of rates from different banks. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Toby Chopra) ((pavel.polityuk@thomsonreuters.com; +380 44 2449150; Reuters Messaging: pavel.polityuk.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: UKRAINE CRISIS/HRYVNIA

TABLE-NSE Currency Futures traded on Dec 22

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

Egyptian pound steady on official, slightly weaker on black market

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

CAIRO, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Egyptian pound EGP= held steady at a central bank dollar sale on Monday and weakened slightly on the black market. The bank offered $40 million and said it had sold $38.2 million at a cut-off price of 7.1401 pounds CBEO to the dollar, unchanged from its last sale on Sunday. The rates at which banks are allowed to trade dollars are determined by the results of central bank sales EGYTV3 , giving the bank effective control over official exchange rates. In the unofficial market, the pound was trading at 7.81 to the dollar, a trader said, down slightly from Sunday's rate of 7.80 pounds. (Reporting by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Mark Heinrich) ((lin.noueihed@thomsonreuters.com)) Keywords: EGYPT FOREX/

SNAPSHOT-India stocks, bonds, rupee, swap, call at close

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

STOCKS .BSESN .NSEI ----------------------- The benchmark BSE index ended up 1.21 percent and the broader NSE index closed 1.2 percent higher, to mark a third consecutive day of gains as buying by insurers supported blue-chips such as HDFC Bank, while higher Asian shares and hopes of progress on key reforms underpinned the broader market. .BO RUPEE INR=D2 -------------- The partially convertible rupee ended stronger at 63.24/25 per dollar compared with Friday's close of 63.2950/3050, tracking strength in shares. INR/ GOVERNMENT BONDS IN084024G=CC ------------------------------- The benchmark 10-year bond yield ended flat at 7.96 percent, as investors stayed on the sidelines in a holiday-shortened Christmas week likely to see diminishing foreign fund flows. IN/ INTEREST RATE SWAPS INROIS MIOIS= ------------------------------------- The benchmark five-year rate ended 2 basis points lower at 7.31 percent, while the one-year rate closed 1 basis point down at 7.88 percent. CALL MONEY INROND= -------------------- The one-day cash rate ended marginally higher at 8.05/8.10 percent. The three-day cash rate ended at 8.00/8.05 percent on Friday. (Compiled by Dipika Lalwani) ((Dipika.Lalwani@thomsonreuters.com; +91 22-61807098; Reuters Messaging: dipika.lalwani@thomsonreuters.com)) Keywords: INDIA SNAPSHOT/

UK to extend Libor manipulation laws to cover seven more benchmarks

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

LONDON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Britain will extend laws which make the manipulation of market benchmarks a criminal offence to cover a further seven benchmarks including the main foreign exchange and overnight interest rate fixes, the government said on Monday. "Ensuring that the key rates that underpin financial markets here and around the world are robust, and that anyone who seeks to manipulate them is subject to the full force of the law, is an important part of our long-term economic plan," finance minister George Osborne said in a statement. The extension of the law, which was originally introduced to cover the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) after a manipulation scandal, would come into effect in on April 1 2015, the finance ministry said. (Reporting by William James; editing by William Schomberg) ((william.james@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 3374; Reuters Messaging: william.james.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: BRITAIN FOREX/LAW

BRIEF-AuRico Gold negotiates upfront payment and ongoing royalty with Crocodile Gold

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

Dec 22 (Reuters) - AuRico Gold Inc AUQ.TO : * Negotiates receipt of C$20 million upfront payment and ongoing royalty with Crocodile Gold * Entered into an agreement with Crocodile Gold providing for termination of deferred cash payment arrangement with Crocodile Gold * Says under the new agreement, Crocodile Gold will pay AuRico C$20 million in cash immediately upon closing * Crocodile Gold to grant AuRico a net smelter return royalty of 2% from fosterville gold mine, 1% from stawell gold mine * Source text for Eikon ID:nPreYNskMa * Further company coverage AUQ.TO ((Bengaluru Newsroom; +1 646 223 8780))

Turkish markets mixed awaiting rate decision, Halkbank shares dip

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

ISTANBUL, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Turkish shares firmed while the lira eased on Monday ahead of a central bank policy-setting meeting where rates are expected to be kept on hold after the lira touched its weakest ever levels against the dollar last week. Only one of 18 economists in a Reuters poll expect the central bank to cut interest rates at its meeting on Wednesday. At the beginning of this month, markets had been expecting a December rate reduction, but the outlook turned around after last week's FOMC meeting signaled the start of Fed tightening by mid-2015 and financial turmoil erupted in Russia due to falling oil prices. "These implied substantial deterioration in financial conditions for emerging markets, thereby eliminating any room that Monetary Policy Committee might have had to reduce short-term interest rates," said Deniz Cicek, economist at Finansbank. Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci said earlier this month that falling oil prices could help inflation drop near to 5 percent next year, suggesting the bank would have more room in 2015 to deliver the interest rate cuts President Tayyip Erdogan has long called for. ID:nL6N0U10PN The ruling AK Party has built much of its reputation on strong economic management over the past decade. Erdogan, who takes the view that high rates cause inflation, has repeatedly called for cuts to support growth, particularly ahead of a general election in June. But a recent slump in the lira driven by a sell-off in emerging markets, plus investors' nerves about domestic politics may delay such a move. The lira TRYTOM=D3 eased slightly to 2.3185 against the dollar by 1045 GMT, from 2.3150 late on Friday. Shares in state-run lender Halkbank HALKB.IS fell 2.53 percent after it said following Friday's close that it would increase its paid-in capital by 80 percent to 2.25 billion lira ($972.4 million) to set up an Islamic lender. Turkey's main stock index .XU100 was up 0.99 percent at 84,399.79 points, in line with the emerging market index .MSCIEF which was up 1.13 percent. The 10-year benchmark bond yield tTR240724TA=IS was at 8.1 percent, unchanged from Friday's close. (Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Toby Chopra) ((ece.toksabay@thomsonreuters.com; +90 212 3507052; Reuters Messaging: ece.toksabay.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MARKETS TURKEY/

Russian central bank to bail out Trust Bank with up to $530 million

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

MOSCOW, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Russia's central bank said it would will provide a mid-sized bank to with up to 30 billion roubles ($530 million) to stop it going bankrupt, in the first bailout of its kind during the current rouble crisis. The central bank's Deposit Insurance Agency, responsible for managing crisis-hit lenders, would also take over supervision of Trust Bank as of Monday, it said in a statement. In all Russia's banking sector, under increasing pressure from a plummeting rouble and western sanctions over Ukraine, could get a capital boost of up to 1 trillion roubles under a new law being prepared by the government. ID:nL6N0U20WV The central bank will soon choose a leading investor for bailing out Trust Bank, which is likely to be one of the country's major banks, it said. ($1 = 56.4600 roubles) (Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Lidia Kelly and John Stonestreet) ((ekaterina.golubkova@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242;)) Keywords: RUSSIA CRISIS/CENBANK TRUST

Nigerian naira recovers from dip in thin trade under new rules

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

LAGOS, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Nigerian naira recovered to trade broadly flat after dipping 2.5 percent in thin trade on Monday, as dealers remained reluctant to quote prices owing to central bank moves to crack down on the speculation it blames for weakening the currency. The naira had recovered to trade at 182 to the dollar by midday (1100 GMT). Dealers said most of them were not trading because of central bank restrictions introduced last week. These include banning banks from holding their own funds in dollars and placing a 48 hour limit on how long dollars can be held after being changed from naira. ID:nL6N0U31WQ (Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Robin Pomeroy) ((tim.cocks@thomsonreuters.com; +234 803 400 4248; Reuters Messaging: tim.cocks.thomsonreuters@reuters.net)) Keywords: NIGERIA CURRENCY/

London gold 1030 fix - Dec 22 - 1195.25 dlrs

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

London platinum/palladium 0945 fix - Dec 22

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

INDICATORS-Kazakhstan - Dec 22

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

Vietnam domestic market commodity prices-Dec 22

December 22, 2014 - reuters.com

Dec 22 (Reuters) - Following are domestic prices of Vietnam's key commodities. Unit: million dong VND= per tonne. Item Dec 15-22 Dec 8-12 Location Robusta beans 38.6-40.0 39.0-41.2 Central Highlands Black pepper 182.0-191.0 195.0-200.0 Southern region Refined sugar 13.0-15.5 13.0-15.5 Southern region Summer-autumn paddy 5.40-6.30 5.40-6.30 Mekong Delta ___________________ SJC gold 3.520-3.530 3.516-3.538 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=21,355 dong) (Compiled by Hanoi Newsroom) ((ho.minh@thomsonreuters.com; +844 3825 9623)) Keywords: VIETNAM COMMODITIES/PRICES

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