Browsing all articles tagged with President
May
18

French President Urges Euro Zone Government

Francois Hollande, French President called on Thursday for an economic government for the euro zone with its own budget the right to borrow a harmonized tax system and a full time president.

At a 150 minute news discussion marking his first year in office a day following economic statistics showed France had fall into recession, the Socialist leader defended his record on economic reform and budget regulation and informed the French people they would have to work a bit longer for a complete pension in future.

Rebutting criticism that France has lost its leadership role in Europe as of its dwindling economic competitiveness, Hollande thought he wanted to create a fully-fledged political European Union within two years.

Hollande said it is my responsibility as the leader of a founder member of the European Union to pull Europe out of this torpor that has gripped it and to reduce people’s disappointment with it.

He accepted that he could face resistance from Germany, Europe’s dominant power, which opposes mutualising debt between member states. Berlin is also reluctant to give the euro zone its own secretariat for fear of deepening division in the EU, among the 17 members of the single currency and the 10 others.

Non-euro Britain’s government previously faces growing domestic pressure to hold a referendum on leaving the bloc.

Hollande stated he wanted Britain to stay in the EU but added, he can understand that others don’t want to join the single currency, however they cannot stop the euro zone from advancing.

Hollande said a future euro zone economic government would debate the main economic and political decisions to be taken by member states, harmonize welfare policies and national fiscal and launch a battle against tax fraud.

He proposed bringing forward planned EU spending to combat record youth unemployment, pushing for an EU-wide transition to renewable energy sources and envisaged a budget capacity that would be decided to the euro zone along with the gradual likelihood of raising debt.

May
11

Tax Officials Cite Momentum, Challenges in Tax Revamp

Two US policymakers from opposed ends of the political spectrum on Friday stated thrust is building for a top-to-bottom revamp of the tax code, however the largest question is whether there is political will to get it done.

Mark Prater, a long-time Republican Senate tax counsel and Mark Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department, cited major policy proposals and two years of public hearings and private meetings that have set the foundation for the first rewrite of the code since 1986.

Mazur, who is Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s top policy aide on tax issues, said this year the stars are aligned for tax reform in a way they haven’t been, he and Prater spoke at a legal conference in Washington, at the moment it is just a matter of political will.

The two top tax writing lawmakers expect to push legislation through Congress this year to lower most tax rates and simplify the code that many Americans regard as far too complex.

They may have more political liberty to write a bill as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat, is retiring following this term and House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp a Republican is term-limited as chairman.

President Barack Obama says he backs tax reform, while some have said it does not appear to be high on his agenda.

Mazur accepted there are tons of obstacles, including the divide between the parties on whether the tax reforms should produce more revenue. Democrats generally favor doing this as Republicans do not.

Prater, a tax policy aide to Senator Orrin Hatch the senior Finance Committee Republican, agreed energy is building. One advantage he quoted is the January 1 fiscal deal that lifts taxes on Americans making more than $400,000 a year and also established a budget baseline both parties agree on.

Prater said that the playing field is a lot clearer concerning where we are starting from.

He said on the question of whether a tax renovate should lift revenue, that to me is actually a political question that comes down to what the other pieces of the picture are.

May
11

Precious Metal Fall 1.5 percent on US Dollar Gain, Posts Weekly Plunge

Yellow metal knock down almost 1.5 percent on Friday as a sharp increased in the US dollar against the Japanese yen triggered technical selling, sending the metal to a two-week low.

Bullion slip for a second consecutive day as the yen plummeted to its weakest against the US dollar in more than four years on Friday, a day following the US currency climbed above the 100-yen level. The US dollar rally also weighed on industrial commodities led by crude.

Gold posted a weekly fall of almost 2.5 percent as continued outflows in gold-backed exchange-traded funds more than offset strong physical retail demand following yellow metal’s historic selloff in mid-April.

Precious metal’s sharp losses previous month has intensified a disconnect among funds that sold on dissatisfaction over gold’s under performance and individual investors who could not get sufficient physical gold coins and bars at bargain prices.

Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of BullionVault, an online physical gold and silver market it’s all about the greenback strength, that’s where all the fast money is going. He said, I believe this is another opportunity for physical buyers.

Spot gold knocks down as much as 2.5 percent to a low of $1,420.60 per ounce earlier in the session. It was down 1.3 percent at $1,438.51 per ounce by 2:28 p.m. (1828 GMT)

US Comex division gold futures for June delivery settled down $32 at $1,436.60 per ounce, with trading volume almost 10 percent over its 30-day average.

Carlos Sanchez, director of commodities and asset management at CPM Group said yellow metal accelerated losses following sell-stops were triggered below technical support at $1,450 per ounce.

Gold’s failure to break above a $40 trading range in the precedent two weeks suggested sentiment remains weak following the metal plunged to $1,321.35 an ounce on April 16, its lowest in more than two years.

May
4

ECB Cuts Interest Rates, Open to Further Action

The European Central Bank cut interest rates for the first time in 10 months on Thursday and held out the likelihood of further policy action to hold up the recession hit euro zone economy.

Responding to a fall in euro zone inflation well below its target level and growing unemployment, the ECB lowered its main rate by a quarter percentage point to a record low 0.50 percent.

Mario Draghi, ECB President promising to provide as much liquidity as euro zone banks require well into coming year and to help smaller companies get access to credit, also indicated that some policymakers had pushed for a bigger cut.

He told a news conference after the ECB’s Governing Council met in Bratislava, there was a very, very strong existing consensus towards an interest rate cut. Within that, there was a prevailing consensus for a cut of only 25 basis points.

The ECB was also technically prepared to cut its deposit rate from the current zero percent into negative territory, meaning it would begin charging banks for holding their money overnight.

Such a move could encourage the banks to lend out money rather than hold it at the ECB, although it would also almost certainly have a big impact on banks own operations and major implications for funding and bond markets.

Draghi said the ECB could cope with these, a departure from his prior statements.

There are several unintentional consequences that may stem from this measure, we will address and cope with these consequences if we make a decision to act. And we will again look at this with an open mind and we placed ready to act if needed.

Acknowledging that, the ECB stated it would prime banks with as much liquidity as they need until at least July 2014 and look at ways to enhance lending to smaller companies, which are the lifeblood of Europe’s economies however have been starved of credit in many countries.

Apr
27

President Barack Obama Chides Lawmakers Over Flight Delay Fix, Budget Conflict

President Barack Obama chided Republicans on Saturday for approving a plan to ease air-traffic delays caused by federal spending cuts while leaving budget cuts that affect children and the elderly untouched.

The House of Representatives and the Senate backed a plan this week to give the Department of Transportation flexibility to cover immediate income of air traffic controllers at the Federal Aviation Administration who had been furloughed as part of budget cuts known as sequester.

The furloughs which started Sunday led to take off and landing delays at airports nationwide.

This week, the sequester hurt travelers, who were stuck for hours in airports and on planes, and correctly frustrated by it. And, maybe as they fly home each weekend, the members of Congress who insisted these cuts take hold finally realized that they really apply to them too, Obama stated in his weekly radio and Internet address.

So Congress passed a provisional fix. A Band Aid however these cuts are scheduled to keep falling across other parts of the government that provide vital services for the American people.

In his address, broadcast on Saturday morning Obama renowned that the cuts were affecting social programs and should be restore with less arbitrary spending reductions.

There is only one way to really fix the sequester, by swapping it before it causes further damage, Obama said that he hoped members of Congress would feel the same sense of urgency they felt with the FAA cuts on other programs.

They may not feel the pain felt by kids kicked off Head Start or the 750,000 Americans projected to lose their jobs as of these cuts, or the long-term unemployed who will be further hurt by them. Although that pain is real.

Apr
27

Congress Passes Plan to Relieve Flight Delays

The US Congress on Friday permitted a plan to ease nationwide air traffic delays caused by federal spending cuts, seeking to calm irritated travelers however sparking a backlash from groups still being strike by budget cuts.

The Senate unanimously voted for the plan late Thursday and the House of Representatives permitted it Friday by a 361-41 vote. White House spokesperson Jay Carney stated President Barack Obama intends to sign the bill.

The legislation will give the Department of Transportation flexibility to use almost $250 million in unspent funds to cover immediate salaries of air traffic controllers and other essential employees at the Federal Aviation Administration who had been furloughed.

Officials hurried the bill through, eager to stem the rising wrath of the traveling public, which had dealt with important take off and landing delays since the furloughs started on Sunday.

They also had faced anger from airline CEOs whose companies had mounted a grassroots campaign through a website called dontgroundamerica.com, hopeful Americans to send messages to Congress and the White House.

Congressional support of the air travel bill, barely four pages long came as politicians prepared to fly out of Washington for a week long recess. It was not clear how rapidly the air delays would ease once the bill is enacted.

Chris Van Hollen, Democratic Representative of Maryland chided fellow politician for frantically pushing the bill through just before the break, making their future travels easier. Van Hollen, who wanted to address more than just FAA furloughs, said that they will pat themselves on the back and utter job well done.

National Air Traffic Controllers Association said that the union representing the controllers was relieved following just one week of furloughs, it is abundantly clear that a fully staffed air traffic control workforce is essential for our national airspace system to operate at full capacity.

Apr
24

Gold Plunge on Stronger US Greenback, ETF outflows

Yellow metal knock down more than 1 percent on Tuesday as a stronger US dollar put pressure on prices and as the outflow from the world’s leading gold exchange-traded fund known as ETF accelerated and accentuated an investor shift towards equities and other assets.

At the midsession, bullion along with markets in stocks, oil, bonds and other commodities, was roiled temporarily by a bogus report of explosions at the White House. Bullion pulled up off its lows on the fake report.

The early turn down retraced some of gold’s 1.6 percent rally from a day earlier, which was encouraged by strong physical purchases.

Heraeus Precious Metals Management metals trader David Lee said that he believe the whole commodities space came off because of the weak PMI out of Europe and the weak PMI out of China, particularly Germany. That combination is dragging everything from silver to copper to platinum and palladium down. And yellow metal is going down in sympathy as it’s part of the basket.

Traders stated gold prices chop down to session lows in overnight dealings when the US dollar firmed in reaction to weaker April manufacturing statistics from both Germany and China, and then lingered at the lower levels.

Shortly following 1 p.m. (1700 GMT), precious metal prices pulled up off their lows, US government debt prices surged briefly and stocks knock down sharply following a false tweet from the Associated Press stated there had been two explosions at the White House and that President Barack Obama had been injured.

Gold knock down 1.4 percent to a session low of $1,405.44 per ounce and had pared losses to $1,412.70 by 3:14 EDT (1914 GMT), off 0.87 percent. Precious metal has dropped 15 percent this year.

US gold futures for June delivery were losing 0.61 percent at $1,412.30 per ounce.

Traders said gold’s retreat off the one week high it reached a day earlier reproduce investor nervousness regarding holding on to precious metal positions for long. Many yellow metal bulls were caught by surprise a week ago when bullion slid to its biggest-ever daily loss in Greenback terms.

Gold was also under pressure from a strong dollar and bounce back of equity markets following sales of new US single family homes climbed in March, indicating the housing market recovery remains on track.

Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said that bullion is lower as well as other commodities, including base metals oil and crude, which knock down following weaker than expected economic data out of China and Europe, which gave a boost to the dollar.

In other markets, copper knock down to an 18-month low and crude oil was down nearly 1 percent because data revealed a slowdown in business activity in Germany and China in April. The figures heightened worries over global growth.

Apr
18

President Barack Obama’s nominee to Lead Budget Office Sails Toward Confirmation

President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Office of Budget and Management appeared Wednesday to be on a clear path toward Senate confirmation.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, a former official in the administration of President Bill Clinton and until lately head of Wal Mart Stores philanthropic wing, float through committee votes without Republican opposition on Wednesday, almost assuring her confirmation as the next head of OMB.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington state, chairwoman of the budget committee released a declaration shortly following the committee vote on Wednesday applauding the tough bipartisan support for Burwell’s confirmation.

Murray said I am confident she is going to do a enormous job at OMB working to enhanced the economy and tackle our deficit and debt in a balanced way and I am looking forward to the complete Senate approving her nomination as soon as possible.

If Burwell proceeds through verification of the full Senate, she will take over the office that crafts the administration’s spending policies and acts as a key negotiator in budget argument with Republicans in the US Congress.

As Obama has faced a number of staining confirmation battles over his executive branch selections, Burwell cleared both the Senate Homeland Security and Senate Budget Committee and Governmental Affairs Committee the by a voice vote, winning praise from some Republicans along the way.

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a longtime critic of OMB and the highest ranking Republican member of the budget committee and Obama’s budget policies, offered kind words for the president’s nominee.

She’s a very wonderful person, Sessions said, maybe at a time of fiscal crisis it’s the toughest job in Washington.

Burwell would swap acting director Jeffrey Zients, who stepped in following Obama tapped former OMB Director Jack Lew to be his White House chief of staff.

Apr
12

Cyprus Consider Early EU structural Funds, Officials Said

EU officials said that Cyprus is considering placed EU structural funds to earlier use to assist its stricken economy however is not asking for a superior bailout from the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund than the agreed 10 billion euro’s.

Nicos Anastasiades, Cypriot President told reporters in Nicosia on Friday that he would send a letter to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to give it extra assistance given the bad economic situation of the island.

That fueled assumption on financial markets that the island may be pushing Brussels for additional money under a bailout package which now illustrates Cyprus contributing roughly twice as much in budget cuts and asset sales than originally debatable.

However euro zone finance ministers gave political backing to 10 billion euro’s of loans for the Mediterranean island on Friday and stated there were no plans or requests to raise that amount.

The letter from President Anastasiades has nothing to do with asking for additional money than the sum decided in the MoU.

It is about a request for more financial assistance and support from our EU partners in the middle term as of the financial and economic situation Cyprus is facing.

The two international lenders have predicted Cyprus will contract about 9 percent this year and approximately 4 percent in 2014 prior to returning to growth in 2015.

Structural funds come from the long term EU budget and are used to co-finance projects in less EU developed countries to assist them enlarged economically.

The flow of such funds is increased over the seven years of the EU budget, however can be accelerated to boost the amount of money in the earlier years at the cost of the outer ones, this method has been employed to help Greece already.

Apr
11

President Barack Obama Tax Plan Opening Gambit in Potential Tax Rewrite

Obama on Wednesday revitalized a list of his favorite tax thoughts, hopeful to raise $580 billion in new revenues from the wealthy over a decade in a potential opening strategy to forge a deal with Congress to renovate the tax code.

Although certain not to move forward all together, his 2014 budget proposal has elements likely to spur discussion including a proposal to tax derivatives more strictly, as lawmakers weigh a tax code restore and face a limit on the government’s debt limit this summer.

Chris Krueger, an analyst at Guggenheim Partners stated that these are all opening bids in any possible grand negotiate, so from that perspective they are significant.

Congressional Republicans mostly blasted the Democratic president’s budget proposal, weighing the difficulty policymakers have had forging a long-term deficit cutting plan.

Obama’s budget does not seek to lift individual tax rates as he has proposed in prior budgets. For years, he sought to elevate rates on household income over $250,000.

Republicans and Obama agreed during previous year’s fiscal cliff battle to elevate rates for households earning more than $450,000 a year, to 39.6 percent from 35 percent.

Obama’s budget also recommended a new Buffett tax, a minimum tax rate for the rich named for investor Warren Buffett, that stage in a minimum 30 percent tax rate on household income over $1 million.

The bid renew Obama’s offer previous year to Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner during the discussion to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff of looming tax hikes.

The budget also reprized a proposal to limit tax breaks between wealthier taxpayers, opening at household income of roughly $250,000, limiting the value of deductions and loopholes in determining taxable income. A phased-in limit on deductions is now part of the tax code for more wealthy taxpayers.

The new cap would apply to the same list of breaks proposed in previous years , including the charitable tax break and the exception for municipal bond interest.

One encounter Obama proposed to fight once more is over the estate tax, pitching to lift it to 45 percent for estates worth over $3.5 million, following a deal to cap it in January at 40 percent for estates over $5 million.