10 August 2010

Power and Policy Team Update (English)

Monetary policy decisions
The Bank of Japan agreed unanimously to leave its rates unchanged. (See the bank's statement.)
The Federal Reserve maintained the federal funds rate at 0-0.25%. The FT, among others, interpreted the decision and the statement as a) a downgrade in the Fed's economic outlook; b) a move towards monetary easing by "reinvesting proceeds from expiring mortgage-backed securities in longer-term Treasuries, thereby preventing a natural shrinking" of the central bank's balance sheet. (Read the Fed's statement.)

Afghanistan civilian deaths
The first six months of 2010 have seen an increase of 31% in conflict-related civilian deaths compared to the same period in 2009, according to a United Nations report published today. According to the report, two critical developments increased harm against civilians: anti-government elements (AGEs) "used a greater number of larger and more sophisticated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) throughout the country; and, the number of civilians assassinated and executed by AGEs rose by more than 95 per cent and included public executions of children." (Hat tip: NYT)

The World Health Organization declared on Tuesday that the H1N1 influenza pandemic is officially over. The H1N1 virus killed 18, 499 people. (We read this in this LA Times article.)

Colombia and Venezuela restore diplomatic ties
Hugo Chávez went to Colombia, met with Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia's new president, and they restored diplomatic relations. Chávez had broken ties with Colombia when the latter formally accused Venezuela of supporting leftist Colombian guerrillas, less than a month ago. (See the video of Santos' statement.)

Patrick Signoret and Isabel Gil

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