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Financial Focus

GREECE’s ability to avoid default hangs in the balance this week as international monitors will assess whether Prime Minister George Papandreou can meet the conditions of rescue loans. European Union and International Monetary Fund inspectors will speak with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos today to judge whether the government is eligible for its next aid payment due next month.

GERMANY’s Social Democrats beat Angela Merkel’s conservatives in a regional vote in Berlin on Sunday, handing the chancellor her sixth election defeat this year ahead of a key Eurozone vote in parliament in two weeks’ time. Merkel’s centre-right coalition suffered a further setback when their junior coalition partners at the national level, the Free Democrats, failed to clear the 5% threshold needed to win seats – for the fifth time this year.

TRILLIONS of yen will be raised in income, corporate and tobacco taxes over the next decade to pay for post-earthquake reconstruction work, the Japanese government’s tax commission has announced. The proposed supplementary budget will bring in ¥11.2 trillion (£92.4bn).

MARKETS:

European stock indexes are expected to fall on Monday, halting a recovery rally as a regional election defeat for German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of a key Eurozone vote revived concerns over the region’s debt crisis.

ASIAN stocks and commodities dropped on Monday after European policymakers failed to introduce a plan to stem the region’s debt crisis, and investors speculated the upcoming initial public offerings will sap demand for existing equities. The MSCI Asia-Pacific excluding Japan index of shares slumped 2%. Markets in Japan are closed today for a public holiday.

S&P 500 FUTURES dropped overnight, indicating the US equity benchmark will fall after posting the third-biggest weekly gain since 2009.

CURRENCIES:

The EURO dropped against the dollar and yen for a second day after European officials failed to offer a plan to halt the region’s debt crisis and as Greece struggles to avoid default. THE DOLLAR rose as Asian stocks fell through the night, spurring demand for the safest assets. “With the yen and the Swiss franc kind of closed off because of central-bank intervention, that leaves the US dollar to be the premium safe haven for now,” said a currency strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

ENERGY:

OIL fell to the lowest in a week in New York on speculation that fuel demand will falter amid signs of weaker economic growth in Europe and the US. Government data last week showed US fuel use, the largest global consumer, shrank by 3.8%. Futures dropped as much as 1.3%, extending a 1.6% decline on September 16th.

COMMODITIES:

GOLD rose on Monday, extending the previous session’s 1.2% rise, as investors worried about the Eurozone’s debt crisis sought safe haven in bullion, and sluggish US consumer sentiment data lent support. COPPER fell overnight, as the four-day strike at Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.’s copper mine in Peru came to an end. Nickel lost 1.2% and aluminium slipped 0.6%.

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