* Qatar gives Egypt $3bn aid package

* Seoul on alert as N Korea moves missiles

* African Minerals set to boost production

* High Brazil inflation puts focus on rates

* Syrian jihadists pledge fealty to al-Qaeda

* S Korea: central bank resists calls for rate cuts – for now

* Mexico’s poverty conundrum

Markets: up

Qatar gives Egypt $3bn aid package
Qatar will grant cash-strapped Egypt an extra $3bn in financial aid, the tiny energy-rich kingdom’s premier announced on Wednesday in a move that surprised many observers.
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/790a7d52-a1f4-11e2-8971-00144feabdc0.html

Seoul on alert as N Korea moves missiles
South Korea has raised its military alert amid growing signs that North Korea may be preparing to launch missiles as its latest provocation on the divided peninsula. The defence ministry said the South Korean and US joint military command had raised its “Watchcon3” status by one level amid “imminent signs” that Pyongyang could fire short- or medium-range missiles.
http://on.ft.com/Yi6GL6

African Minerals set to boost production
African Minerals said it planned to produce the equivalent of 20m tonnes of iron ore a year by midsummer as the west African miner reported widening annual losses.
http://on.ft.com/ZI6Flz

High Brazil inflation puts focus on rates
Brazil’s inflation rate broke through the top of the central bank’s target range in March, strengthening calls for Brazil to end an easing cycle that has driven rates to historic lows.
http://on.ft.com/10TzQML

Syrian jihadists pledge fealty to al-Qaeda
The leader of a powerful Syrian jihadist opposition militia has pledged its allegiance to the head of al-Qaeda but hit back at claims that is has merged with the group’s Iraqi affiliate.
http://on.ft.com/ZNsk4O

S Korea: central bank resists calls for rate cuts – for now
Despite the crisis with the North and political pressure for rate cuts to boost flagging growth and push down the won in response to the yen shock, the central bank on Thursday left its policy rate unchanged at 2.75 per cent. But for how long it can resist the calls for cuts is moot.
http://on.ft.com/17rUOZq

Mexico’s poverty conundrum
They call them the “viene-vienes”. In cities throughout Mexico, red rags in their hands, they wave down motorists into available parking spaces and receive modest tips for their trouble in “looking after the cars”.
http://on.ft.com/10W5TxT

Emerging Markets
MSCI Emerging Market Index up +0.42% at 1,029

Americas
DJIA up +0.88% at 14,802
S&P 500 up +1.22% at 1,588
Bovespa up +0.49% at 56,187

Asia
Nikkei 225 up +1.11% at 13,435
Topix up +1.49% at 1,138
Hang Seng up +0.82% at 22,216
Shanghai Composite up +0.14% at 2,229
MSCI Asia ex-Japan up +0.75% at 536.94
S&P CNX Nifty Index up +0.35% at 5,578

Currencies
€/$ 1.31 (1.31)
$/¥ 99.60 (99.77)

Commodities
Brent Crude (ICE) down -0.16 at 105.63
Light Crude (Nymex) down -0.27 at 94.37
100 Oz Gold (Comex) up +1.00 at 1,559

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