February 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - An increasing number of top Federal Reserve officials are worried about the downside effects of their economic stimulus efforts, raising the possibility that the central bank could curb its monthly bond purchases sooner than financial markets are expecting. Fed policymakers met at the end of last month and decided to keep buying $85 billion of Treasury and mortgage-backed bonds a month. The program is aimed at pushing down long-term interest rates to spur investment and economic growth and help lower the nation's high unemployment rate.
February 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- A sharp jump in the cost of vegetables led wholesale prices to rise at a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.2% in January compared with the previous month, the biggest increase since the summer, the Labor Department said Wednesday. The Producer Price Index for finished goods. one of several gauges of inflation, had dropped for three straight months, including a 0.3% decline in December, before January's rise. The main driver of January's increase was a 0.7% jump in food prices.
February 17, 2013
Re "Fewer carriers, higher prices," Column, Feb. 15 I am amazed by the myth that airlines are charging too much for flying. Some basic research would quickly reveal the reality of the situation. According to a 2011 article in Businessweek, the average price a passenger paid per mile in 1974, adjusted for inflation, was 33.3 cents. For the first half of 2010, that average was down to 13 cents. The cheapest New York-to-Los Angeles ticket allowed under regulation in 1974 was $1,442 in inflation-adjusted dollars.
January 30, 2013 |
In 2007, the government of Argentina fired Graciela Bevacqua and other statisticians who were collecting its price statistics and inflation estimates. Since that time, large and disturbing - even shocking - discrepancies have developed between the official inflation estimates (roughly 10% a year) and privately generated estimates announced by Bevacqua and others (roughly 25% a year). Why would the Argentine government take such drastic action? In late 2001, Argentina defaulted on its bonds, and it has refused to negotiate with its creditors.
January 23, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - In unveiling a new stimulus plan, Japan's central bank for the first time set an ambitious inflation target aimed at breaking the nation out of its long deflationary trap and economic stagnation. But many analysts and investors were disappointed with Tuesday's action. They said the moves by the Bank of Japan, in response to relentless nagging by Japan's new prime minister to be more aggressive, fell far short of what was needed to put the world's third-largest economy on a path of sustained growth - offering little hope that Japan would provide a boost to the fragile global economy any time soon.
January 22, 2013
TOKYO — Bowing to government pressure, Japan's central bank Tuesday pledged more aggressive action to boost the economy, including setting a 2% inflation target. The Bank of Japan said it would conduct "open-ended" asset purchases to help achieve the goal of breaking out of a long spell of deflation. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had urged the central bank to ease monetary policy further to help the recession-struck economy escape from years of falling prices. Whether the effort will succeed remains to be seen: the central bank has not achieved even its 1% inflation target, with price increases hovering below 0.5% for the past two years despite surges in energy costs.
January 15, 2013 |
Call it the $55,000 cat bite. That's the rough total in medical costs (so far) for a cat bite on my hand that turned into an infection that turned into surgery that turned into a week in the hospital. Cruddy cat. When I first wrote about the episode in November, I observed that it opened my eyes about various aspects of the healthcare system, not the least of which was the extraordinary care provided by nurses and the state-of-the-art resources available to doctors. I still have my left hand, thanks to them.
January 12, 2013 |
BEIJING - China's coldest winter in nearly three decades sent vegetable prices soaring and drove inflation to a seven-month high in December. Consumer prices rose 2.5% from December a year earlier, China's National Bureau of Statistics said Friday, up from 2% year-over-year growth in November. A key reason for concern is that rising inflation could restrict China's ability to stimulate growth if its tepid recovery loses momentum. Higher food prices also worry the Chinese government because discontent rises when poorer people have to pay a bigger share of their income on food.
January 11, 2013 |
BEIJING -- China's coldest winter in nearly three decades sent vegetable prices soaring and drove inflation to a seven-month high in December. Consumer prices rose 2.5% from a year earlier, China's National Bureau of Statistics said Friday, up from 2% year-on-year growth in November. Rising inflation could restrict China's ability to stimulate growth if its tepid recovery loses momentum. Higher food prices also worry the Chinese government because of their impact on social stability.
January 11, 2013 |
CARACAS, Venezuela - As perishable foodstuffs rotted on cargo ships that had waited three weeks to unload at Venezuela's largest port, unsettled consumers this week found shelves at Caracas' main downtown market devoid of rice, cooking oil, sugar and other items. Widespread scarcities and chaos at the nation's main ports, including Puerto Cabello, are just some of the problems Vice President Nicolas Maduro will face as he takes the reins of power in the absence of President Hugo Chavez.