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The decision by the People’s Bank of China to reduce the amount of money that China’s commercial lenders must hold in reserve by 0.5 percent of their deposits “is a clear signal that Beijing now sees the balance of risks as lying with growth rather than inflation,” said Stephen Green, an economist with Standard Chartered in Shanghai.


Fourth extra budget to support economy

TOKYO | Japan’s prime minister said Thursday he will compile a fourth extra budget to support the nation’s economy amid the growing effects of a strong yen, flooding in Thailand and the eurozone crisis.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told a news conference that he has instructed Finance Minister Jun Azumi to begin compiling the additional budget for the fiscal year that ends in March.

The budget is aimed at addressing “the growing sense of uncertainty due to developments such as the high yen, flooding in Thailand and eurozone debt crisis,” he said.

Mr. Noda said the additional budget will not be funded by government bonds but rather through administrative cost-cutting. He did not elaborate on the size of a planned budget.

Mr. Noda’s government has passed three sets of supplementary budgets this year totaling about $231.7 billion to fund reconstruction projects in areas affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and ensuing nuclear crisis.


U.S. official makes rare stop in Taiwan

TAIPEI | The director of the U.S. Agency for International Development on Thursday became the highest-ranking American official to visit Taiwan since 2006, delighting the island’s government but possibly rankling China.

“We’re pleased to see the visit. As a matter of fact, we’ve been calling for more exchange of visits by ranking government officials from the two sides,” Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokesman, James Chang, told Agence France-Presse as USAID chief Rajiv Shah arrived on a two-day trip.

Mr. Shah is scheduled to meet President Ma Ying-jeou on Friday, according to a statement released by the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei.