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March 19, 2013
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  Top Stories 
  • Amid protests, Cyprus adjusts bank deposit seizures
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    Amid protests and growing anger, Cyprus ministers attempted to adjust a plan to seize portions of bank deposits by shifting more of the burden to large depositors and away from smaller accounts. The bailout plan negotiated with the European Union was driven largely by the German government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, which faces elections later this year and is hard pressed to explain why voters should support Germany's portion of Cyprus' proposed €10 billion bailout. Meanwhile, Cypriot legislators again postponed a vote on the plan. Reuters (3/18) , Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (3/17) , Bloomberg (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Eurozone exports for January a bright spot in the gloom
    In one hopeful sign for the eurozone economy, exports picked up in January, contributing to a sharp narrowing the region's trade gap to €3.9 billion from €9.1 billion a year before. The export gain could prove especially helpful as the region's domestic economy continues to stagnate under austerity budgets. Reuters (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • More austerity likely on tap from U.K.'s Osborne
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    Only a minor adjustment in the Bank of England's inflation target is expected as U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne prepares to unveil his latest budget this week. Osborne, who is being squeezed between a flat, stagnating economy on one hand and persistent inflation on the other, brandished Cyprus as a warning of how the U.K. could end up if austerity is abandoned. Reuters (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • China property prices surge again despite Beijing's efforts
    Property prices jumped in 62 of 70 Chinese cities last month, adding to evidence of an overheating market despite government policies to cool things down. The new government now must grapple with further measures to rein in prices while avoiding policies that would stifle overall growth. "We are expecting more property policies in the next couple of months, including those issued by local governments, because the fast-rising home prices have put the government under a lot of pressure. It's not only a big challenge for the new administration but also shows that previous curbs have not worked," said Ding Shuang, a senior China economist with Citigroup in Hong Kong. Bloomberg (3/18) , (China) (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. homebuilder confidence drops as market adjusts
    U.S. homebuilder confidence unexpectedly fell to an index reading of 44 this month for a second month of decline in what observers say is a pause as homebuilding infrastructure adjusts to a rebounding market. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index is well below the 50 neutral point but marks a sharp improvement from the reading of 28 a year before. Bloomberg (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Market players to focus hard on U.S. monetary panel
    With mostly positive signs in evidence for the U.S. economy, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting that concludes Wednesday will be closely watched for signs that monetary policy may be tightened earlier than previously expected. Also on traders' radar screens will be housing-starts figures due today and a manufacturing report Thursday. The Wall Street Journal (3/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • India may open more to FDI, Chidambaram says
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    More sectors of the Indian economy are under consideration for further opening to foreign direct investment, said Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. Current caps on ownership percentages may be lifted, Chidambaram said, as India seeks to "clear some of the cobwebs accumulated ... and go out and woo specific business houses." The Economic Times (India)/Press Trust of India (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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  Reader Survey 
  • What part of the financial ecosystem is most in need of attention?
The investing public needs to be more involved and better educated concerning their investment decisions
Financial intermediaries need to be more transparent about their conflicts of interest and other agency costs
Public companies need better corporate governance policies in place
Analysts need to be more independent in their judgment
Regulators need smarter regulation, not more regulation

  Market Activities 
    Shares in Europe and the U.S. sold off early in the day Monday in reaction to a bailout plan for Cyprus that included a seizure of some bank assets. But investors recovered their confidence as the day wore on, and markets regained most of their losses. The Stoxx Europe 600 ended 0.21% lower at 296.81, and the S&P 500 was down 0.55% at 1,552.10. Here is a continuously updated list of global stock indexes. The Wall Street Journal (3/19) , MarketWatch (3/18) , CNNMoney (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Inflation worries drive China stocks lower; other markets follow
    An inflation-driven downgraded estimation by JPMorgan contributed to a falloff in Chinese stocks Monday, contributing to a recent slide of 12% from this year's highs as measured by the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index. For the day Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 2.00% to 22,083.36, and other Asian markets were down as well, with the Nikkei sliding 2.71% to 12,220.63, the Kospi losing 0.92% to 1,968.18 and the S&P/ASX dropping 2.05% at 5,015.40. Bloomberg (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Eurozone-shaking Cyprus plan sends yen soaring
    Despite the best efforts of the new Japanese government and strong inflationary signals from the Bank of Japan, the yen displayed its resilience as a safe-haven currency Monday amid the tremors generated in the eurozone by a Cyprus bailout plan. Investors flocked to the yen, raising it 2% in value against the U.S. dollar. The Wall Street Journal (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Trends & Outlook 
  • Analysts expect Indian central bank to reduce key rate
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    India's inflation has eased enough and the economy has cooled to a degree that the country's central bank is now likely to lower its policy rate today, according to a Reuters poll of analysts. However, the survey was completed before new figures emerged showing pickups in industrial output and retail inflation. Reuters (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • China unveils its market basket for consumer prices
    As part of pledged reforms, China has promised more transparency, and that was forthcoming Monday as Beijing released a 30-page list of items -- including such goods as pigeon eggs and horse and camel meat -- used to calculate its consumer price index. The list "should be welcomed as it increases transparency in China's data," said Joy Yang, chief Greater China economist at Mirae Asset Financial Group in Hong Kong. Bloomberg (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Taiwan's reliance on China as export destination grows
    Nearly 40% of Taiwan's exports went to China last year, up from 32.1% in 2002, according to data from the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Also, 63.3% of Taiwan's exports went to the nation's four largest export partners. The figures in both cases showed Taiwan was more dependent on China and on its principal trade partners than South Korea. The Taipei Times (Taiwan) (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Capital Markets & Financial Products 
  Industry & Regulatory Update 
  • South Korean financial regulator to give consumers more power
    Putting consumer interests front and center, South Korea's new Financial Supervisory Service governor, Choi Soo-hyun, is proposing to give consumers the chance to initiate investigations. Noting a recent increase in consumer complaints against insurance companies, Choi said, "It is necessary for consumers to have the right to look into financial firms [engaging in unfair practices] by requesting the FSS probe." The Korea Herald (Seoul) (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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