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Financial Focus

THE CHINESE government will “firmly” maintain restrictions on real estate, and local authorities should continue to strictly implement its policies in the coming months to let citizens see the results of the curbs, Premier Wen Jiabao said following a State Council meeting.

GREATER co-operation between China and the Eurozone is a likely result of the crisis, Chinese news agency Xinhua announced yesterday. The agency, usually seen as the mouthpiece of China’s rulers, said, “a prosperous and stable Europe is important to China’s stability and development as their economies are closely linked”. Because the EU is China’s largest trading partner, the emerging giant will “not act like an onlooker,” and instead is “willing to extend a helping hand” as a “true friend and partner of Europe.”

THE DECLINE in house prices doubled its speed in October as economic turbulence scared prospective buyers and hit demand, a leading survey claimed this morning. Average house prices were down 0.2% in England and Wales this month, compared to declines of 0.1% in each of the previous five months.

MARKETS:

CHINA’s stocks fell for the first time in six days, narrowing the benchmark index’s biggest monthly gain in a year, after Premier Wen Jiabao said the government should “firmly” maintain property curbs. The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks the bigger of China’s stock exchanges, advanced 6.7% last week, the biggest gain since the period ended October 15th 2010. FUTURES on the S&P 500 indicate the US stocks gauge may pare its 14% rally this month. The S&P 500 jumped 3.8% last week after European leaders agreed to boost its rescue fund and investors agreed to a voluntary write-down of 50% of Greek debt.

EUROPEAN shares are set to fall today, with a sharp drop in metals prices on a firmer dollar following Japan’s intervention in the currency market seen hurting miners, and as investors are still waiting to see finer details of a Eurozone rescue deal.

CURRENCIES:

THE YEN dropped by the most in three years against the dollar as Japan stepped into foreign-exchange markets to weaken the currency for the third time this year after its gains to a post-war record threatened exporters. The yen and the Swiss franc each climbed to records this year as investors sought havens from fiscal crises in the US and Europe. Switzerland’s currency has weakened since early September when the Swiss National Bank imposed a ceiling of 1.20 francs per euro and resumed purchases of foreign exchange.

ENERGY:

OIL fell in New York on speculation demand will falter after the biggest monthly gain in more than two years and a surge in the dollar. Futures fell as much as 1% after Japan weakened the yen for the third time this year and a technical indicator signalled prices might have risen too fast. A stronger dollar typically curbs demand for commodities from holders of other currencies.

COMMODITIES:

COPPER declined, trimming the biggest monthly advance since December and leading a fall in industrial metals, after the Chinese PM’s property comments and the dollar jumped. Gold for immediate-delivery declined 1.9%, paring its monthly rally to 5.5%.

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