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Money markets us bill sales get demand from buyside, dealers

U.S. Treasury debt drew solid demand on Tuesday with dealers taking the largest portions of the issues and yields on the issue remaining low, anchored by the Federal Reserve's very low overnight rates. At its September policy meeting, the Fed said it would keep the target range for its federal funds rate at zero to 1/4 percent and said it currently anticipated "that exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate are likely to be warranted at least through mid 2015."The Treasury sold $32 billion in three-month bills at a high rate of 0.100 percent, awarding 72.35 percent of the bids at the high. The value of bids received over those accepted, known as the bid-cover ratio, was 4.55.

The Treasury also sold $28 billion in six-month bills at a high rate of 0.145 percent, awarding 9.31 percent of the bids at the high. The bid-cover ratio was 4.68. The three-month bill auction stopped one basis point short of the when-issued bid, the first auction to do so since April 2, said Thomas Simons, vice president and money market economist at Jefferies & Co in New York. The appeal of the bill may have been its maturity date, Jan. 10, 2013, which bridges year-end, he said. The 4.55 bid cover ratio was "right in line with the recent average," he said. Meanwhile, dealers got just 58.9 percent of the sale, the least since April 2.

The six-month bill auction stopped on the 11:30 a.m. bidding deadline yield of 14.5 basis points, making it the highest yielding six-month bill auction since Aug. 20, Simons said. The 4.68 bid cover ratio for the six-month bill sale was slightly below the recent average, he said, and dealers got 70.4 percent of the sale, their largest share since Sept. 10.

"Apparently the buyside focused their attention on the three-month auction this week," Simons said. Still, with overnight general collateral repo rates offering yields in the mid-20 basis points, the buyside is unlikely to display a "huge interest" in bills and auctions "will continue to be dealer-dominated," he said."The maturity dates (bridging year-end) brought out some increased interest from the buyside this week, but that bid will not be consistent going forward," he said. A sale of $40 billion in four-week bills is planned for Wednesday, Oct. 10, to be settled on Thursday, Oct. 11.

Nfls justin tuck tackles financial literacy

Think of football, and a lot of things come to mind: Big playoff rivalries, tailgate parties overflowing with beer and chicken wings, Super Bowl halftime shows. But financial literacy? Not so much. Justin Tuck wants to change that. The newly-retired New York Giants legend, a defensive end for a decade in the NFL, is making it his mission to help low-income and minority kids get money-smart. Tuck and his wife Lauran, founders of the nonprofit R. U.S. H. for Literacy are being honored this week by Teachers College, Columbia University in New York for their leadership in financial literacy. The following are their thoughts about the intersection of football and finance: Q: What did being a professional athlete teach you about handling money?Justin Tuck: Look at the average NFL roster, and most players come from low-income families. They go from being 18-year-old kids with nothing to being 21-year-olds with millions of dollars. That situation is like nothing you can imagine. It's the reason why most people who hit the Lotto end up broke. They get all this money all of a sudden, and they just don't know how to handle it. Q: You could have focused on a lot of different causes - why financial literacy?Lauran Tuck: We started by providing books to schools in New York, New Jersey, Alabama and California, now over 86,000 books to over 14,000 students. But then we started to look at education long-term: Kids who have college savings are many times more likely to actually go to college and graduate, than those who don't.

So along with partners like Citi, we started seeding college-savings accounts for kindergartners, raising matching money, and providing financial education for parents on subjects like household budgeting and understanding credit scores. Q: Was there a particular moment that made you want to get involved in kids' education?JT: I remember in the ninth grade growing up in Alabama, I was assigned a history book, and all the previous kids had written their names in it. One of those names was my aunt, who is 17 years older than me. Just imagine how much the world changes in 17 years - that's the book I had to learn from. Thinking back to that moment made me really want to get involved and move the needle for kids' education. 

Q: When you hit it big, did you make financial mistakes?JT: Sure I did. Even if you have a multi-million-dollar contract, you have to have a budget and put away savings, because one injury and your career can be over. Most players are out of the NFL by age 25. If they come from a poverty-stricken area, maybe they buy a home for mom, and a car for dad, and then friends start coming out of the woodwork and asking for money. Take out taxes, and fees for agents and lawyers, and throw in a divorce, and it can all go away very quickly. Q: When you were active in the NFL, what was your strategy as a couple for handling money wisely?LT: We made a good team together. I'm more conservative about investing, and Justin is more of a risk-taker.

With a lot of the players in the league, who may have come from a lower socioeconomic status, there's an attitude of 'You can't take it with you.'That's why you see some players living paycheck to paycheck. They're not thinking about building wealth for their children, and their children's children. Q: You have two kids of your own. What advice do you have for other parents, on making kids money-smart?JT: Kids are very curious by nature. So when Lauran and I are at the kitchen table talking about budgeting and spending, and our six-year-old son says 'What are you talking about?' we break it down for him. That's a good way to start exposing them to it. Give them a piggy bank, and if they want to buy a book or a toy, make them save up for it and stick to a budget. Q: Is it difficult to see ex-players in dire straits because of bad financial decisions?JT: Definitely. The game is so tough, all that wear and tear on your body. As the saying goes, 'NFL' stands for 'Not For Long.' At the end of the day, you want to have something to show for it.

Palestinian finance minister quits in budget dispute

RAMALLAH, March 3 Palestinian Finance Minister Nabil Qassis announced his resignation on Sunday, saying the government had failed to address a gaping budget deficit."No decision has been taken to lower the deficit substantially, and on the contrary it is growing ahead of ratifying the (2013) budget," Qassis said in comments to al-Ayyam newspaper explaining his reasons for quitting. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told cabinet members he had accepted Qassis's resignation.

Qassis, who was appointed only last year and has called for austerity measures, said the estimated $3.6 billion budget of the Palestinian Authority would show a deficit of $1.37 billion this year.

The Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank, has been in a financial crisis fuelled by shortfalls in foreign aid, renewed tensions with Israel and a need to meet an expanding public sector payroll.

In the past few months, it has failed to pay full salaries to its 160,000 employees in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, territory controlled by the rival Hamas Islamist movement. Israel withheld tax revenues it collects for the Palestinian Authority after President Mahmoud Abbas secured U. N. de facto statehood recognition in November, though it did transfer the funds, totalling about $100 million a month, in January and February.

Press digest australian business news jan 16

Compiled for Reuters by Media Monitors. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (this site)The largest oil company in France, Total, has announced that it is looking for takeover targets in Australia as part of an ambitious expansion strategy. "There is no limitation for Total to invest more in Australia... Australia is a core asset and is part of our future," Marie Guillermou, senior vice-president for production and exploration in Asia at Total, said. The French group last week acquired a 24 percent stake in oil and gas explorer Inpex's US$34 billion liquefied natural gas venture in Australia. Page 15.-- Futuris, the largest domestic car parts manufacturer in Australia, has announced plans to double its foreign operations over the next five years. Managing director Mark de Wit said the company was looking into ways to enter the Indian market as soon as 2013, with Australian politicians and businessmen divided on whether to continue to provide subsidies for car manufacturers. Page 15.-- Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, yesterday said there could be additional delays in pay-television operator Foxtel'sA$1.9 billion proposed acquisition of rival Austar United Communications. The competition regulator needs to approve the bid by early February to allow Austar's minority shareholders to vote on the takeover, but Mr Sims declined to commit to any deadline for a final assessment. Page 15.-- Indian power firm Lanco Infratech is on the verge of filing a counter-claim against Perdaman Chemicals. The latter has sued Lanco for A$3.5 billion over an alleged failure to honour a 25-year contract to supply coal for the production of fertiliser ingredient urea. A spokesman for the Indian group, however, said it would file a counter-claim if it did not receive clarification over a number of issues, including a claim by the West Australian-based company that it had outlaid A$169 million on engineering surveys before securing finance. Page 41.-- THE AUSTRALIAN (this site)Australia's major banks could face even further upwards pressure on their cost of funding, after a series of credit downgrades for nine European nations. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group raised 1 billion before the end of last year in a 10-year covered bond 240 basis points higher than swap rates. "It was not so much a matter of price but the availability of funding  With the markets having closed we wanted to make sure we did not get behind the curve," Phil Chronican, chief executive of the bank, said before the credit downgrades. Page 23.

-- The Australian Taxation Office has recovered more than A$1 billion in tax bills since it began targeting individuals with assets of more than A$30 million a decade ago. The amount is equivalent to the amount of tax bills issued by the multi-agency offshore tax probe, Project Wickenby. "It's interesting when you look at Wickenby and we talk about something like A$1 billion in liabilities  We have raised similar amounts as part of our high-wealth-individual taskforce," Tax Commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo said. Page 25.-- A confidential report for the New South Wales government has failed to support a proposal to merge the state's three electricity distributors into two entities, with the review instead suggesting the three companies be merged into one body to achieve better efficiencies. Insiders yesterday said they were not surprised Mr O'Farrell's election proposal was not preferred, with the "mothership" model having been aired for the last year and a half. Page 25.-- Katie Page, the wife of Gerry Harvey, yesterday said her husband had no intention of retiring as the chairman of furniture and electronics retailer Harvey Norman. "Gerry is as vibrant today as he was 30 to 40 years ago," adding that "we are a team - better to have two people than one." Ms Page suggested that Malaysia could be a possible target market for the company, due to its growing middle-class and plans by the retailer to expand its number of Asian outlets to 50 over the next decade. Page 25.

-- THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (this site)Fijian military dictator Frank Bainimarama has announced that gold producer Newcrest Mining will have to directly negotiate with him over the development of the company's A$1 billion-plus gold and copper venture. A statement on Mr Bainimarama's government website said that it was "imperative to be forward-looking to ensure a clean environment for future generations while trying to gain maximum benefit for landowners". Page B1.-- Futures markets have predicted the S&P/ASX 200 Index will fall by 17 points to 4163 points in early trading today after ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit ratings of nine European countries over the weekend. Prime Minister Julia Gillard used the news to encourage European leaders to "swiftly undertake structural reforms to boost their economic potential and lift growth". Page B1.-- Tony Nash, co-founder of Booktopia, has said that the online book retailer's sales are growing by half annually as Australians become more accustomed to online shopping and that 2012 would be "the tipping point" for consumers purchasing goods through the internet. The company is the largest Australian online book retailer, shipping more than 1 million books a year. Page B3.

-- Operations at two Western Australian mines owned by Fortescue Metals Group resumed over the weekend after work was suspended due to flooding from tropical cyclone Heidi. Elisabeth Gosch, spokeswoman for the iron ore producer, said mining had restarted at "Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek", but she declined to detail the torrential rains' affect on production. Page B3.-- THE AGE (this site)A member of the British Government has publicly supported locally-listed miner Wolf Minerals' bid to become a tin and tungsten producer. Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, who is also the Minister of State for Trade and Investment and a former chairman of investment bank HSBC, wrote in a letter to Wolf saying that tungsten "has unique properties that are impossible to replace in certain specialised industrial applications". The minister added that Wolf's project was a key wealth and jobs-building venture for the community. Page B21.-- Qantas Airways is being urged to provide more detail over its proposed expansion into Asia amid economic turmoil in Europe and rising fuel prices. Broker Macquarie Equities yesterday downgraded the carrier's stock to "neutral" from "outperform", saying it preferred Virgin Australia in the airline sector because the rival airline had a "better articulated strategy than Qantas". Page B22.-- The Hunter Environment Lobby has secured a legal win against a coalmine in New South Wales (NSW), with the Land and Environment Court ruling that Ulan Coal Mines should pay money to offset any greenhouse gas emissions generated from the site. Ulan Coal, argued that offsetting scope one emissions from the venture was biased given that more than 50 coalmines were operating in the state. Justice Nicola Pain, however, said "that this is the first such condition imposed on a coalmine in NSW  is not necessarily discriminatory". Page B22.-- Chrysler has spent the last year attempting to boost its brand presence in Australia, with the car manufacturer's Jeep brand recently acquiring the main naming rights for the Portsea Polo tournament last weekend from beer label Stella Artois. Sam Tabart, general manager of marketing for Chrysler Australia, said the move was part of the company's strategy to focus on the brand's history. "Jeep's the oldest four-wheel-drive in the world, it's the reason you see a four-wheel-drive and call it a jeep," Mr Tabart said. Page B24.--