Guatemala’s ex-economy minister charged in money-laundering scheme involving Miami companies

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MIAMI – Former Guatemala economy minister regularly received backpacks, duffel bags, and briefcases full of dirty money, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

At least two Miami companies, a Guatemalan bank, banks in the U.S. were involved in the $9.5 million money-laundering scheme, according to FBI Special Agent Paul J. West.

“During holiday season, cash was delivered clandestinely in boxes of liquor designed to look like holiday gifts,” West said during a deposition.

Acisclo Valladares, a Guatemalan attorney who studied at Georgetown University, was sworn in as the Central American country’s economy minister in 2018.

the 44-year-old son of Guatemala’s ambassador to the United Kingdom and a father of four, knew the money came from narcotrafficking and used it to help bribe corrupt politicians in Guatemala, prosecutors said.

Valladares’s demand for bribe cash “was allegedly so great, he allegedly once remarked to a co-conspirator

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Dollar Squeeze Chokes Nigeria’s Economy as Recession Looms

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(Bloomberg) — Nigeria’s foreign-currency shortage is squeezing the life out of Africa’s biggest economy.



a group of people in a city: Stalls selling textiles, consumer goods and electronics line an area of Utako Ultra Modern market in Abuja, Nigeria on June 3.


© Bloomberg
Stalls selling textiles, consumer goods and electronics line an area of Utako Ultra Modern market in Abuja, Nigeria on June 3.

Banks won’t honor card payments, foreign investors can’t get their money out and manufacturers are unable to import vital raw materials as output hurtles toward a second contraction in four years.

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Dependent on oil exports for half of its revenue, the Nigerian government’s coffers have emptied after crude prices plunged in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. There’s little prospect of a respite any time soon: it needs oil prices of $70 per barrel and production of 2 million barrels a day to balance its budget, but prices are hovering around $40 and OPEC curbs have restricted the nation’s output to about 1.4 million barrels a day.

The evaporation of foreign

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Japanese Economy Struggles With Recessions

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Japanese GDP shrank by an annualized 27.8 percent in Q2 of 2020, marking the third consecutive quarter of negative growth and the biggest decline on record. In fact, the Japanese economy has been no stranger to recessions even before the coronavirus outbreak.

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The country experienced three albeit milder recessions between the COVID-19 pandemic and the global financial crisis (when looking at quarter-on-quarter growth). The first was caused by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, while the other two and single negative growth quarters can be chalked up to the long period of stagnation the Japanese economy has found itself in since its asset price bubble burst in the 1990s.

In the aftermath of the crisis, Japan amassed a mountain of debt that it carries to this day. An aging population and a shrinking consumer market are other factors making it hard to revive the

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Post-COVID-19 economy will put people back to work, but it won’t be in all the same jobs: Don Pittis

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a sign on a wooden pole: Real estate data later today from the Canadian Real Estate Association is expected to show persistent strength, but post-recovery employment will depend on a different set of jobs.


Real estate data later today from the Canadian Real Estate Association is expected to show persistent strength, but post-recovery employment will depend on a different set of jobs.

Propelled by sharp cuts in interest rates, so far it seems the housing market and the jobs it generates will continue to be a linchpin of the Canadian economy.

While many credible voices, including Evan Siddall at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, have warned we may be setting ourselves up for a fall, home sales and construction show few signs of slumping in Canada’s hottest markets.

Today’s latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association will provide a clearer picture, but if housing persists throughout the current pandemic as prime job creator, it may be a special case.

Just as industries renew themselves through the process of creative destruction during economic downturns, research conducted long before the current crisis indicates that

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Spotlight on Indonesia’s slow stimulus as economy shrinks

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JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s efforts to support its economy through the coronavirus crisis were being hampered by the slow disbursement of a $50 billion stimulus plan, economists said.The World Bank and Indonesian government have warned that millions more people risk being plunged into poverty amid the pandemic, as data showed the economy shrank for the first time since 1999 in the second quarter.

Volunteers prepare boxes of food aid to be distributed to families during the coronavirus crisis in Jakarta, Indonesia, August 3, 2020. Picture taken August 3, 2020. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Five months after its launch, only 22.4% of the stimulus had been spent. The package had been split between health and economic recovery programmes ranging from corporate tax exemptions to food and cash aid for households.

David Sumual, Bank Central Asia’s chief economist, said that unless the stimulus was disbursed faster the economy risked contracting this year for the

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Argentina must fix economy after debt deal

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By Cassandra Garrison and Eliana Raszewski



a close up of a sign: FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian wearing a face mask walks past posters on the street that read "No to the payment of the debt. Break with the IMF", in Buenos Aires


© Reuters/Agustin Marcarian
FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian wearing a face mask walks past posters on the street that read “No to the payment of the debt. Break with the IMF”, in Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – It took months of tough talks for Argentina to reach agreement on restructuring $65 billion in debt. Now, economists and policymakers say, the real work begins: reviving Latin America’s No. 3 economy from its currency and fiscal crises.



Alberto Fernández wearing a suit and tie: FILE PHOTO: Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez looks on durring the session of the 138th legislative term at the National Congress in Buenos Aires


© Reuters/Agustin Marcarian
FILE PHOTO: Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez looks on durring the session of the 138th legislative term at the National Congress in Buenos Aires

Though both government and creditors celebrated Tuesday’s deal that should help Argentina avert a messy default, it still faces a 10%-plus contraction this year, an over-valued peso, spiking poverty and a deep fiscal hole.



a man looking at a screen: FILE PHOTO: Argentine Economy Minister Martin Guzman gestures during an interview with Reuters, in Buenos Aires


© Reuters/Agustin Marcarian
FILE PHOTO: Argentine Economy Minister Martin

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More businesses will tap Fed loan programme if economy worsens, Rosengren says

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Eric S. Rosengren wearing a suit and tie: FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's President and CEO Eric S. Rosengren speaks in New York


© Reuters/Keith Bedford
FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s President and CEO Eric S. Rosengren speaks in New York

By Jonnelle Marte

(Reuters) – A key Federal Reserve official told a congressional watchdog on Friday that participation in a $600 billion (460 billion pounds) loan programme meant to carry small and medium-sized firms through the coronavirus crisis would expand rapidly if the pandemic or economy worsened.

American businesses have tapped only a fraction of the funds available through the Main Street Lending Program launched by the U.S. central bank last month, spurring criticism the program was too restrictive and set up too late to help employers.

“Should the pandemic and the economy worsen, or financial institutions experience larger-than-expected loan losses and depletion of capital – all things we hope do not happen – then I would expect interest in using this program to expand more rapidly,” Boston Fed

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Dow Turns Positive After U.S. Economy Adds Nearly 1.8 Million Jobs In July

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TOPLINE

The stock market was mixed on Friday, paring back earlier losses to finish positive despite a stronger-than-expected July jobs report being offset by rising U.S.-China tensions and “disappointing” coronavirus stimulus talks.

KEY FACTS

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.2%, around 50 points, on Friday, while the S&P 500 rose 0.1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 0.9%.

Stocks pared back early losses after the Labor Department released a better-than-expected monthly jobs report, which showed the U.S. economy adding 1.76 million jobs in July as some Americans who were laid off amid the coronavirus pandemic returned to work.

Not only did that beat Wall Street estimates, but the unemployment rate was also better than expected, falling from 11.1% to 10.2%. 

Although unemployment ticked down for the third straight month, July’s job report is well

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6 ways to boost your emergency fund in a pandemic economy

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As many of us grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of an emergency fund has come into sharp focus. But how do you save in a pandemic economy?



a baby sitting on a table: A father and daughter work together.


© Syda Productions/Shutterstock
A father and daughter work together.

While it’s not easy, there are some strategies you can follow to boost your emergency fund – even when you’re in the midst of a global pandemic. Here’s what you need to know.

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Why you need an emergency fund

Your emergency fund is how you protect your finances from the unexpected. Plus, a liquid emergency fund offers you freedom and flexibility.

“Cash liquidity matters in a stressful financial situation,” says Natalie Torres-Haddad, a financial wellness advocate and the host of the podcast Financially Savvy in 20 minutes. “It can take time to liquidate property and investments. When you need the cash, you need it now.”

Even a small amount can

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Yes, There’s Reason For Optimism On The Economy. Just Don’t Overdo It

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Chief Investment Officer at Cetera Financial Group (@CeteraFinancial). Find more insights at Cetera Investment Management (@CeteraIM)

Any forecast at the start of 2020 could not have predicted the unthinkable: that a global pandemic would threaten millions of lives and livelihoods and quickly lead to a staggering economic decline. In our own outlook early in the new year, I noted favorable trends ahead, such as continued but slower growth in GDP, a strong job market, positive consumer spending and confidence, and solid stock market performance. That seems like a different time now. The only things that still hold true from six months ago are the historically low interest rates and the looming election, though the economics and politics of the pandemic have intensified the discourse of this campaign season.

Now, months into the Covid-19 crisis, there are ongoing concerns in the face of unprecedented unemployment, the closing and

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