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Low Inflation Puzzles Fed as a Big Move Looms

2% target elusive, but it's not expected to deter Janet Yellen

(Newser) - The Federal Reserve is expected to raise its interest rates for the first time since 2006 when it meets this week, but some economists would like it to figure out just what is going on with inflation first. The central bank's target of 5% unemployment has been reached, but... More »

Cyprus Bank Grab Happening in US, Slowly

Thomas Sowell: The fed is subtly making the money you've saved less valuable

(Newser) - When Cyprus came up with its plan to take money out of its citizens' bank accounts, many Americans were aghast. Could such a thing, they wondered, ever happen here? "Yes and no," writes Thomas Sowell at RealClearPolitics . "The US government is very unlikely to just seize money... More »

Fed Announces $45B-a-Month Bond Buy

Plans to hold interest rates down until jobless rate hits 6.5%

(Newser) - The Federal Reserve dropped a bombshell today, announcing that it would spend $45 billion a month on bond purchases to keep interest rates low, and that it would keep its short-term rates near zero as long as it takes to get unemployment below 6.5%. It will also keep up... More »

Food Prices Could Jump 4% in 2013

And losses could hit $12B

(Newser) - For the average consumer, the effects of this year's brutal drought are still months away, but they are coming, as many food prices next year are expected to jump by as much as 4%, reports Reuters . Already corn and soy prices are going up , which is expected to lead... More »

Iran Warns Against Filming ... Chickens

With prices soaring, images of plenty could provoke poor, it says

(Newser) - There's a new way to run afoul of the government in Iran: by filming chickens. With food lines lengthening and prices soaring due to international sanctions, Iran's leaders are warning filmmakers and broadcasters not to show people enticing things they might not be able to afford—because doing... More »

Cash-Strapped Syria Just Prints More

Move risks unleashing ravages of inflation

(Newser) - It's getting expensive for Bashar al-Assad to cling to power, so his regime is just printing new bank notes to ensure that Syria can pay salaries and other expenses, bankers tell Reuters, in a move that experts warn could lead to rampant inflation. Violence and sanctions have shrunk Syria'... More »

Krugman vs. Bernanke: Who's Reckless?

Robert Samuelson outlines the feud between the bearded economists

(Newser) - Call it the "battle of the beards," suggests Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post : Paul Krugman vs. Ben Bernanke. Both are prominent economists, both have facial hair aplenty, and each has called the other "reckless." Krugman has been lambasting the Fed for not doing enough to... More »

We Need a Weaker Dollar

Paul Krugman argues that we need more inflation, not less

(Newser) - Ben Bernanke has become a popular punching bag for the right lately, with people like Ron Paul and Rick Perry trying "to bully the Fed into doing exactly the wrong thing," writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times . "The right wants the Fed to obsess over... More »

Thanks for Nothing: Pecan Prices Up 22%

Blame China, droughts for soaring cost of Thanksgiving staple

(Newser) - For those who can't face Thanksgiving without pecan pie, you're going to pay dearly for the privilege this year: the price tag on the tasty dessert is up by 22%, reports CNN . Sure, core inflation is a low 2% , but food prices are on the rise, and pecans... More »

2 Americans Win Nobel Prize in Economics

Thomas Sargent, Christopher Sims studied effects of tax cuts, interest rate hikes

(Newser) - Americans Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims won the Nobel economics prize today "for their empirical research on cause and effect in the macroeconomy," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced. The prize committee said the winners have developed methods for answering questions such as how economic growth and... More »

The Hidden Inflation Crisis: ‘Let Them Eat iPads’

Government won't even acknowledge that inflation is an issue: Ken Kurson

(Newser) - America is facing an inflation crisis, and there’s nothing it can do—because the government won’t acknowledge the problem, writes Ken Kurson of Esquire , in a piece entitled “Let Them Eat iPads.” Why the title? Well, last month some poor soul confronted New York Fed Chairman... More »

Consumer Spending Up... Thanks to Gas Prices

Personal income up 0.3%, but inflation hits hard

(Newser) - Consumer spending rose at its fastest rate in four months in February—but that’s in large part due to rising gas prices. Consumer spending climbed 0.7%, while personal income rose 0.3% following January’s 1.2% jump, the AP notes. Both gains reflected a Social Security tax... More »

China Jacks Up Interest Rates

Country trying to slow down runaway growth, inflation

(Newser) - China pumped up its interest rates for the third time in four months today, in a desperate attempt to rein in inflation. One-year deposit rates rose to 3%, and the one-year lending rate to 6.06%, the New York Times reports, and analysts expect still more increases down the road. More »

Davos Brimming With Optimism for 'New Reality'

But rising food prices, political uncertainty are cause for concern

(Newser) - The Davos World Economic Forum is an optimistic place this year—the theme is “Shared Norms for the New Reality,” meaning the post-financial-crisis reality. In a poll, 48% of the assembled CEOs said they were “very confident” of growth in the next 12 months, according to the... More »

Mighty China Has a Financial Mess Brewing

Paul Krugman: Its leaders look lost dealing with it, like ours

(Newser) - China may be a burgeoning economic superpower, but it’s also embroiled in a monetary fiasco that could turn into a genuine crisis, warns Paul Krugman in the New York Times . The problem is China’s refusal to let its currency rise. The policy has obviously vexed the US, “... More »

Glenn Beck's Advice: Sell Your Stuff!

Prices are rising, and you should be prepared, he warns

(Newser) - Now that Glenn Beck has convinced you to buy gold , he has a new directive: Sell all your stuff. Prices are going up, he said last night, and a study shows that the average American has $25,000 worth of things they're not using, Mediaite reports. So sell it, and... More »

Inflation Begins Creeping Into Food Prices

Chains, retailers struggling with how much consumers can take

(Newser) - Despite low overall inflation, the price of basic foods is rising, presenting food companies with a dilemma: do they let rising costs erode profits, or raise prices while demand remains weak? Milk, beef, coffee, and sugar have all seen price spikes, driven by growing demand in China, India, and developing... More »

China: Feeble Dollar Is Hurting Our Economy

'Out of control' printing of dollars is triggering inflation, says minister

(Newser) - China has countered American anger over its artificially low currency with a complaint of its own. America is printing dollars at an "out of control" rate, sending up commodity prices around the world and saddling China with "imported inflation," the country's commerce minister grouses. Inflation in China—... More »

Social Security Won't Get Boost in 2011

Lack of increase sets Dems up for more punishment at ballot box

(Newser) - It looks like there will be no increase in Social Security benefits for the second year in a row. The bureau plans to announce this week that inflation hasn't been high enough this year to merit a cost-of-living increase. America's 58 million Social Security recipients haven't had a raise since... More »

French Pol Confuses Inflation With Fellatio

Rachida Dati makes fumble on the radio

(Newser) - Paging Mrs. Malaprop: French politician Rachida Dati confused business with, ahem, pleasure yesterday during a radio interview. When asked about profiteering by overseas investment funds, she said, "I see some of them looking for returns of 20 or 25%, at a time when fellatio is almost non-existent." The... More »

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