Cyprus deadline to set the tone, but share investors optimistic

The deadline for a crucial bail-out deal for Cyprus falls on Monday: if no deal is reached the European Central Bank will cut off support for the island's banks.

The deadline for a crucial bail-out deal for Cyprus falls on Monday: if no deal is reached the European Central Bank will cut off support for the island's banks.

But futures markets were pointing to gains across Europe, the US and Asia when markets open on Monday, despite fears that Cyprus could be forced out of the eurozone if it fails to access a €10 billion ($12.4 billion) emergency loan.

On Sunday the futures market was indicating the local bourse would open 24 points higher, or 0.5 per cent, following a small rise of 7.9 points last Friday.

In the US, the S&P500 was likely to open 12.9 points higher, Europe (+2 points), London (+81 points) and Japan (+60 points) were also expected to open higher.

European Union economic chief Olli Rehn said at the weekend that Cypriot leaders needed to strike a crucial deal in Brussels on Sunday night (Monday, local time) to prevent the country becoming bankrupt. He also welcomed the "progress" Cyprus had made toward meeting demands from the European Union and International Monetary Fund for reform its financial sector and to raise €5.8 billion to unlock €10 billion in desperately needed emergency loans.

But it was a make-or-break meeting between Cypriot leaders and eurozone finance ministers, he said.

"Unfortunately, the events of recent days have led to a situation where there are no longer any optimal solutions available," Mr Rehn said. "Today, there are only hard choices left."

Cypriot leaders faced hard choices to try to limit the economic damage from the blow to its bloated banking sector after a firestorm of protest over EU plans to impose a special levy on bank accounts, he said.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also warned that Cyprus had to meet the terms of the proposed rescue package if it wanted to stay in the eurozone.

The dollar closed near a seven-week high on Friday, at US104.28¢, as expectations of further Reserve Bank rate cuts diminished after this month's board meeting.

On Tuesday Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens will deliver a speech at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission annual forum on what Australia's role should be in shaping ideas about regulation on the international stage.

On Thursday the Reserve Bank's semi-annual Financial Stability Review is expected to provide an indication that financial conditions in Australia are in relatively good shape, economists said.

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