Indian finance minister says currency panic “unwarranted”

Economists are concerned that the US Federal Reserve will begin winding down its bond-buying scheme, which has helped fuel an investment splurge in Asia’s emerging markets. Since June 1 — after the US Fed signalled a tapering of its stimulus — overseas funds have pulled out nearly US$12 billion from India’s stock and debt markets. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government have been trying to stabilise the rupee for months by announcing measures such as hiking short-term interest rates and imposing capital controls. But the measures have failed to halt the plummet and this week the central bank changed tack, announcing it would inject 80 billion rupees (US$1.26 billion) into the banking system by buying back long-term government bonds.

Japan finance minister: no convincing reason to delay sales tax hike

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Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato TOKYO | Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:30am EDT TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Wednesday that he has not heard of any convincing reasons why the government should delay a sales tax hike planned for next year. Aso, speaking at a press conference, also reiterated his view that there is no reason for the government to reconsider its schedule for tax increases. Under a multi-party agreement last year, the tax is to rise to 8 percent from 5 percent next April and to 10 percent in October 2015 to pay for rising welfare costs. However, the government must certify that the economy is strong enough to withstand the pain of the tax hikes before making a final decision by October on whether to carry out the plan. (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Shinichi Saoshiro)


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