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90 seconds at 9 am: UBS pays big fine over Libor manipulation, traders face criminal charges; Germany and China growing faster; US bulding permits rise; RBNZ in currency trades
Here's my summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including news Swiss banking giant UBS has agreed to pay US$1.5 bln in penalties to US, UK and Swiss regulators for attempting to manipulate the Libor inter-bank lending rate. Two former traders were also charged with criminal conspiracy.
Staying in Europe, German business confidence rose for the second month in a row in December according to a closely-watched survey. Some say that Europe's largest economy may support region-wide growth in 2013.
In China, the World Bank has raised its growth forecast for the country, saying the boosts from stimulus measures and infrastructure projects are working. The World Bank sees China growing 8.4% in 2013, advancing at higher rate than 2012.
There is no progress on fiscal cliff negotiations overnight. However, US building permits rose to a 4 year high in November, more evidence US housing markets are staging a modest recovery.
Staying in the US, the Government there has announced it plans to sell out its remaining one third shareholding in GM over the next 15 months - it "invested" more than US$50 billion to rescue the carmaker, but it looks like it will leave losing money on the deal.
Back in New Zealand, data released by the RBNZ shows that the central bank put its toe in the water in November selling a modest about of NZ$ in the currency markets. There is no way to know whether this is the beginning of RBNZ action, but it is the most since 2008 that it has traded.
Separately, Bill English has said that there is no realistic way he can weigh against the rise in the currency as the forces buying it are just too relentless.
However, the NZ dollar has eased back overnight as Dow is falling in mid-day trade, oil is rising, and gold is confirming yesterday's fall.
The NZ$ starts today at 83.7 USc, 79.7 AUc and the TWI is at 74.6.
We will have full coverage of the Q3 NZ GDP results at 10:45am today.