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Financial Focus

THE IMF received more than $430bn in pledges at the G20 meeting in
Washington over the weekend, nearly doubling the firepower it has to
address Europe’s debt crisis.

EUROPEAN leaders were told to justify the show of solidarity by the G20
nations by doing more to restore fiscal health, help banks and spur
economic growth. Treasury Secretary, Geithner, said EU leaders need to
deploy “tools and processes creatively, flexibly and aggressively to support
countries as they implement reforms and stay ahead of the markets”.

DUTCH Prime Minister Mark Rutte will meet with his cabinet today to
discuss how to pass a budget that meets EU targets before calling early
elections after one of the parties in his minority coalition withdrew.
CHINA’s manufacturing may contract for a sixth month in April, maintaining
pressure on officials to adopt more policies to stimulate economic growth,
a survey of companies showed.

THE BIGGEST gain in consumer spending in a year probably helped the
US economy keep expanding in the first quarter even as fuel costs
climbed, economists said before a report this week.

FED CHAIRMAN, Ben Bernanke, insists that the US economy needs to
expand at a faster pace to drive down unemployment and generate bigger
job gains. The Fed is likely to continue with its near-zero interest-rate
target into 2014 to stimulate growth further and control unemployment.

Markets:
THE MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 9.1% through last week compared with a 9.6% advance by the S&P 500 and a
5.4% increase by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

OVERNIGHT, Asian stocks fell after weak company earnings and a manufacturing survey that signalled China’s
economic slowdown is deepening. Japanese and Australian stock futures, however, were buoyed by the $430bn boost
to IMF funds.

TODAY, European shares are expected to fall as a political crisis in the Netherlands and the result of the first round of
the French presidential election threatened to hamper the Eurozone’s efforts to contain the debt crisis.
Currencies:

THE YEN rose as incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist challenger Francois Hollande made it to the final round of
France’s presidential elections amid concern Europe is failing to contain the region’s debt crisis. Analysts point to the risk
of collapse of the ‘Merkozy’ axis if Hollande was elected, which would further hamper efforts to solve the debt crisis.

Energy:
OIL traded near the highest level in three days after Iraq halted some crude exports and IMF members pledged more
than $430 billion to help protect the global economy.

Commodities:
GOLD may decline on concerns that the European debt crisis may spread and growth in China will slow even as the US
economy improves, boosting the dollar and eroding demand for assets priced in the US currency.
HEDGE funds cut their bets on higher commodity prices by the most in four months on mounting concern that Europe’s
debt crisis will derail global growth and curb demand for raw materials.

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