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Daily Agenda: Chinese Exchange Regulators on High Alert

Greece receives new finance minister; oil markets decline further; Temasek Holdings posts strong performance.

Chinese exchange officials and regulators have begun to take even more dramatic actions to soften the blow of rapidly declining equity markets. One day after suspending initial public offerings, the domestic exchanges instituted temporary halts in trading on over 25 percent of all stocks listed on mainland exchanges, a number totaling nearly 750. The move may have helped but was insufficient to stem the bleeding as the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite index fell 5.3 percent during today’s trading session, while the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite index lost 1.3 percent.

Greece welcomes new finance minister. Oxford-educated economist Euclid Tsakalotos has been named as the new Greek finance minister, replacing Yanis Varoufakis. Tsakalotos’ first test will come early, as the Greek government prepares fresh terms to present at an emergency summit of euro zone leaders in Brussels on Tuesday. Separately, the Greek financial sector was dealt a blow yesterday when the European Central Bank announced that it would not increase emergency liquidity assistance for banks in the nation, which are experiencing a dramatic drawdown of deposits despite capital controls.

Oil sell-off continues. In the largest single-session move in more than four months, front-month contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude oil were off over 7 percent in trading overnight, as traders anticipate further U.S. dollar strength. In a sign of ever-expanding digitalization, yesterday the final day of open-outcry trading for oil and all other commodities at the CME Group’s historic exchange floors in Chicago and New York.

Thailand to get new central bank head. Veerathai Santiprabhob, who held senior positions at the International Monetary Fund, will ascend to lead the Thai central bank in October after cabinet approval today for his appointment, put forth by Finance minister Sommai Phasee. Santiprabhob joins the bank at a time when recent rate cuts have done little to help an economy facing deflationary pressure and falling external demand.

German industrial production remains steady. May industrial production data released today by the Economy Ministry indicated that the pace of activity on German factory floors remained strong in May with the headline index registered a gain of 0.1 percent over April and 2.1 percent year-over-year. Only energy production, off by an annualized 3.1 percent, cast a shadow over the otherwise strong pace of production in the euro zone’s largest economy.

Assets swell for Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. According to a newly released annual report, Temasek Holdings, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, has seen its assets reach a record high after an increase of 19 percent has brought total fund value to $266 billion Singapore dollars ($196 billion). During the trailing 12 months the fund’s managers made more than S$30 billion in new allocations while redeeming nearly S$20 billion.

German media merger discussed. Reports emerged today that broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 and publishing company Axel Springer are in early-stage discussions regarding a merger that would create one of the largest German media firms. The combined market capitalization of the two firms exceeds $15 billion.

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