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GLOBAL MARKETS-Euro, Asian shares rally on Cyprus deal relief

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Mon, Mar 25, 2013 06:40 hrs

* MSCI Asia ex-Japan soars 1.1 pct, buoyed by Cyprus deal

* Nikkei rises 1.7 pct, inching closer to 4-1/2-year peak

* Euro jumps away from last week's 4-month low vs dollar

* U.S. Treasury yields rise, oil and copper gain

* European shares set to advance sharply

By Chikako Mogi

TOKYO, March 25 (Reuters) - The euro and Asian shares rallied on Monday when Cyprus averted financial disaster by sealing a tough last-ditch deal with international lenders for a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout.

Cyprus agreed with the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Monday on a bailout that will shut down its second-largest bank, Laiki Bank, and inflict heavy losses on uninsured depositors, including wealthy Russians.

The plan was swiftly endorsed by euro zone finance ministers.

Deposits below 100,000 euros will be transferred to the Bank of Cyprus to create a "good bank". Senior bondholders in Laiki Bank will be wiped out while senior bondholders in the Bank of Cyprus will also contribute to bank recapitalisation.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Cyprus's parliament will not need to approve the bailout deal, seeking to avoid a repeat of the unanimous "No" vote that shut down the island's last debt deal.

Klaus Regling, the head of the euro zone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, said Cyprus will get the first tranche of international aid in early May after all formalities are finished in April.

"This will likely limit the euro's downside, with those who shorted the euro covering their positions, and improve general risk sentiment," said Hiroshi Maeba, head of FX trading Japan for UBS in Tokyo. "But it's hard to see the euro testing $1.35 levels, given prospects euro zone interest rates will not rise."

European markets were seen climbing strongly, with financial spreadbetters predicting London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX likely to open as much as 1.1 percent higher. Benchmark indices in Spain and Italy were seen to open 1 percent and 1.2 percent higher respectively.

U.S. stock futures were up 0.4 percent to point to a solid Wall Street start.

The euro rose to a session high of $1.3050 from around $1.2980 on the news, moving away from a four-month low of $1.2844 hit on Tuesday. The euro climbed 0.9 percent against the yen to 123.65 while the Australian dollar touched a high of 99.25 against the yen, inching closer to a 4-1/2-year peak of 99.99 yen hit earlier this month.

Gains in the euro and currencies typically linked to risk appetite capped assets favoured as safe-havens such as gold, which rose 0.2 percent to $1,610.61 an ounce after touching a one-week low earlier in the session. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield added about 4 basis points in Asia to 1.963 percent.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan soared 1.1 percent, bouncing off the three-month low struck earlier last week.

Australian shares rose 0.5 percent on the Cyprus news as well as on support from bargain hunters following last week's fall and a recovery in iron ore prices.

South Korean shares outperformed their peers and jumped 1.5 percent after closing the previous week at a 5-week low, while Hong Kong shares advanced 0.8 percent.

"There's quite a bit of short-covering in today's rebound after the Cyprus deal, but we have barely cut last week's losses, so there's nothing to be too excited about," said Jackson Wong, vice-president for equity sales at Tanrich Securities.

Japan's Nikkei stock average closed up 1.7 percent to inch closer to a 4-1/2-year high.

The dollar rose 0.3 percent to 94.74 yen but against a basket of key currencies, the U.S. currency was down 0.7 percent.

NEAR-TERM RISKS REMOVED

U.S. crude futures rose 0.5 percent to $94.22 a barrel and Brent rose 0.6 percent to $108.29.

"This is certainly very good for risk appetite overall and that's going to have a positive impact across oil markets, so we should see some positive sentiment reverberate through energy markets overall for at least the next 24 to 48 hours," said Ben le Brun, an analyst at OptionsXpress in Sydney.

London copper also added 0.4 percent to $7,687 a tonne, recovering from 7-month lows marked last week when investors shed risk in case of a Cyprus bailout failure. Price recovery in copper primarily depended on the outlook for global demand.

Some expressed caution over the latest deal with Cyprus.

"It's still very hard to see how that's going to stop the contagion that people keep talking about," said IG Markets strategist Evan Lucas, noting Monday's deal had set a precedent for other European nations that might need a bailout.

"It means we've not seen the end of this kind of issue," Lucas said.



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