Tag Archives: Central

Poloz to Step Down as Canada Central Bank Governor in June

Poloz to Step Down as Canada Central Bank Governor in June(Bloomberg) — Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.Stephen Poloz, who resisted this year’s global rush to cut interest rates, won’t seek a second term at the helm of the Bank of Canada when his mandate ends in June.Poloz informed the central bank’s board of directors and Finance Minister Bill Morneau of his decision, according to a statement Friday from the bank.“It has been a privilege to serve as the ninth Governor of the Bank of Canada,” Poloz, 64, said in the statement posted to the bank’s website. He called his job at the bank, which began in 2013, “the most fulfilling of my long career.”The governor is preparing to leave the central bank with its 1.75% benchmark interest rate among the highest in advanced economies. Poloz — who was among the few central bankers to raise interest rates in 2017 and 2018 as the nation’s economy began to fully recover from the last recession — has been reluctant to reverse course, citing a relatively robust expansion and concerns that lower borrowing costs could fuel the nation’s already high household debt levels.“The issue of course is we’re at a very delicate point in time for the Canadian economy,” Brian DePratto, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank said by phone. “The Bank of Canada is balancing growth concerns versus financial stability concerns. Certainly they’ve been emphasizing the latter quite a bit in my view in the recent communication.”Since Poloz came to power, Canadian household debt has increased by more than half a trillion Canadian dollars and remains near record high levels as a share of disposable income, which will almost certainly act as a millstone for growth for years to come. Bank of Canada officials cited the nation’s economic resiliency in the face of global uncertainty when they defended their decision this week not to follow the Federal Reserve in cutting rates.Though Poloz wasn’t expected to stay for a second term, he had indicated it was an option. His decision to step down means replacing him becomes one of the first orders of business for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose Liberal Party won a second term in government after a divisive election in October.Early front-runners include the governor’s chief deputy, Carolyn Wilkins, who would be the first woman to take the job. Wilkins would offer the smoothest transition, particularly given how Poloz has elevated her role of Senior Deputy Governor under his watch to one that is more prominent than usual for the job.Wilkins, 55, oversees the central bank’s strategic planning and economic research, is involved in high-level Group of 20 and Financial Stability Board meetings, and is overseeing the review of the central bank’s inflation mandate, which will be renewed in 2021. Wilkins also fills in for Poloz once a year as chair of the Governing Council — the group of policy makers that decides on interest rates.Jean Boivin, the head of BlackRock Inc.’s research unit, is also being touted as a stronger contender. He was considered an economic whiz kid when Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, then Bank of Canada governor, recruited him from academia as an adviser a decade ago. Boivin, currently based in London, would be the first francophone to run the central bank.Another potential successor is Tiff Macklem, dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, who left the bank after a long tenure after he lost his bid for the top job at the central bank in 2013 to Poloz. Among other names circulating as potential candidates include Paul Beaudry, who joined the Bank of Canada earlier this year as deputy governor; Evan Siddall, head of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.; and Paul Rochon, the current deputy minister of finance.Poloz’s announcement comes amid a period of turnover atop the world’s major central banks. Christine Lagarde just replaced Mario Draghi as president of the European Central Bank, while Carney is set to step down from the Bank of England in January.Under Poloz’s watch, borrowing costs were kept near the lowest levels in the central bank’s eight-decade history. That ultimately kept the economy afloat long enough for one of the fastest increases in jobs and probably the largest accumulation of wealth in the nation’s history, as cheap money inflated the value of real estate and financial assets.By some measures, Poloz has been one of Canada’s most successful central bankers ever: the country is closer to a state of full employment and stable prices than at any time since the 1960s.But his efforts to return the economy to full health, where it’s not reliant on low interest rates, housing and debt, ultimately fell short as Canada grappled with the lingering effects of the last recession and wrestled with a litany of new headwinds including a once-in-a-generation collapse in commodity prices and the impacts of global trade tensions.\–With assistance from Cedric Sam.To contact the reporters on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.net;Shelly Hagan in ottawa at shagan9@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Theophilos Argitis at targitis@bloomberg.net, Chris Fournier, Stephen WicaryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Career Diplomats Pushed Back on Trump’s Attempt to End ‘Temporary Protected Status’ for Central American Migrants

Career Diplomats Pushed Back on Trump’s Attempt to End ‘Temporary Protected Status’ for Central American MigrantsThe early Trump administration batted down warnings from career U.S. diplomats who warned that some hardline immigration policies could have dangerous national security consequences, according to diplomatic cables released by Senate Democrats Thursday.Some diplomats, including those at the U.S. Embassies in El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti, were concerned that the administration's plan to end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for undocumented immigrants would cause a spike in transnational crime and illegal immigration, and would damage the relationship between the U.S. and Latin America and the Caribbean.“A sudden termination of TPS for El Salvador would undermine additional cooperation to tackle the root causes of illegal migration and overwhelm the country’s ability to absorb the refugees,” then-U.S. Ambassador Jean Elizabeth Manes wrote to Washington, D.C. in July, 2017.Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon objected even more strenuously to ending the program for the three countries.“It is our purpose to provide the best possible foreign policy and diplomatic advice,” Shannon wrote in a letter to then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. “From my point of view that advice is obvious: extend TPS for the countries indicated.”Some 400,000 migrants from Central America and Haiti have been granted temporary residence and working privileges in the U.S. The program's protections were originally granted to refugees fleeing wars or natural disasters, including Hurricane Mitch in Honduras in 1999 and the earthquakes that ravaged El Salvador and Haiti in 2001 and 2010.Since then, however, the program has received extensions under several administrations as U.S. leadership weighed the negative economic and political consequences of returning hundreds of thousands of refugees to countries ill-prepared to reabsorb them.The administration recently abandoned its attempts to shutter the program following a protracted legal battle. Last month, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and El Salvador’s foreign minister signed an agreement granting a one year reprieve to about 200,000 Salvadorans who reside in the U.S. under the program.As part of the agreement, El Salvador has agreed to work with U.S. immigration authorities to ramp up its efforts to stanch the flow of migrants attempting to leave the violence-stricken country to cross the U.S. southern border illegally.



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Central European governments accused of abusing European agriculture subsidies

Central European governments accused of abusing European agriculture subsidiesCentral European governments have been systematically abusing the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy to enrich family members and political allies, an investigation claims.  The New York Times survey of subsidies in nine European countries found that millions of euros in agricultural subsidies had been directed to a handful of companies, often linked to national leaders. It alleged that the CAP had even underwritten “mafia-style land grabs” in Slovakia and Bulgaria.  Prominent beneficiaries reportedly include Andrej Babis, the billionaire prime minister of the Czech republic, who the paper says is linked to a company that received at least $ 42 million (£32 million) in subsidies last year.  Lukáš Wagenknecht, a senator from the opposition Pirate Party, last week filed a complaint against the European Council saying it should not allow Mr Babis to take part in the bloc’s budget discussions because his Agrofert conglomerate receives tens of millions of Euros in subsidies annually.  Mr Babis no longer owns the company and has denied a conflict of interests, but organisations including Transparency International claim that he remains its end beneficiary.   Andrej Babis, the Czech prime minister, denies a conflict of interest Credit: Martin Divisek/Bloomberg The paper also accused Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, of abusing the EU’s subsidies to fund a system of patronage linked to land leases.   It cited Mr Orban’s sale of 12 state farms to close associates when he was prime minister between 1998 and 2002, which became eligible for large subsidies when Hungary joined the EU in 2004.  In 2015, five years after he returned to power, Mr Orban’s government began to sell and auction leases to hundreds of thousands of hectares at cut price rates, arranging for most of them go to businessmen with close connections of Fidesz.  The paper implies that this created a system of “modern feudalism” in which small farmers were left beholden to barons who received land eligible for European subsidies based on their loyalty to Mr Orban.   Individuals who are reported to have built up considerable landholdings include Mr Orbans family and close business and political allies.  The European Union supported farmers with 58.82 billion Euros (£50.8 billion) in 2018. Subsidies are meant to support food production, rural community development, and environmentally friendly farming.  The subsidies it provides are often crucial to the survival of small farmers across the bloc.  Ivan Haralampiev, the Bulgarian farmer whose cow Penka was at the centre of an outcry over EU agricultural regulations in 2018, told the Telegraph that he had bought cattle only because the subsidies they qualified for made it possible to live.  The Telegraph sought comment from Mr Orban's office.  A spokesman for the Hungarian government said: “The procedures in Hungary for administering EU agricultural subsidies fully satisfy EU rules and regulations for the management of these funds. Hungary is also fully compliant in the sale of state land, which is regulated by law. Furthermore, it should be noted, that concerning a plot of land larger than 1,000 hectares, subsidies for or sale of that plot must follow strict rules. The NYT’s questions and sources clearly reflect a biased preconception about the topic.”



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On withholding aid to Central America, Mulvaney was correct: 'We do that all the time'

On withholding aid to Central America, Mulvaney was correct: 'We do that all the time'In an infamous press briefing last week, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney confirmed that the Trump administration is in the habit of using foreign aid to coerce compliance with U.S. policy. Central America is a case in point.



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Driven from Central America by gangs and finding refuge in Kentucky: One woman's story

Driven from Central America by gangs and finding refuge in Kentucky: One woman's storyHowever, the whole group did not stay under Monteith’s roof for long. Unbeknownst to them, Mirna and her family were among the last wave of asylum seekers to reach the U.S.-Mexico border before this policy went into effect.



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Heavy rain, locally severe storms to soak the central US this weekend

Heavy rain, locally severe storms to soak the central US this weekendTropical moisture streaming into the central Plains from the tropical systems in the East Pacific Ocean will help to fuel severe thunderstorms and downpours across the region this weekend.Drenching rain developed across the Dakotas and northern Minnesota Friday evening and continued into Saturday morning as a storm system began to strengthen over the region.Residents woke up to flooded roadways as over four inches of rain fell in Fargo, North Dakota, Friday night. Radar-estimated rainfall shows similar rainfall totals across much of the area.Fargo, North Dakota normally receives 2.05 inches of rain through the month of September.More showers are expected to develop across North Dakota through Saturday afternoon, while locally severe thunderstorms can produce hail and gusty winds in parts of Minnesota. While the heavy rain is not expected to be as widespread as Friday night, any quick downpour can increase the risk for flash flooding across the rain-soaked area.Farther south, the central Plains will be on alert for severe thunderstorms and rounds of heavy downpours into Sunday.The storm system over the northern Plains will pull tropical moisture from Lorena and Mario, near the western coast of Mexico, into the central Plains. At the same time, the system will bring a cold front into the region.Showers and thunderstorms will continue to develop from southern Iowa and northern Missouri through central Kansas into Saturday evening as the front approaches the warm and humid air over the area."Storms that fire up later Saturday will have the ability to produce flash flooding, hail, damaging wind gusts and there could be an isolated tornado," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys. The biggest threat for tornadoes will be when storms first develop, but downpours, hail and damaging wind gusts will continue to be a threat into the evening hours."Those who are attending any high school or collegiate sporting events should play heed to all weather warnings and take shelter when told to do so."Motorists traveling on Interstate-35 and Interstate-70 in these areas should be aware of changing weather conditions, decreased visibility in times of heavy rain and ponding on roadways.While the severe storm threat will be gradually diminishing after sunset, showers and storms will continue the risk for flash flooding as they expand from Oklahoma and Kansas into northern Illinois through Saturday night.On Sunday, occasional downpours will once again soak much of the same areas as the cold front will be slow to exit the central Plains. But as tropical moisture is pulled farther north, drenching rain is forecast to spread into Illinois, Iowa and Michigan.Flash flooding will be most common in areas where the front stalls and brings multiple rounds of heavy rain to end the weekend. "This will have the ability to produce widespread rainfall totals of 1-3 inches with the AccuWeather StormMax™ of 6 inches," added Roys.Chicago; Kansas City, Missouri and Oklahoma City are forecast to be in the heavy rain area.Spectators heading the Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday will need to be aware of possible road closures due to flooding and pack rain gear for the game.A line of locally heavy showers and thunderstorms along the cold front will begin to push south out of the central Plains Sunday night, while the bulk of the tropical moisture fueled rain spreads into parts of the Ohio Valley.The storm system will move toward the Northeast on Monday and drier air will settle into the northern and central Plains for the start of the work week.



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The Latest: Dorian lashes east coast of Central Florida

The Latest: Dorian lashes east coast of Central FloridaHurricane Dorian continues to lash the east coast of Central Florida as a strong Category 2 storm. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Dorian is now about 95 miles (152 kilometers) east of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Maximum sustained winds are being clocked at 110 mph (175 kph).



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Working-class Mexicans don’t want Central American immigrants, either. Here's why.

Working-class Mexicans don’t want Central American immigrants, either. Here's why.Before you call them hypocrites, there's a good reason why poverty-stricken Mexicans don't want Central Americans in their country.



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As promised, Trump slashes aid to Central America over migrants

As promised, Trump slashes aid to Central America over migrantsU.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, after Trump blasted the three countries because thousands of their citizens had sought asylum at the U.S. border with Mexico. The plan will likely encounter stiff opposition in Congress. Lawmakers, including some of Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, have chafed against the president’s repeated decisions to disregard spending bills passed by Congress, some of which he has signed into law himself.



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Tough trek for Central American migrant caravan heading through Mexico to U.S. border

Tough trek for Central American migrant caravan heading through Mexico to U.S. borderMany had already learned they would not be received in towns with the same hospitality that greeted previous caravans.



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