IMF’s Lagarde sees case for central bank digital currency

IMF chief Christine Lagarde said on Wednesday that there “may be a role for the state to supply money to the digital economy.” (AFP)
Updated 14 November 2018
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IMF’s Lagarde sees case for central bank digital currency

  • ‘The key is to harness the benefits while managing the risks’
  • There ‘may be a role for the state to supply money to the digital economy’

SINGAPORE: With growing innovation in the financial sector and a move toward a cash-less society, there is a role for central banks to enter the world of digital currencies, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Wednesday.
Unlike private currencies like bitcoin and ethereum, money created by central banks would be regulated and trustworthy, and could reach all sectors of society, Lagarde said in a speech prepared for the Singapore Fintech Festival.
“The key is to harness the benefits while managing the risks,” Lagarde said. “Proper regulation of these entities will remain a pillar of trust.”
However, while central banks in several countries are considering e-money, questions remain about whether it makes sense for every country.
There “may be a role for the state to supply money to the digital economy,” and she noted that Canada, China, Sweden and Uruguay were “seriously considering” issuing digital currency.
An official e-money would have the advantage of fulfilling policy goals including financial inclusion, security and consumer protection.
“My message is that while the case for digital currency is not universal, we should investigate it further, seriously, carefully and creatively,” she said.
The IMF issued a report on Wednesday examining the issues central banks would face if they decided to issue electronic money.


Ryanair Irish pilot union to decide on strike ballot next week

Ryanair pilots are holding a ballot on a possible industrial action, although it is not clear yet when that would take place. (Reuters)
Updated 17 min 43 sec ago
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Ryanair Irish pilot union to decide on strike ballot next week

  • Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, suffered a series of damaging strikes last year after the carrier bowed to pressure in late 2017 to recognize unions for the first time

DUBLIN: Members of Ryanair’s Irish pilot union are to decide next week whether to join British colleagues in holding a ballot on strike action, according to a memo distributed to members.
Ryanair pilots in Britain, the Irish airline’s largest market, last week announced a ballot that could lead to strike action in late August, citing disagreements over pay and conditions.
Ryanair pilots who are members of the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA) will meet in Dublin on Tuesday to decide whether to hold a ballot for “industrial action up to and including strike action,” with voting to begin on or before Thursday, July 25, the memo said.
It did not say when possible strike action would take place.
Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, suffered a series of damaging strikes last year after the carrier bowed to pressure in late 2017 to recognize unions for the first time.
Management say significant progress has been made since, with collective labor agreements concluded with a number of pilot unions throughout Europe.
But IALPA said in the memo that management had failed to agree pay, terms and conditions for directly employed pilots. The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) last week said issues included pensions, maternity benefits and a fair, transparent pay structure.

BACKGROUND

Ryanair suffered a series of damaging strikes last year.

Ryanair, which says it offers better conditions than low-cost rivals for Boeing pilots, declined to comment on the union action.
On Tuesday, Ryanair said it had been forced to halve its growth plans for 2020 due to delays in the delivery of Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX jet and planned to start talks with airports and unions about downsizing or closing some operations from November 2019.