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Financial Focus

India’s economic growth slowed for the fifth consecutive quarter, recording a 7.8% rise in the fourth quarter of the financial year. India’s growth was 8.5%, just below the 8.6% government prediction, for the 2010/11 financial year, but up from the 8% annual growth it had registered to March 2010. A financial spokesman for the government said he believed India’s economy would still grow 8 to 8.5% during the current financial year.

HALF of UK retirees will not be able to afford to leave relatives an inheritance, new research out today shows. More than a quarter of this year’s retirees believe they will not leave anything as inheritance, according to a survey by the Prudential, while 22% of respondents were not sure their savings would fund their retirement. Concerns over how to fund retirement comfortably persist, with only 39% of people surveyed confident that they have saved enough.

SPAIN wants France’s Christine Lagarde to head the IMF, but the fund’s group voting procedures would oblige it to back Mexico’s Agustin Carstens if he stands. “Our presence in the IMF shares a seat with Mexico, with Venezuela and other countries of Latin America, so Spain’s vote is with the seat, an indivisible seat,” economy minister Elena Salgado said. But she also immediately said, “Our view is that Lagarde is an excellent candidate and that is who we want to occupy the position.”

MARKETS:

HONG KONG and Shanghai shares got off to a weak start in June as investors took a more defensive stance, although relatively healthier volumes suggested participation in the markets was picking up from year-lows.

MARKETS across Europe opened to a strong rally yesterday after reports that Germany is weakening its opposition to a second Greek bailout. The initial burst of risk appetite was later knocked by the possibility of a weakening US economy and less-than-encouraging employment data. Despite this, the FTSE pushed through the 6,000 points level at one stage, and the US markets closed more than 1% higher.

EUROPEAN shares are set to edge up today, adding to gains in the previous session, and after a rally on Wall Street, though caution ahead of US employment data are expected to limit the upside.

CURRENCIES:

THE EURO gained 0.9% against sterling, 0.75% against the Swiss franc, and 0.6% against the dollar by yesterday evening on encouraging signs that Germany may be moving towards a Greek bailout.

ENERGY:

OIL GAINED for a third day in New York as the EU looks more likely to approve aid for Greece without forcing a debt default, making it likely that fuel demand will increase. Futures rose yesterday by 2.1%.

COMMODITIES:

COMMODITIES posted the biggest monthly drop in a year as the sovereign-debt crisis in Europe and accelerating inflation in China fanned speculation that global economic growth will slow. THE S&P GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials dropped 6.8%, the first decline since August and the biggest drop since May 2010. Silver led the slide, slumping 21%, followed by nickel, and crude oil slid almost 10%. The gauge gained 1.2% yesterday.

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