17 Stories

Japan Jumps Into Currency Market to Weaken Yen

Investors cheer, but analysts worry

(Newser) - Japan has taken the extraordinary step of intervening in the currency market in an effort to drag down the soaring yen. Japanese monetary authorities bought dollars and sold trillions of yen, driving the yen down from 84.5 yen to the dollar to 82, the New York Times reports. Their... More »

Fed to Meet as Economy Sputters

Central bank expected to tackle deflation danger

(Newser) - The Federal Reserve meets today to decide what medicine the wheezing American economy needs, and world markets will be keenly watching for the outcome. With no new stimulus spending from Congress likely, the central bank is the only body poised to react to signs that the recovery is running out... More »

Gutless Fed Ignores Deflation

Bernanke should, and does, know better

(Newser) - Back in 2002, academic and then-lowly Fed official Ben Bernanke gave a speech explaining that we needn’t worry about falling into a deflation trap like the one that has long gripped Japan, because the Fed had all the tools to stop it. Well, now Bernanke runs the Fed, and... More »

US Economy Needs Less Caution, More Spending

Forget deficit; fret over threat of 'lost decade'

(Newser) - No matter what you've heard panicked commentators say, the US is not the next Greece, and the government is not trying to do or spend too much in the face of the slumping economy. In reality, Washington isn't doing or spending enough, and as a result, the US could be... More »

Supermarkets Slash Prices

Deflation stalks the aisles; Safeway cuts below profit point

(Newser) - Americans are getting a big break on the price of food, as the recession drives down the cost of wheat, milk, and other staples, and supermarkets fight feverishly for sales. After a year of dramatic increases, commodities are way down—the price of corn, for instance, is down 56% since... More »

Consumer Prices Take Biggest Dip in 59 Years

(Newser) - Consumer prices have fallen 2.1% over the past year, the biggest year-over-year decline in 59 years, the Labor Department announced today. Though the Consumer Price Index was unchanged from June to July, it was drastically lower than in July 2008, when oil peaked at $147 a barrel and gas... More »

We're Doomed Without Another Stimulus: Krugman

Jobs report offers scary echoes of 1930s stagnation

(Newser) - Yesterday's grim jobs report is the clearest sign yet that the US desperately needs another fiscal stimulus, writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times. This is 1930s redux: a Democratic president has pushed through an insufficient program, while strapped state governments cancel out federal spending with their own budget... More »

Spanish Price Collapse Could Signal New Global Woes

'It’s like the front line of a new virus outbreak'

(Newser) - Spain has suffered a major blow from the global economic crisis, with sky-high unemployment that could soon reach 20%, and merchants across the country are taking a drastic step: slashing retail prices. While lower costs in shops and restaurants might sound appealing, it's actually very bad news—the first sign... More »

Consumer Prices Dip in March

Prices drop 0.1%, despite tobacco hike

(Newser) - Consumer prices dipped unexpectedly in March, leaving prices over the past year falling at the fastest clip in more than a half-century. The recession is expected to keep a lid on inflation as widespread layoffs dampen wage pressures and weak demand keeps companies from raising prices. Consumer prices edged down... More »

Fed Nearly Exhausts Options

With rates at 0%, politically unsavory buying program only tool left

(Newser) - The Fed is almost sure to leave the federal funds rate alone today, mostly because, at about 0%, it literally can’t go any lower. So with deflation still looming, what’s Ben Bernanke to do? One Goldman Sachs analyst says the Fed needs to shave the equivalent of 8... More »

2008 Inflation Slowest in 50 Years on Oil Prices, Economy

Slow spending, sliding energy costs lead to 0.1% CPI increase last year

(Newser) - In 2008, consumer prices crept up at the slowest rate since 1954, climbing just 0.1% for the year and missing the Fed’s preference of 1.5% to 2% by a wide margin, the Wall Street Journal reports. Just months after inflation hit 17-year highs, a 75% drop in... More »

Fed Sees Recession Lingering Through '09

(Newser) - The Federal Reserve anticipates the recession will continue through 2009 despite its recent rate slash and other planned “nontraditional policies,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Minutes of the Fed's December 15-16 meeting, at which it cut rates to nearly zero, indicate a deep pessimism about the economy. Officials... More »

'Helicopter Ben' Should Shower Us With Cash

Fed can prevent deflation, but problems lurk down the line

(Newser) - With interest rates functionally zero, Ben Bernanke is soon going to have to resort to the central banker's ultimate weapon: printing cash and showering Americans with money. There's no question that the "helicopter drop" will prevent the dreaded spiral of deflation, writes Martin Wolf in the Financial Times.... More »

Economy's Tanking Too Fast to Wait for Obama: Krugman

The downtime before inaguration could make things grimmer yet

(Newser) - The state of the economy right now reminds Paul Krugman a lot of the start of the Great Depression, including a lame-duck administration that seems to have no credibility, hence no influence on the markets, the columnist writes in the New York Times. Drastic damage was done to the country... More »

Fears of Deflation Spook Economists

With oil below $50 and sales everywhere, economists seek solutions

(Newser) - Lower prices may sound like a good thing, but economists say sustained deflation poses a serious threat to any turnaround, the Washington Post reports. Consumer prices are tanking on everything from clothes to steel, which feeds a cycle: People stop buying as they hold out for better sales, and stores... More »

Deflation Danger Looms as World Economy Slows

Falling prices could trigger long downward spiral

(Newser) - Fears of runaway inflation have been replaced by fears of its opposite as the world's economy starts seizing up, the New York Times reports. Economists see a potentially devastating deflation ahead as cash-strapped consumers create a glut of underpriced, unpurchased goods and services—in turn triggering mass layoffs at struggling... More »

Fed Weighs Risky Biz of Rate Cut

Intervention could encourage more risk and trigger bigger crisis

(Newser) - The Federal Reserve is facing a dilemma as it decides whether to ride to the rescue of  the market by slashing interest rates—and risk encouraging further recklessness and triggering an even worse crisis, reports the Wall Street Journal. The issue is what economists call moral hazard: protecting someone too... More »

17 Stories