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Financial Focus

THE EUROZONE crisis escalated last night as credit rating agency
Moody’s slashed the ratings of 28 Spanish banks, while earlier in the day
German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to rule out plans to mitigate
the euro area’s troubles with more debt sharing.

CHINA’S largest listed commercial bank has agreed its first financing deal
for a Russian infrastructure project in the latest agreement to highlight the
growing investment relationship between the two countries. Industrial and
Commercial Bank of China will provide $1bn of financing for the
construction of a new power plant at Yaroslavl on the outskirts of Moscow.

THE EUROPEAN UNION would gain far-reaching powers to rewrite
national budgets for Eurozone countries that breach debt and deficit rules
under proposals likely to be discussed at a summit this week.

CYPRUS became the fifth Eurozone country to extend its palm and ask for
bailout cash yesterday, just hours after Spanish authorities officially
requested more assistance for its struggling banking sector.

CHINA’S commerce ministry said that the nation’s trade growth is
improving, adding to a rebound in lending in signalling that a slowdown in
the world’s second- biggest economy may stabilize.

GREECE’s new finance minister resigned yesterday, throwing the government’s drive to soften the terms of an international
bailout into confusion less than a week after it took office.

ANGELA MERKEL, spelt out, once again yesterday, her refusal to countenance mutualised debt for the Eurozone, while giving
way to pressure from her country’s 16 states to allow them to borrow money through joint “Deutschland bonds”.

EUROZONE markets took a hammering yesterday, while bond yields shot up and oil prices fell, suggesting market unease with
the continuing Eurozone crisis. Spanish ten-year yields rose above 6.5%, while their Italian equivalents were just over six per
cent. Spain’s figure is below the psychologically important seven per cent level reached last week, but its rise marks concerns
over bailout packages. Madrid is due to issue between €2bn and €3bn in short-term T-bills this morning.

ASIAN shares fell for a fourth day as a downgrade of Spanish banks by Moody’s and news Cyprus is seeking a bailout stoked
concerns about Europe’s debt crisis. Sentiment was gloomy amid fading hopes European leaders will come up with decisive
measures at an EU summit later this week to resolve the region’s debt problems, and as Cyprus became the fifth Eurozone
country to seek a financial lifeline.

INDIA boosted the amount of government bonds foreign investors can purchase by $5 billion, seeking to bolster demand for the
rupee after it tumbled to a record low against the dollar. Foreign institutional investors can now purchase $20 billion worth of
government securities, up from $15 billion, the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement today.

A FULL embargo of Iranian crude oil exports will enter into force Sunday as initially planned, the European Union confirmed
yesterday, as nuclear talks with Tehran remained stymied.

GOLD held steady above $1,580 an ounce today after rising in the previous session as growing uncertainty on whether a key
European Union summit this week will be able to resolve the region’s debt crisis supported the precious metal. The Thursday-
Friday summit will be the 20th time EU leaders have met to try to resolve the spreading crisis which had sent gold prices to a
record about $1,920 an ounce last year as investors turned to the safety of the precious metal.

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