Japan to buy bonds issued by European Stability Mechanism: Japan's Finance Minister, Taro Aso, announced, on 8 January, that his country planned to buy bonds issued by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to support the eurozone. His comments sparked an increase in the European single currency's exchange rate against the yen. The first bonds were set to be sold later the same day and Japan intended to participate, a Japanese Finance Ministry official told AFP. He did not detail the amount Japan intended to invest in the bonds. For Aso, "like other euro-denominated bonds, these are key investments for managing Japan's foreign reserves". "Stabilising Europe's financial crisis will contribute to the stability of currency prices, including the yen," Aso said.

Cyprus kicks off charm offensive to secure rescue plan: Cyprus is stepping up its efforts this week to try to get EU authorities to approve a financial bailout that has become crucial due to its banks' exposure to the Greek crisis. Central Bank Governor Panicos Demetriades met eurozone ambassadors, on 7 January, to explain the country's reform and recapitalisation projects for its troubled banking sector. "The meeting was of an informative nature, held in a very constructive atmosphere," reads a statement by the Central Bank, two weeks ahead of a Eurogroup meeting at which the finance ministers are set to decide on whether to approve the terms of a bailout deal for Cyprus. The situation is urgent for the Cypriot government, which adopted an austerity budget for 2013 in late December and had to dip into the pension funds of quasi-public bodies to pay public servants' 12th and 13th months of pay. Cyprus' Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly will be meeting European diplomats and state officials will be on hand to answer questions on the island's debt, the fight against money laundering and tax cooperation, the ministry announced, on 7 January.

Greece: Lagarde list' scandal shrinks governing majority: The Greek ruling...

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