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90 seconds at 9 am: Eurozone to get Tobin Tax; German confidence surge; carbon price collapse; Japan's war on deflation; iron ore prices to fall; NZ$1 = US$0.840, TWI - 75.4
Here's my summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including news that EU finance ministers give the green light overnight for 11 eurozone members, including France and Germany, to ready a new tax on financial transactions.
Six eurozone members won't impose the tax, and neither will another ten in the wider EU. It is aimed at banks and there are fears it could drive business out of Europe, or at least away from those countries adopting it. The tax - also known as a Tobin tax after the economist who originally came up with it 40 years ago - is expected to be charged at a rate of 0.1% of the value of any trade in shares or bonds, and 0.01% of any financial derivative contract.
Staying in the EU, German investor confidence has surged to a 32-month high in January, according to a closely watched survey released overnight.
And separately, the price of carbon hit a record low in Europe yesterday as the over-supply of emissions permits continued to undermine the carbon market. The price fell below €4.80 in early trading, before recovering to above €5.00 by the end of the day.
In Japan, a somewhat reluctant central bank has set an ambitious 2% inflation target and pledged to ease monetary policy 'decisively' by introducing open-ended asset purchases. This will be a big deal. There are apparently no taboos left in their fight against deflation, and Japan's new prime minister who is pushing hard for the policy, hailed the move as 'epoch-making'. Still, sceptics suggested the country was still far from turning the corner in its long fight against deflation. The Japanese have grown to accept, even like, never-ending price reductions. But it is strangling the country.
New Zealand food exporters will face a tough time in Japan as the yen is expected to tumble even further as the policy bites. Russia has also started complaining about the spread of 'currency wars'. These types of policies are tough on commodity exporters.
In Australia, it seems the iron ore price gains which are at a 15-month high are unsustainable, and one analyst is forecasting a price tumble of over 20%.
It seems that low listings and lack of houses for sale are not only a New Zealand problem. In the US this is the reason given that their real estate market slipped 1% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million, but 2012 still ended with the best sales in five years.
The New Zealand dollar starts today having crept slightly higher overnight at 84.0 USc, 79.6 AUc, and the TWI is at 75.4.