Brief World Markets News Headlines of the day

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More Chinese markets see higher property prices

Across 70 major Chinese cities tracked, housing prices were up in 25 during June, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The number, the highest in nearly a year, suggests that property buyers think the government might eventually ease its tightening policy, in which case prices could jump as past patterns suggest, analysts say.

U.S. housing starts surge in June

Seasonally adjusted U.S. housing starts were up 6.9% in June from a year before for the biggest monthly gain in more than three years. The latest figure is one of the few recent positive signs for the U.S. economy, although the much-reduced housing sector is now a less important factor overall. "Housing continues to be the one sector of the U.S. economy that is outperforming expectations," said Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays in New York. 

Swift action on eurozone banking union is urged

A banking union in the eurozone is needed imminently, well ahead of the timeline extending into next year envisioned by some European officials, said Christian Noyer, a member of the European Central Bank's Governing Council. "We have got to put a banking union in place very quickly. ... It needs to be in place this autumn," Noyer said in a radio interview. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund called on the ECB to inject more cash into the eurozone, and new data indicated further deterioration in Spain's banking and housing sectors. 

Bank of America returns to profit

Bank of America recovered from a loss of $8.83 billion a year ago to a profit in the latest quarter of $2.46 billion. However, the bank, the second-largest by assets in the U.S., reported lower revenue in most of its business lines. 

Corn prices might set record as U.S. crop dries up

Record prices might be in store for corn as the worst U.S. drought in decades continues to wither this year's crop. Futures are trading just below the 2008 record of $7.9925 a bushel, but analysts say the price could soon climb to $8.50 as harvest projections fall below 12 billion bushels.

Market Activities  

China eyes expanded precious metals trading

The Chinese government is looking toward a major expansion of the country's precious metals trading. The move would bring trading in commodities such as gold to China's interbank market. The Shanghai Gold Exchange already has released rules to govern the trades. 


Surprisingly upbeat corporate earnings, particularly in tech shares and Bank of America, helped lift U.S. stocks Wednesday, with the S&P 500 adding 0.7%. Similarly in Europe, earnings were the key factor, with Nordea Bank and Credit Suisse posting strong results. Here is a continuously updated list of global stock indexes. 

Economic Trends & Outlook

Report confirms India's inflation remains in double digits

Confirming recent forecasts, the Indian government reported a 10.02% rise in consumer prices for June, with food the chief culprit. The inflation rate was down slightly from 10.36% the month before but remained in double digits for the third consecutive month. 

Persistent global ills cloud Malaysia's economic outlook

Heading into next year, the economic outlook for China, Europe and the U.S. holds little promise for Malaysia's economy, said Zakariah Abdul Rashid, executive director of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research. Bright spots include domestic demand, which remains strong, and a modest inflation rate of 1.7%, Zakariah said. But with persistent difficulties abroad, the overall outlook for 2013 remains murky. 

Late-payments data may signal struggling Australian economy

Amid tightening global credit markets, Australia's economy might be signaling a pullback as the number of businesses delaying bill payments grows. Payment terms are now at 53.2 days for small businesses, according to new figures from Dun & Bradstreet, up from 51 days three months ago and 45 days in 2003. The widening figure could presage a run of business failures, as it has in the past.

Euro crisis outweighs FTA as South Korea trade surplus with EU thins

Despite a free-trade agreement with the European Union that took effect a year ago, South Korea's trade surplus with the EU narrowed sharply -- to $1.9 billion from $14.5 billion -- due to the festering eurozone crisis. "The drop in exports and the trade surplus are directly related to persistent economic concerns surrounding some European countries that have effectively caused demand for goods to fall across the board," the Korea Customs Service said in reporting the latest figure. 

Capital Markets & Financial Products

China names new managers for pension funds invested overseas

JPMorgan is on the new list of global investment managers chosen by China's national pension fund for the 20% or less of its portfolio invested overseas. The others selected are Lombard Odier, Nueberger Berman, Schroders, Standish, Stone Harbor Investment Partners, AGF Management, Investec, RBC Global Asset Management, AEW Capital Management, AMP Capital and European Investors. 

China Asset Management seeks OK for five new ETFs

China Asset Management is pursuing regulatory clearance to launch five exchange-traded funds designed to reflect various sectors -- consumer staples, materials, energy, financials and real estate, and health care -- represented on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The new offerings would qualify as "sponsored funds," a category approved last month by the China Securities Regulatory Commission. 

ADB's Trade Finance Program to include Chinese, Indian currencies

The Chinese and Indian currencies are now part of the Asian Development Bank's Trade Finance Program. The ADB says the move will meet growing demand for deals in the two currencies and "advances our promotion of trade in the region, which is crucial for boosting job creation and economic growth." 

South Koreans sharply boost direct investment overseas

The eurozone accounted for the largest share of the $9.5 billion that South Koreans directly invested in foreign-currency-denominated equities and bonds in the first half of the year, a total that was up 44% from a year earlier. By political grouping, the eurozone investment total of $7.81 billion was up 59%, while investment in Japan more than quintupled to $210 million, according to data from the Korea Securities Depository. 

Industry & Regulatory Update

Indonesia sets bank ownership limits, with some exceptions

Indonesia has established a 40% upper ownership limit for the nation's banks, although some exceptions might apply if the banks are listed and considered to be in sound condition. The exemption will allow DBS Group to continue its $7.2 billion bid for Bank Danamon.

Ethics & Standards

U.S. pursues further talks with Chinese over suspected accounting fraud

Seeking records related to allegations of accounting fraud, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has asked for a delay in court proceedings as it continues talks with regulators in China. The case involves a Chinese unit of accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. The SEC wants the U.S. federal court where the action was filed to hold up proceedings for six months as talks with the Chinese go forward.

South Korea CD rate-setting investigation expands to banks

Four major South Korean banks have been added to an investigation by the country's Fair Trade Commission into alleged collusion in the setting of rates on certificates of deposit. The commission's probe began with similar allegations against a number of brokerages. 
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