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Money markets traders stick with views on fed rate hikes

NEW YORK Aug 31 Traders clung to their views on Monday on the timing of an interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve after Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer's remarks on inflation at a central bankers conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Saturday. U.S. interest rates futures suggested traders see a 28 percent chance the Fed would raise rates at its September 16-17 meeting, unchanged from Friday, according to CME Group's FedWatch program. The Dec federal funds contract implied a 56 percent likelihood of a rate rise, matching late Friday's level.

In a highly anticipated speech, the No. 2 Fed official said domestic inflation will likely rebound as pressure from a strong dollar fades, allowing the U.S. central bank to lift rates gradually. He also cautioned not to overreact to a possible Chinese slowdown following a tumultuous week in global stock markets.

The over-the-counter market signaled traders priced in stronger probabilities of a rate increase by year-end than futures.

In early Monday trading, overnight indexed swap rates implied traders see a 37 percent chance the Fed would raise rates in September and a 78 percent chance for a December rate increase.

Money markets us rate futures rise as fed signals dovishness

NEW YORK, Aug 22 U.S. short-term interest rate futures rose on Wednesday as traders bet dovish minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting could mean more stimulus for the world's biggest economy in coming weeks. In minutes of the July 31-Aug. 1 meeting, the Fed said that "many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery." The Fed's remaining policy tools include a third round of quantitative easing in the form of large-scale bond purchases -- known as QE3 -- and lowering the interest it pays banks on excess reserves (IOER) they leave with the central bank. After the minutes were released, traders saw the first chance of the Fed hiking interest rates in September 2014, based on futures trading at CME Group Inc's Chicago Board of Trade , compared to previous expectations of a hike in July 2014. The Fed has held its target for the federal funds rate in a range of zero to 0.25 percent since December 2008. "This is a fairly surprising discussion by the Fed, probably different than the expectation," said Timothy Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York. "Specifically, that many Fed officials think an asset purchase program would benefit, or boost the recovery. Continuing to lower longer term interest rates was also a surprise here. The minutes were a significant support for a QE3 package," he added. The December 2014 Eurodollar contract last traded up 8 basis points at 99.285, off slightly from a session high of 99.300. Eurodollar futures for 2016 to 2019 edged slightly higher, as well. Benchmark three-month dollar Libor fell to 0.43075 percent, its lowest level since late October, when it fixed at 0.42944 percent. The three-month Euribor rates, traditionally the main gauge of unsecured bank-to-bank lending, eased to 0.31 percent from 0.318 percent on Tuesday. Across the Atlantic, the European Central Bank is expected to cut its refinancing rate by another 25 basis points to 0.5 percent at its next meeting on Sept. 6., according to a Reuters poll of economists. Expectations the European Central Bank will take steps to lower Spanish and Italian borrowing costs and calm the debt crisis that has driven much of the euro zone into recession has helped drive money market rates higher.

Obama to announce changes for student loan repayment

WASHINGTON, March 10 President Barack Obama is slated to speak to students at Georgia Tech on Tuesday about how he wants to make the process of repaying student loans easier to understand and manage. Obama will sign a "student aid bill of rights" and will speak about an assortment of policy tweaks and projects to try to make it easier to help people with student loans pay back their debt."It's our responsibility to make sure that the 40 million Americans with student loans are aware of resources to manage their debt, and that we are doing everything we can to be responsive to their needs," said Ted Mitchell, undersecretary of education, on a conference call with reporters.

More than 70 percent of U.S. students who graduate with a bachelor's degree leave with debt, which averages $28,400. The White House said it will require clearer disclosures from companies to make sure borrowers understand who is servicing their loan and how to set monthly payments and change repayment plans.

"Repayment rates improve when servicers work well and work directly with borrowers, helping them understand the terms of their loans," said Sarah Bloom Raskin, deputy secretary of the Treasury Department, on the conference call.

Obama will direct his Education Department to create a system by July 1, 2016 to better oversee and address complaints from borrowers about lenders, servicers and collection agencies, the White House said. His administration will also study whether it needs to propose changes to laws or regulations to create stronger consumer protections, the White House said.

Press digest australian business news april 19

MELBOURNE Apr 19 Compiled for Reuters by Media Monitors. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (this site)-- Genworth Financial, the largest mortgage insurer in Australia, yesterday postponed its A$800 million partial float after it announced worse than expected losses from the housing sector. Observers say the withdrawal of the initial public offering could weaken confidence in the equity capital market, while also damaging Macquarie Capital, UBS, Goldman Sachs and CommSec, the joint lead managers of Genworth's float. Page 23.-- Wine entrepreneurs Justin Dry and Andre Eikmeier, along with their business partner Leigh Morgan, have sold a 40 percent stake in their vinomofo online wine retailer to the Catchoftheday daily deals website. "Catchoftheday are certainly bringing to the party an awful lot of customers - we have to endear ourselves to them. They've got to like wine and they have to like the wines we like and at the prices we bring to them," Mr Eikmeier said. Page 23.-- Malcolm Turnbull, spokesman on communications for the Federal Opposition, yesterday claimed that the Coalition's broadband policy was "manifestly" in the interests of Telstra investors and could also accelerate payments that the telecommunications giant is due to receive from the Federal Government's national broadband network. "If we took the approach I'm describing, because the rollout would occur more quickly the migration payments would be paid to Telstra sooner," Mr Turnbull said. Page 25.-- Elders is set to receive A$80 million following the sale of its forestry portfolio and a legal victory against the Australian Taxation Office. Malcolm Jackman, managing director of the automotive and rural services group, said the windfall would allow the company to adopt "a more generous approach" to debt repayments. "It will be a game changer in our relationship with our financiers," Mr Jackman added. Page 27. THE AUSTRALIAN (this site)

-- Global miner BHP Billiton yesterday published its production report for the third quarter, revealing a 14 percent fall in coking coal production due to industrial action at seven of its joint-venture mines in Queensland and heavy rain in the state. "With inventories now severely depleted, the impact on future quarters may be significant," the miner said. Diversified financial firm Citigroup downgraded its profit projections for BHP after the report's release, despite higher than expected production for petroleum and iron ore. Page 19.-- Grant Samuel Corporate Finance, JPMorgan Chase Bank and Ricoh are among 15 clients and corporations that will be asked to repay A$80 million in preferential payments from the collapse of Octaviar. Liquidators of the finance group yesterday lodged a claim on behalf of the company's creditors in the New South Wales Supreme Court. If the claim succeeds, the defendants will be forced to return the money into the creditors pool and would then be paid significantly less than the amount they have already received. Page 19.-- The amount of Australian government debt held by investors from Asia has climbed to at least 12.9 percent from 5.8 percent over the last couple of years, with the Australian Office of Financial Management calculating that Asian investors are now the most active purchasers of Australian bonds. Observers say Australia's higher interest rates, triple-A sovereign credit rating and comparatively strong economic fundamentals helped attract Asian investment into local debt. Page 19.-- Shareholders in iron ore explorer Murchison Metals will receive cash after the company opted to return the proceeds from the A$325 million sale of its infrastructure and iron ore joint ventures to investors. "The board has determined that none of the opportunities that have been considered to date represents a compelling opportunity with the potential to enhance shareholder value within an acceptable time horizon," managing director Greg Martin stated in a quarterly report. Page 20.

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (this site)-- Around 460 Australians will be attending the Olympic Games in London this year to cover the event for media outlets such as Macquarie Radio, Nine Network and Foxtel, meaning that there will be 60 more journalists at the Olympics than Australian athletes. Foxtel will broadcast around 1100 hours of the event will live out of a total of 3200 hours on its pay television network. Page B1.-- The former head of Standard Chartered's operations in China, Mike Pratt, yesterday said that it was probable over the next few years that a Chinese bank would seek to acquire a cornerstone holding in a major Australian lender. Mr Pratt added that Australia and New Zealand Banking Group should adopt a longer-time view on Asia and not attempt to produce an earnings boost from the region quickly. Page B1.

-- Andrew Forrest, chairman of iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group, yesterday accused Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan of attempting to "fool" Australians over a late compromise on the mining tax between former prime minister Kevin Rudd and himself. Mr Swan responded to Mr Forrest's claims that Mr Rudd had approved changes to the resource super profits tax legislation days before his ousting by likening them to mining magnate Clive Palmer's suggestion that the Australian Greens was funded by the Central Intelligence Agency. Page B3.-- Leucadia National has announced that it expects to win a lawsuit against Fortescue Metals Group. The two companies have been locked in a dispute since 2006 when Leucadia, a former cornerstone investor in the iron ore producer, sued Fortescue after it attempted to replicate a royalty note issued in 2006. Leucadia is trying to prevent the Australian miner from issuing further notes, which provide a 4 percent return on profits at certain projects. Page B3. THE AGE (this site)-- The Federal Court yesterday heard that a junior staff member at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was responsible for the accounting firm's flawed audit of property group Centro's accounts in 2007. Stephen Cougle, the PwC partner who oversaw the audit, testified under cross-examination that he did not believe he made any mistakes. Shareholders have launched a class action against PwC and Centro after the property group announced in late 2007 that it misclassified billions of dollars in short-term debt. Page B3.-- Global online retailer has revived an Australian offshoot of its business, with last year's recruitment of 12 marketing staff and two vice-presidents from America to the local board. Amazon, whose local arm is called Amazon Corporate Services, has been reportedly looking for warehouse space in Australia. Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated the local online book retailing sector's value at A$280 million in 2010. Page B3.-- A report from property group AMP Capital Shopping Centres has concluded that nearly one third of the largest retailers in the world have a base in Australia, with more set to enter the market. Michael Bergdahl, author of the report, said customers were now "omni-channel" shoppers who browsed outlets while checking offers from competitors on phones or other smart devices. Page B3.-- Shares in gold junior Perseus Mining jumped 4.9 percent to close at A$2.35 yesterday after the company unveiled record production figures from its venture in Ghana. Perseus's output was 38,796 ounces for the first quarter of the year at A$700.48 per ounce, with the company generating up to A$1000 an ounce in profit according to yesterday's gold price of around US$1653 an ounce. Page B4.

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