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Counting the Cost

What are politicians doing to the US economy?

As brinkmanship on Capitol Hill takes the country closer to the edge, we examine the local and global consequences.

Last Modified: 12 Oct 2013 07:43
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It is essentially the story of the world's most maxed-out credit card and a very reluctant bank manager. The US' debt ceiling - the amount the country can borrow - is looming, but will it be reached, shattered or compromised?

It currently stands at $16.699tn, but will US politicians be able to find a way to extend that limit? As brinkmanship on Capitol Hill brings the country closer to the edge, we examine both sides of the argument over just how bad the consequences could be locally and globally.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has just cut global growth forecasts in an annual report that makes for uncomfortable reading, has warned that a failure to renew the debt limit would raise interest rates and potentially push the US economy back into recession.

Counting the Cost talks to Nemat Shafik, the deputy managing director of the IMF, about the global outlook, the US debt ceiling and how the two feed each other.

Also on the show, decisions taken by the US Federal Reserve have a global impact, and President Barack Obama has decided who he would like to take the reins there. Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane tells us about the woman in line for the job, Janet Yellen.

Plus, Walmart, the world's largest retailer, which has been trying to bust into the Indian market for some time, is now putting its expansion plans on hold. It is blaming strict government rules for the change in strategy, but it comes as a welcome relief for India's small businesses, who feared being overrun by the US giant. Faiz Jamil reports on the story from New Delhi.

And finally, we head to France, where a ban on Sunday trading is being questioned by a growing number of retailers and shoppers.

Watch each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 2230; Saturday: 0930; Sunday: 0330; Monday: 1630. Click here for more Counting the Cost.

Follow Kamahl Santamaria @KamahlAJE and business editor Abid Ali@abidoliverali

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Al Jazeera
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