• Eurogroup’s Dijsselbloem rules out Greek bailout deal by Feb. 20. Greece and its international lenders are not expected to reach agreement on the country’s bailout progress before a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Feb 20, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Tuesday. Talks between Athens, its European Union lenders and the International Monetary Fund over labor and energy reforms, fiscal targets and debt relief have dragged on for months rekindling fears of a new crisis in the single-currency bloc. (Reuters, 1 9/2/17)
  • Greece: EU and IMF in ‘common position’. German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said the institutions in charge of Greece’s bailout have reached a “common position” on how to proceed. His comments appear to indicate that deadlock between the EU and the International Monetary Fund over the next steps may have been resolved. The IMF has said Greece needs more leeway to pay its huge debts before further rescue funds can be released. However, the eurozone has been reluctant to go much further. (BBC, 21/2/17)
  • DPM expects slow Q4 on mourning. Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has admitted the country’s economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2016 is likely to be slower than the previous quarter’s 3.2% year-on-year growth, blaming low consumption in October and November. (Bangkok Post, 20/2/17)
  • GSB, BAAC to provide emergency loans. The Government Savings Bank (GSB) and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) are set to extend a total of 10 billion baht in emergency loans to farmers and low-income earners as part of efforts to tackle the problem of loan sharks. (Bangkok Post, 22/2/17)

  • New bill on foreign quota for aviation. The cabinet yesterday approved a new bill on civil aviation that authorises the Civil Aviation Board (CAB) to decide the proportion of foreign ownership in Thailand’s aviation business. (Bangkok Post, 22/2/17)
  • Approval sought for EEC flat tax. The Finance Ministry will next week seek the cabinet’s approval to offer a personal income tax rate option to those working for companies that invest in the government’s 10 targeted industries and are headquartered in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), in a bid to entice investment. (Bangkok Post, 24/2/17)
  • PMI Data: Pace of U.S. Manufacturing Expansion Slows. Gauges that measure the U.S. manufacturing and services sectors slowed in February, falling to two month lows, according to data released earlier today. The Markit flash U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to a seasonally adjusted reading of 54.3 from 55 in January. Meanwhile, a similar metric for services slipped to 53.9 from a 14-month high of 55.6 in the prior month. (Barron’s, 22/2/17)
  • US existing home sales hit 10-year high in January. U.S. home resales surged to a 10-year high in January as buyers shrugged off higher prices and mortgage rates, a sign of growing confidence in the economy. The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday existing home sales jumped 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million units last month. That was the highest level since February 2007 . (CNBC, 23/2/17)
  • Many Fed Officials See Rate Hike ‘Fairly Soon,’ Minutes Show. Federal Reserve officials expressed confidence they can raise interest rates gradually, while a hike “fairly soon” might be appropriate to avoid the risk of an overheated economy, minutes of Federal Open Market Committee’s latest meeting showed. (Bloomberg, 23/2/17)
  • BOJ’s Kiuchi warns against raising bond yield target. Dissenting Bank of Japan board member Takahide Kiuchi warned that raising the bank’s bond yield target near-term would be problematic as inflation remains well below its 2 percent goal. Hiking the yield target may also heighten difficulties for the BOJ’s attempt to cap bond yields by spurring market speculation that more rate increases are forthcoming, which could prompt investors to dump government bonds, Kiuchi said. (Reuters, 24/2/17)

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