September 14, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- The gas pump helped the economy last month and also hurt it. Retail sales jumped 0.9% in August, the biggest increase in six months, driven by a rise in gasoline prices, the Census Bureau said Friday. But the spike in fuel costs also caused the cost of living to go up 0.6% last month -- the largest move since June 2009, according to the Labor Department. Gas stations saw their sales rise 2.5% because of higher gasoline prices, which boosted retail sales. Auto sales also helped, rising 12.3% from July.
April 9, 2011 |
Oil at $112.79 a barrel, up 23% this year. Silver at $40.60 an ounce, up 31%. Corn at $7.68 a bushel, up 22%. Are these disturbing numbers? The European Central Bank thinks so. Citing the need to battle inflation, ECB policymakers raised their key short-term interest rate Thursday for the first time since mid-2008 (not incidentally, the last time commodity prices were going wacko). It wasn't much of an increase — from 1% to 1.25% — but it made the point: The ECB worries that money has been kept too easy for too long.
October 15, 2011 |
Inflation in China moderated in September, but it remained stubbornly high amid growing signs of a global slowdown. China's consumer price index, the main gauge of inflation, was up 6.1% from a year earlier, down slightly from a 6.2% rise in August. Still, the index remains far above the 4% annual target set by the central government. That will make it difficult for China's central bank to loosen monetary policy to stimulate the nation's economy. There's already evidence that the world's factory floor is feeling the fallout from struggling economies in the West.
October 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Janet Yellen, President Obama's choice to head the Federal Reserve, comes to the post with more experience at the central bank than her predecessors and a career-long focus on the issue that remains at the center of public concern over the economy - jobs and labor markets. Yellen's emphasis on work and unemployment, on which she produced several major scholarly papers during her many years as a Berkeley professor, has also become the focus of Republican critics and some on Wall Street who fear she is soft on inflation.
July 25, 2012 |
Wars and other crises have a way of remaking your oldest enemies into your best friends (and vice versa - just look at the history of U.S.-Soviet relations from 1939 to 1945). Given the depth and persistence of the financial crisis here and in Europe, isn't it time to embrace one of our oldest economic foes, inflation? The way most people think about inflation is reminiscent of the old National Lampoon cover line about pornography: "Threat or Menace?" But the idea that inflation might be our friend is gaining traction, and not only among progressive economists such as Paul Krugman.
December 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- Consumer prices were unchanged last month, the government said Tuesday, keeping inflation running low as Federal Reserve policymakers start a two-day meeting to decide if the economy is strong enough to begin reducing a key stimulus program. The Labor Department's consumer price index was flat in November, in line with analyst expectations, following a 0.1% drop the previous month. For the 12 months ending in November, prices have increased 1.2%. That's up from 1% for the year ending in October and well below the Fed's target for 2% annual inflation.
March 7, 2012 |
The price of drugs widely used by elderly Americans grew by almost double the rate of inflation from 2005 to 2009, according to a new study by the AARP. The average retail price over the five-year period for the 469 drugs most often used by AARP members grew by 25.6%, compared to the 13.3% rise in inflation over the same period, according to the report. The report also says that 406 of the 469 most commonly used drugs are used to treat chronic conditions and that the average cost of taking such medicines for chronic conditions was $1,152 higher in 2009 than it was five years earlier.
May 11, 2012 |
BEIJING — Inflation in China moderated last month in another sign that the world's second-largest economy is cooling. Consumer prices grew 3.4% from a year earlier, China's National Bureau of Statistics said Friday. That's down from 3.6% year-over-year growth in March. "We think the inflation outlook for this year is benign," analysts at IHS Global Insight in Beijing told clients in a research note Friday. The data release comes a day after China reported surprisingly weak trade numbers for April.
April 15, 2013 |
Gold prices plunged to a two-year low as investors fled from precious metals. It was the second day of decline for gold as the economy improves and fears of inflation in the U.S. ease. Gold is often purchased as a hedge against inflation. The price of an ounce of gold was down 7% to as low as $1,398 an ounce Monday, after falling 5% on Friday. The recent all-time high was $1,924 an ounce. Silver and copper prices also dipped. Concerns that China's formidable economic expansion is slowing sent jitters through the market.
May 12, 2012 |
Falling energy and gasoline prices helped keep inflation in check last month and also pushed consumer confidence to a four-year high, according to two reports. An index of prices paid by factories, farms and other producers fell 0.2% in April from the previous month, the Labor Department said Friday. It was the first drop of the year and the most substantial one since October. Prices were 1.9% higher compared with April 2011, but represented seven consecutive months of slower increases after surging 7% in September.