Economy

ROUNDUP: US seeks dramatic expansion of financial regulatory powers

US seeks dramatic expansion of financial regulatory powersWashington  - President Barack Obama's administration, in a massive overhaul of the US financial regulatory system, is seeking the power to keep watch on all types of financial firms and to seize failing companies integral to the health of the system.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled the plans in congressional testimony on Thursday, arguing that the current financial turmoil has proven the system is "too unstable and fragile" to be allowed to manage itself.

Obama in arm-twisting visit to Congress - prelude to budget battle

Obama in arm-twisting visit to Congress - prelude to budget battle Washington  - US President Barack Obama headed to Congress Wednesday for a meeting with his fellow Democratic Party lawmakers, some of whom have been skeptical of the administration's massive spending plans to help end the country's recession.

His visit came as the budget committees of both chambers in Congress began debating Obama's 2010 budget proposals - the first step in what is likely to be a prolonged battle over the president's spending priorities.

ROUNDUP: Some 80,000 jobs lost in France in February

Some 80,000 jobs lost in France in February Paris  - The French labour market shed nearly 80,000 jobs in February, the Labour Ministry announced on Wednesday.

As a result of the tenth consecutive monthly rise in French unemployment, more than 2.38 million active job-seekers are now registered as unemployed in France.

The announcement follows France's worst-ever monthly increase in unemployment in January, when more than 90,000 new jobless were registered.

The French government is predicting the loss of some 300,000 jobs for 2009, but many observers feel that this forecast is far too optimistic.

ROUNDUP: Dollar drops as Geithner sees greater role for IMF currency

Dollar drops as Geithner sees greater role for IMF currencyWashington  - US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sent the US currency tumbling Wednesday by saying he was open to enlarging the International Monetary Fund's currency reserves, but rallied again as he clarified the dollar will remain "the world's dominant reserve currency."

His comments at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York were in response to China's suggestion that a new global currency reserve should replace the dollar in order to guard against fluctuations in economic crises.

ROUNDUP: Dutch announce 6-billion-euro economic stimulus plan

Dutch announce 6-billion-euro economic stimulus planAmsterdam - The Dutch government on Wednesday announced a 6- billion-euro (8.1-billion-dollar) economic stimulus plan that will see investment followed by cost-cutting in 2011 to tackle the economic crisis.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, presenting the plan to parliament, said the funds would be spent over six years, primarily on infrastructure projects, unemployment prevention and sustainable energy over the next six years.

Serbia and IMF reach 4-billion-dollar loan deal

Serbia and IMF reach 4-billion-dollar loan deal Belgrade  - Serbia reached a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a three-billion-euro (4.06 billion dollars) loan over two years, Serbian Minister of economy Mladjan Dinkic said Wednesday.

"The agreement was reached and I expect it to be made public tomorrow by both Serbian government and the IMF," Dinkic told journalists and added that 2.2 billion euros of the loan will be used in 2009.

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