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Brazil Unveils Cuts as IMF Urges Fiscal Discipline

The IMF urged Brazil to get its fiscal house in order to emerge from five years of low growth as South America's largest economy Friday unveiled a package of budget cuts in a move to kickstart a recovery.

Brazil has lost ground since a period of high growth largely fueled by Chinese-led demand for commodities came to an end and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts GDP will contract by around 1.0 percent this year.

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Japan, S. Korea Financial Chiefs Resume Talks amid Diplomatic Row

Japan and South Korea on Saturday held the first dialogue of their financial chiefs in two and a half years, agreeing to improve economic ties despite diplomatic frictions between the two Asian countries.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso and his South Korean counterpart Choi Kyung-Hwan held a one-day meeting in Tokyo, the first since November 2012 and since conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December that year.

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Bank of England Admits to Researching 'Brexit' Risks

The Bank of England revealed Friday that it is researching the economic risks of Britain leaving the European Union, just as Prime Minister David Cameron began negotiations with EU leaders ahead of a referendum on membership.

The central bank study, which could have a major impact on the debate over Britain's future within the bloc, was due to remain confidential but details were accidentally emailed to an editor at The Guardian newspaper.

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China-Backed Infrastructure Bank Operational by End-2015

The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will be operational by the end of this year, prospective founding members said Friday after a three-day meeting in Singapore to discuss policies. 

The chief negotiators' meeting involving the AIIB's 57 prospective members "concluded discussions and finalized the articles of agreement for the AIIB," said a statement by the bank's interim multilateral secretariat. 

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Merkel Says Still 'a Lot to Do' for Greek Debt Deal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday there was still a lot of work needed to reach agreement with Greece on its debt bailout, as tortuous talks drag on amid fears Athens could run out of money.

The government of Greek leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is locked in talks to obtain fresh funding with international creditors who are demanding more tough austerity measures in return.

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Australia Urged to Fix Transport Systems or Face Gridlock

Australia must pour more money into transport systems or risk gridlock in its biggest cities costing more than Aus$53 billion (U.S.$42 billion) a year, an infrastructure audit published Friday found.

Road congestion across Australia's six largest cities, particularly in Sydney, cost the vast country some Aus$13.7 billion in 2011, the Infrastructure Australia report said.

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Bank of Japan Holds Fire on Stimulus after Upbeat GDP Data

The Bank of Japan on Friday held fire on launching more stimulus, days after official data showed the world's number three economy grew more than expected in the first quarter.

Policymakers kept the central bank's annual 80 trillion yen ($662 billion) monetary easing programme in place after a two-day meeting and investors will now be watching a briefing by governor Haruhiko Kuroda later in the day.

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French, German Leaders Hold Talks with Greek PM in Riga

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held "friendly and constructive" debt talks with the leaders of France and Germany Thursday, but gave no sign of a breakthrough ahead of a crucial June deadline.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and the Greek premier "focused on the desire to reach an agreement on the current program" to support Greece's finances, an aide to the French leader said.

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OECD: Record Gap between Rich and Poor

The gap between the rich and poor in most of the world's advanced economies is at record levels, according to an OECD study that also found glaring differences between men and women.

In most of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development the income gap is at its highest level in three decades, with the richest 10 percent of the population earning 9.6 times the income of the poorest 10 percent.

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Central Bankers, Economists to Take Long View at ECB Forum

Central bankers from across the world gather in Portugal on Thursday to try to see past pressing issues such as Greece and market turbulence, and take a longer view of the global economy. 

The European Central Bank has invited leading economists, academics, financial market players and central bankers from across the globe to a secluded luxury resort in Sintra, around 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Lisbon, for a three-day think-fest.

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