Overseas markets gain...Japan maintains monetary policy...Malaysia rejects DOJ charges
HONG KONG (AP) — International stock markets are mostly higher as Japan’s central bank decision to keep its ultra-lax monetary stance intact bolstered Asian sentiment and propped up the dollar, while news of another Greek bailout shored up European shares. Futures point to opening gains on Wall Street. The dollar gained against the yen and weakened against the euro. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $44.50 a barrel .
TOKYO (AP) — The Bank of Japan opted Friday to keep its lax monetary policy intact, while noting signs of improvement in the world’s third largest economy. A statement issued by the central bank said it expects demand to accelerate, supporting a “moderate expansion.” The central bank’s key interest rate remains at minus 0.1 percent. While the U.S. Federal Reserve is raising rates, Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda appears determined to persist with a policy of “qualitative and quantitative easing” to help attain an inflation rate of about 2 percent.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysian sovereign wealth fund has rejected U.S. Justice Department allegations over money laundering and alleged theft of a treasure trove of assets including diamonds, a yacht and private jet and penthouse apartments. The Malaysian government-controlled fund known informally as 1MDB and other officials in Kuala Lumpur insisted Friday that there was no proof linking the fund to such crimes. The U.S. Justice Department has filed a civil case seeking recovery of $540 million in assets that it says were stolen.
LUXEMBOURG (AP) — Greece avoided another potential brush with bankruptcy after striking a deal with European creditors to tide it over for the rest of the year and gained assurances that its repayment burden will be eased when it can stand on its own after nearly a decade on financial life support. After months of haggling that raised fears of another escalation in Greece’s debt crisis, the 19-country eurozone agreed late Thursday to clear the release of a further 8.5 billion euros ($9.5 billion) after the Greek government delivered on an array of reforms.
LUXEMBOURG (AP) — Philip Hammond, Britain’s finance minister, says protecting the British economy should be the main purpose of upcoming negotiations over the country’s exit from the European Union. Arriving to a meeting with his counterparts in the 28-country EU, Hammond said his “clear view” is “we should prioritize protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward.”