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ERM II stirs up Prague’s quiet man

August 2, 2004

Sitting over lunch within view of Prague’s landmark Charles Bridge, Zdenek Tuma, the 44-year old Czech central bank governor, uncharacteristically lets rip.
“Two years is a nonsense, yes a nonsense!” he exclaims, speaking about the need for the Czech koruna to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II) for 24 months in order to ultimately join the euro.
He is not alone in his dislike of this condition of entry. Many other accession country central bank governors share his views.

BoE reforms sterling markets

August 2, 2004

The Bank of England isproposing reform of the sterling money markets in a bid to reduce the volatility of short-term interest rates. In what the bank says are the “most far reaching reforms for a quarter of a century or more”, it will replace the present system, which involves frequent bank intervention to stabilise rates, with an arrangement modelled on best practice that should minimise interest rate swings.

Reserve Bank of India ruling dismays bankers and investors

August 2, 2004

A proposed policy on ownership rules for Indian private banks put out by the Indian central bank on July 2 has left bankers and investors dismayed.
To ensure that ownership and control of private banks is as diverse as possible, the Reserve Bank of India, the central bank, proposes to limit ownership by a single investor or corporate group to 10% of the paid-up capital of the bank.

Mexican bank accord eases bad debt spat

August 2, 2004

One of the thorniest chapters of Mexico’s 1994-95 financial meltdown may be closing. In mid-July, four of the country’s biggest foreign-owned banks – Citigroup-controlled Banamex, HSBC of the UK, BBVA Bancomer, the local unit of Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, and Mexican-run Banorte – agreed to absorb nearly $830m in bad loans that the government took on in return for bonds in order to help save the banks following the peso crash.

New money laundering rules lead to chaos in Russian bank system

August 2, 2004

Russians have seen it all before; when the queues began to form outside banks that were refusing to pay out last month, panic began to set in.
A bank crisis that started in May with the closure of medium-sized Sodbiznesbank threatened to spin out of control after the large retail bank, Guta Bank, closed its doors and a run started on accounts at Alfa Bank, one of the two biggest commercial banks in Russia.

Italian debt rating downgrade comes not a moment too soon

August 2, 2004

Political infighting among four-member coalition underscores the need for structural reforms and perhaps a new government.
The Standard & Poor’s downgrade of Italian debt to AA- is long overdue. The only wonder is that the other rating agencies have yet to jump on board.

Merger marks Japan’s reform progress

August 2, 2004

Last month’s proposal of marriage between MTFG and UFJ would create the largest bank in Japan, but it will only be positive news if the two businesses can be integrated, writes Geraldine Lambe
For the Japanese banking system, recuperation has been a long and painful process. It is only now, after more than a decade of despair, that Japan’s so-called mega-banks are ready to start performing as mega-banks should.

Crisis will hit China in the next decade

July 2, 2004

Professor Thomas A Pugel explains China’s forthcoming crisis, advisinIn almost any current discussion with government officials and executives of export-oriented companies in almost any country (except the US), the “China locomotive” phenomenon – the positive effects of the expanding Chinese economy – comes up. China’s growth probably will slow somewhat in the next year or two. But that will be nothing compared with the crisis likely to hit in the next decade.g policymakers to focus on the next decade.

Russian central bank’s tough stance causes jitters

July 2, 2004

THE CENTRAL BANK OF RUSSIA (CBR) sparked a mini banking crisis last month after it used new anti-money laundering laws for the first time to strip a bank of its licence.

Investment banker takes helm of Taiwan’s finance commission

July 2, 2004

Premier Yu Shyi-kun appointed Taiwan Sugar Corp chairman Kong Jaw-sheng to head Taiwan’s new Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), which will begin operation on July 1.

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