Thursday Newspaper round up.

Ireland’s government is confident of victory in Thursday’s eurozone fiscal pact referendum as secret official polling forecasts that over 60 per cent of Irish voters will tick the Yes box. Polling stations will close at 10:00 on Thursday after the only popular vote to be held in the 25 European Union countries that have signed up to a treaty that enshrines eurozone austerity rules into national law, writes the Telegraph.

Beleaguered Spain was handed a lifeline by the European Commission yesterday as the nation was given an extra year to slash its deficit. […] Under the terms of the fiscal pact, Spain is obliged to cut its deficit to 3% in 2013, forcing a brutal €27bn (£21.5bn) in budget cuts from Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s centre-right administration. But these targets are widely seen as optimistic given Spain’s economic woes. The commission’s economic and monetary affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn, said Spain would be given an extra year to meet the target, subject to controls on spending, according to the Independent.

India’s economic growth fell below the psychologically significant 6% level for the first time in three years, a clear sign that the country’s slowdown is deepening and affecting all sectors of the economy. Sharp falls in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors have led Asia’s third-largest economy to grow only 5.3% in the first three months of 2012, compared to 9.2% growth a year earlier, the Financial Times says.

Falling stock markets have forced high-end jeweller Graff Diamonds to ditch its $1bn (£637m) flotation in Hong Kong. Reports suggested Graff pulled its planned Hong Kong listing after receiving orders for just half its $1bn initial public offering (IPO) less than two days before its deadline. A company spokesmen said: “Graff Diamonds Corporation confirms that owing to adverse market conditions it has decided to postpone its planned IPO and listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange,” reports the Telegraph.

The boss of Morgan Stanley has defended his bank’s leading role in the bungled flotation of Facebook, claiming that there was no “nefarious activity” involved. James Gorman told his staff that they should be proud of their work in arranging Facebook’s initial public offering and that the success of the listing should be judged over time. He also said that Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, had offered to give Morgan Stanley a professional recommendation for its work, the Times reports.

Brazil’s central bank has cut its benchmark lending rate to an historic low as part of efforts to revive growth in Latin America’s largest economy. The central bank reduced its Selic interest rate by 50 basis points to 8.5%, undercutting the previous mark of 8.75% reached during the 2009 financial crisis, according to the Financial Times.

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