News Archive


Lonmin warns strike will force guidance downward

Lonmin plc is feeling the pinch from ongoing strikes at its platinum operations in South Africa and says it will reassess guidance and update the market in due course.

Unveiling its December quarter report today (January30) Lonmin said refined production of saleable platinum rose 45% year-on-year to 196,249oz, while sales of platinum rose 24% year-on-year to 134,804oz. It said these results benefited from a healthy closing pipeline position at the end of September and continued improvement in recovery rates.

However, the world’s third-largest platinum producer (after Anglo American Platinum Ltd and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd) conceded that all mining operations have been impacted by the strikes which began last week, and said it expected losses of around 3,100 mined platinum ounces per working day during the strike.

It said: “Before the start of the strike we would have maintained our guidance for the full year of sales in excess of 750,000oz, capital expenditure of around US$210 million and the increase in the unit cost of production to be less than the rate of wage inflation.

“This was despite lower than expected mining output in Q1 [December quarter 2013] which has resulted in lower ore stock piles ahead of the concentrators.”

Article source: http://www.mining-journal.com/production-and-markets/lonmin-warns-strike-will-force-guidance-downward

Further growth for Centamin

Egyptian gold producer Centamin plc has said it would increase output in 2014 as it continues to expand production from its Sukari mine near the Red Sea.

The company aimed to produce 420,000oz this year at a cash operating cost of US$700/oz. This was an 18% rise on the 356,943oz it produced in 2013 and would mark the fifth successive year of output growth at Sukari.

“The stage four expansion project is currently in the commissioning phase and throughput is expected to steadily increase during the year providing the ability to deliver on our long term production target of 450,000oz-500,000oz/y of gold,” Centamin said.

Analysts saw higher output than the company was predicting though.

“The production figure is in-line with the estimate given in the optimised mine plan in 2012 (430,000oz) so shouldn’t come as a surprise to the market although we suspect there is a level of conservatism in that figure, particularly as the plant has been running consistently above nameplate,” Liberum Capital analyst Kate Craig said. Liberum expected output of 433,000oz at US$730/oz this year.

Article source: http://www.mining-journal.com/production-and-markets/further-growth-for-centamin

Fiat moving tax base to UK to woo U.S. investors: chairman tells paper


MILAN (Reuters) – Fiat (FIA.MI) wants to establish the tax domicile of the new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group in the United Kingdom to help woo American investors, the Italian car maker’s chairman told Italian daily La Stampa in an interview published on Thursday.

The Turin-based car maker, which this month bought out the minority investor in its U.S. Chrysler unit in a $4.35 billion deal, had said on Wednesday the holding group would be registered in the Netherlands and have its tax domicile in Britain, cementing a politically sensitive shift away from Italy.

“The advantage to (move our tax domicile) to London is linked to the more favorable rules for American investors, which we hope to attract with the merger,” John Elkann was quoted as saying, without being more specific about what rules he was referring to.

Elkann told the Turin daily that Fiat would not pay less tax as a consequences of these changes. But some experts say registering the group in the Netherlands with a UK tax domicile could ultimately deprive the United States and Italy of tax revenue on some of the company’s overseas earnings.

Elkann reiterated that the new group would not move its 115-year-old headquarters out of Italy.

“The merged company will have more than one headquarters … with Turin at the center of a huge market that covers Europe, Middle East and Africa,” Elkann said.

The Agnelli family’s scion said plans to relaunch the group’s Alfa Romeo brand were at an advanced stage and fitted within a strategy of betting on high-end market segments that had proved very successful with Maserati.

“The time to relaunch Alfa Romeo has come … and our country will be playing a key role,” he said.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by David Holmes)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/EsIS9W1PvjI/story01.htm

Lenovo to buy Google’s Motorola in China’s largest tech deal


NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Lenovo Group said on Wednesday it agreed to buy Google Inc’s Motorola handset division for $2.91 billion, in what is China’s largest-ever tech deal as Lenovo buys its way into a heavily competitive U.S. handset market dominated by Apple Inc.

It is Lenovo’s second major deal on U.S. soil in a week as the Chinese electronics company angles to get a foothold in major global computing markets. Lenovo last week said it would buy IBM’s low-end server business for $2.3 billion.

The deal ends Google’s short-lived foray into making consumer mobile devices and marks a pullback from its largest-ever acquisition. Google paid $12.5 billion for Motorola in 2012. Under this deal the search giant will keep the majority of Motorola’s mobile patents, considered its prize assets.

Shares of Google climbed 2.6 percent to about $1,136 in after-hours trading. Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page said that Google would be best served by focusing on smartphone software rather than devices.

Reuters reported the deal earlier on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the deal.

The purchase will give Lenovo a beach-head to compete against Apple and Samsung Electronics as well as increasingly aggressive Chinese smartphone makers in the highly lucrative U.S. arena.

In 2005, Lenovo muscled its way into what was then the world’s largest PC market by buying IBM’s personal computer division. It has powered its way up the rankings of the global smartphone industry primarily through sales on its home turf but had considered a U.S. sortie of late.

“Using Motorola, just as Lenovo used the IBM ThinkPad brand, to gain quick credibility and access to desirable markets and build critical mass makes a lot of sense,” said Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett.

“But Motorola has not been shooting the lights out with designs or sales volumes in smartphones. So the value is simply in brand recognition to achieve market recognition faster – and to expand the design and marketing team with talent experienced at U.S. and Western markets.”

RISE OF THE CHINESE

The deal is subject to approval by both U.S. and Chinese authorities.

Chinese companies faced the most scrutiny over their U.S. acquisitions in 2012, according to a report issued in December by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Analysts say political issues could cloud the Motorola sale, especially with Lenovo trying to seal the IBM deal at the same time.

Lenovo will receive over 2,000 “patent assets” as part of the transaction, the companies said, but it remains unknown which will change hands and whether they might be subject to extra scrutiny from regulators.

For Motorola, Lenovo will pay $660 million in cash, $750 million in Lenovo ordinary shares, and another $1.5 billion in the form of a three-year promissory note, Lenovo and Google said in a joint statement.

“The acquisition of such an iconic brand, innovative product portfolio and incredibly talented global team will immediately make Lenovo a strong global competitor in smartphones,” Lenovo’s chief executive, Yang Yuanqing, said in a statement.

In two years, China’s three biggest handset makers – Huawei, ZTE Corp and Lenovo – have vaulted into the top ranks of global smartphone charts, helped in part by their huge domestic market and spurring talk of a new force in the smartphone wars.

Although Huawei and ZTE have made some inroads in the United States, where the Chinese companies continue to grapple with low brand awareness, perceptions of inferior quality and even security concerns. Lenovo has until now stayed out of the U.S. market.

In the third quarter of last year, ZTE and Huawei accounted for 5.7 percent and 3 percent of all phones sold in the United States, respectively, trailing Apple’s 36.2 percent and Samsung’s 32.5 percent, according to research house IDC.

Huawei declined to comment on the Lenovo deal on Wednesday. ZTE did not immediately offer comment.

Globally, Lenovo ranked fifth in 2013 with a 4.5 percent market share, according to IDC. That’s up from 3.3 percent in 2012 and virtually nil a couple years before that.

STEP BACK

For Google, the sale represented a solution to a persistent headache as Motorola’s losses widened in recent quarters. It also showed Google is willing to step back from the handset arena and throw its weight behind device makers that propagate its Android software, Kantar analyst Carolina Milanesi said.

“It all points to Google thinking in the short run that they’re better off betting on Samsung and keeping them close,” Milanesi said. “And of course now they’re enabling a second strong runner (Lenovo) in the Android ecosystem.”

In 2012, analysts saw Google’s Motorola acquisition as primarily a way to secure the company’s trove of patents amid the technology sector’s increasing legal battles – rather than a bona fide push into the handset business.

Many industry observers were surprised that Google did not immediately sell the hardware division after the deal closed, choosing instead to operate Motorola a separate company.

It did sell Motorola’s cable television set-top box business to Arris Group Inc for $2.35 billion at the end of 2012.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Google’s Page highlighted the strategic choice in selling the Motorola handset business.

“The smartphone market is super competitive, and to thrive it helps to be all-in when it comes to making mobile devices,” Page wrote. “This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere.”

Lenovo is being advised by Credit Suisse Group while Lazard Ltd advised Google on the transaction.

(Writing by Edwin Chan; Editing by Soyoung Kim, Chizu Nomiyama and Leslie Adler)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/vutotWQVc0Y/story01.htm

Shell to cut spending and step up disposals in 2014


LONDON (Reuters) – Anglo-Dutch oil company Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) on Thursday said it would step-up disposals and cut spending as it seeks to win back investors with a new focus on returns, less than two weeks after a shock profit warning.

Shell, the world’s no. 3 investor owned oil company, earlier this month issued a “significant” profit warning for the quarter to the end of December, detailing across-the-board problems just weeks into the tenure of new boss Ben van Beurden.

“Our overall strategy remains robust, but 2014 will be a year where we are changing emphasis, to improve our returns and cash flow performance,” van Beurden said in a statement.

Capital spending will fall to $37 billion this year from $46 billion in 2013, Shell said, adding that for the time being it was also scrapping a controversial exploration program in Alaska.

The company said it would increase the pace of asset sales, targeting disposals of $15 billion this year.

“We are making hard choices in our world-wide portfolio to improve Shell’s capital efficiency”, van Beurden said.

To woo investors, it plans to raise its first quarter dividend by 4 percent compared with the same period last year to $0.47 per share, in a move which it said reflected its confidence in its ability to boost free cash flow.

Fourth quarter earnings excluding identified items and on a current cost of supply basis came in at $2.9 billion, in line with a downgraded profit expectation it gave on January 17, and making the quarter its least profitable for five years.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/e7pYR4hTD3w/story01.htm

Analysis: Only time will define Bernanke’s crisis-era legacy at Fed


(Reuters) – Ben Bernanke did not hesitate when asked whether he was confident that his signature response to the Great Recession would work.

“Well, the problem with QE is that it works in practice but it doesn’t work in theory,” the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve quipped earlier this month during his last public appearance.

He was referring to his decision during the darkest days of the financial crisis to launch an unprecedented program of massive bond purchases, a policy known as quantitative easing, or QE. The aim was to push long-term interest rates lower given that overnight rates, the Fed’s main economic lever, were already near zero.

The purchases Bernanke kicked off in late 2008 have continued, off and on, to this day. They have already led to a quadrupling of the Fed’s balance sheet to $4 trillion.

On Wednesday, Bernanke, 60, quietly adjourned his final policy-setting meeting after an unusually tumultuous eight-year stint atop the world’s most influential central bank.

When he steps down on Friday, the Fed’s bloated balance sheet will hang over his legacy. Critics have warned it contains seeds that could lead to inflation or asset price bubbles.

Early assessments have been mostly positive. The former Princeton professor has been praised as the steady hand who helped steer the United States and world economies clear of a far more painful recession.

He flooded financial markets with liquidity from an alphabet soup of programs set up on the fly; he printed trillions of dollars through three rounds of QE; and he made bold promises to keep stimulus in place for years to come, tying low interest rates to particular economic outcomes in an approach emulated by other central banks.

As a leading scholar of the Great Depression, Bernanke had a deep theoretical understanding of what to do in the face of a fast-moving banking panic. He put that knowledge into practice when the financial crisis struck.

“Bernanke was willing to do creative and aggressive things,” said Laurence Meyer, a former Fed governor who co-founded the forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers. “He put a lot of balls in the air and likely thought that not all of them will work – but some of them will. That was the kind of spirit and leadership and willingness to take risks.”

But like his predecessor, Alan Greenspan – who was showered with accolades when he stepped down in 2006 only to later be labeled a main architect of the subsequent crisis – Bernanke’s legacy will only become clear over time.

$4 TRILLION AND COUNTING

A good part of that legacy will be written by Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen, who takes the central bank’s reins on Saturday.

She inherits the job of dialing down the bond-buying and deciding when to raise rates.

Yellen will also need to figure out how to smoothly shrink the Fed’s balance sheet to a more comfortable size of around $1 trillion without knocking the economy off the rails.

To Allan Meltzer, a leading Fed historian, no outcome looks good for Bernanke. “If they go too fast, we’re going to get a recession. If they go too slowly, we are going to get serious inflation. If they do neither, we could get both,” he said.

The first round of quantitative easing in 2008 and 2009 was heroic, Meltzer said. But the second and third rounds were “just a mistake, a serious mistake, that will have problems.”

“History will judge his response to the 2009 crisis very well,” he said of Bernanke. “They will judge the aftermath as being much too strong and unnecessary.”

‘DO WHAT IT TAKES’

While Bernanke has defended the aggressive steps the Fed has taken since 2008, he has been one of his own biggest critics for missing the signs of brewing crisis in the U.S. subprime mortgage market and over leveraged Wall Street banks.

But far from punishing Bernanke, who served a prior stint on the Fed board from 2002-2005, for taking too long to recognize the cracks in the financial system, legislators intent on reforming Wall Street expanded the Fed’s supervisory authority.

By the time former President George W. Bush appointed Bernanke chair in 2006, the subprime housing bubble was already massive. When it burst in 2007, the Fed chief was slow to realize just how quickly those problems could cascade around the world, infecting lightly regulated banks and sparking investor panic.

Only two of the five U.S. investment firms, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley, survived the 2008 financial crisis – and only because of an unpopular taxpayer bailout. Drawing more public scorn, the Fed also orchestrated a $182 billion taxpayer bailout of insurer American International Group.

Only when there was no mistaking the severity of the situation did the Fed go all out to stop the panic and attempt to support a plunging economy.

As the worst recession in decades took hold, U.S. gross domestic product contracted by 8 percent in late 2008, and the unemployment rate soared to 10 percent the following year.

While growth has since been erratic, the pace was close to 4 percent in the second half of 2013, and the unemployment rate has dropped to 6.7 percent – a welcome backdrop for Bernanke as he departs.

Nevertheless, the economy still has deep scars and the Fed is still tarred by its efforts to prop up Wall Street.

As he prepared to head out the door, Bernanke’s public approval rating stands at a lowly 40 percent, although a full 25 percent of Americans have no opinion, according to a Gallup poll published on Wednesday. In contrast, Greenspan’s approval rating when he left office was 65 percent.

“The economy was extremely fragile in 2008. We could have had a much-worse outcome, and he basically decided that he would do what it takes to make sure we didn’t have a repeat of the Great Depression,” Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren said in an interview this month.

“I think Bernanke’s legacy will be a very positive one,” he added. “He will be known for doing whatever it took to get us out of the financial crisis.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer in Washington and Ann Saphir in San Francisco; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Lisa Shumaker)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/Mn7tUtYNlrg/story01.htm

Households seen driving U.S. fourth-quarter growth


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Robust household spending and rising exports likely kept the U.S. economy on solid ground in the fourth quarter, but stagnant wages could chip away some of the momentum in early 2014.

Gross domestic product probably grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

While that would be a slowdown from the third-quarter’s brisk 4.1 percent pace, it would be a far stronger performance than earlier anticipated, and welcome news in light of the drag from October’s partial government shutdown and a likely much smaller contribution to growth from a restocking by businesses.

“It looks like the economy was firing on a lot of cylinders in the fourth quarter,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.

Earlier in the quarter many economists were anticipating a growth pace below 2 percent given that an inventory surge accounted for much of the increase in the July-September period.

“We are more than four-and-a-half years into the recovery. Its death has been called a thousand times, it hasn’t happened. It comes to a point where people go back to more normal behavior,” said Ryding.

If economists’ fourth-quarter estimates are correct, growth over the second half of the year would come in at a 3.7 percent pace, up sharply from 1.8 percent in the first six months and well above the 2.2 percent average since the recovery started in mid-2009.

Consumer spending is expected to be the main driver of fourth-quarter growth, but other segments of the economy such as trade and business investment are also seen lending a hand.

The Commerce Department will release its advance fourth-quarter GDP report at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve said “growth in economic activity picked up in recent quarters.”

The Fed on Wednesday announced another reduction to its monthly bond purchases and appeared to shrug off a surprise sharp slowdown in job growth in December.

Consumer spending is forecast rising at a pace as fast as 4 percent, which would be the strongest in three years. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, advanced at a 2 percent pace in the third quarter.

ROBUST FINAL DEMAND

The sturdy increase in final demand should put the economy on a stronger growth path this year. However, a lack of wage growth could take some edge off consumer spending early in the year.

A feared inventory correction, which did not materialize in the fourth quarter, is now likely to show up in the first three months of the year and weigh on growth, economists said.

In addition, business investment is expected to moderate, given a surprise tumble in orders for capital goods excluding defense and aircraft in December.

Despite that drop, business spending on equipment likely accelerated in the fourth quarter after rising at only a 0.2 percent pace in the prior three months.

“We are not completely out of the woods. We would really like to see stronger wage growth and corporate investment before declaring full ‘escape velocity’,” said Thomas Costerg, a U.S. economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York.

Even so, a lessening of the fiscal austerity that gripped Washington last year should keep the economy on a firmer growth path. Growth for the whole of this year is forecast at 2.9 percent, up from last year’s estimated 1.9 percent.

Wage growth has been stagnant as the economy deals with slack in the labor market. Sluggish wages likely kept inflation pressures benign in the fourth quarter. A price index in the GDP report is expected to have risen at a 0.7 percent rate, decelerating from the third-quarter’s 1.9 percent pace.

A core measure that strips out food and energy costs likely rose at a 1.1 percent rate after increasing at a 1.4 percent pace in the July-September period.

The economy in the last quarter also likely got a boost from exports, thanks to firmer global growth. That, together with declining petroleum imports likely narrowed the trade deficit.

Some slowing is expected in the growth of business spending on nonresidential structures in the fourth quarter. A run-up in mortgage rates, which held back home sales and renovations, could see residential investment falling for the first time since the third quarter of 2010.

Government spending probably contracted, reflecting a 16-day partial shutdown of the federal government in October.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/dSzq6WLAUZM/story01.htm

Asia shares lurch lower, China data darkens mood


SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares fell on Thursday after strains in emerging markets returned with a vengeance and the Federal Reserve stepped back on its stimulus, sending investors scurrying to the safety of bonds and yen.

Adding insult to injury, a private measure of Chinese manufacturing slipped to a six-month low for January and gave speculators a fresh excuse to target riskier assets.

While analysts emphasized that China’s January data is often heavily distorted by the timing of the Lunar Year holidays, and the final factory reading was little changed from a flash estimate released last week, the drop in the HSBC PMI had an exaggerated impact in already skittish markets.

Hardest hit was Japan’s Nikkei .N225 which sank 2.7 percent to the lowest since mid-November. Shanghai .SSEC slipped 0.5 percent while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS lost 0.6 percent.

India’s benchmark .BSESN hit lows not seen in two months, prompting the country’s finance minister to pledge whatever steps were needed to maintain stability.

Markets have now shed all the gains made on Wednesday when the region had hoped that aggressive rate hikes by Turkey would shore up its currency and ease the risk of capital flight from emerging markets in general.

Investors in Europe and the United States were less impressed, however, perhaps worried about the damage higher rates might do to economic growth in these countries.

The Dow .DJI ended Wednesday with losses of 1.19 percent, while the SP 500 .SPX shed 1.02 percent.

Indeed, when South Africa’s central bank surprised by lifting its rates half a percentage point investors reacted by dumping the rand. Likewise, Turkey’s lira saw most of its initial gains stripped away.

That in turn revived demand for safe havens such as the yen, Swiss franc and sovereign bonds. The U.S. dollar was stuck at 102.45, having shed a full yen overnight.

The euro also lost ground on the yen and Swiss franc, but was sidelined on the dollar at $1.3650.

Bonds benefited from the general mood of risk aversion with U.S. 10-year Treasury yields at 2.69 percent, having hit the lowest since mid-November on Wednesday at 2.66 percent.

FED STICKS TO TAPERING

The focus on safety was only sharpened by the Fed’s well-flagged decision to trim its monthly bond buying program by a further $10 billion a month. TOP/CEN

There had been some talk the wild swings in emerging markets might give the Fed pause for thought. Instead, Barclays economist Michael Gapen noted the Fed made no mention at all of financial markets in its statement.

“In our view, the type of volatility seen in recent weeks is insufficient to cause the committee to alter its policy stance, particularly so soon after tapering began,” he added.

“We expect the committee to continue reducing the pace of asset purchases by $10 Billion at each upcoming FOMC meeting through September and then take a final $15 billion reduction in October to conclude QE3.”

Many seem to agree, with a Reuters poll of 17 primary dealers in the Treasury market finding all expected QE to be wound down this year.

The prospect of a steady withdrawal of stimulus coupled with improving economies in the developed world has attracted funds away from many emerging markets, particularly those with current account deficits and/or political troubles.

With Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and India all holding elections this year, policymakers are likely to be wary of hiking rates too much to avoid damaging economic growth.

The vulnerabilities in the emerging world were noted by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand when it decided to hold off on raising interest rates on Thursday.

The central bank kept rates at a record low of 2.5 percent but said it was likely to start tightening soon, given the strength of the domestic economy and growing inflationary pressures.

In commodity markets, gold found itself back in favor as a store of wealth and held at $1,262.44, having bounced from a low of $1,249.04 on Wednesday.

Oil prices were modestly higher with U.S. crude 18 cents firmer at $97.54 a barrel, while Brent gained another 5 cents to $107.90.

(Editing by Eric Meijer Kim Coghill)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/mXwvNkPY204/story01.htm

Exclusive: Deutsche Bank suspends New York head of EM forex desk: source


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank has suspended the head of its emerging markets foreign exchange trading desk in New York in connection with ongoing investigations into the alleged manipulation of the global currency market, a source familiar with the matter said.

Diego Moraiz, who has been with the bank since 2004 and has specialized in trading the Mexican peso, was told by the bank on December 18 that he was suspended, the source said.

Moraiz’s suspension came after an external consulting firm hired by Deutsche Bank examined emails and communications in chatrooms going back seven years, the source said.

The specific reason for the suspension is unclear. Reuters couldn’t determine which consulting firm had been retained.

The source did not know whether Moraiz was still being paid or when the investigation will be completed. Moraiz, who is from Argentina, remains in the United States, the source said.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is an internal bank matter and is continuing.

Moraiz did not respond to several phone calls from Reuters.

Deutsche Bank spokesman Sebastian Howell said the bank does not comment on individual staff.

Global financial regulators are looking into allegations that traders at some of the world’s biggest banks, including Deutsche Bank, colluded to manipulate benchmark foreign-exchange rates used to set the value of trillions of dollars of investments, or the so-called WM/Reuters “fix”.

Previously, a separate source had told Reuters that several Deutsche Bank currency traders had been suspended at the bank’s New York office.

The investigation by the consulting firm is ongoing, the source said, and it is still sending questions to the bank’s traders around the world.

Last year, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority began a formal probe into possible manipulation in the global foreign exchange market. The U.S. Justice Department is also engaged in an active investigation of possible manipulation of the market, the world’s largest.

Earlier this month, U.S. banking regulators from the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency visited Citigroup Inc’s (C.N) London offices in connection with the investigation.

A spokesperson for the Fed declined comment. While market manipulation isn’t the Fed’s remit, it does have enforcement powers in safety and soundness matters, an issue raised by this investigation.

The Office of the Controller of the Currency and the U.S. Department of Justice both declined to comment.

Benchmark foreign exchange rates, often referred to as fixes, are a cornerstone of global financial markets, used to price trillions of dollars worth of investments and deals. They are relied on by companies, investors and central banks.

Deutsche Bank has been the biggest FX trader in the world for nine years running, seeing 15.18 percent of global daily turnover in 2013, according to Euromoney magazine.

The bank previously said it has received requests for information from regulatory authorities investigating trading in the foreign exchange market, and it is cooperating with these probes. It added that it will take disciplinary action with regard to individuals if merited.

As a result of the investigation, Deutsche has restricted the use of chatrooms, another source familiar with the issue said, only allowing conversations between two participants and banning multi-party chats.

(Additional reporting by Douwe Miedema in Washington and Jamie McGeever in London; Editing by Martin Howell and Ken Wills)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/G9ICA8DRBFo/story01.htm