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Italian lender backs 5 bn-euro share sale

Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena gave the go-ahead on Friday to a 5.0 billion euro equity raising that will boost its capital and allow it to repay a government bailout this year. The bank said in a statement the share sale would give it a strong enough "capital buffer" to withstand EU bank stress tests in the current climate of "high uncertainty and limited visibility". The increase will also allow the lender to speed up a restructuring plan, due to be completed by 2017, that includes 8,000 job cuts and the closure of 550 branches.

Ex-Anglo Irish Bank directors found guilty of fraud

Two former directors of the collapsed Anglo Irish Bank were found guilty Thursday of providing illegal loans to support the bank's share price, after an 11-week trial. Patrick Whelan, 52, and William McAteer, 63, were found guilty on 10 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to customers of the bank to buy shares in the lender in July 2008. The bank went bust shortly afterwards, leaving the Irish economy close to collapse. Whelan and McAteer were both found not guilty on six other similar charges.

BofA reports first quarterly loss since 2011 on lofty legal bill

By Peter Rudegeair and Tanya Agrawal (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp reported an unexpected first-quarter loss on Wednesday after it took a $6 billion charge to cover litigation expenses, a figure that far exceeded the legal settlements the No. 2 U.S. bank has announced recently. Revenue improved in many of the bank's major businesses, but the results were overshadowed by its bigger-than-expected legal costs. The bank had previously said that a settlement would cut into its earnings by $3.7 billion before taxes.

Canada central bank keeps key lending rate at 1%

The Bank of Canada kept its key lending rate at the near-historic low of one percent Wednesday, while forecasting an uptick in the global economy. The central bank predicted a strengthening of the world's economy over the next three years "as headwinds that have been restraining activity dissipate," but warned tensions in Ukraine could scuttle Europe's fragile recovery. "Europe's economy is growing modestly, but inflation remains too low and the nascent recovery could be undermined by risks emanating from the Russia-Ukraine situation," the bank said in a statement.

Ukraine currency recovers after 46% interest rate hike

Ukraine's currency steadied on Tuesday from its heavy falls after the crisis-hit country's central bank unexpectedly raised its key interest rate by nearly 50 percent to boost consumer confidence and stop spiralling inflation. The local currency clawed back 60 kopeks to trade at 11.9 hryvnias to the dollar on the main interbank exchange. The strong move came in response to the National Bank of Ukraine's announcement on Monday that it was raising its main interest rate to 9.5 from 6.5 percent.

China bank loans surge in March: central bank

China's bank lending surged in March from the previous month, the central bank said Tuesday, but analysts dismissed the possibility of monetary easing. Domestic banks granted 1.05 trillion yuan ($168.7 billion) in new loans last month, down 12.4 billion yuan from a year earlier, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement. The March lending figure compared with 644.5 billion yuan for February and came in slightly above a median forecast of one trillion yuan, according to a poll of 16 economists by the Wall Street Journal.

Ukraine's central bank increases benchmark rate to 9.5 percent

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's central bank increased its benchmark interest rate for the first time in eight months on Monday, raising it to 9.5 percent from 6.5 percent. "The central bank considers it necessary to take the step to increase the value of the national currency, to restrain inflation and to stabilize the situation on the money market," the central bank said in a statement. (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Singapore says economy slowed sharply in January-March

Singapore's economic growth slowed sharply in the first three months of the year, data showed Monday, but the central bank stood pat on monetary policy saying it would be lifted by a pick-up in global growth. Preliminary estimates showed the city-state's trade-reliant economy expanded a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent quarter on quarter, the trade ministry said. That compared with 6.1 percent expansion in October-December. The ministry said growth was hit by a 1.8 percent quarter-on-quarter contraction in the services industry.

JPMorgan's first-quarter profit falls as investment banking and mortgage revenue drops

NEW YORK, N.Y. - JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, said Friday its first-quarter earnings fell 20 per cent, driven by a decline in investment banking and mortgage lending. EARNINGS: The bank reported net income of $4.9 billion for the first quarter, after stripping out payments to preferred stockholders. That was down from $6.1 billion in the same period a year earlier. MISSED EXPECTATIONS: On a per-share basis, the earnings amounted to $1.28. That was worse than estimates of analysts polled by FactSet, who had been expecting $1.39.

Russia's central bank right to shore up ruble short term: World Bank

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia's central bank made the right decision to defend the ruble in the short term and prevent excessive volatility in the exchange rate when the Ukraine crisis escalated, a senior official at the World Bank said on Wednesday. The Russian Central Bank was forced in early March to halt its shift towards inflation targeting and instead tame the ruble's fall after Russia seized and annexed Ukraine's Crimea. Since then, the bank has spent nearly $30 billion in currency interventions.
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