Archive for September, 2011

Greece, ‘Troika’ Resume Bailout Talks

Civil servants blockaded several ministries on Thursday to protest against austerity measures as Greece resumed talks with EU and IMF inspectors on an 8 billion euro aid tranche it needs to avoid bankruptcy next month.

The Socialist government decided on unpopular pension cuts, lay-offs and taxes last week to lure back the so-called troika of European CommissionEuropean Central Bank and International Monetary Fund officials, who suspended talks earlier this month after disagreements on the steps needed to plug fiscal gaps.

Dozens of employees gathered in front of the finance ministry on Thursday in protest against the measures, shouting: “Take your bailout and leave”.

They stopped some troika officials from entering the building, and the mission chiefs met Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos in another government office.

“The climate was positive and creative after the tough measures that were decided,” the finance ministry said in a statement after the talks resumed.

Civil servants also blocked the entrances of other public buildings including the interior, justice, health and agriculture ministries, a police spokesman said.

“These measures will not get us out of the crisis. I don’t have enough money to pay for the extra taxes and levies,” said taxi-driver George Kouris, 48, a father of two.

Before returning to the table, the EU/IMF mission demanded written assurances from Greece that its new pledges will be met, highlighting a lack of trust after repeated failures to meet targets and foot-dragging on privatisations.

Prime Minister George Papandreou, who urged his cabinet on Thursday to step up efforts to meet EU/IMF targets, will hold talks on Greece’s debt situation with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on Friday.

Read the full article here.

PRECIOUS-Gold eases as firmer dollar piles on pressure

Gold prices rose in volatile trade on Tuesday after briefly extending the previous session’s 2.5 percent slide below $1,800 an ounce, as the dollar pared some of its early gains versus the euro, taking some pressure off the precious metal.

The euro remained in the doldrums however after a report that euro zone politicians may provide fresh support to debt-laden Greece was denied, and as the cost of Italy’s borrowing reached unsustainable levels.

Spot gold was up 0.7 percent at $1,824.89 an ounce at 1340 GMT, having earlier fallen as low as $1,798.75. It has dropped nearly 2 percent this week after posting its biggest monthly gain since November 2009 in August.

VTB Capital analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov said gold was set to recover its usual inverse trading relationship with the dollar, “provided the euro holds up and risk sentiment improves a little. Otherwise, extreme risk aversion will see bullion trading with the greenback again.”

Concerns over the ability of some euro zone economies — chiefly Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain — to manage their burgeoning debt helped drive gold prices to record highs above $1,920 an ounce earlier this month.

But the metal has faced headwinds around that level, twice failing to sustain a rise above $1,900 an ounce. Dollar strength has returned as a weight on gold after the currency has risen in line with the precious metal in recent years as both benefit from risk aversion.

“A stronger dollar may make the journey north more of a struggle,” said UBS in a report, noting that action by the Bank of Japan and Swiss National Bank to curb strength in the yen and franc meant “the dollar is emerging as the last safe haven among the world’s major currencies for risk-averse investors.”

Read the full article here.

Return top