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Jul 23, 2014

IMF cuts U.S. 2014 growth forecast to 1.7 percent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday said it expects the U.S. economy to grow 1.7 percent in 2014, even more slowly than it predicted a month ago, as weakness in the first quarter offsets an expected pick-up in the second half of the year.

The IMF, which in June forecast 2 percent growth for the world’s largest economy this year, said U.S. activity should accelerate to a pace of 3 percent to 3.5 percent in the rest of 2014, and grow by 3 percent next year and in 2016.

Jul 16, 2014

U.S. hits oil giant Rosneft, other firms with toughest Russia sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama imposed the biggest package of U.S. economic sanctions yet on Russia on Wednesday, hitting Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft and other energy, financial and defense firms, with what he called significant but targeted penalties.

Obama’s latest round of sanctions came after close consultations with European leaders, who announced a less-ambitious package. The ultimate impact of the U.S. sanctions likely depends on whether the European Union follows suit.

Jul 16, 2014

U.S. imposes toughest sanctions yet on Russia over Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday imposed its most wide-ranging sanctions yet on Russia’s economy, including Gazprombank and the Rosneft Oil Co, and other major banks and energy and defense companies.

Washington has steadily escalated its financial sanctions on Russia over what it views as Moscow’s interference in its neighbor Ukraine and its annexation of the Crimea region.

Jul 15, 2014

World Bank review shows flaws in social, environment safeguards process

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank has systemic defects in its procedures to ensure that people and the environment are not harmed in development projects, according to an internal review obtained by Reuters.

The global development lender is undergoing the first major update to its social and environmental protections in decades, which are likely to influence other international institutions.

Jun 21, 2014

U.S. sanctions net snares the innocent, burdens business

WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) – On a Friday afternoon in
March, Jose Luis Zamora pulled into a Lexus dealership in Dallas
to test-drive a new car with his wife. Ready to pay, Zamora
instead waited more than two hours before being informed his
name had popped up on a government watchlist that blocks those
linked to money launderers, groups alleged to have committed
terrorist acts and other enemies of the United States from doing
business in the country.

A routine credit check matched him to Jose Hernan Zamora, a
Colombian who is no relation to the Texas resident and was added
to the Treasury Department’s sanctions list around 1997 for his
ties to narcotics traffickers.

Jun 16, 2014

IMF cuts U.S. growth outlook, says full employment years off

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecast for the United States on Monday and said the economy would not reach full employment until the end of 2017, allowing the Federal Reserve to bide its time before raising interest rates.

In its annual health check of the U.S. economy, the IMF also urged the United States to boost the minimum wage, which is below most international standards, to fight poverty, which lingers above 15 percent.

Apr 14, 2014

After success on Iran, U.S. Treasury’s sanctions team faces new challenges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – This is what the modern American war room looks like: the clocks on the wall show the times in Kabul, Tehran and Bogota. The faces around the conference table are mostly young. There is talk of targets, and of middle-of-the-night calls to Europe.

But the meeting one recent morning convened deep within the Treasury Department, not the Pentagon. The weapons at hand were not drones or cruise missiles, but financial sanctions, aimed with similar precision at U.S. rivals’ economic interests.

Apr 14, 2014

Egypt to raise electricity prices before election -minister

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Egypt plans to boost electricity prices for the richest 20 percent of its citizens before the presidential elections at the end of May, as the country has ‘no time to waste’ in starting reforms, the planning minister said.

Ashraf al-Arabi, Egypt’s minister of planning and international cooperation, this week said the decision on raising gasoline prices will be taken “very soon,” but declined to provide further details.

Apr 13, 2014

More Russian incursions would hurt Ukraine economy – central bank

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia’s further incursions into eastern Ukraine would have serious macroeconomic consequences, destabilizing banks and crimping Ukraine’s national output, the central bank governor said on Sunday.

Many of Ukraine’s biggest factories and some of its agricultural production lie in the east, where pro-Russian separatists have taken up arms and occupied government buildings.

Apr 11, 2014

West Africa seeks economic integration: Liberia’s finance minister

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – West Africa is moving beyond its violent past to focus on regional economic integration, seeking to become the continent’s economic powerhouse, Liberia’s finance minister said this week.

Finance Minister Amara Konneh also said he was worried about the effect of China’s slowdown and overall market volatility on Liberia’s economy, though he did not foresee any immediate impact on planned bond sales.