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IMF supports U.S. Fed’s ‘patient’ halt to rate hikes

The International Monetary Fund supports the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to halt its campaign to raise interest rates as a prudent move amid economic uncertainty, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said on Thursday. “Given the range of global uncertainties facing the U.S. economy, we support the Fed’s decision to be patient in determining future changes to the Federal Funds rate,” Rice told a regular biweekly news conference. “The Federal Reserve’s continued adherence to the principles of data dependence and clear communication, we believe, will help to minimize any market disruptions and ...

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Trade in fake goods is now 3.3% of world trade and rising

Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods has risen steadily in the last few years – even as overall trade volumes stagnated – and now stands at 3.3% of global trade, according to a new report by the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office. Trends in Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods puts the value of imported fake goods worldwide based on 2016 customs seizure data at USD 509 billion, up from USD 461 billion in 2013 (2.5% of world trade). For the European Union, counterfeit trade represented 6.8% of ...

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Inclusion of China’s bonds in global index ‘important milestone’: IMF official

The expected inclusion of Chinese bonds in the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index next month is an ‘important milestone’ in China’s financial integration into the world economy, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) official said. ‘That step both reflects the importance of those bonds in foreign portfolios and likely will encourage more purchases of those securities going forward,’ said Changyong Rhee, IMF’s director of the Asia and Pacific department, at a book forum held in Washington DC. In January, Bloomberg confirmed its decision to include renminbi (RMB) government bonds and ...

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Greece: Economy Improves, Key Reforms Still Needed

Greece has now entered a period of economic growth that puts it among the top performers in the eurozone. It must now persevere with efforts to address crisis legacies and pursue needed reforms to ensure continued success, says the IMF in its recent assessment of the country’s economy. As the IMF concludes its latest assessment on the state of the Greek economy, IMF Country Focus sat down with Peter Dohlman, IMF mission chief for Greece, to discuss the report’s findings, key recommendations, and the IMF’s relationship with Greece. What is ...

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Finish what you started on reforms, IMF tells Greece

Greece needs to press ahead with unfinished economic reforms to cut risks to its recovery in the medium term, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday in its first report since the country exited its third bailout. Under the terms of Greece’s exit seven months ago the Washington-based Fund, which took part in the first two bailouts, and its euro zone lenders are continuing to monitor its compliance with economic targets they set. The IMF expects Greece’s economy to grow 2.4 percent this year and 2.2 percent in 2020 before ...

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OECD sees global growth slowing, as Europe weakens and risks persist

The global economy is slowing and major risks persist, with growth weakening much more than expected in Europe, according to the OECD’s latest Interim Economic Outlook. Economic prospects are now weaker in nearly all G20 countries than previously anticipated. Vulnerabilities stemming from China and the weakening European economy, combined with a slowdown in trade and global manufacturing, high policy uncertainty and risks in financial markets, could undermine strong and sustainable medium-term growth worldwide. The OECD projects that the global economy will grow by 3.3 per cent in 2019 and 3.4 ...

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Risks rising in corporate debt market

Global outstanding debt in the form of corporate bonds issued by non-financial companies has hit record levels, reaching almost USD 13 trillion at the end of 2018. This is double the amount outstanding in real terms before the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new OECD paper. Corporate Bond Markets in a Time of Unconventional Monetary Policy says that non-financial companies have dramatically increased their borrowing in the form of corporate bonds. Between 2008-2018, global corporate bond issuance averaged USD 1.7 trillion per year, compared to an annual average of ...

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Portugal can use its economic recovery to build up resilience

Portugal’s economic recovery is now well established, with GDP back to pre-crisis levels, a substantially lower unemployment rate and renewed investment and domestic consumption now joining a robust export sector to drive the economy. Efforts should now focus on reducing vulnerabilities to build resilience to future shocks, according to a new OECD report. The latest OECD Economic Survey of Portugal forecasts GDP growth for 2019 and 2020 of 2.1% and 1.9% respectively. A drop in the unemployment rate to below 7% and rising earnings are driving consumption, adding to the ...

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IMF likely to lower growth forecast for Germany – Die Zeit

The International Monetary Fund is likely to further lower its growth forecast for Germany, Die Zeit weekly newspaper paper quoted IMF chief Christine Lagarde as saying on Wednesday. Lagarde urged the German government to spend more money for projects like modernising public infrastructure in order to bolster growth, the paper added. Source: Reuters (Reporting by Thomas Seythal, editing by Joseph Nasr)

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Governments set for new borrowing record in 2019

Gross borrowings of OECD governments from the markets, which peaked at USD 10.9 trillion in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis, are set to reach a new record level in 2019 by exceeding USD 11 trillion. While government funding needs in the wake of the financial crisis increased in most OECD countries, the recent further increase is confined to a few countries, particularly the United States. In 2017, the new debt issuance of OECD governments to the markets registered the lowest level since 2008, but increased by USD ...

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OECD unemployment rate stable at 5.2% in December 2018

The OECD unemployment rate was stable in December 2018, for the third consecutive month. At 5.2%, this level is three percentage points below the January 2013 peak. Across the OECD, 33.4 million people were unemployed. The unemployment rate was also stable in the euro area in December, at 7.9%, with the largest decrease observed in Italy (down 0.2 percentage point, to 10.3%). In Japan, the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage point, to 2.4%, while it was stable in Canada (at 5.6%) and Korea (at 3.8%). The unemployment rate rose ...

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IMF warns of global economic ‘storm’ as growth undershoots

The International Monetary Fund on Sunday (Feb 10) warned governments to gear up for a possible economic storm as growth undershoots expectations. “The bottom-line – we see an economy that is growing more slowly than we had anticipated,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told the World Government Summit in Dubai. Last month, the IMF lowered its global economic growth forecast for this year from 3.7 per cent to 3.5 per cent. Lagarde cited what she called “four clouds” as the main factors undermining the global economy and warned that a ...

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IMF Lagarde says oil exporters have not fully recovered from oil shock, cautions against ‘white elephant projects’

Oil exporters have not fully recovered from the dramatic oil price shock of 2014, the head of the IMF said on Saturday, and she cautioned against spending money on “white elephant projects”. “With revenues down, fiscal deficits are only slowly declining, despite significant reforms on both the spending and revenue sides, including the introduction of VAT and excise taxes,” Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, told a conference in Dubai. “This has led to a sharp increase in public debt, from 13 percent of GDP in 2013 to ...

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IMF Staff Floats Dual Money to Allow Much Deeper Negative Rates

Ten years after the financial crisis, central bank interest rates remain near record lows and below zero in many countries, so the question is how well monetary policy would be able to respond to counter any future economic downturn. One option could be electronic money issued in tandem with regular cash, economists at the International Monetary Fund wrote on the group’s blog. Cash, which can be held interest free, offers a way around negative rates, but electronic money issued by a central bank can’t be stuffed under any mattress. IMF ...

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IMF warns Italy over plans to lower retirement age

The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday criticised Italy’s plans to lower the retirement age, saying they would cut the country’s growth potential and add to an already high pension bill. In a report following its annual Article IV meetings with Italian authorities, the IMF also criticised aspects of the new income support scheme which is the government’s other flagship reform, though it backed the thrust of the measure. IMF directors “underscored the need to protect the poor by means of a modern guaranteed minimum income program, reduce current spending, avoid ...

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