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Senate Democrats seek minimum wage boost to $10.10, but some workers would still be exempted

WASHINGTON - Some low-paid workers won't benefit even if a long-shot Democratic proposal to raise the federal minimum wage becomes law. More than a dozen categories of jobs are exempt from the minimum, currently $7.25 an hour. Those exclusions, rooted in labour law history, run from some workers with disabilities to crews on fishing ships to casual baby sitters.

Fed survey: Economic growth picks up across most of the United States as harsh winter recedes

WASHINGTON - A Federal Reserve survey shows economic growth picking up across most of the United States over the past two months as bitter winter weather subsided. Ten of the Fed's 12 regions reported an increase in economic activity, according to the Beige Book survey released Wednesday. In most places, the Fed described the improvement as "modest or moderate." Only Cleveland and St. Louis reported slower growth.

Fed survey: Economic growth picks up across most of the United States as harsh winter recedes

WASHINGTON - A Federal Reserve survey shows economic growth picking up across most of the United States over the past two months as bitter winter weather subsided. Ten of the Fed's 12 regions reported an increase in economic activity, according to the Beige Book survey released Wednesday. In most places, the Fed described the improvement as "modest or moderate." Only Cleveland and St. Louis reported slower growth.

BoC's Poloz shaves forecast, won't rule out interest rate cuts in future

OTTAWA - Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says he has not ruled out a future cut to interest rates despite evidence disinflationary pressures appear to be waning and his belief that the global and Canadian recoveries are picking up steam. "We are neutral, that mean's a rate cut cannot be taken off the table at this stage," Poloz said during a news conference Wednesday. "It will depend on the data flow." Poloz made the comment after the central bank decided to keep its trendsetting overnight rate at one per cent, where it has been since September 2010.

Fed chief Yellen says key task of central bank is to respond to US economy's fluctuations

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the U.S. job market still needs help from the Fed and that the central bank must remain intent on adjusting its policy to respond to unforeseen challenges. In her first major speech on Fed policy, Yellen sought to explain the Fed's shifting guidance on its interest-rate policy, which at times has confused or jarred investors. She said the Fed's policies "must respond to significant unexpected twist and turns the economy may make."

Fed's Fisher: QE3 taper should continue, end in fall

By Ann Saphir AUSTIN (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve will continue to trim its massive bond-buying program and end it this fall, a top Fed official predicted on Wednesday, adding that interest rates will stay near zero until at least then and probably some time beyond. "I cannot foresee any reason to not continue to reduce it to zero," Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher told reporters after an event.

Yellen says full U.S. employment coming into view, slowly

By Jonathan Spicer NEW YORK (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday the U.S. economy appeared to be slowly moving toward full employment, but that it would need help from the central bank for some time to come. In her second public speech since taking the Fed's helm, Yellen said it was "quite plausible" the economy would be back to near full employment and a healthier level of inflation by the end of 2016.

Low inflation to linger for years in euro zone

By Sumanta Dey (Reuters) - The euro zone is set for at least two more years of low inflation, held down by a strong currency and anemic economic and jobs growth, and still faces a very real threat of deflation, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. While the inflation forecasts are mostly in line with the European Central Bank's predictions, they show the difficulty the bank will have in reversing the trend of falling inflation given that its key interest rates are already at or near zero.

Euro strength here to stay, unless ECB steps in

By Anirban Nag and Eva Taylor LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Many of the factors driving the euro exchange rate to levels that have set off alarm bells at the European Central Bank are unlikely to go away on their own, part of the reason the bank has been threatening action. The euro is still off the peaks of 2011, but because inflation is now heading close to zero, the ECB is sensitive to its current rate because anything that makes it stronger pushes deflation nearer.

Mexico's foreign reserves rise by $304 mn

Mexico City, Apr 16 (EFE).- Mexico's foreign reserves rose by $304 million last week to $183.62 billion, the Bank of Mexico said. Gold and foreign currency reserves grew in the week ending April 11 mainly due to an increase in the value of the central bank's assets. Reserves have grown by $7.09 billion since Jan. 1, the Bank of Mexico said in a statement. The M1 money supply, which includes currency, coins and demand deposits, expanded by 12.13 billion pesos (about $930 million) to 870.87 billion pesos (some $66.78 billion) last week, the central bank said.
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