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Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

This week's roundup looks at the latest developments in Greece's attempts to remain in the Euro Zone, the potential for interest rate rises in the UK in the near future and a drop in the FTSE 100.


Greece clinches new bailout deal 

After marathon talks that took place into the early hours of yesterday morning, Greece finally secured a multi-billion-Euro bailout agreement from its international creditors.

Some 23 hours after beginning discussions in a central Athens hotel, Greek officials announced the news, stating that an agreement had been reached with just some "minor details" left to be discussed. The new loan agreement is believed to be worth up to €86 billion.

"Finally we have white smoke", said one exhausted finance ministry official.

The officials involved in the discussions agreed on fiscal targets that will govern the bailout - with the aim being a primary budget surplus from next year.

The accord is expected to be ratified in parliament and vetted by Euro Zone finance ministers this week.

After the deal was announced, the Athens Stock Index rose 1.8%, following a further 2.1% rise the day before amid speculation a deal was close to being completed.

 

BoE policymaker 'close to yes vote' on rates increase 

Bank of England policymaker David Miles has revealed that he came close to voting to raise interest rates in the UK last week.

The official bank rate has remained at 0.5% since March 2009, but Mr Miles told Bloomberg this week that he believes there was a "reasonable" case for increasing rates soon to avoid them rising rapidly in the future.

He explained some of his reasoning for "starting the journey" towards a rise in rates. "Sterling had gone up a bit, oil prices had fallen a bit, there were somewhat ambiguous signals from the labour market," he said.

However, Mr Miles eventually decided not to vote yes. "On balance it was a set of economic news that probably reduced at least the near-term inflation profile by a non-trivial amount. For me that was what made the decision ultimately one to keep policy on hold."

Only one of the Monetary Policy Committee, Ian McCafferty, voted for a rise. Mr Miles will not be able to vote in the next meeting as his term on the committee has come to an end.

 

FTSE drops as China devalues the yuan 

The FTSE 100 dropped by 40.61 points (0.6%) yesterday morning, affected by China devaluing its currency and subsequently raising the cost of imports.

China's central bank brought the yuan to the lowest rate against the dollar in nearly three years in a move that is being described as a "one-off depreciation" of 1.9% to make the exchange rate more market oriented.

As a result, stock prices for mining firms, as well as luxury clothing brand Burberry, fell.

Trustnet Direct analyst Tony Cross told Reuters, "A weaker yuan makes imports more expensive and with China accounting for some 14% of [Burberry's] sales, the implication is clear."

The mining sector was impacted by stock price falls for BHP Bilton and Glencore, among others, and subsequently dropped 2.3%, leaving it dangerously close to the six-year low it experienced towards the end of last month.