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U.S. urges Japan possibly take more fiscal steps to counter slowdown

The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday called on Japan to take additional fiscal steps if the economy slows more than anticipated following the 3-percentage-point hike in the consumption tax on April 1. In its Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, the department said Japanese authorities plan to accelerate regular budgetary spending "but should be prepared to provide additional fiscal support if growth slows more than authorities forecast."

BOJ's drastic monetary easing "should be highly evaluated": Aso

Finance Minister Taro Aso praised the Bank of Japan's aggressive monetary easing policy Friday, saying the nation's economy has been steadily recuperating since the central bank launched the strategy exactly a year ago. "As (the BOJ) boosted the amount of money in circulation drastically...prices have risen and the gross domestic product has expanded for the fifth straight quarter. This should be definitely highly evaluated," Aso said at a press conference.

Australia central bank holds rates, policy to stay accommodative

By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's central bank kept rates at record lows on Tuesday, saying policy would remain stimulative in order to boost demand and offset the drag from a cooling mining boom. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) conceded that unemployment was likely to rise a little further, but pointed to a pick up in consumer spending and a robust expansion in home building as reasons for optimism.

Australia central bank holds rates, policy to stay accommodative

By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's central bank kept rates at record lows on Tuesday, saying policy would remain stimulative in order to boost demand and offset the drag from a cooling mining boom. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) conceded that unemployment was likely to rise a little further, but pointed to a pick up in consumer spending and a robust expansion in home building as reasons for optimism.

Cyprus ends limits on cash withdrawal from banks in further loosening of capital controls

NICOSIA, Cyprus - Cyprus scrapped all limits on daily cash withdrawals from banks Friday in a significant loosening of capital controls that were imposed following the country's painful financial rescue deal a year ago. The easing of restrictions comes with the steady bolstering of confidence and stability in the banking system, the Finance Ministry said. Before Friday's decree, the daily withdrawal limits were 300 euros ($412.8) for individuals and 500 euros ($688) for companies.

Cyprus ends limits on cash withdrawal from banks in further loosening of capital controls

NICOSIA, Cyprus - Cyprus scrapped all limits on daily cash withdrawals from banks Friday in a significant loosening of capital controls that were imposed following the country's painful financial rescue deal a year ago. The easing of restrictions comes with the steady bolstering of confidence and stability in the banking system, the Finance Ministry said. Before Friday's decree, the daily withdrawal limits were 300 euros ($412.8) for individuals and 500 euros ($688) for companies.

S.Africa keeps rates unchanged, warns of medium-term hike

South Africa kept its main interest rate unchanged Thursday, but promised future increases as it tries to balance rising inflation against a weak rand and a slower economic growth outlook. "The real policy rate is currently below what can be considered normal in the long run and is likely to increase over the medium term," said South African Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus of the current 5.5 percent rate. The bank lowered the outlook for GDP growth this year to 2.6 percent from 2.8 percent.

Bank of England opts to keep monetary policy on hold to support growing recovery

LONDON - The Bank of England has decided to keep its key interest rate at a record low in hopes of strengthening the economic recovery. Policymakers decided Thursday to leave the benchmark interest rate at 0.5 per cent. The decision had been widely expected, as members of the Monetary Policy Committee have been appearing in local media to indicate that interest rates would not rise soon.

Turkish central bank makes massive rate hikes to stem lira fall

By Seda Sezer and Daren Butler ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's central bank hiked all its key interest rates in dramatic fashion at an emergency midnight policy meeting, ignoring opposition from Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as it battles to defend the country's crumbling lira currency. The bank raised its overnight lending rate to 12 percent from 7.75 percent, its one-week repo rate to 10 percent from 4.5 percent, and its overnight borrowing rate to 8 percent from 3.5 percent - all much sharper moves than economists had forecast.

China says to rein in local debt, push financial reform

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's top planning agency pledged on Tuesday to curb local government debt while the central bank said it will keep monetary policy stable in 2014 as it pushes financial reforms. The promises come as China's policymakers are looking to put the economy on a more sustainable footing.
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