Greek finance chief chides IMF for delaying bailout deal
Greece's finance head lambasted the International Monetary Fund for wasting its time on internal disaccords, saying it defers a decision on their third rescue agreement.
Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos urged the global institution to decide on its participation in the country's ?86 billion ($91 billion) bailout package as he reiterated the latter's demands were anchored on wrong figures.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde previously warned Greece won't secure a special sweet accord as she implied the international organization won't withdraw its demands for reforming pension and tax policies.
She said the IMF needs to apply the principles which they apply to all nations since they lend money to the international community. It is determined to avoid repeating events which led to the country's first and second rescue deals.
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Fxwirepro: Usd/sgd Consolidates Around 1.42 Mark, Bias Remains Neutral
USD/SGD is currently trading around 1.4219 marks.
It made intraday high at 1.4232 and low at 1.4191 levels.
Intraday bias remains neutral till the time pair holds key resistance at 1.4250 marks.
A daily close above 1.4250 will test key resistances at 1.4297, 1.4409, 1.4506, 1.4568, 1.4686 and 1.4851 levels respectively.
Alternatively, a consistent close below 1.4200 will drag the parity down towards key supports at 1.4136/1.4083/1.3972/1.3819/1.3775/1.3704/1.3646 levels respectively.
Important to note here that 20D, 30D and 55D EMA heads up and confirms the bullish trend in a daily chart. Current downside movement is short term trend correction only.
Positioning is inconclusive at this point, with prices offering no clear cut signal to initiate a long or short trade. We will continue to remain on sidelines for the time being.
Gold Prices Lower After Yellen Hints Rate Hike
Gold prices inched down on a higher dollar after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated a raise in interest rates in the upcoming meeting of the central bank. Spot gold dropped 0.24 percent to $1,225.20 an ounce and U.S. gold futures settled 0.11 percent higher at $1,226.7.
According to Yellen, the Federal Reserve will likely hike interest rates in the upcoming meeting, however she indicated uncertainty regarding economic policy under the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Yellen responded to claims on global regulatory talks and said that the Fed holds the authority and has the responsibility to consult with foreign counterparts in order to benefit the United States.
New York's SPDR Gold Trust GLD climbed 0.50 percent. The world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded-fund (ETF) stated that it has been certified as shariah compliant. In an attempt to spur demand for bullion form investors in majority-Muslim countries.
Australia January Unemployment Rate Dips To 5.7%
The jobless rate in Australia came in at a seasonally adjusted 5.7 percent in January, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.
That beat forecasts for 5.8 percent, which would have been unchanged from the December reading.
The Australian economy added 13,500 jobs in January to 11,998,200, beating forecasts for 10,000 after collecting 13,500 jobs in the previous month.
Full-time employment decreased 44,800 to 8,125,700 and part-time employment increased 58,300 to 3,872,500.
"We are still seeing strong growth in part-time employment in January 2017, and in recent months, increasing growth in full-time employment," said the General Manager of ABS' Macroeconomic Statistics Division, Bruce Hockman.
The participation rate slipped to 64.6 percent, shy of expectations for 64.7 percent, which would have been unchanged.
Unemployment decreased 19,300 to 720,200. The number of unemployed persons looking for full-time work decreased 16,000 to 511,000 and the number of unemployed persons only looking for part-time work decreased 3,300 to 209,200.
Monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 10.2 million hours to 1,682.7 million hours.
Yahoo and Verizon Nears Closing Revised Acquisition Agreement
Verizon Communications Inc. is on the verge of brokering a revised agreement to takeover Yahoo's core internet segment, sources said.
The deal will be valued $250-$250 million less than the initially agreed price of $4.38 billion, according to people privy to the matter, as the internet group reportedly agreed to a price cut.
The deal was put cast under doubt last year after the internet company disclosed two massive cyber attacks which compromised the information and data of millions of its users. Verizon is looking to combine Yahoo's internet assets and ad tech tools with its AOL unit.
Since last year Verizon has been trying convince Yahoo to revise the sale terms agreement in order to mirror the economic damage from the cyber attacks. A source stated that the deal, which could be closed as early as this week, will the two parties sharing liability from possible lawsuits linked to the data breaches.
Reports of the renegotiated terms of the deal was first seen on Bloomberg. A source said the price cut was likely to be close to $250 million.
Shares of Yahoo advanced 1.5% to $44.69 in afternoon trading while Verizon shares edged down 0.7% $47.93.
OPEC could prolong output curb pact if glut remains: sources
OPEC could apply deeper cuts or prolong the production limit pact it struck with non-members should global oil inventories fail to hit its output goal, people familiar with the group disclosed.
Sources said participating nations must fully adhere with the deal and the expansion in crude demand will need to remain strong in order for global crude stockpile to decline by around 300 million barrels to the five-year average.
They added inventories will drop if everybody will adhere to the accord 100%. By around mid-year, sources noted it will reach close to the five-year median.
The oil cartel will gather on May 25 to determine on supply rules. Non-members are invited to participate in the meeting as well.
Last month, OPEC and non-OPEC members fulfilled 93% adherence with the committed cuts, with Saudi Arabia, the institution's de facto chief, contributing the largest portion.
Fxwirepro: Kiwi falls Against Major Peers As New Zealand?s Retail Sales, Core Retail Sales Data Fail to Meet Expectations
AUD/NZD is currently trading around 1.0670 marks.
Pair made intraday high at 1.0675 and low at 1.0655 marks.
Intraday bias remains bullish till the time pair holds immediate support at 1.0634 marks.
A daily close below 1.0662 will take the parity down towards key supports around 1.0594, 1.0552, 1.0516, 1.0460, 1.0412, 1.0370, 1.0326, 1.0237, 1.0184, 1.0109 and 1.0053 marks respectively.
On the other side, a sustained close above 1.0662 will drag the parity higher towards key resistances at 1.0735/1.0754/1.0823/1.0976 (January 2016 high) /1.1062 (30D EMA) levels respectively.
New Zealand?s Q4 s/adj real retail sales +0.8 pct q/q.
New Zealand?s Q4 s/adj actual retail sales +4.2 pct y/y.
New Zealand?s January month s/adj PMI 51.6.
UK House Prices Rise 2.0% In February
The average asking price for a house in the United Kingdom was up 2.0 percent on month in February, the latest survey from property tracking website Rightmove showed on Monday.
That was roughly in line with estimates, and up from 0.4 percent in January.
On a yearly basis, house prices were up 2.3 percent - shy of forecasts for 2.8 percent and down from 3.2 percent in the previous month.
CNPC Purchases Stake in $22 Billion Oil Venture from Abu Dhabi
China National Petroleum Corp. purchased a stake in Abu Dhabi's biggest oil concession as the emirate, which holds six percent of global crude reserves, resorts to Asia for investment in order to increase output capacity. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. granted CNPC an eight percent stake in its onshore venture in exchange for a $1.8 billion signing bonus, according to Adnoc.
CNPC will join the Abu Dhabi firm for the Onshore Petroleum Operations, or ADCO. Other companies like BP and Total respectively hold ten percent stakes in the venture, while South Korea's Energy Corp. owns three percent and Inpex Corp. of Japan holds five percent. Abu Dhabi is planning to keep a 60 percent stake in ADCO and is looking for an investor for the remaining four percent, according to a statement from Adnoc.
Abu Dhabi intends to raise production capacity to 3.5 million barrels per day by 2018. ADCO produces nearly half of Abu Dhabi's approximately three million barrels of daily crude output.
Announcement: Moody's: Singapore Banks' Under Cost and Net Interest Margin Pressures, But Should Subside in 2017
Moody's Investors Service says that the full year and Q4 2016 (October-December 2016) financial results of the three largest banks in Singapore by assets reveal a further decline in profitability and mixed asset quality performance, but pressure on credit costs and net interest margins (NIMs) should subside in 2017, providing support to profitability.
"The continued asset quality challenges at DBS Bank Ltd. (DBS, Aa1/Aa1 stable, a1) and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd (OCBC, Aa1/Aa1 stable, a1) are in line with our expectations, and were mainly driven by their exposures to the embattled oil & gas service industry," says Eugene Tarzimanov, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Credit Officer.
"By contrast, asset performance at United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB, Aa1/Aa1 stable, a1) has improved, and was better than we had expected, driven by fewer new nonperforming loans (NPLs) related to the oil & gas industry, as well as recoveries and write-offs," adds Tarzimanov.
Moody's conclusions were contained in a just-released report on banks in Singapore, "Banks - Singapore: Full Year and Q4 2016 Results Reflect Mixed Asset Quality and Lower Profitability".
Moreover, return on assets continued to decline for the three banks in 2016, due to elevated credit costs and weaker revenue growth, with revenue pressured by NIM compression. The banks' asset quality and profitability challenges were key drivers behind our downgrade of their baseline credit assessments in December 2016.
"Despite these challenges, the three banks' loss-absorption buffers have remained robust; specifically, they recorded higher fully loaded Common Equity Tier 1 ratios (CET1) during 2016 ? due to slow growth in risk-weighted assets (RWAs) ? which provide support to their very high credit ratings," says Tarzimanov.
While we expect asset quality challenges posed by the troubled oil & gas service companies to persist over the next few quarters, we note that new non-performing asset formation rates fell in Q4 2016 from their peaks in Q2 2016, signaling a potential stabilization in asset quality metrics for the banks in 2017.
Furthermore, even if oil market conditions deteriorate, we see the banks as more resilient in coping with such a situation, because many weak firms in the oil and gas service industry have either already defaulted, or restructured their liabilities. The banks had also mostly trimmed their exposure to oil & gas service companies during 2016, and related loans now represent only 2% of their total loans.
Outside their oil & gas exposure, the quality of the banks' remaining loan portfolio, including their regional exposures, was fairly stable in 2016.
As for events overseas that will affect the banks, we expect around three interest rate increases by the US Federal Reserve Board in 2017. This development will have a pass-through effect on interest rates in Singapore through the currency channel. According to the banks in Singapore, the pass-through effect could be in the 40%-60% range.
Capital strengthening measures ? such as the application of scrip dividend schemes where shareholders receive shares instead of cash dividends ? will also help the banks maintain their current capital levels. We note that DBS and UOB will offer scrip dividends for 2016.
Moreover, the banks have indicated that the incremental increase to RWAs resulting from the impending changes to Basel regulatory rules (Basel 3.5) would be fairly small. DBS and OCBC have indicated that the changes will result in an increase in RWAs of around 2%-4%, while UOB has put the impact at less than 1%.