Obama names economist Sheets as Treasury international undersecretary

WASHINGTON Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:10pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday named economist Nathan Sheets, who has worked at Citigroup and the Federal Reserve, as the Treasury Department's top international official, the White House said.

The Treasury post of under secretary for international affairs was previously held by Lael Brainard, who stepped down last year and was nominated by Obama to serve on the Fed's board of governors.

Sheets has been the global head of international economics at Citi in New York since 2011. Before joining Citi, one of the world's largest banking conglomerates, Sheets spent much of his career as an economist at the Fed.

Obama also named Mark Sobel as U.S. executive director at the International Monetary Fund.

If confirmed by the Senate, Sheets would play a central role in U.S. financial diplomacy and help shape international discussions on the global economy.

He can be expected to press Washington's view that China should let its currency appreciate more quickly and that Europe should act more decisively to boost economic growth.

However, as the U.S. representative at international conclaves, he would also have to contend with complaints from emerging market nations whose economies are reeling from a dramatic reversal of money flows tied partly to the U.S. central bank's decision to curtail its economic stimulus.

He would also get an earful from developing countries frustrated by U.S. intransigence in following through on a promise to give emerging economies a bigger say at the IMF.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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