IMF Reaches Deal with Ukraine on New $4 Billion, 14-Month Loan

The International Monetary Fund announced Friday it had reached an agreement with Ukraine on economic policies that would unlock a new loan deal that will provide nearly $4 billion.

The new 14-month standby loan deal replaces an existing four-year financial aid package agreed in March 2015 and due to expire in five months, the IMF said in a statement.

The agreement must be approved by the IMF board, which will come later in the year after authorities in Kyiv approve a 2019 budget “consistent with IMF staff recommendations and an increase in household gas and heating tariffs,” a step the government had agreed on but never implemented.

But the deal also stresses the need for “continuing to protect low-income households.”

Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman had been seeking the additional financing from the Washington-based lender to help his crisis-hit nation.

Groysman on Friday announced a gas price increase of 23.5 percent to take effect November 1.

He said the “incredible efforts” of Ukrainian negotiators managed to reach a compromise with the IMF and reduce the initial demand to raise prices by 60 percent.

“If we are not able to continue cooperation with our international partners … this could lead to the country being put into default,” he said.

Ukraine has not received any money from the IMF since April 2017, when the fund released $1 billion for the cash-strapped country to repay loans. It had received less than $9 billion of the original $17.5 billion package.

Talks on economic reform measures that would satisfy IMF requirements and allow the release of further aid had been hung up for months, as the fund awaited the government’s approval of a budget, pension reform and an anti-corruption court.

A gas price hike is a sensitive issue for the cash-strapped country as its pro-Western leadership faces presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019.

The IMF said the new loan “will provide an anchor for the authorities’ economic policies during 2019.”

Building on progress under the previous financing package, the loan will “focus in particular on continuing with fiscal consolidation and reducing inflation, as well as reforms to strengthen tax administration, the financial sector and the energy sector,” the IMF said.

An IMF lifeline helped the country to recover from crises sparked by a Russian-backed war in the separatist industrial east that began in April 2014 and has claimed more than 10,000 lives.

The loss of industries in the war zone and flight of foreign investors saw the former Soviet republic’s economy shrink by 17 percent in 2014-2015.

The IMF now forecasts the economy will grow by 3.5 percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2019.

Following the announcement, debt rating agency Standard and Poor’s affirmed the country’s credit score at “B-” with a stable outlook.

“We expect the new arrangement will aid Ukraine’s efforts to cover sizable external debt obligations maturing next year, and also help to anchor macroeconomic policies through the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections,” S&P said in a statement.

The IMF loan is also likely to unlock credit from other international donors, the ratings agency said.

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IMF Reaches Deal with Ukraine on New $4 Billion, 14-Month Loan

The International Monetary Fund announced Friday it had reached an agreement with Ukraine on economic policies that would unlock a new loan deal that will provide nearly $4 billion.

The new 14-month standby loan deal replaces an existing four-year financial aid package agreed in March 2015 and due to expire in five months, the IMF said in a statement.

The agreement must be approved by the IMF board, which will come later in the year after authorities in Kyiv approve a 2019 budget “consistent with IMF staff recommendations and an increase in household gas and heating tariffs,” a step the government had agreed on but never implemented.

But the deal also stresses the need for “continuing to protect low-income households.”

Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman had been seeking the additional financing from the Washington-based lender to help his crisis-hit nation.

Groysman on Friday announced a gas price increase of 23.5 percent to take effect November 1.

He said the “incredible efforts” of Ukrainian negotiators managed to reach a compromise with the IMF and reduce the initial demand to raise prices by 60 percent.

“If we are not able to continue cooperation with our international partners … this could lead to the country being put into default,” he said.

Ukraine has not received any money from the IMF since April 2017, when the fund released $1 billion for the cash-strapped country to repay loans. It had received less than $9 billion of the original $17.5 billion package.

Talks on economic reform measures that would satisfy IMF requirements and allow the release of further aid had been hung up for months, as the fund awaited the government’s approval of a budget, pension reform and an anti-corruption court.

A gas price hike is a sensitive issue for the cash-strapped country as its pro-Western leadership faces presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019.

The IMF said the new loan “will provide an anchor for the authorities’ economic policies during 2019.”

Building on progress under the previous financing package, the loan will “focus in particular on continuing with fiscal consolidation and reducing inflation, as well as reforms to strengthen tax administration, the financial sector and the energy sector,” the IMF said.

An IMF lifeline helped the country to recover from crises sparked by a Russian-backed war in the separatist industrial east that began in April 2014 and has claimed more than 10,000 lives.

The loss of industries in the war zone and flight of foreign investors saw the former Soviet republic’s economy shrink by 17 percent in 2014-2015.

The IMF now forecasts the economy will grow by 3.5 percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2019.

Following the announcement, debt rating agency Standard and Poor’s affirmed the country’s credit score at “B-” with a stable outlook.

“We expect the new arrangement will aid Ukraine’s efforts to cover sizable external debt obligations maturing next year, and also help to anchor macroeconomic policies through the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections,” S&P said in a statement.

The IMF loan is also likely to unlock credit from other international donors, the ratings agency said.

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Financial Watchdog: Regulate Cryptocurrencies Now, Or Else

A global financial body says governments worldwide must establish rules for virtual currencies like bitcoin to stop criminals from using them to launder money or finance terrorism.

The Financial Action Task Force said Friday that from next year it will start assessing whether countries are doing enough to fight criminal use of virtual currencies.

Countries that don’t could risk being effectively put on a “gray list” by the FATF, which can scare away investors.

Marshall Billingslea, an assistant U.S. Treasury secretary who holds the FATF’s rotating leadership, said, “We’ve made clear today that every jurisdiction must establish” virtual currency rules. “It’s no longer optional.”

The FATF described how the Islamic State group and al-Qaida have used virtual currencies.

Financial regulators worldwide have struggled to deal with the rise of electronic alternatives to traditional money.

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Financial Watchdog: Regulate Cryptocurrencies Now, Or Else

A global financial body says governments worldwide must establish rules for virtual currencies like bitcoin to stop criminals from using them to launder money or finance terrorism.

The Financial Action Task Force said Friday that from next year it will start assessing whether countries are doing enough to fight criminal use of virtual currencies.

Countries that don’t could risk being effectively put on a “gray list” by the FATF, which can scare away investors.

Marshall Billingslea, an assistant U.S. Treasury secretary who holds the FATF’s rotating leadership, said, “We’ve made clear today that every jurisdiction must establish” virtual currency rules. “It’s no longer optional.”

The FATF described how the Islamic State group and al-Qaida have used virtual currencies.

Financial regulators worldwide have struggled to deal with the rise of electronic alternatives to traditional money.

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Women-to-Women Business Fund Comes to Britain

A women-to-women investment fund is coming to Britain next month to boost financing for female-owned businesses, its founder said Thursday, as efforts grow to close the gender investing gap.

SheEO has lent more than $2 million to 32 female social entrepreneurs in the United States, Canada and New Zealand to grow their businesses since 2015 in an attempt to address a global gender investment gap.

“Most of the people writing checks and investing are men,” founder Vicki Saunders told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “SheEO wants to fund female innovators with great ideas to create stronger communities and a better world.”

Support for female entrepreneurs

It is the latest venture to support female entrepreneurs around the world, who often face more obstacles than men, including a lack of access to finance, business networks, international markets and role models.

Three out of 10 U.S. businesses are owned by women but they only receive $1 in investment for every $23 that goes to male-led businesses, the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee found in 2014.

A Goldman Sachs-World Bank Group partnership to provide capital to women entrepreneurs in emerging markets reached $1 billion in investments in May.

How it works

SheEO brings together 500 women each year who contribute $1,100 each, which they pool and lend, interest-free, to five women-led businesses of their choice.

The loans are paid back over five years and then loaned out again, creating a perpetual fund that SheEO hopes will grow to $1 billion, with 1 million investors supporting 10,000 women-led ventures.

More than 300 women in Britain wrote to SheEO asking it to launch there, Saunders said ahead of a visit to London where she hopes that 500 female investors will come on board.

Workplace gender equality is in the spotlight in Britain, where just 6 percent of the biggest publicly listed companies are headed by women and pay disparities were revealed at major institutions last year.

Twenty One Toys founder Ilana Ben-Ari, one of the first to get SheEO funding in 2015, said it changed her business, enabling her to push ahead with production and hire staff to help with a stressful workload. Her revenue has now doubled.

“It was easy to get my foot in the door and have a meeting but it was near impossible to have a serious conversation about my business,” she said, describing her efforts to get financing from venture capitalists. “Halfway through that meeting you find out — this isn’t a meeting, this is a date.”

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Women-to-Women Business Fund Comes to Britain

A women-to-women investment fund is coming to Britain next month to boost financing for female-owned businesses, its founder said Thursday, as efforts grow to close the gender investing gap.

SheEO has lent more than $2 million to 32 female social entrepreneurs in the United States, Canada and New Zealand to grow their businesses since 2015 in an attempt to address a global gender investment gap.

“Most of the people writing checks and investing are men,” founder Vicki Saunders told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “SheEO wants to fund female innovators with great ideas to create stronger communities and a better world.”

Support for female entrepreneurs

It is the latest venture to support female entrepreneurs around the world, who often face more obstacles than men, including a lack of access to finance, business networks, international markets and role models.

Three out of 10 U.S. businesses are owned by women but they only receive $1 in investment for every $23 that goes to male-led businesses, the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee found in 2014.

A Goldman Sachs-World Bank Group partnership to provide capital to women entrepreneurs in emerging markets reached $1 billion in investments in May.

How it works

SheEO brings together 500 women each year who contribute $1,100 each, which they pool and lend, interest-free, to five women-led businesses of their choice.

The loans are paid back over five years and then loaned out again, creating a perpetual fund that SheEO hopes will grow to $1 billion, with 1 million investors supporting 10,000 women-led ventures.

More than 300 women in Britain wrote to SheEO asking it to launch there, Saunders said ahead of a visit to London where she hopes that 500 female investors will come on board.

Workplace gender equality is in the spotlight in Britain, where just 6 percent of the biggest publicly listed companies are headed by women and pay disparities were revealed at major institutions last year.

Twenty One Toys founder Ilana Ben-Ari, one of the first to get SheEO funding in 2015, said it changed her business, enabling her to push ahead with production and hire staff to help with a stressful workload. Her revenue has now doubled.

“It was easy to get my foot in the door and have a meeting but it was near impossible to have a serious conversation about my business,” she said, describing her efforts to get financing from venture capitalists. “Halfway through that meeting you find out — this isn’t a meeting, this is a date.”

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

US Stocks Slide on Saudi Arabia, Italy Concerns

U.S. stocks fell more than 1 percent on Thursday as the European Commission issued a warning regarding Italy’s budget and concerns mounted about the possibility of strained relations between the United States and

Saudi Arabia.

S&P 500 technology stocks fell more than 2 percent, as did the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Wall Street’s major indexes pared early losses in morning trading but reversed course to fall further as European markets closed. Italian bond yields jumped after the European Commission deemed the country’s 2019 budget draft to be in breach of EU rules.

U.S. stocks declined further after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pulled out of an investor conference in Saudi Arabia as the White House awaited the outcome of investigations into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“It’s a function of a lot of things coalescing into a concern,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Pittsburgh. “The market continues to struggle in the aftermath of the bigger drawdown a week ago.”

Mnuchin’s decision sparked worries of potential strain in U.S.-Saudi relations, especially if Saudi leaders were found to have been involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance. Investors raised concern that if Saudi Arabia were sanctioned, it could restrict oil supply, prompting a rise in energy prices.

Shares of military contractors such as Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. also fell on concerns that U.S. lawmakers may block arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

U.S. stocks had opened lower as weak earnings reports from companies such as Cessna business jet maker Textron Inc. and equipment rental company United Rentals Inc. raised concerns about the impact of tariffs, climbing borrowing costs and rising wages on corporate profits.

Textron shares fell 10.8 percent and United Rentals shares sank 14.7 percent, while Sealed Air Corp. shares slid 8.7 percent after the packaging company cut its full-year profit outlook because of higher raw material and freight costs.

Worries about rising interest rates following Wednesday’s release of the Federal Open Market Committee’s minutes from its September meeting also pressured U.S. stocks.

“The market is coming to grips with the reality that the Fed may make financial conditions a little tighter than they originally thought,” said Paul Zemsky, chief investment officer of multi-asset strategies and solutions at Voya Investment Management in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 417.17 points, or 1.62 percent, to 25,289.51; the S&P 500 lost 47.59 points, or 1.69 percent, to 2,761.62; and the Nasdaq composite dropped 168.31 points, or 2.2 percent, to 7,474.39.

Among the few bright spots was Philip Morris International Inc., which rose 3.4 percent after the Marlboro cigarette maker topped analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit and sales.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a

3.72-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.43-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

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US Stocks Slide on Saudi Arabia, Italy Concerns

U.S. stocks fell more than 1 percent on Thursday as the European Commission issued a warning regarding Italy’s budget and concerns mounted about the possibility of strained relations between the United States and

Saudi Arabia.

S&P 500 technology stocks fell more than 2 percent, as did the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Wall Street’s major indexes pared early losses in morning trading but reversed course to fall further as European markets closed. Italian bond yields jumped after the European Commission deemed the country’s 2019 budget draft to be in breach of EU rules.

U.S. stocks declined further after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pulled out of an investor conference in Saudi Arabia as the White House awaited the outcome of investigations into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“It’s a function of a lot of things coalescing into a concern,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Pittsburgh. “The market continues to struggle in the aftermath of the bigger drawdown a week ago.”

Mnuchin’s decision sparked worries of potential strain in U.S.-Saudi relations, especially if Saudi leaders were found to have been involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance. Investors raised concern that if Saudi Arabia were sanctioned, it could restrict oil supply, prompting a rise in energy prices.

Shares of military contractors such as Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. also fell on concerns that U.S. lawmakers may block arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

U.S. stocks had opened lower as weak earnings reports from companies such as Cessna business jet maker Textron Inc. and equipment rental company United Rentals Inc. raised concerns about the impact of tariffs, climbing borrowing costs and rising wages on corporate profits.

Textron shares fell 10.8 percent and United Rentals shares sank 14.7 percent, while Sealed Air Corp. shares slid 8.7 percent after the packaging company cut its full-year profit outlook because of higher raw material and freight costs.

Worries about rising interest rates following Wednesday’s release of the Federal Open Market Committee’s minutes from its September meeting also pressured U.S. stocks.

“The market is coming to grips with the reality that the Fed may make financial conditions a little tighter than they originally thought,” said Paul Zemsky, chief investment officer of multi-asset strategies and solutions at Voya Investment Management in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 417.17 points, or 1.62 percent, to 25,289.51; the S&P 500 lost 47.59 points, or 1.69 percent, to 2,761.62; and the Nasdaq composite dropped 168.31 points, or 2.2 percent, to 7,474.39.

Among the few bright spots was Philip Morris International Inc., which rose 3.4 percent after the Marlboro cigarette maker topped analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit and sales.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a

3.72-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.43-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

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