International Monetary Fund

    The IMF on Oct. 29 raised its outlook for growth in Asia for this year and next, reflecting the region's rapid rebound from the depths of the global downturn in recent months. Asia as a whole, including Japan, Australia and New Zealand, is set to manage growth of 2.8 percent this year, and 5.8 percent in 2010 - in both cases about one and a half percentage points more than the IMF's projection in May. "Just as the US downturn triggered an outsized fall in Asia's G.D.P. because international trade and finance froze, now their normalization is generating an outsized Asian upturn. For this reason, the rebound in economic activity has been fastest in the export-dependent Asian economies that were hit most severely at the end of 2008," the Fund said in its regional economic outlook for Asia and the Pacific region.

    The IMF has warned Ukraine that it might freeze assistance ahead of January's presidential election if populist wage and pension increases are introduced. The warning comes as fears grow that Ukraine could sink deeper into political turmoil. The IMF demanded that Ukraine's government veto a wage and pension law passed last week by the country's parliament, saying it was at odds with an IMF support program. The IMF said Ukraine's economic and financial situation was "stabilizing" under the support program, but "corrective actions" were needed. It said these corrective measures were agreed with Ukrainian leaders but did not spell them out, besides noting the wage law veto. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has said the wage increases bill was like placing "an atom bomb under the finances of the country" and has called for the law's veto by President Viktor Yushchenko.

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