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Jan 29, 2015

IMF sets June deadline for progress on governance reforms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The IMF set a June deadline for making progress on reforms that would give emerging countries more say in how the world lender is run, an attempt to break a standoff created by U.S. failure to ratify the changes.

The governance reforms were adopted by the IMF in 2010, which initially set a 2012 deadline for all member countries to endorse them. The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has so far been unable to persuade Republicans in Congress to act on the measure.

Jan 26, 2015

IMF set for lively debate this year on adding yuan to SDR basket

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China is expected to make another push for the inclusion of the yuan in the International Monetary Fund’s in-house currency basket in a review later this year – and this time round its G20 partners may be willing to listen.

U.S. officials say they will wait for an IMF paper on the issue later this year before taking a view, but officials in Asian and other G20 capitals say that, unlike in the review five years ago, the issue will at least be a live discussion.

Jan 15, 2015

Obama measures on Cuba trade, travel poke new holes in embargo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States rolled out a sweeping set of measures on Thursday to significantly ease sanctions on Cuba, opening up the country to expanded U.S. travel, trade and financial activities.

Defying hardline critics in Congress, President Barack Obama made good on his commitment last month to loosen restrictions on dealings with the communist-ruled island as part of a historic effort to end decades of hostility.

Jan 15, 2015

U.S. takes first steps to ease Cuba embargo

WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The United States rolled out
a sweeping set of measures on Thursday to ease the
half-century-old embargo against Cuba, opening up the country to
expanded travel, trade and financial activities.

Defying hardline critics in Congress, President Barack
Obama made good on a commitment he made a month ago to begin
loosening some U.S. economic sanctions against the
communist-ruled island as part of an effort to end decades of
hostility.

Jan 13, 2015

World Bank cuts global economic outlook despite oil price drop

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank on Tuesday lowered its global growth forecast for 2015 and next year due to disappointing economic prospects in the euro zone, Japan and some major emerging economies that offset the benefit of lower oil prices.

The global development lender predicted the global economy would grow 3 percent this year, below a forecast of 3.4 percent made in June, according to its twice-yearly Global Economic Prospects report.

Dec 19, 2014

Washington is limited in its response to North Korea over Sony hack

WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) – U.S. determination that North Korea was behind the hacking of Sony Corp. unit Sony Pictures again exposes the limited leverage that Washington has on one of the world’s most isolated and impoverished countries should it decide to respond.

Although successive U.S. presidents have imposed decades of restrictions on Pyongyang, the U.S. Treasury has so far directly sanctioned only 41 companies and entities and 22 individuals.

Dec 18, 2014

Obama has power to further weaken Cuba sanctions

WASHINGTON, Dec 17 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has
the power to further weaken U.S. sanctions against the
Communist-run island beyond the normalization of relations with
Havana that he announced on Wednesday, sanctions experts said.

While the restoration of diplomatic ties to Havana after
decades of animosity was a big breakthrough, the real obstacle
to normal ties between the two countries is the decades-old
embargo.

Dec 15, 2014

IMF says Argentina meets targets for more accurate data

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Argentina has taken all the required steps so far to revamp its economic data but must still meet one more deadline as it seeks to bring the quality of its statistics in line with global standards, the International Monetary Fund’s board said on Monday.

The IMF, which requires accurate data to analyze the world’s economies, censured Argentina last year over failing to improve its inflation and GDP growth figures, putting the country at risk of official sanctions that could have barred it from voting on IMF policies and accessing financing.

Dec 11, 2014

U.S. Congress closes out year without passing IMF reforms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress is preparing to leave town for the holidays without passing reforms to give emerging markets greater say at the International Monetary Fund, a step the Obama administration has warned could undermine Washington’s international influence.

The White House signed off on the reforms in 2010, but U.S. lawmakers need to back changes in how the IMF is funded before they can be put into place, given Washington’s position as a controlling shareholder in the global lender.

Dec 10, 2014

U.S. Congress will not pass IMF reforms this year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Funding for the International Monetary Fund did not make it into U.S. spending legislation this year, another setback for historic reforms aimed at giving emerging markets more say in how the world lender is run.

A $1.1 trillion U.S. spending bill unveiled late on Tuesday did not include funding for the IMF, according to a text of the bill, meaning the reforms will not get passed by a year-end deadline.