Fi­nance in brief

The Guardian Weekly - - Finance -

The In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund cut its growth fore­cast for the UK econ­omy af­ter a weak per­for­mance in the first three months of 2017. In its first down­grade for the UK since the EU ref­er­en­dum in June last year, the IMF said it ex­pected the Bri­tish econ­omy to ex­pand by 1.7% this year, 0.3 points lower than its April fore­cast. It con­trasted its gloomier out­look for the UK with a rosier fore­cast for the rest of the EU, with 2017 growth up­grades for the four big­gest eu­ro­zone coun­tries – Ger­many, France, Italy and Spain.

The Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank left its in­ter­est rate bench­marks and pol­icy state­ment un­changed. The de­ci­sion was an­nounced last Thurs­day af­ter a reg­u­lar meet­ing of the bank’s 25-mem­ber pol­icy coun­cil at its head­quar­ters in Frank­furt. The ECB said it will keep in­ject­ing €60bn ($69bn) into the econ­omy every month at least through the end of the year, and longer if nec­es­sary. In­vestors were watch­ing closely to see if the bank would drop lan­guage that the pur­chases could be in­creased or ex­tended.

The US ended a four-month ban on pas­sen­gers car­ry­ing lap­tops on­board US-bound flights from cer­tain air­ports in the Mid­dle East and North Africa. In March, the US banned large elec­tron­ics in cab­ins on flights from 10 air­ports in the Mid­dle East and North Africa be­cause of con­cerns that ex­plo­sives could be con­cealed in the de­vices taken on­board. The ban has been lifted on the nine air­lines af­fected – Emi­rates, Eti­had Air­ways, Qatar Air­ways, Turk­ish Air­lines, Saudi Ara­bian Air­lines, Royal Jor­da­nian, Kuwait Air­ways, Egyp­tAir and Royal Air Maroc.

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