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Fed Holds Key Rate Steady, Will Reduce Holdings ‘Relatively Soon’

Leaders of the U.S. central bank said Wednesday that they were holding their benchmark lending rate at a low level — in a range between 1 and 1.25 percent — for the time being.

Federal Reserve officials said in a report issued after their two-day policy meeting that the world’s largest economy was growing at a “moderate” pace and the job market was improving, but that inflation remained a bit low.

Fed officials cut short-term interest rates to nearly zero during the 2007-09 financial crisis to boost investment and growth. They said the recovering economy no longer needed so much …read more

Lift Debt Limit Before Recess, Mnuchin Urges Congress

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday urged federal lawmakers to raise the federal debt limit before they leave Washington for their August recess to avoid increased interest costs to taxpayers and market uncertainty about a potential default.

Mnuchin told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that maintaining U.S. creditworthiness was of “utmost importance” and that the United States must pay its bills on time.

“As I’ve suggested in the past, based upon our best estimate at the time, we do have funding through September, but I have urged Congress to take this up before they leave for the recess,” Mnuchin said. …read more

Jakarta’s Traffic-clogged Economy Gets a Lift From Motorbike Deliveries

Three years ago, Ferly Aninditya’s stall at a Jakarta food court was losing money.

Deterred by the Indonesian capital’s paralyzing traffic, few customers were prepared to come to him.

But that was before he teamed up with Go-Jek, the ride-hailing motorbike service that delivers everything from meals and groceries to cleaners and hairdressers across Jakarta, all at the touch of a smartphone app.

Now Aninditya owns a chain of small restaurants with seven thriving branches that send Indonesian-style fish and chips by Go-Jek’s army of motorbike riders across Jakarta.

“I’ve come this far in part because of Go-Jek,” said Aninditya. “It’s not just sales, …read more

US Startups Led by Women Attract Sliver of Venture Cash, Study Finds

Promising startups in the United States receive a shred of the billions of dollars investors pump into them when led by women, a major study found Tuesday.

Between 2011 and 2013, companies with a female CEO received $1.5 billion of the $51 billion that venture capital investors poured into those they deemed promising, or a mere 3 percent of available dollars, according to the study by U.S. researchers.

They also found that all-male teams were four times more likely to win venture funding than teams counting at least one woman among them.

Venture capital is money invested in small businesses thought to have …read more

Colombian Officials Got $27M in Odebrecht Bribes, Prosecutor says

Colombian officials received $27 million in bribes from Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht, more than double previously thought, as the company sought to win a road-building contract, Colombia’s attorney general said on Tuesday.

As fallout from a massive corruption scandal continues to bite Odebrecht, Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez said bribes paid for the contract to build a 528-km (328-mile) highway were much more than the $11 million originally estimated.

Martinez said criminal charges for money laundering would be filed against two Brazilian citizens, one Portuguese and three Colombians. He will also ask the Supreme Court of Justice to investigate five congressional lawmakers.

Seven …read more