IMF has doubts about Greece
The IMF has growing doubts about Greece’s long-term ability to reduce its debts, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday. According to an IMF note obtained by the magazine, Greece must accelerate consolidation of public debts or else private creditors will see smaller and smaller returns. The IMF also envisions greater participation from eurozone countries in saving Greece. Greece, with a population of just 12 million, is more than 350 billion euros (US$448 billion) in debt and facing its fifth straight year of recession. The IMF slammed a lack of reforms in the country, saying tax revenues and money from a privatization drive were lower than expected. Greece is expected to register a 5.5 percent contraction of its GDP last year.
Peru to invest in Venezuela
The presidents of Venezuela and Peru have reached an agreement for the Peruvian state oil company to invest in development of Venezuela’s eastern Orinoco oil belt. Venezuela’s state oil monopoly will study a possible role in developing a petrochemical complex in Peru as well as helping Peru increase its production of heavy and extra heavy crude oil. The formal agreement came during a meeting on Saturday between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Peruvian President Ollanta Humala. Later, representatives of the two governments signed agreements establishing mechanisms for transportation, storage, refining and marketing of hydrocarbons. Other pacts cover the sale in Peru of tractors and other farm implements made in Venezuela.
Central bank to revise rules
The central bank said on Saturday that it will revise regulations on transactions by its top officials amid controversy over the role of its president in private currency deals conducted as he led efforts to soften the Swiss franc. The Swiss National Bank said its supervisory body, the bank council, decided to embark on a “comprehensive revision” of regulations concerning “own-account transactions involving financial instruments” by members of its six-member enlarged governing board. That review will be conducted with help from external specialists, a bank statement said, calling for draft regulations to be submitted “as soon as possible.”
Iran to up Japan’s shipments
Iran plans to increase daily crude oil exports to Japan to 240,000 barrels this year, the Tehran Times said, citing Mohsen Qamsari, head of international affairs at the state-owned National Iranian Oil Co. Iran’s oil exports to Japan declined by 100,000 barrels a day last year, Qamsari said, without giving an export figure. He cited Japan’s decision to reduce oil imports to 3.5 million barrels a day from 5.5 million barrels earlier.
China to focus on risk
China Banking Regulatory Commission Chairman Shang Fulin (尚福林) said the regulator would focus on risk prevention and control this year, particularly potential credit and liquidity risks and prevent the spreading of off balance sheet risks. China’s banking sector environment will be “more complicated and competitive” this year, Shang said in a work meeting, according to a statement posted on its Web site yesterday. The regulator will strengthen financial services support to small enterprises, continue reform of policies and support the development of western and central regions, the statement said.