News from Around the World

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ECB’s Lagarde urges governments to boost public investment

Christine Lagarde has called on European governments to boost public investment and increase harmonisation in services, banking and capital markets to rebalance the region’s economy away from exports to domestic demand.

Giving her first big policy speech since replacing Mario Draghi as European Central Bank president on November 1, Ms Lagarde said Europe had a “moment of opportunity” to tackle the challenges presented by trade tensions and technological disruption.

China invited US negotiators to Beijing for another round of trade talks, report says

China’s top trade official has invited U.S. negotiators to take part in a fresh round of face-to-face talks, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Trade Flows Set to Stay Weak, Says WTO

Global flows of goods across borders are on course to grow at the weakest pace since the financial crisis, according to the World Trade Organization, as trade tensions and rising tariffs continue to weigh on exports and imports.

The Geneva-body that mediates trade disputes Monday said its leading indicator of trade flows points to continued weakness as 2019 draws to a close, making it more likely that international trade will end the year having risen at a slower pace than in any since 2009, when trade collapsed in the wake of the global financial crisis.

IMF More Pessimistic on Greece’s Growth Prospects and Debt Path

The International Monetary Fund forecasts the Greek economy will grow by 2.3% in 2020, below government estimates, with prospects weighed down by stagnant investment, adverse demographics, and low productivity.

“The Greek economic recovery has been disappointing,” the IMF said in its Article IV report on the country. “Sustained and deeper reform implementation, deploying a full range of policy tools, and strong political resolve to tackle vested interests will be necessary to meaningfully boost investment, growth, and social inclusion,” the fund said.

Google in talks to move into banking

Google is talking to US banks about offering current accounts to its customers, accelerating Silicon Valley’s incursion into financial services after Apple’s credit card launch and Facebook’s proposed digital currency Libra.

Google’s move could further alarm lawmakers already anxious about the concentration of increasingly intimate personal information within a few big tech companies. After Facebook has run into widespread resistance to Libra, Google has said it wants to “partner deeply” with existing financial services providers.

Malpass shifts the World Bank from conferences to countries

WASHINGTON — David Malpass, who has been the president of the World Bank for seven months, is not a big fan of international development conferences. He has said so on several occasions, including again last week.

China presses Trump to remove more tariffs in ‘phase one’ trade deal

China is pushing U.S. President Donald Trump to remove more tariffs imposed in September as part of a “phase one” U.S.-China trade deal, people familiar with the negotiations said on Monday.

The deal, which may be signed later this month by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a yet-to-be determined location, is widely expected to include a U.S. pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 on about $156 billion worth of Chinese imports, including cell phones, laptop computers and toys.

Why Venezuela Will Influence Argentina’s IMF Talks

Argentine President-elect Alberto Fernandez’s stance on Venezuela may pose another challenge to his ability to renegotiate the terms of an aid package from the International Monetary Fund.

An imposing debt load and uncertainty about his economic policies already limit Fernandez’s room for a renegotiation of the record credit line, but his views on the Venezuelan regime of Nicolas Maduro are also softer than those of outgoing Mauricio Macri.

Turkish central bank stirs concerns with opaque funding tool

Turkey’s central bank has sparked a fresh wave of concern among investors and analysts after saying it is supplying billions of liras to the financial system through an opaque market.

After a heated series of questions from journalists and analysts on Thursday, governor Murat Uysal publicly acknowledged for the first time that the central bank has been using the Istanbul stock exchange to conduct swap operations — taking dollars from Turkish financial companies in exchange for lira — as a means of “providing funding to the banks”.

Trump Says U.S. and China Looking for New Site to Sign Trade Deal

WASHINGTON—President Trump said China and the U.S. are in the process of selecting a new site to sign what he has called phase one of a broader trade agreement between the two countries.