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Australian dollar hits 4-1/2-year low on China growth worries
(Reuters) - The Australian dollar hit a 4-1/2-year trough against its U.S. counterpart on Tuesday as prices of iron for construction fell in China amid weak demand from the property sector and after Australia's premier warned of heightened "terrorist chatter".
Following the siege in a Sydney cafe a week ago, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the public must remain alert as the country headed into Christmas and New Year celebrations, helping to prod lower an Aussie dollar already weakened by the data from China.
Greek Drama Draws Market Scrutiny as ECB Impact Weighed
Intraday volatility on the Greek ASE Index (ASE) and the broader Stoxx Europe 600 Index surged to double their annual average last week after Prime Minster Antonis Samaras failed to win two-thirds support in parliament for his candidate to succeed President Karolos Papoulias. A second of three potential ballots is scheduled for today at noon. Greece's benchmark stock gauge dropped 1.8 percent at 11:04 a.m. in Athens today.
Anxiety that voters will kick out leaders committed to Greece's bailout wreaked havoc on equities earlier this month, sending the ASE down 20 percent for its biggest weekly slump since 1987. The losses followed Samaras's decision to seek parliamentary support for candidate Stavros Dimas, a procedure that may end up spurring national elections. Losing would empower Syriza, the opposition party that seeks a writedown on Greek debt held by the European Central Bank and others.
Ukraine Cuts Gold Reserve to Nine-Year Low as Russia Buys
Ukraine reduced gold reserves for a second month to the lowest since August 2005 as Russia bought bullion for an eighth month to take its holdings to the highest in at least two decades, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Ukraine's holdings fell to 23.6 metric tons in November from 26.1 tons in October, data on the IMF's website showed. Reserves in Russia climbed to about 1,187.5 tons in November from 1,168.7 tons a month earlier, according to the data.
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