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Mnuchin urges IMF to enhance FX surveillance

Posted by: Admin | Posted on: April 22nd, 2017 | 0 Comments


WASHINGTON U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday called on the International Monetary Fund to enhance surveillance of its members’ exchange rates and external imbalances, as large trade imbalances would hamper “free and fair” trade.

Mnuchin said the global economy continues to exhibit large and persistent external imbalances, “which contribute to the sentiment that the existing international monetary and trading system does not benefit all.”

“In our view, excessively large trade surpluses, like excessively large trade deficits, are not conducive to supporting a free and fair trading system,” he said in a statement to the International Monetary and Financial Committee, the IMF’s steering committee.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose measures to restrict imports, and attacked countries like China, Germany and Japan for running large trade surpluses with the United States and benefiting from weak currencies.

Mnuchin called on countries with large external surpluses and sound public finances – likely a reference to Germany – to expand fiscal stimulus to boost growth and help narrow trade imbalances.

He also urged the IMF to scrutinizes its member nation’s exchange rates and identify “specific policy adjustments” for each country to counter global imbalances.

“We look to the IMF to highlight where surplus countries can more forcefully contribute to support symmetric adjustment in pursuit of a fairer global system,” he said.

Mnuchin also urged countries to abide by their exchange-rate commitments, such as to refrain from competitive devaluation, not use monetary policies to target exchanges rates for competitive purposes, and to consult closely on exchange rates.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

U.S. judge sentences Volkswagen to three years probation, oversight

Posted by: Admin | Posted on: April 22nd, 2017 | 0 Comments


DETROIT A federal judge in Detroit on Friday sentenced Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) to three years’ probation and independent oversight for the German automaker’s diesel emissions scandal as part of a $4.3 billion settlement announced in January.

The plea agreement called for “organization probation” in which the company would be overseen by an independent monitor.

The sentencing was one of the last major hurdles to VW moving past a scandal that led to the ouster of its chief executive and tarnished the company’s reputation worldwide.

“This is a case of deliberate and massive fraud,” U.S. District Judge Sean Cox said in approving the settlement that required the automaker to make significant reforms. He also formally approved a $2.8 billion criminal fine as part of the sentence.

As well as accepting the agreement reached between VW and the U.S. government, Cox rejected separate calls from lawyers representing individual VW customers for restitution.

The German automaker pleaded guilty in March to fraud, obstruction of justice and falsifying statements after admitting to installing secret software in 580,000 U.S. vehicles.

Since the September 2015 disclosure that VW intentionally cheated on emissions tests for at least six years, the company has agreed to spend up to $25 billion in the United States to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers and to make buy-back offers.

Speaking on behalf of Volkswagen, general counsel Manfred Doess said the company “deeply regrets the behavior that gave rise to this case. Plain and simple, it was wrong,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday it had selected former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Larry Thompson to serve as the company’s independent monitor.

In a statement New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, who oversees investments in Volkswagen on behalf of the New York City Pension Funds, said VW’s “scheme was deceitful.” “Today‚Äôs massive fine underscores the extent of the fraud and the need for change at the company.”

The U.S. Justice Department has charged seven current and former VW executives with crimes related to the scandal. One executive is in custody and awaiting trial and another pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate. U.S. prosecutors said in January that five of the seven are believed to be in Germany. They have not been arraigned.

German prosecutors also are conducting a criminal probe of VW’s excess diesel emissions.

“We have worked tirelessly to address the misconduct that took place within our company and make things right for our affected customers,” the company said in a statement on Friday. “Volkswagen today is not the same company it was 19 months ago.”

(Reporting by Nick Carey in Detroit and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Dan Grebler and Andrew Hay)