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Tuesday, February 17, 2009


SWFs in Middle East anxious about U.S. Treasuries
Increasingly worried about a serious decline of the dollar, Middle Eastern sovereign-wealth funds are growing anxious about the long-term prospects of U.S. Treasuries. There is no real fear of a flight from Treasuries yet, but sovereign-fund executives said Treasury officials have been talking with them privately to assure Middle Eastern government-bond investors that U.S. debt remains a sound investment. Financial Times (17 Feb.)

Germany: Euro states must assist one another in crisis
Referring to Ireland's deepening financial crisis, German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said members of the eurozone must help one another if a country falls into deep financial difficulty. His comments mark the first time a German official spoke openly about Ireland's problems. International Herald Tribune/Reuters (16 Feb.)

Singapore's nonoil exports plunge more than a third
Singapore's Trade and Industry Ministry said the city-state's exports excluding oil plunged by 35% in January compared with a year earlier. Singapore is going through its worst recession in decades, with its economy contracting in all of the past three quarters. International Herald Tribune/The Associated Press (17 Feb.)

Australian central bank endorses $27 billion stimulus
The Reserve Bank of Australia joined supporters of the country's $27 billion economic stimulus by concluding that the measure will help "cushion the economy from the contractionary forces coming from abroad" and fuel stronger growth toward the end of this year. The comments come from the central bank's Feb. 3 meeting. Bloomberg (17 Feb.)

European employers push governments toward corporate debt
Ernest-Antoine Seilliere, president of employers group BusinessEurope, called on European governments and central banks to consider buying nonfinancial-sector corporate debt instead of allowing companies frozen out of short-term debt markets to go bankrupt. So far, the U.K. is the only nation to embrace corporate debt outside the financial sector. Financial Times (16 Feb.)

Venezuela's Chavez faces challenges after referendum win
Fresh from a referendum victory freeing him from term limits, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez faces daunting challenges in leading the nation through a global downturn that brings with it falling oil prices. To cope with the slowing economy, Chavez must adopt measures that are unpopular, including a tightened fiscal policy to control inflation, spending cuts and currency devaluation, economists said. Reuters (16 Feb.)

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