News from Around the World

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© Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

EU ready to offer limited support to Theresa May on Brexit deal

Leo Varadkar, Irish prime minister, has confirmed the EU is ready to provide new “written guarantees, explanations and assurances” to help Theresa May surmount huge opposition to her Brexit deal in the House of Commons next week.

Mr Varadkar’s comments will give Mrs May hope, but many MPs are demanding legal guarantees that the so-called Irish backstop— which would create a “temporary” EU/UK customs union to avoid a hard border in Ireland — will not be a permanent arrangement.

Jim Yong Kim Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim Announces He Is Stepping Down

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announces he is stepping down at the end of January.

Architect of the Capitol

What to watch in US Congress in 2019

WASHINGTON — On Capitol Hill, the new year brings with it new leadership of key committees, a divided Congress, a few development-related bills likely to be considered, and a fair amount of uncertainty about what’s in store after a period of bipartisan cooperation on development issues.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, left, and Colette Bowe © AFP/Bloomberg

Bank of England’s gender diversity boosted by double appointment

The Bank of England’s gender diversity has been boosted by the appointment of two of the most senior women in British banking as external members of the committee that tries to spot and mitigate threats to UK financial stability.

Colette Bowe and Jayne-Anne Gadhia are to join the BoE’s Financial Policy Committee, the Treasury said on Thursday.

The central bank has come under parliamentary scrutiny recently for the dearth of women in its most senior ranks, partly because it currently has no female deputy governors.

Asylum seekers in Tlaquepaque, Mexico. Photo by: Daniel Arauz / CC BY

Facing harsh realities, the global development community confronts another fraught year

EL PASO, Texas — On the U.S.-Mexico border, the dysfunctional politics of aid today are starkly apparent.

EU officials hope market forces will boost some U.S. exports, such as soybeans, providing breathing room as talks continue. Bags of corn and soybeans at Gingerich Farms in Lovington, Ill. DANIEL ACKER/BLOOMBERG NEWS

EU’s High Trade Surplus With the U.S. Poses Risk to 2018 Tariff Truce

BRUSSELS—The European Union narrowly avoided a bruising economic war with the U.S. in 2018 by vowing to rebalance trade. In 2019, the EU faces headwinds to fulfilling its promise and satisfying President Trump’s demands.

Venezuelan migrants queue up for free bread in Colombia. Venezuela's imploding economy has led to a exodus of its people © AP

Latin America: the year that was and the year to come

This is the last LatAm Viva of the year — and what a year it has been. From all-change in the Brazilian and Mexican presidential elections, to the IMF’s biggest-ever bailout package in Argentina or Latin America’s worst refugee crisis in Venezuela.

The word “tumultuous” hardly does the year justice. What might 2019 hold? Standing at its eve, I’m anticipating:

● More smoke than fire in Brazil as President Jair Bolsonaro struggles to manage Congress and his programme falls short of many investors’ high expectations


IDB appoints Brian O'Neill as new executive vice president and COO

WASHINGTON — The Inter-American Development Bank has named former U.S. Treasury official Brian O’Neill to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer.

O’Neill was approved by the IDB Board of Directors on Dec. 14 and will begin his new role in January. He has over 40 years of experience in banking in Latin America, most recently as a senior advisor at Lazard, an international financial advisory and asset management firm. He served as acting U.S. director at the IDB for five months in 2008.


Prepare for a synchronised global economic slowdown in 2019

It is that time of year when, if you’ve behaved very well and eaten all your Brussels sprouts, elves deliver 2019 macro and markets outlooks to your inbox. Last year, most heralded 2018 as the year of synchronised global growth. The theme did not really pan out, as US expansion far outstripped that of most developed economies thanks to fiscal stimulus.

The world is fixated on the past

Politicians have always exploited the past. But just now, rich countries and emerging economies are experiencing an outbreak of nostalgia. Right and left, democracies and autocracies, all are harking back to the glories of yesteryear. Even as President Donald Trump vows to “Make America great again”, President Xi Jinping is using his “Chinese dream” to banish a century of humiliation and return China to its golden age. Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has a mission to withstand global capitalism and restore his country’s economic sovereignty.