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Financial Focus

Greece pulled back from the brink of default as European finance ministers authorised an 8.7bn loan payment to Greece. Despite this approval EU ministers could not agree on a new 120bn bailout package, which many had hoped to complete this weekend.

Finance ministers from the 17 euro countries next meet on July 11th to work on the next rescue plan.

The FTSE rose on Friday, led by banks on positive US economic data and as immediate fears over the Greek debt situation subsided. The index posted its best weekly percentage gain in almost a year, up 5.1%, in a period that saw Greece approve an austerity plan that will pave the way to a tranche of new bailout money.

THE MSCI Asia Pacific Index has rallied overnight in Tokyo, and is bound for the longest winning streak in six months. The Index climbed 2.5% last week and is poised for its highest close since May 11th.

EUROPEAN shares are set to rise slightly on Monday, on track to gain for the sixth straight session after a rally on Wall Street on Friday and gains overnight in Asia, although trading activity is likely to decline in the afternoon as US markets are closed for a holiday, leaving markets with a lack of direction.

WITH CONCERNS over Greece fading, markets will now focus on a ECB policy rate decision on Thursday where it is widely expected to raise interest rates, though investors will be more interested in knowing the future trend of rate hikes,particularly in the backdrop of weak data from Germany.

ENERGY:

CRUDE futures were trading above the $95 per barrel mark overnight, holding on to last week’s gains, despite a surprise move by the 28-nation International Energy Agency to release 60 million barrels of oil reserves. US floor trading will be closed today for the Independence Day holiday.

SABOTEURS blew up a pipeline carrying gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan through the night, forcing a shutdown in the flow of gas, Egyptian security sources said.

COMMODITIES:

GOLD rebounded from a six-week low on speculation that the ECB will raise interest rates this week, and the euro will climb further against the dollar. The Goldman Sachs Group said in its July 1st report, that prices will increase to $1,690 an ounce in the next 12 months, extending a 10-year rally – the longest winning streak since at least 1920.

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