April 12th, 2010
04:08 PM GMT
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Jim Boulden

Everyday brings a new twist in the Greece saga and with it comes market reaction.

Monday was positive for Greek bonds and the euro after euroland finance ministers said they would provide up to $40bn over three years at a fixed rate just under five percent - if Greece asks for help, that is.

For now, Greece has to still sell its bonds in the markets and hope that the interest rate comes down closer to six than to seven.

The deal could make it easier for Greece to sell debt and at a lower rate, but it does nothing to help Greece cut its budget deficit in the short run, or help public sector workers accept pay and pension cuts or worse job cuts.

But at least Europe has realized that it can't just promise vague help without putting up the cash.

Will this really help Greece? Will it have to tap this money, or is the Greek government correct when it says just having this backstop could be enough to give the market some confidence in Greece?

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Filed under: BusinessQuest Means Business

April 12th, 2010
08:34 AM GMT
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Hong Kong, China – The leadership of the world's largest aluminum producer believes metals prices are making a comeback in 2010.

"We are bullish," Vladislav Soloviev, first deputy CEO of Rusal, told me in Hong Kong.

Demand, he believes, is strong, especially in China. The recovery in prices helped turn around his company's fortunes in 2009.

China's demand for commodities has been all over the news as of late. The country posted its first trade deficit in six years in March mainly because of the surge in imports of raw materials. Exports dropped because Chinese factories were slow to reopen after the Lunar New Year holiday.

The trade deficit is complicating the debate over the Chinese currency. Beijing has been under pressure to loosen its controls on the yuan, which many in Washington believe is set too low and contributes to the big U.S. trade deficit with China.

Soloviev believes Beijing will make a move this year. But unlike those in the manufacturing sector, he thinks a more flexible currency will give him a competitive edge.

Do you anticipate China will ease its currency controls soon?  If so, what does that mean for your business?

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