Greece: IMF willing to show ‘utmost flexibility’ – as it happened

Greece says IMF is flexible about reformsTsipras/Putin in Moscow: agendaGreece: Germany owes us €279bn in war reparations
UK services PMI suggests economy grew by 0.7% in Q1 Eurozone’s private sector boosts economic outlookEuropean markets rise

3.17pm BST

Before we close up, here is a summary of the day’s main events.

3.00pm BST

European markets have also built on earlier gains, boosted by a strong set of PMI surveys from the UK and eurozone this morning.

2.53pm BST

US markets have opened up.

2.49pm BST

The International Monetary Fund has published part of its spring outlook this afternoon, ahead of the full publication next week.

It says t world’s major economies risk a long period of low growth unless governments do more to overcome the after-effects of the financial crisis and the longer term problem of ageing populations.

Highlighting Germany, Canada and Japan as three of the worst affected countries, the IMF said that only by adopting a list of policy reforms that include greater spending on research and development, infrastructure projects and workers’ skills could potential output be raised to nearer levels seen before the 2008 crash.

It said governments should also consider action that also includes “better designed tax and expenditure policies to boost labour force participation, particularly for women and older workers”.

2.30pm BST

Germany’s economy minister has said his country is ready to help Greece and stay within the eurozone but it wasn’t clear how Germany could help further.

Speaking at the economy ministry in Berlin, Sigmar Gabriel said:

This country is ready to help Greece get back on its feet – moreover in my firm opinion in the euro and not outside the euro.

How one can do that, does still not appear to me to be very clear.

2.12pm BST

#Greece a lot of wary western diplomats in Athens on eve of #AlexisTsipras visit to the kremlin for talks with #vladimirputin

1.32pm BST

Helena Smith, the Guardian’s correspondent in Athens, has more details on the agenda for the Moscow meeting between Putin and Tsipras on Wednesday.

Helena reports:

The Greek government has announced that prime minister Alexis Tsipras will fly to Moscow, accompanied by a delegation of officials, at 4pm today.

The far-left leader will meet president Vladimir Putin at 1pm local time, followed by a working lunch between the two men at 2pm.

1.20pm BST

The Greek finance ministry has given a few more details following Yanis Varoufakis’s meeting with IMF boss in Washington.

Mrs Lagarde … stressed that, in Greece’s case, the Fund is willing to show utmost flexibility in the way in which the government’s reforms and fiscal proposals will be evaluated.

12.25pm BST

A spokesman for Vladimir Putin, has reportedly been making comments ahead of the Russian President’s meeting with Greek PM Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday.

There is no need to limit everything to credit and financial issues. Russian-Greek relations are quite multifaceted.

They are much broader, and the entire range of relations will be discussed tomorrow.

We do not rule out that these issues will also be raised.

11.51am BST

Sticking with Greece, there has been no let up on its insistence that it is owed reparations by Germany for the Nazi occupation of Greece during the war.

Speaking on Monday, Greece’s deputy finance minister Dimitris Mardas said that Germany owes the country nearly €279bn (

IMF says governments need to do more to stimulate economic growth

Washington-based organisation said policy reforms and investment are the only means of raising growth to pre-crisis levels

The International Monetary Fund has warned that the world’s major economies risk a long period of low growth unless governments do more to overcome the after-effects of the financial crisis and the longer-term problem of ageing populations.

The Washington-based organisation, best known for acting as lender of last resort to Greece, Ireland and Portugal, said without a switch to policies that spur growth, governments would struggle to shift excessive debts and cut long-term unemployment.

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There are four general guidelines to help managers adapt their business mindsets and models

Like many readers, I still vividly recall when Nokia was the dominant player in mobile phones, with more than 40% of the market, and Apple was just a computer company. I remember when Amazon was known only for books, and when dirty taxis or high-priced limousines where the only alternative to public transport or my own car. And I recall when the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carltons, and St Regises of this world competed with one another – not with Airbnb.

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Bank of England warning over current account deficit

FPC fears financial markets may turn against UK economy in time of stress as gap between money paid out and money brought in was 50% higher than expected

The UK’s large current account deficit could cause financial markets to turn against the British economy in a time of stress, the Bank of England has said.

The Bank’s financial policy committee (FPC) discussed the current account deficit at its most recent meeting in March and decided to keep it under close review, the meeting minutes showed.

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Will China’s infrastructure bank work?

Success will come if the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank acts more as a knowledge bank rather than a funding vehicle

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