Friday, June 26, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - June 26

U.S. Incomes Up on One-Time Stimulus Payments - The Commerce Department reported Friday morning that personal incomes jumped 1.4% in May due to one-time $250 payments to Social Security beneficiaries as part of the stimulus program. Consumer spending rose 0.3% in nominal terms. The results were in line with the consensus of estimates. With the boost to incomes, the savings rate rose to 6.9%. Excluding the one-time payments, disposable incomes rose 0.2%, the government said. Wages and salaries fell 0.1%. Real consumer spending (adjusted for inflation) rose 0.2%.

Russia Eyes Possible Bank Bailout Plans - Russia is considering taking stakes in troubled domestic banks in a potential move to deal with bad assets in its financial system, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing a draft proposal. Under this proposal, the Russian government would issue OFZ Treasury bills to bolster the balance sheets of the biggest banks and in return it would receive preferred shares, the report said. The government would also take board seats and have veto rights, the FT reported.

UK Extends Short Sale Rules - Britain's Financial Services Authority (FSA) on Friday extended indefinitely rules that require traders to disclose net short positions in 30 U.K. financial companies. The rules had been set to expire on June 30. "Extending the regime will continue to help reduce the potential for abusive behavior and disorderly markets," the FSA said, in a statement. Although no expiration date was set, the FSA said it doesn't intend to make the rules permanent. The rules require net short positions to be disclosed when they exceeds 0.25% of a company's shares. Additional disclosures are required each time the position grows by an additional 0.1%

China Calls Again for a Super Currency - On Friday, China's central bank repeated its assertion that a new global reserve currency is needed. "To prevent the deficiencies in the main reserve currency, there's a need to create a new currency that's de-linked from the economies of the issuers," the People's Bank of China said in its annual financial stability review, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

Japan Orders Citibank Japan to Suspend Operations for One Month - Japanese financial regulators sanctioned Citigroup Japanese unit Friday for the second time in five years, demanding it suspend some of its retail-business operations because of inadequate controls in place to prevent money laundering. Citibank Japan was ordered to suspend sales activities, including advertising, at its retail businesses, from July 15 to Aug. 14. The suspension doesn't restrict transactions initiated by customers and doesn't apply to the company's corporate-banking division.

China Moves to Block Hummer Sale - Chinese authorities have moved to block the sale of General Motors' Hummer brand to a Chinese company, the BBC reported, citing Chinese state radio. The sale to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industries had been announced earlier this month as part of GM's recovery plan. Chinese authorities cited environmental concerns and Sichuan Tengzhong's inexperience in building automobiles in moving to block the sale, the BBC reported.

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