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Daily Archives: October 30, 2013

Treasury Department’s Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies

“The U.S. Department of the Treasury today released the Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies that is required under Section 3005 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988. The Report covers international economic and foreign exchange developments in the first half of 2013 and, where pertinent and available, data through end-September 2013. Section 3004 requires Treasury to consider whether countries manipulate the rate of exchange between their currency and the United States dollar for purposes of preventing effective balance of payments adjustments or gaining unfair competitive advantage in international trade. Based on the analysis in this report, Treasury has concluded that the standard identified in Section 3004 of the Act has not been met with respect to any of the countries covered in this Report for the period evaluated. According to the report, there has been some progress on the goal of achieving strong, sustainable and balanced growth and the necessary exchange rate adjustments, but the record is mixed, and further progress is needed. The RMB [renminbi] is appreciating, but not as fast or by as much as is needed. Treasury will carefully monitor the pace of RMB appreciation in China, and press for further policy changes consistent with market determination of the exchange rate, minimizing intervention, transparency with respect to intervention, and a level playing field for American workers and businesses. From June 2010, when China moved off its peg against the dollar, through mid-October 2013, the RMB has appreciated by a total of 12 percent against the dollar and 16 percent in inflation-adjusted terms. China’s current account surplus has fallen from over 10 percent at its peak to 2.5 percent today. On the other hand, the evidence that China has resumed large-scale purchases of foreign exchange this year, despite having accumulated reserves that are more than sufficient by any measure, is suggestive of actions that are impeding market determination and a currency that is significantly undervalued.”

New GAO Reports – Aviation Safety, Health Care Fraud, Homeland Security, Defense Acquisitions, Financial Crime, TARP

AVIATION SAFETY – Status of Recommendations to Improve FAA’s Certification and Approval Processes, GAO-14-142T, Oct 30, 2013 FEDERAL PROTECTIVE SERVICE – Challenges with Oversight of Contract Guard Program Still Exist, and Additional Management Controls Are Needed, GAO-13-694, Sep 17, 2013 HEALTH CARE FRAUD AND ABUSE CONTROL PROGRAM – Indicators Provide Information on Program Accomplishments, but Assessing Program Effectiveness isContinue Reading

Uniform Agreement on the Classification and Appraisal of Securities Held by Financial Institutions

Financial Institution Letter – FIL-51-2013 – October 29, 2013: “The FDIC and the other federal banking agencies are issuing the attached joint statement to update and revise the 2004 Uniform Agreement on the Classification of Assets and Appraisal of Securities Held by Banks and Thrifts (2004 Agreement). The statement reiterates the importance of a robust investment analysis process and theContinue Reading

BLS – Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2012

“In 2012, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $691. On average in 2012, women made about 81 percent of the median earnings of male full-time wage and salary workers ($854). In 1979, the first year for which comparable earnings data are available, women earned 62 percent of  what men earned.  This October 2013 report presents data highlightsContinue Reading

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

CRS – Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, Kenneth Katzman – Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs – October 23, 2013 “The United States and its partner countries are reducing military involvement in Afghanistan as  Afghan security forces assume lead security responsibility throughout the country. The current  international security mission will terminate at the end of 2014 and likelyContinue Reading

CRS – Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources

Cybersecurity:  Authoritative Reports and Resources – Rita Tehan, Information Research Specialist. October 25, 2013 “Cybersecurity is a sprawling topic that includes national, international, government, and private  industry dimensions. In the 113th Congress, 5 bills have been introduced in the Senate and 7 in the House. More than 40 bills and resolutions with provisions related to cybersecurity were introduced inContinue Reading

Towers Watson Report – Extreme Risks 2013

News release: Focus on the extreme risks ‘that can kill you’ Towers Watson warns institutional investors: “Towers Watson’s extreme risks ranking has a new top three: Food/water/energy crisis, Stagnation and Global temperature change – while Sovereign default and Insurance crisis have both fallen five places and Depression loses the top spot for the first time sinceContinue Reading

WaPo – NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide

Snowden documents how NSA and GCHQ are copying entire data flows across fiber-optic cables that carry information between the data centers of the Silicon Valley giants – by Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani “The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world,Continue Reading

Mastering the building blocks of strategy

Increase your likelihood of developing effective strategies through an approach that’s thorough, action-oriented, and comfortable with debate and ambiguity. by Chris Bradley, Angus Dawson, and Antoine Montard | October 2013 “Left unchecked, market forces continually conspire to deplete profits. Powerful business strategies can counteract those tendencies, but good strategy is difficult to formulate.Indeed, the latest McKinsey researchContinue Reading

Countercyclical Policy and the Speed of Recovery After Recessions

Countercyclical Policy and the Speed of Recovery After Recessions – Working Paper 2013-032A by Neville Francis, Laura E. Jackson, and Michael T. Owyang, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. October 22, 2013 “The nature of the business cycle appears to have changed. Prior to the 1990s, recoveries from recessions were quick and steep; after the past three recessions, however,Continue Reading