India’s new finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday that he would focus on bringing down fiscal deficits and tackling high inflation in Asia’s third-largest economy.
Jaitley, a 61-year-old corporate lawyer, will head India’s finance and defence ministries in the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a government statement said.
“”We have to restore back the pace of growth, contain inflation and obviously concentrate on fiscal consolidation itself,” Jaitley told reporters shortly after the list of cabinet positions was released, adding that he will only take charge of the defence ministry on a temporary basis.
India’s economic growth fell to a decade low of below 5 percent under the outgoing Congress-led government.
The Bank of Japan is increasingly confident that the economy is weathering a recent tax increase and on its way out of deflation, but another threat to that optimistic scenario is lurking – weak exports.
If shipments abroad continue to fall short of the central bank’s forecasts, the recovery in the world’s third-biggest economy could stall and the BOJ might be forced to ease policy again in the coming months.
Growth has returned to Japan , helped greatly by massive monetary stimulus unleashed 13 months ago when Haruhiko Kuroda took the helm at the BOJ. Early signs support the bank’s view that last month’s increase in the national sales tax will not derail the recovery or drag Japan back into deflation.
But the BOJ has been notably wrong about exports. Weak yen was supposed to boost overseas shipments in time to take up the slack when consumption took a hit from the April 1 tax increase to 8 percent from 5 percent.
“The BOJ’s main scenario is for exports to gradually pick up. But it’s true that exports remain the biggest risk to the outlook,” said an official familiar with the BOJ’s thinking.
China’s exports rose 0.9 percent in April from a year earlier, while imports rose 0.8 percent, leaving the country with a trade surplus of $18.5 billion for the month, the Customs Administration said on Thursday.
House and Senate appropriators agreed to a $1.01 trillion bipartisan bill to fund the U.S. government through Sept. 30, unveiling the measure days before funding for federal agencies is scheduled to lapse.
Lawmakers agreed to fund defense spending at $573 billion for the current fiscal year, with $85.2 billion for the war inAfghanistan, about $2 billion less than in fiscal year 2013. The bill also would cut funding for buying and developing new and upgraded weapons systems and defense technologies.
The measure gives the Internal Revenue Service about $11.2 billion, leaving the agency’s budget little changed and finding a middle ground between the more than $2 billion reduction sought by House Republicans and the more than $1 billion increase sought by Obama.
The bill bars the IRS from targeting groups based on their ideological beliefs, in response to the agency’s scrutiny of Tea Party groups seeking nonprofit status. It doesn’t include Republican-backed limits on paying bonuses or implementing the 2010 health-care law.
Repair crews in Ontario and Quebecrestored power to more than 200,000 households after an ice storm toppled trees and brought down power lines, leaving at least 330,000 homes still in the dark as Christmas approaches.
About 195,000 customers of Toronto Hydro were still without power yesterday, down from a peak of about 300,000, the utility said. More than 38,000 customers of Hydro Quebec remained without power, according to the utility’s website.
A weekend storm that dumped freezing rain and snow on Canada’s two most populous provinces disrupted power supplies and disabled transport networks. Some customers in Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, probably won’t have power restored before Christmas Day, said Toronto Hydro Chief Executive Officer Anthony Haines.
“Our number-one priority is to get the hydro restored,” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford told reporters at city hall yesterday. “We’re working as quick as we can,” he said. “This was a tremendous storm.”
More than 70 flights were canceled yesterday at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport or about 5 percent of all scheduled flights, according to data posted on the airport’s website. That’s down from 414, or about 28 percent of all flights Dec. 22. Pearson, which is located about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the city’s downtown, is Canada’s busiest airfield.
Power was restored to Toronto’s East General, Humber River Regional and Sunnybrook hospitals, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters yesterday.
Water systems are up to full services, Ford said.
Congress’s latest attempt at crafting a budget plan is on track to end up the same way as others have in the past decade: with little or no agreement.
Negotiators have little chance of breaking this string of futility, even after a 16-day government shutdown in October that cost the U.S. economy $24 billion. If they do, it’ll only be to curb automatic spending cuts, including $19 billion that hits the Pentagon starting in January.
Unlike with previous budget panels, including the failed 2011 supercommittee, there are no immediate consequences if the budget conference misses its Dec. 13 deadline — the U.S. won’t default on its debt and the federal government won’t shut down for lack of funding.
The committee’s lack of progress is frustrating outside groups, especially business executives, who say congressional lawmakers’ habit of governing by crisis and temporary spending bills is hurting the economy and costing jobs.
The current panel is the fifth bipartisan attempt in three years to address the nation’s debt and deficit. The others, starting with the 2010 debt-reduction commission appointed by PresidentBarack Obama, ended in failure.
The conference committee was supposed to mark a return to so-called regular order, where the chairmen and members instead of ad hoc negotiating groups work to craft a budget for the coming fiscal year and figure out a way to replace some of the automatic cuts known as sequestration.
Instead, they’re stumbling over the same obstacles that have prevented past agreements. Democrats want to end some corporate tax breaks while Republicans say they oppose any changes to the tax code outside a broader deal. Republicans want to cut spending on entitlement programs, which Democrats oppose without considerable revenue concessions.
The real deadline is Jan. 15, when government funding again expires. Meanwhile, businesses are growing frustrated with Washington’s inability to bridge its differences to replace spending cuts that no one thinks are good policy.
Australia’s dollar fell to a 2 1/2-month low, heading for its sixth weekly drop, after the government’s rejection of a planned foreign takeover raised concern investment flows into the country may weaken.
The Aussie depreciated at least 0.4 percent against all 16 major peers since RBA GovernorGlenn Stevens said Nov. 21 he is “open-minded” about intervention. New Zealand’s kiwi dollar declined against its U.S. counterpart after a report showed building permits fell in October for the first time in three months. Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey rejected U.S.-based Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.’s planned A$2.2 billion ($2 billion) takeover of GrainCorp Ltd., ruling foreign control of the east coast’s biggest crop handler isn’t in the national interest.
Australia’s funding arm said it will sell next week a new A$1.5 billion note maturing in October 2018, the nation’s biggest bond auction on record in data going back to 1983. Hockey is struggling to win parliament’s approval to raise the government’s A$300 billion debt ceiling to A$500 billion as weakening revenue drives the nation toward a deeper budget deficit.
One of the big stories for 2014 is that fiscal drag looks to be easing worldwide, while in Australia it’s going in the opposite direction.Australia’s 10-year government bond yields fell three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 4.22 percent, paring their advance this month to 20 basis points. They reached a two-year high of 4.35 percent on Nov. 22.
Stevens put currency traders on notice when he said last week that, while the benefits of intervention haven’t “so far” outweighed the costs, it “doesn’t mean we will always eschew” currency sales. “In fact we remain open-minded on the issue,” he told a forum of economists to mark next month’s 30th anniversary of the free float of Australia’s exchange rate.
Traders see a 9 percent chance the RBA will reduce its benchmark rate from a record-low 2.5 percent at its meeting on Dec. 3, overnight-index swaps data show.
Twelve weeks after Tony Abbott’s election night declaration Australia was open for business, his treasurer blocked the GrainCorp takeover in the biggest rejection since Singapore Exchange Ltd.’s A$8.4 billion offer for ASX Ltd. was knocked back in 2011.
“Now is not the right time for a 100 percent foreign acquisition of this key Australian business,” Hockey said today in a statement after advice from the Foreign Investment Review Board. Australia received a net A$57.6 billion in foreign direct investment for the year ended June 30, compared with A$59.5 billion in portfolio flows, according to data from the Bureau of Statistics.