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Financial Focus

GERMAN CHANCELLOR Angela Merkel sought to bury once and for all
the idea of common euro zone bonds yesterday, saying Europe would not
share total debt liability “as long as I live”, as the bloc’s big four finance
ministers met to narrow differences on how to solve a worsening debt crisis.

ECONOMIC recovery in the UK is at least five years away, Sir Mervyn King
told MPs at the Treasury Select Committee yesterday. The governor of the
Bank of England reiterated his backing for £50bn of further quantitative
easing, and even kept open the possibility of an interest rate cut.

BAD LOANS in Brazil hit a record high in May, adding to fears that the
world’s leading emerging markets were heading for a deeper than expected
slowdown. Brazilian loans overdue by more than 90 days hit 6%, the
highest since records began in 2000, the central bank said.

U.S. HOME prices showed further signs of stabilisation in April, boosting
hope that the housing market is finally bottoming out. The S&P/Case-Shiller
home price index, which tracks monthly changes in the value of residential
property in 20 metropolitan regions across the US, showed prices edge
0.7% higher on a seasonally adjusted basis.

ITALY yesterday offered up to €2bn (£1.6bn) to plug a capital gap in the
bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the second time in three years the state
has had to bail out the world’s oldest bank. Rome said it was ready to underwrite special bonds issued by the bank to plug a
capital shortfall estimated at €1.3bn to €1.7bn, higher than the €1bn that investors had expected.

UK CHANCELLOR George Osborne bowed to pressure yesterday, scrapping this year’s planned fuel tax hike in the latest of a
series of screeching U-turns by the coalition government. The rise in fuel duty by around 3p per litre will now be delayed until
the beginning of next year, postponing a hike due on the 1st of August.

MARKETS:
ASIAN shares rebounded from a four-day losing streak with investors awaiting action from the EU summit this week to tackle
Europe’s debt woes. Gains were limited by lingering concerns about Europe after Egan-Jones Ratings downgraded Germany’s
sovereign rating, citing the risk the country will be left with significant uncollectable receivables due to its exposure to the
Eurozone.

EUROPEAN STOCKS are expected to climb for the first time in a week today, but gains and volumes could be capped by rising
doubts over whether this week’s EU summit will deliver any strong new measures to support the euro zone’s debt-stricken
countries.

CURRENCIES:
THE YEN strengthened against most of its major peers as Europe’s fiscal crisis loomed over a second day of debt sales in Italy,
supporting demand for refuge assets. The Japanese currency was 0.6% from a one-week high versus the euro after Italy’s
borrowing costs rose at an auction of two-year notes yesterday.

ENERGY:
THE NIGERIAN state and oil companies are losing a billion dollars or more a month to oil theft by criminal networks whose
activities have expanded rapidly under the government of President Goodluck Jonathan. According to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the
finance minister, the trade in stolen oil led to a 17 per cent fall in official oil sales in April, or about 400,000 barrels per day).

COMMODITIES:
CORN supplies in the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter, are declining at the fastest pace since 1996 just as a Midwest heat
wave damages the world’s largest harvest for a third consecutive year. Stockpiles were probably 3.168 billion bushels (80.47
million metric tons) on the 1st of June, 47% less than on the 1st of March.

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