Reuters blog archive
The International Monetary Fund has announced a $14-18 billion bailout of Ukraine with the aim of luring in a total of $27 billion from the international community over the next two years.
Ukrainian officials say they need money to start flowing in April. The U.S., EU and others in the G7 would row in behind an IMF package, helping Ukraine meet its debt obligations and begin the process of rebuilding. In total, Kiev has talked about needing $35 billion over two years so they are pretty close.
A comprehensive slate of economic, energy and financial reforms have been attached and the Fund appears to be content that whatever hue of government is in charge after May elections will adhere to the programme.
Yesterday, Kiev agreed to whack up domestic price gases by an eye-watering 50 percent, a liberalization of the market and cut in subsidies the IMF has demanded in talks with the previous regime but which it always baulked at.
from The Great Debate:
Earlier this month, health officials in Los Angeles confirmed they are treating a patient for extensively drug resistant tuberculosis -- a deadly form that does not respond to most of the antibiotics. The United States is one of 100 countries that have reported cases of “XDR-TB” since it was discovered in South Africa less than a decade ago.
Congress is holding public briefings Tuesday and Wednesday to look into the threat posed by tuberculosis, seeking expert recommendations to help develop a U.S. response. To be effective, public health efforts must adapt to the ways TB is evolving.
The annual UK budget is always a big set piece but it’s hard to remember one where there have been fewer advance leaks – indicative of a steady-as-she-goes approach by George Osborne.
Having put so much political capital into reducing the deficit, to switch now at a time when the economy is recovering strongly would be politically risky. And with debt falling only slowly there is little fiscal leeway.
That’s not to say this isn’t a big political moment. Yes there is the finance minister’s autumn statement and another budget before May 2015 elections but this is the moment when the narrative for the economy and Britons’ wellbeing is staked out.
from Left field:
First Jacques Kallis retired. Then Graeme Smith called it quits. In between, South Africa lost a test series against Australia, their first at home since the 2008-09 season.
What stares the Proteas in the face now, however, is a far bigger challenge than just replacing two great cricketers.
Russia’s next move remains the great unanswered question for Ukraine but there are glimmers that things might be starting to move elsewhere.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde said last night she would send a technical support team to Ukraine soon if Kiev makes a request. It can’t do so until an interim government is formed, probably tomorrow. That would be step one, but only step one, down the road to an international aid package.
If the hastily drawn up timetable is adhered to an interim Ukrainian government will be formed today. Whatever the line-up, it is likely to repeat its urgent call for aid.
The West, led by the EU, is trying to drum up support – Brussels has already talked with Japan, China, Canada, Turkey and the United States on possible help -- but the signals are that big money will only flow after May 25 elections when a permanent government is in place. Can it wait that long? The IMF adds that conditions it imposed on a previous loan offer would still apply, strings that it would be tough for any government in Kiev to meet.
By John Foley
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
ICBC’s purchase of Standard Bank’s UK trading division has moved at a glacial pace, and gives rivals little to fear. That’s the best sign that China’s largest lender knows what it’s doing.
From Turkey, which hiked its overnight lending rate by an astonishing 425 basis points in an emergency meeting on Tuesday, to India which delivered a surprise repo rate hike a day earlier, central banks are increasingly looking to "shock and awe" markets into submission with their policy decisions.
Turkey’s central bank bit the bullet last night, despite Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan calling for it to hold firm just hours beforehand, and what a bite it was.
After months trying to avoid a rate rise it put 4.25 full percentage points on the overnight lending rate, taking it to 12 percent. No one can accuse Governor Basci of being under the government’s thumb now. The move vaulted expectations.
from Left field:
Time has come for the world of test cricket to move on without its biggest conqueror – Jacques Kallis. He is arguably the greatest cricketer to have played the game and his retirement ends a career that has been both revered and envied.
The 38-year-old has set a benchmark for excellence in cricket. His test record boasts of 13,289 runs from 166 matches at 55.37, which includes 45 hundreds, to go along with 292 wickets and 200 catches. Any test cricketer would easily settle for any one of the above statistical landmarks in their entire career, let alone all of them together.