Week of May 15, 2011 thru May 21, 2011

IMF Board Announces 'Merit-Based' Process to Pick New Chief

--Nomination Period May 23-June 10, Aim to Select by End June

WASHINGTON (MNI) - The International Monetary Fund Executive Board
announced late Friday that it had reached agreement on the selection
process to choose a replacement for Dominique Strauss-Kahn who resigned
Wednesday to fight charges of rape and assault on a New York hotel
maid, which will be "open, merit-based and transparent."

The nominating period will be open from May 23 to June 10 and
anyone may be nominated, the IMF said. The objective is to select a new
leader for the fund by the end of June.

Repeat: IMF OKs E26 Bln Aid for Portugal; E6.1B Available Now

--Retransmitting Story Headlined 16:26 ET Friday

By Heather Scott

WASHINGTON (MNI) - The International Monetary Fund Friday approved
a three-year, 26-billion euro loan program for Portugal, that will be
"front-loaded" to make 6.1 billion euros available immediately, and
which will be added to support from the European Union.

The Extended Fund Facility for Portugal is "in support of the
authorities' economic adjustment and growth program," the IMF said in a
statement explaining the executive board decision on Portugal's request.

IMF Approves E26 Bln Aid for Portugal;E6.1 Bln Available Now

By Heather Scott

WASHINGTON (MNI) - The International Monetary Fund Friday approved
a three-year, 26-billion euro loan program for Portugal, that will be
"front-loaded" to make 6.1 billion euros available immediately, and
which will be added to support from the European Union.

The Extended Fund Facility for Portugal is "in support of the
authorities' economic adjustment and growth program," the IMF said in a
statement explaining the executive board decision on Portugal's request.

"This front-loaded program makes SDR 5.6 billion (about 6.1 billion

FXWRAP: Euro Skids Lower Ahead Of Wkend On Fresh Greek Jitters

By Dennis Pettit

NEW YORK, May 20 (MNI) - Another round of Greece-related jitters
sent the euro skidding lower Friday, extending losses begun overnight,
providing the main focus for FX trading Friday.

Dollar-yen was quietly sidelined.

Euro-dollar was changing hands at $1.4195 in afternoon dealings
Friday, the euro noticeably below its $1.4240 early level of the U.S.
session and in the lower reaches of the day's $1.4139/1.4260 U.S. hours
range.

Dollar-yen by contrast was holding at Y81.60 in afternoon dealings,

US Budget Recap: Hill Looks For Help, Hope After 'Gang' Falls

--Gang of Six' Stumbles And Senate Budget Chief Delays Plan
--Vice President Biden's Key Budget Negotiations Resume Next Tuesday
--Budget Group Sees $1 Trillion In 'Common Ground' Savings On Table

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) - In an important and confusing week on the fiscal
front on Capitol Hill, the much vaunted Senate "Gang of Six" appeared to
unravel while the Democratic chairman of the Senate Budget Committee
said he will offer his own fiscal plan -- but not just yet.

With Senate bipartisan talks faltering, the Senate Budget chief

US SEC Fills Chief Economist Position Vacant Since March 2010

By Yali N'Diaye

WASHINTON (MNI) - Starting in June, the Securities and Exchange
Commission will finally have a chief economist, the agency announced
Friday, filling a key position that had been left empty since March
2010.

Craig Lewis, "the Madison S. Wigginton Professor of Finance at
Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management, is currently
a visiting scholar at the SEC and will assume his new role next month,"
the Commission said in a statement.

A spokesman confirmed to Market News International that Lewis will

Text:US Geithner:Consult W/IMF Sharehldrs From EM,Advncd Econs

WASHINGTON (MNI) - Following is the text of a statement issued
Friday by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the selection process
for a Managing Director for the International Monetary Fund:

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued the following
statement from Secretary Tim Geithner regarding leadership succession at
the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"We are consulting broadly with the Fund's shareholders from
emerging markets, as well as advanced economies. We are prepared to
support a candidate with the requisite, deep experience and leadership

Next Wk/US: Rev GDP, PI, Single-Fam Hmes, U/Mich, Cons Conf

By Theresa Sheehan

PRINCETON (SMRA) - The economic data calendar will be fairly busy
over the course of the week ahead. The highlights are expected to be in
numbers related to the housing market and consumer confidence. While the
second estimate of first quarter GDP is set for release on Thursday --
and an upward revision is generally forecast. The second quarter is
already well-advanced and markets will be more concerned with more
recent numbers.

SIFMA has recommended an early close in the bond market on Friday

EMU Consumer Morale Surprises On Upside In May: EU Commission

PARIS (MNI) - Contrary to expectations, Eurozone consumer morale
recovered in May from the nine-month low hit in April, the European
Commission said Friday, citing preliminary estimates.

After a 1.6-point slide since February, the indicator rebounded 1.9
points to a five-month high of -9.7. Analysts polled by Market News
International survey had expected a further erosion. The median survey
forecast was -12.3.

In April, consumers had reported a further pick-up in recent
inflation and were only marginally less worried about future price

US API Text: Gasoline Demand Declines 1st Time In 3 Months

WASHINGTON (MNI) - The following text is the summary of the
American Petroleum Institute's monthly report on domestic petroleum
deliveries, gasoline deliveries and crude oil production for April
released Friday:

The U.S. economy struggled to gain momentum early in the second
quarter this year. Rising retail gasoline prices seem to have
crimped consumer demand for motor gasoline in April. Gasoline prices
were up by 6.6 percent in April from March, a gain of 24 cents per
gallon. Although gasoline deliveries, a measure of gasoline demand,