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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.

Nov 14, 2014

U.S. seeks to ease influx of Central American child migrants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington will allow some children in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to apply for refugee status from their home countries, Vice President Joe Biden announced on Friday, in a bid to stem an exodus of undocumented migrants to the U.S. border through Mexico.

The program only applies to children whose parents are legal residents of the United States. But Biden said it should provide an alternative for children making the “harrowing” journey alone from Central America in order to join their parents.

Nov 12, 2014

Washington steps up calls on Europe to do more for its economy

SEATTLE/WASHINGTON, Nov 12 (Reuters) – The United States on
Wednesday stepped up calls on European policymakers to do more
to avoid a “lost decade” of low growth, saying steps taken by
the European Central Bank may not be sufficient on their own.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew gave an unusually blunt
assessment of what he thinks Europe needs to do, arguing that
France and Italy should rein in budget deficits more slowly and
that it was “critical” Germany and Netherlands open their fiscal
purse strings.

Nov 12, 2014

U.S. urges Europe to do more to avoid economic slump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday called on European policymakers to do more to avoid a “lost decade” of low growth, saying steps taken by the European Central Bank may not be sufficient on their own.

Speaking ahead of the summit of leaders from the Group of 20 nations later this week in Australia, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said euro zone countries should pursue a combination of fiscal, monetary and structural policies to support growth.

Nov 11, 2014

U.S. urges IMF to cancel debt of Ebola-stricken countries

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Tuesday proposed that the International Monetary Fund write off some $100 million in debt it is owed by Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to free up more resources for those countries, the hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak.

The debt relief should enable the three impoverished West African countries to spend more on government services and to support their economies as they cope with the devastating epidemic, U.S. Treasury officials told Reuters.

Nov 4, 2014

IMF gave richer countries wrong austerity advice after crisis: watchdog

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund ignored its own research and pushed too early for richer countries to trim budgets after the global financial crisis, the IMF’s internal auditor said on Tuesday.

The Washington-based multilateral lender, concerned about high debt levels and large fiscal deficits, urged countries like Germany, the United States and Japan to pursue austerity in 2010-11 before their economies had fully recovered from the crisis.

Oct 31, 2014

Jamaica vows to stick by economic pledges, minister says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jamaica must stick with tough economic measures in order to reduce its high debt burden and regain credibility with financial markets, the finance minister said on Thursday.

The Caribbean country signed a four-year, $930 million loan program with the International Monetary Fund to help reform its economy and reverse a history of low growth and high debt.