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Financial Focus

GREECE’s Left Coalition party will get an historic chance to form a
government opposed to the country’s EU/IMF bailout today, after the
mainstream conservatives failed to cobble together a coalition following a
shock inconclusive election.

SPAIN is planning a state bail-out of Bankia, the country’s third biggest
bank by assets, in a move likely to involve the injection of up to €10bn of
public money into the troubled lender. As the news broke, Bankia’s
executive chairman, Rodrigo Rato, resigned.

GERMAN chancellor, Angela Merkel, warned Athens to stick to the reform
plans and budget targets agreed under its international bailout plan as
financial markets and EU policymakers grappled with an anti-austerity
backlash spreading across the Eurozone.

DAVID Cameron will tell the UK today that the coalition will stick to its “long
and hard” deficit reduction programme in spite of the electoral backlash
against austerity in France and Greece.

CONSUMER credit in the US surged in March by the most in more than a
decade on growing demand for educational financing and autos.

Markets:
YESTERDAY, after sharply falling and hitting a 4½ month low in early
trade, the Eurozone’s blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index rallied in the
afternoon, to close 1.6% higher, recovering most of the ground lost on
Friday after lower-than-expected US jobs data sparked worries over the
health of the world’s biggest economy.
OVERNIGHT, Asian stocks rose as Capcom forecasted higher profits, and Mitsubishi posted better-than-expected
earnings, helping the regional benchmark index to rebound after political change in Europe sparked the biggest loss in
six months yesterday.
TODAY, European markets are set to open mixed today following the previous session’s roller-coaster ride, with
investors keeping a close eye on the political situation in Greece following Sunday’s elections. Greece’s mainstream
conservatives failed to reach a deal for a coalition following Sunday’s election, leaving it to the Left Coalition party to form
a government, which would be opposed to the country’s EU/IMF bailout.
Currencies:
THE EURO traded 0.6% from a three-month low as Greece’s political leaders meet for a second day in a bid to form a
new government, after an election raised questions about the country’s membership of the euro bloc.
Energy:
OIL traded near the lowest level in three months in New York before a government report that may show inventories rose
to the highest in more than 21 years in the US, and after European elections stoked speculation that austerity efforts will
be derailed.
IRAN is accepting renminbi for some of the crude oil it supplies to China, industry executives in Beijing and Kuwait and
Dubai-based bankers said, partly as a consequence of US sanctions aimed at limiting Tehran’s nuclear programme.
Commodities:
MAINLAND China’s gold imports from Hong Kong surged more than six-fold in the first quarter, adding to signs that the
country may displace India as the world’s largest consumer of the precious metal on an annual basis.

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