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90 seconds at 9 am with BNZ: China eases monetary policy as Chinese house prices fall; China confident of 'no hard landing'; Another Greek deadline; Iranian oil embargo
Here's my summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am in association with Bank of New Zealand, including news China eased monetary policy over the weekend as it tries to boost its economy after a slowdown in its housing market and a softening of exports to Europe.
China cut its reserve requirement ratio for bank lending by 0.5% to 20%, which means banks will be able to lend an extra US$60 billion more against the capital they hold. See more here at Bloomberg.
This follows news that house prices fell in January from a year ago in 47 of China's 70 biggest cities. There were no price rises, raising fears that real estate development may slow sharply. See more here at Bloomberg.
China's economic outlook and its demand for raw materials such as iron ore and coal used in construction is crucial for Australia, our largest trading partner, and for New Zealand itself. China is our second largest trading partner after Australia.
Vice President Xi Jingping, who is expected to become China's premier later this year, has however said he is confident China can avoid a hard landing as it tries to slow its economy down to avoid inflation. But his own Trade Ministry has warned of a 'grim' outlook for exports as Europe's economy slows down.
Meanwhile, European leaders will meet tonight to approve a Greek bailout plan.
It must be agreed or Greece will default on bond payments due on March 20.
Elsewhere, Iran has blocked oil exports to France and Britain in relaliation for their anti-nuclear sanctions. Oil prices rose US$1 a barrel.