Pakistan seeks IMF loan restructuring after floods‎

25 08 2010

Officials from Pakistan are holding talks with the International Monetary Fund to discuss its $11bn loan package in the wake of the devastating floods.

The IMF’s regional director, Masood Ahmed, told the BBC the organisation wanted to find a way to help Pakistan “through this difficult phase”.

This could include lowering some fiscal targets or allowing Pakistan to apply for emergency natural disaster funding.

Earlier, UN officials described the humanitarian situation as critical.

They said that although the UN had raised 70% of the $460m (£295m) needed for emergency relief, many people had yet to receive any help. In the UK, relief agencies say public donors have now given £29m ($45m).

Government officials and aid agencies in the southern province of Sindh said 80% of those affected had fled their homes.

The Indus river outside the city of Hyderabad is at its highest for more than 50 years and is expected to rise further on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is expected to hold high level talks on Tuesday on Pakistan’s medical needs, amid growing concern of a public health disaster.

Doctors have been overwhelmed by the need in some areas – skin rashes and dehydration are common, many children have diarrhoea and there is concern about the spread of cholera.

Continue Reading: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11060119

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Bank of England member votes again for rate rise

18 08 2010

A member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has voted again for a rise in interest rates.

Minutes from the MPC’s August meeting show Andrew Sentance voted to raise the Bank rate to 0.75% from the record low of 0.5%, citing high inflation.

It is the third month in a row that Mr Sentance has called for a rate rise.

The other MPC members at the meeting all voted for rates to be held at 0.5% for the 17th month in a row.

They also voted not to pump any more money into the economy under the programme known as quantitative easing (QE), but said they were ready to do so should conditions require it.

The Bank has already pumped £200bn into the economy under QE to help stimulate demand.

The MPC also said that financial markets had improved since its last meeting, thanks largely to the European-wide bank stress tests, which increased confidence in the banking sector.

But it added that lending conditions look set to remain tighter for longer than it had previously forecast.

Continue Reading: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11009844





Pakistan floods: World Bank to lend $900m for recovery

17 08 2010

The World Bank is to loan $900m (£574m) to Pakistan to help it recover from its worst ever flooding.

The devastating floods have affected up to 20 million people and left some 2,000 dead, say officials.

But the UN says international aid has been slow and that it has raised only a third of the $460m (£294m) needed for emergency relief.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain said it could take five years and $15bn (£9.6bn) for the country to recover.

The World Bank funds will come through the reprogramming of planned projects and the reallocation of money, a World Bank spokesman said.

“We are reprioritising to make the funds immediately available,” he told Reuters news agency.

Health officials have warned that disease could spread quickly among the millions of displaced people and that 3.5m children are at risk.

Maurizio Giuliano, of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), warned that Pakistan would face “a second wave of deaths” from water-borne diseases and food shortages unless more aid arrived soon.

Continue Reading: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-10994989





German economy sees ‘record’ growth of 2.2%

13 08 2010

The German economy grew by 2.2% in the three months to the end of June, its fastest quarterly growth in more than 20 years, official figures show.

“Such quarter-on-quarter growth has never been recorded before in reunified Germany,” the national statistics office, Destatis, said.

The main reason for the higher-than-expected growth was strong exports, helped by a weaker euro.

The eurozone economy grew by 1% during the quarter.

This compares with growth of 0.2% in the first three months of the year, the area’s official statistics agency, Eurostat, said.

The French economy grew by 0.6% in the second quarter, also up from 0.2%, while the Spanish economy grew by 0.2%, compared with 0.1% in the previous three months.

The pace of growth in the Italian economy remained the same, at 0.4%.

Continue Reading: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10962017