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Draghi can only dream of moving like BoJ's Kuroda LONDON: It is the stuff of dreams for President Mario Draghi. The European Central Bank chief can only fantasise about pushing through policy decisions with a one-vote majority, as Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda did on Friday. The euro zone economy is the poorer for his inability. The ECB doesn't disclose any voting patterns. But if the news conferences held after policy meetings are anything to go by, euro zone realpolitik requires a goodly majority of its members to back any action. Draghi's descriptions of the balance of votes have ranged from unanimity, through "overwhelming" and "significant majority" to "comfortable majority." The BoJ's 5-4 vote in favour of ramping up its government bond purchases would be much too uncomfortable for the ECB. Part of the problem is that the ECB's actions are still viewed through the optic of nationalism, and some nations count more than others. It is huge ...

Juncker's EU Commission takes office BRUSSELS: The new European Commission formally takes office Saturday under Jean-Claude Juncker, whose skills at getting things done in the labyrinthine corridors of power in Brussels face their biggest challenge yet.The prime minister of Luxembourg for 19 years, Juncker says he wants to make the EU's executive arm less bureaucratic and more political, with a high-powered team that includes several other former premiers and senior ministers.But the line-up that will guide the EU for the ...

British bank RBS sets aside £400m for forex scandal LONDON: Britain's Royal Bank of Scotland has set aside £400 million for risks from probes into alleged rigging of the foreign exchange market, but switched sharply into third-quarter profit, it said on Friday.This was the second such huge provision in two days by a leading British bank for possible costs and penalties arising from several probes into suspected price-rigging in the foreign exchange market.The state-rescued RBS said that litigation and other charges for the third ...

Growth, jobs top new European Commission agenda BRUSSELS: Boosting growth, cutting near-record jobless queues and making member states stick to tough budget rules are just some of the tasks the new European Commission must quickly get to grips with.The Commission, led by former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, formally takes office Saturday, with fixing the European Union's stalling economy the number one priority.Juncker has promised a 300-billion-euro ($384 billion) investment package by the end of the year in response to calls, led ...

Tokyo investors next week to focus on government stimulus TOKYO: Tokyo investors next week will be eyeing a possible Japanese government stimulus package, after the country's central bank surprised markets by expanding its already huge monetary easing plan, analysts said."The Bank of Japan was able to send a strong message, which was in sharp contrast to what the Fed did," said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities, referring to the Federal Reserve's decision to wind down its own stimulus spree.Japan's economy stalled ...

Swiss central bank reports big profit on currency trading ZURICH: The Swiss central bank reported a profit equivalent to 23.6 billion euros for the first nine months of the year on gains from currency trading and a rise in the value of its gold reserves.The Swiss National Bank has operated a policy of holding down the value of the Swiss franc since September 2011, largely by trading in foreign currencies.The Swiss franc has tended to rise strongly in the last few years as a ...


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-19.98 bln
Exports $25.13 bln
Imports $45.11 bln
WeeklyOctober 27, 2014
Reserves $13.464 bln