Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Today’s Top Stories , China & the yuan; Eurozone finance ministers $RBS

Today’s Top Stories

· China & the yuan; pressure builds ahead of the Apr 15 Treasury report that could label China a currency manipulator – the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing Mar 24 looking into China and its yuan policy; in the Senate, a bipartisan group of lawmakers intend to reintroduce legislation that would instruct the Obama administration to take action against China unless it allows its currency to float freely (details of this legislation will be made public on Tues); more than 100 members of Congress on Mon called on the White House to label China a currency manipulator; China on Tues repeated that it would not respond to foreign pressure when it came to its currency and said its large trade surplus vs. the US wasn’t a result of its currency – Reuters/FT

· Eurozone finance ministers met for a 2-day meeting and re Greece repeated that they stand ready to provide assistance, but didn’t reveal much else. Technicalities were agreed to re sovereign financial assistance at the meeting, but there was no formal agreement to actually make an aid mechanism available and no details were publicized re what form the potential aid would take.

· In Asia, HK stocks were weak after the city’s gov’t announced more measures to cool property prices (will auction off subsidized homes) and Japan stocks were weak as the BoJ kicks off its 2-day meeting.

· On the crude front, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi in on Reuters saying that current oil prices around $80 a barrel were "in a happy situation."

· RBS – the co is planning a vast balance sheet restructuring in an attempt to boost capital strength and enhance its standing w/bond investors; the deal could involve a debt buyback worth at least GBP10B. RBS is examining which instruments it should make cash tenders for and which it makes sense to exchange into new coupon-paying paper. FT

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