ASUNCION (Reuters) – Paraguay’s Finance Minister Benigno López will step down from his ministry position in the next few days to take a senior role at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a government source told Reuters on Thursday.

The regional lender has picked Lopez as vice president for sectors and knowledge, according to a note seen by Reuters, which would involve a three-year term starting in mid-October.

The government source said López would be formally appointed to the IDB role in the coming days. The most likely replacement is former minister Ernst Bergen, the current Paraguayan head of the bi-national Itaipú hydroelectric dam.

López is the half-brother of Paraguayan President Mario Abdo and one of the government’s main advisers. Before being Minister of Finance, he was head of the pension authority and director of the central bank, where he worked for more than two decades.

An IDB spokesman said that the bank had no comment on specific appointments, but added that newly elected IBD head Mauricio Claver-Carone was putting together a new leadership team as part of his plans.

(Reporting by Daniela Desantis; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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By Daniela Desantis



a person sitting in front of a computer: FILE PHOTO: Paraguay's Finance Minister Benigno Lopez Benitez talks to Reuters, in Asuncion


© Reuters/JORGE ADORNO
FILE PHOTO: Paraguay’s Finance Minister Benigno Lopez Benitez talks to Reuters, in Asuncion

ASUNCION (Reuters) – Paraguay’s Finance Minister Benigno López will step down from his ministry position in the next few days to take a senior role at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a government source told Reuters on Thursday.

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The regional lender has picked Lopez as vice president for sectors and knowledge, according to a note seen by Reuters, which would involve a three-year term starting in mid-October.

The government source said López would be formally appointed to the IDB role in the coming days. The most likely replacement is former minister Ernst Bergen, the current Paraguayan head of the bi-national Itaipú hydroelectric dam.

López is the half-brother of Paraguayan President Mario Abdo and one of the government’s main advisers. Before being Minister of Finance, he was head of the pension authority and director of the central bank, where he worked for more than two decades.

The IDB did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

(Reporting by Daniela Desantis; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY, Oct 7 (Reuters)The Australian government will issue bonds worth A$240 billion ($170.4 billion) in the current financial year, surprisingly unchanged from earlier projections despite a massive increase in spending to bolster the coronavirus-ravaged economy.

The Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM), which manages the government’s debt, said on Wednesday the weekly bond tender would be between A$3 billion and A$4 billion in most weeks for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year, from A$4-A$5 billion now.

The AOFM added that A$117 billion of the A$240 billion expected issuances for the year-ending June 2021 has already been undertaken.

“An unchanged issuance task and no new bonds this calendar year mean a flatter curve and tighter spreads,” said Robert Thompson, Sydney-based rates strategist at RBC.

AOFM’s unchanged issuance target comes despite a larger-than-expected budget deficit estimate for the 2020/21 fiscal year of A$213.7 billion announced on Tuesday.

The AOFM now has more than A$100 billion on deposit with the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which has been buying three-year government debt in the secondary market since mid-March to help keep borrowing costs low.

“The super-sized buffer seems to have allowed the AOFM to hold off on any task increases,” Thompson added.

“It also reinforces our suspicion that the AOFM took a much more conservative approach than Treasury back in July in forecasting debt raising requirements.”

Yields on three-year government bonds AU3YT=RR slipped for a second straight day to 0.145% on Wednesday, much lower than the RBA’s cash rate target of 0.25%.

Yields on the 10-year paper AU10YT=RR eased to 0.8% in anticipation long-term rates will remain low for some while yet.

The RBA has said it would keep policy accommodative until progress is being made toward full employment and inflation is back within its

The United States added a less-than-expected 661,000 jobs in September but the unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent, the Labor Department said Friday, underscoring the economy’s tortured recovery from Covid-19.

The positions gained last month were less than half of the upwardly revised nearly 1.5 million positions added in August, indicating a slowdown in the pace of the employment recovery after business shutdowns beginning in March to stop Covid-19 caused mass layoffs.

“In September, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care and social assistance, and in professional and business services,” the Labor Department said.

“Employment in government declined over the month, mainly in state and local government education.”

The fall in the unemployment rate from 8.4 percent in August was more than expected, but also betrayed signs of Americans’ continued struggles to find work.

The labor force participation rate declined 0.3 percentage points to 61.4 percent, erasing August’s gains. The number was 2.0 points lower than its level in February before the pandemic struck.

US President Donald Trump, who has occasionally shunned mask wearing, tested positive for Covid-19, upending the presidential race just weeks before the November elections US President Donald Trump, who has occasionally shunned mask wearing, tested positive for Covid-19, upending the presidential race just weeks before the November elections Photo: AFP / JIM WATSON

The Labor Department also acknowledged the impact of a classification error, which means the unemployment rate could be understated by as much as 0.4 percentage point.

Daniel Zhao, economist at recruitment website Glassdoor, credited the improvement in the unemployment rate to the 1.5 million drop in people indicated as being on temporary layoff.

However, he said the 345,000 increase in permanent job losses shown in the report is a bad sign, and the report overall “confirms evidence of slowing but continuing recovery over last few months.”

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By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA, Sept 29 (Reuters)Brazil’s government posted a primary budget deficit of 96.1 billion reais ($17 billion) in August, the Treasury said on Monday, as the coronavirus crisis continued to necessitate huge emergency spending.

The deficit, excluding interest payments, was slightly less than the 98.7 billion reais deficit economists in a Reuters poll had predicted. The shortfall, excluding interest payments, expanded in the first eight months of the year to 601.3 billion reais.

That compares with an accumulated deficit of 52.1 billion reais in the same period last year, Treasury said.

In the 12 months to August, the deficit totaled 647.8 billion reais, or 9% of gross domestic product, Treasury said. The government’s 2020 forecast is for a record-busting primary deficit of 871 billion reais, or 12.1% of GDP, assuming the economy shrinks this year by 4.7%.

Net revenues in August rose nearly 6% in real terms from the same month last year to 102.1 billion reais, mainly due to the partial reversal of certain tax deferrals, Treasury said.

Spending in August was 74% higher at 198.1 billion reais, Treasury said. This included 93 billion reais on crisis-fighting measures, including 45.3 billion on emergency transfers to millions of Brazil’s poorest people and 15 billion reais support for local governments.

Gross government debt may reach 94% of GDP this year, well above the average across emerging countries of 62% of GDP projected for this year, Treasury said.

“The crisis facing the country could turn into a promising moment for advancing reforms, focusing on fiscal consolidation and productivity in the economy,” Treasury said in a statement.

“Only the continuity of the reform agenda can maintain an economic environment that will attract investment, with low interest rates and inflation under control, allowing sustainable growth, which is fundamental ….