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Financial Focus

ITALIAN Prime Minister, Mario Monti, announced 30 billion euros of austerity and growth measures yesterday. The premier will present the package, which includes a tax on luxury goods, resurrects a property levy on first homes, and forces many workers to delay retirement, to both houses of parliament today.

EUROZONE finance ministers gave the go-ahead for work on a plan to recycle national central bank funds through the IMF at a meeting in November, said people who declined to be named because the talks are at an early stage. The funds could be used to underwrite precautionary lending programs for Italy or Spain, the two countries judged to be the most vulnerable now, the people said.

FRENCH President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Paris on Monday under pressure to align their positions on centralising control of Eurozone budgets to stem the debt crisis that threatens Europe’s currency union before the EU summit.

SERVICE industries in the US probably expanded in November at the fastest pace in six months, a sign the economy is accelerating in the final months of 2011, economists said before a report today. Growth in factory orders in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, slowed to 1.9% in October from a year earlier, compared with a 2.4% increase in the previous month, a separate survey showed before the data is released tomorrow.

MARKETS:

ASIAN stocks rose, extending the biggest weekly gain since August 2007, as the euro and oil advanced after Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti introduced a proposal to cut his national debtEuropean shares are expected to open higher today, with Italy’s move to unveil a 30bn package of austerity measures and hopes that European leaders will agree on some concrete measures to solve the debt crisis improving sentiment.

Energy:

Oil rose for a second day in New York on concern that tension in the Middle East threatens supplies and speculation that Europe will take steps to tame a debt crisis that may curb economic growth.

COMMODITIES:

COMMODITIES will return 15% in the next 12 months, led by industrial metals and energy, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report on December 1st. The S&P GSCI rebounded 15% since early October, when mounting concern about the European debt crisis drove the index to the lowest since November 2010. Twenty-one of the 24 commodities tracked by S&P’s GSCI Commodity Index rose last week, while coffee, hogs and cocoa declined. Copper rose 9.2%, the most in five weeks, and wheat gained 6.2% in the biggest advance since mid-July.

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