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Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Brazil considers taking "Buy American" clause to WTO
Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said the country might ask the World Trade Organization to examine the legality of the "Buy American" provision in the U.S. economic stimulus. The clause, which bars foreign participation in parts of the stimulus, is "not positive at a moment when the world economy is trying to revive," Amorim said. The New York Times/Reuters (16 Feb.)

U.K. business group warns of worsening economy all year
Warning of a 9.6% unemployment rate by the middle of 2010, the Confederation of British Industry said the U.K. economy is headed downhill this year. The organization predicted that the economy will start stabilizing in early 2010, then begin a steady recovery. (16 Feb.)

G-20 looks to banking systems of Canada, Spain
Banks in Canada and Spain are in relatively good shape compared with their counterparts elsewhere, which are being nationalized, collapsing or quickly shedding assets to survive. The two countries' regulatory systems, once viewed as stifling, are being looked upon for inspiration. The situation has prompted the Group of 20 nations to study the banking systems of Canada and Spain, with the goal of designing risk-management and regulatory systems that would prevent another financial crisis. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (16 Feb.)

Increase of bank lending in China raises questions
China is betting that accelerating bank lending will quicken its economic recovery, but the action might be helping to create a stock-market bubble. A large portion of loans made last month were in the form of discounted-bill financing, which is generally used for short-term needs rather than long-term investments. "Authorities are concerned that the surge in the bill-financing market may mean loose liquidity is not helping the economy as much as they were hoping," said Shi Lei, a Bank of China analyst. International Herald Tribune/Reuters (16 Feb.)

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