In The News Today

Posted at 10:08 AM (CST) by & filed under In The News.

Swiss move to make gold market more transparent to abuses in precious metals market
December 13, 2013 10:59 AM

GENEVA (AP) — The Swiss government has approved a change in how data on gold trade is compiled in an effort to reduce abuses in the precious metals’ market.

The governing Federal Council of ministers, which includes the president, says figures on gold imports and exports will be broken down by country starting next year.

The seven-member Council said in a statement Friday the change is intended to comply with international standards "and thereby contribute to transparency in precious metals trading."

An Associated Press investigation in 2008 involving visits to six bush mines in three West African countries and interviews with more than 150 child miners found gold mined by children was bought by itinerant traders to Mali’s capital city and then to Switzerland, where it entered world markets.

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UPDATE 1-Cyprus central bank has no plan to sell gold reserves-sources
Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:20am EST

Dec 13 (Reuters) – Cyprus has no plan to sell gold reserves to fund its 10 billion euro ($13.75 billion) bailout, officials at the central bank said on Friday.

Cyprus’s government in April undertook to look into selling its gold reserves to raise 400 million euros to help finance part of its EU-IMF bailout.

"We do not intend to sell the gold," a senior official at the central bank told Reuters, declining to be identified.

Central bank officials said the gold reserves, valued at 441 million euros on its balance sheet, were important to safeguard the institution’s independence.

Asked about any alternative method to raise the 400 million euros, the official said: "They (the government) have to go back to the troika and say this (a gold sale) is not going to happen."

The official was referring to the troika of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

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Spirit of deal ‘violated’: Iran quits nuclear talks after US sanctions move
Published time: December 13, 2013 17:04

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (Reuters / Ruben Spric.  Iran has halted fraught nuclear talks with the West, saying that Washington has acted contrary to the spirit of a ‘landmark agreement’ established last month. The US has widened its blacklists, adding further people and companies under current sanctions.

“The negotiations were halted by [the] Iranian delegation because of new American sanctions. The Iranian negotiating team has halted the talks at this stage and are headed back to the capital due to America’s lack of commitment to the agreement,” Iranian news agency, Mehr, reported Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, as saying.

Iran had agreed to freeze sections of its program, in exchange for approximately $7 billion in relief from economic sanctions imposed by the West. However, it emerged that approximately a dozen international firms were blacklisted for evading US-imposed sanctions on Thursday, despite warnings.

Araqchi said that the US was “against the spirit of the Geneva deal,” and that Tehran was weighing up its ‘appropriate’ response.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that the recent nuclear deal struck between his nation and world powers would evaporate should the United States Congress impose new economic sanctions on Iran.

Russia fully backed Iran’s indignant sentiment: “The US administration’s decision goes against the spirit of this document,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said, referring to the deal reached on November 24. Russia was among the six world powers brokering the talks.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

This reads Bail- In.

Europe’s banks need €110 billion to keep credit ratings
13.12.13 @ 09:3 By Benjamin Fox

BRUSSELS – Europe’s 50 biggest banks need capital injections of up to €110 billion to remain strong enough to sustain their credit ratings, Standard and Poor’s has said.

In a report published Thursday (12 December), the rating agency warned that bank balance sheets, particularly in the EU’s crisis countries, were still vulnerable.

The report comes just weeks before the European Central Bank will begin its ‘stress tests’ of Europe’s banks in early 2014 to assess how robust their capital positions are.

Credit ratings dictate how easily a bank can borrow on the financial markets.

"Banks’ capital generation and positions relative to regulatory requirements diverge widely, and our analysis also reveals significant differences in the quality of capital among the top 50 European banks," said the agency.

Meanwhile, banks in Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece and Ireland, accounted for 39 percent of the overall global shortfall, according to the report. Slovenia, widely tipped as the next eurozone country that could require a rescue package, revealed on Thursday that it would have to find €4.8 billion to recapitalise its banks to cover bad debts.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Another game of chicken with the creditors of the USA.

US and Chinese warships nearly collide amid tensions over airspace
USS Cowpens was near Liaoning aircraft carrier in South China Sea when another Chinese ship closed in, officials say

A US guided missile cruiser operating in international waters in the South China Sea was forced to take evasive action last week to avoid a collision with a Chinese warship, the US Pacific Fleet has revealed.

The USS Cowpens had been operating in the vicinity of China’s only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, at a time of heightened tensions in the region following Beijing’s declaration of an air defence zone farther north in the East China Sea, a US defence official said.

Another Chinese warship came near the Cowpens in the incident on 5 December. The US ship was forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision, the Pacific Fleet said in its statement.

"Eventually, effective bridge-to-bridge communications occurred between the US and Chinese crews, and both vessels manoeuvred to ensure safe passage," said a defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Cowpens had been in the Philippines helping with disaster relief in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan, which hit the region in November. The US navy said it was in the South China Sea conducting routine "freedom-of-navigation" operations – which are intended to assert the right of passage through a disputed area – when the incident occurred.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

The operative word here is "minimum."

Italy backs 8 percent minimum bail-in for ailing banks
BRUSSELS Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:30am EST

(Reuters) – Italy’s Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni said on Tuesday that public intervention on troubled banks should come after inflicting losses on bondholders through a minimum bail-in of 8 percent of total bank liabilities.

Yet, Saccomanni the introduction of bail-in clauses may spread risks across the euro zone banking sector.

"In case of a systemic crisis, public intervention would be preferable to the risk of contagion generated by an extended use of bail-in (clauses)," Saccomanni said speaking at a meeting of European Union finance ministers in Brussels.

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