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Financial Focus

BRUSSELS is wading into the interest rate-rigging scandal rocking the City
of London with a proposal to outlaw attempts to manipulate market indices
across the EU and a fundamental review of the rules on how Libor is set.

BEIJING has threatened swift retaliation against a range of European Union
industries if Brussels presses ahead with an investigation into government
subsidies granted to two Chinese telecoms equipment companies.

U.S. manufacturers are set to report their slowest growth in earnings since
2009, hit by the European crisis and a slowdown in emerging economies.
Analysts are forecasting that industrial companies will fall well short of last
year’s growth rates reported in the first quarter of 2012 despite being the
fastest-growing sector in the US for second-quarter earnings, according to
S&P Capital IQ.

SPAIN is ready to create a single “bad bank” to house the distressed assets
of its teetering financial sector, as it prepares to finalise terms of an EU
bailout that is dividing the Eurozone and spooking markets.

UK LABOUR leader Ed Miliband will today call for the country’s big five
banks to be forced to sell hundreds of branches to create at least two major
competitors by 2015. The proposal comes as politicians argue over how
best to respond to an interest rate rigging scandal that reignited public
anger towards banks, which many people blame for sinking the economy into recession.

NORTH KOREA’S economy grew, albeit slightly, last year for the first time in three years, as agricultural production jumped
thanks to favourable weather and increased use of fertiliser, South Korea’s central bank said on yesterday.

ASIAN shares and the euro slumped this morning as sluggish U.S. jobs data and cooling inflation in China deepened worries
about slowing global economic growth and reinforced risk aversion ahead of a meeting aimed at defining steps to shore up
Europe’s banks.

U.S. EMPLOYERS added fewer new jobs than expected in June, sending global stocks lower on Friday and lifting borrowing
costs in Spain above the critical 7%. The data may not prompt any immediate action, but it boosted the chances of the Federal
Reserve launching a new round of monetary stimulus to boost growth, a poll showed.

THE DOLLAR climbed the most since September against the euro as investors sought refuge after U.S. job growth fell short of
forecasts and the European Central Bank said the region’s economy still faces risks. The shared currency touched a two-year
low versus the dollar amid concern an ECB cut in interest rates to a record low won’t be enough to stem the euro bloc’s debt

OIL fell for a second day on Friday after a report showed U.S. employers hired fewer workers than forecast in June, increasing
concern that slower economic growth will reduce demand for oil. Oil slipped after the Labour Department said payrolls rose
80,000, less than the 100,000 increase forecast.

THE WORST U.S. drought since Ronald Reagan was president is withering the world’s largest corn crop, and the speed of the
damage may spur the government to make a record cut in its July estimate for domestic inventories. Tumbling yields will
combine with the greatest-ever global demand to leave U.S. stockpiles on September.

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