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Happy holiday, Greek style. Greek’s banks and the sharmarket are on holiday — perhaps for a week or more as the country staggers towards missing a key repayment of 1.6 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund and possible default. And it’s all the government’s fault after it called a snap referendum for next Sunday to vote on … well, no one quite knows, but probably whether or not to stay in the euro. That vote was a complete surprise when announced Saturday night and was quickly seen as a ploy to extend the deadline past June 30 for the IMF repayment. The holiday became certain after more than 600 million euros was withdrawn from the country’s banks via their ATMs on Saturday. Reuters said so heavy was the run that a third of the 5500 ATMs ran out of cash on Saturday and had to be restocked. The run continued on Sunday, although banks started imposing limits on daily withdrawals. Triggering the holiday and impending crisis was the decision by the European Central Bank not to offer any more assistance to Greek banks. That assistance,which was set at 89 million euros at the start of last week, has allowed the banks to continue to feed the run. The government said the cashing of cheques would be halted and bank term deposits would be “locked”, preventing customers from accessing them. — Glenn Dyer

Desperate China. The rapidly deepening Greek crisis will overshadow what would have normally be the big news event of the weekend — the fourth cut in Chinese interest rates in nearly eight months (and third cut in the amount of money Chinese banks have to set aside to support loans). The cuts were announced with little fanfare on the central bank’s website late Saturday afternoon, with the little explanation to “support the real economy and promote restructuring” not really accepted by analysts. But the real reason wasn’t hard to find — 24 hours earlier trading closed on China’s sharemarkets after a day of heavy, heavy losses. The losses on the Shanghai market were among the heaviest ever recorded, and there was also heavy selling on the Shenzhen exchange. Shanghai lost 7.4% on the day, the biggest one-day slide in seven years. Shanghai lost 6.3% last week, on top of the 13.3% slide the week before, and it’s now down 18.8% from its June 12 high. Shenzhen lost 8%, while the ChiNext index of tech stocks lost nearly 9% and has slumped 25% in the past couple of weeks. Total losses in market value are close to US$3 trillion across all markets. — Glenn Dyer

Commodities — so what’s hot? As we approach June 30 and the halfway point for 2015, eggs remain the hot commodity, followed by petrol, cocoa, cotton and oil. The cool commodities are gold, coffee and sugar, not to mention orange juice (meaning breakfast is a bit cheaper). Oil and petrol are a bit of a mystery — even though oil prices are up around 10% in US dollar terms since the start of the year (and another 10% to account for the fall in the value of the Aussie dollar), petrol prices at some times in recent weeks have been up 25% to 30%. The egg price boom — up 78% — is US centric. Gold is up 1% or so this financial year — it has recorded losses of 30% in the previous couple of years. Coffee and sugar are down more than 20% (the weaker Aussie dollar has offset some of those falls, but I haven’t seen the rest in my morning coffee cost). Iron ore and coal prices are both down in the past year. Iron ore was trading around US$92 a tonne a year ago — last week it was around US$61 a tonne — a fall of 30%. Coal is down by anything from 20% to over 30%, depending on quality and use. — Glenn Dyer

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