Economy News - part 2

Europe Gets New ECB Loans to Promote Lending

Europe Gets New ECB Loans to Promote Lending

ECONOMY

  • European Central Bank lending banks a record $645 billion
  • EU needs over $1 trillion to repay debt
  • EU consumer confidence falls for the 6th-consecutive month

The European Central Bank is lending its banks a record $645 billion to retain credit flow and encourage banks to give loans to businesses and households. 

This new cash flush exceeds the $577 billion lent two-years ago, and is part of the largest European loan operation ever. The money is being lent at the current benchmark interest rate of 1%, with Barclays estimating that the project will release $252 billion into the European economy.

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US Medicaid Takes 25% of State Spending, Eligibility Improves

US Medicaid Takes 25% of State Spending, Eligibility Improves

ECONOMY

  • 14 US states spent more than 25% of overall expenditure on Medicaid
  • Medicaid spending totaled over $398 billion for 2011, 10% more than last year
  • North Carolina is overpaying for Medicaid because of issues with new billing system

Overall US state spending on Medicaid has increased this year to nearly 25%, while education funding has dropped by 20%, according to a report by the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO).

The NASBO report shows that 12 states have spent more than 10% on Medicaid, while 14 US states spent over 25% and California has spent up to 40% this year. Meanwhile, in Maine, Nebraska and New Mexico, Medicaid spending dropped due to a decline in federal funding.

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Eurozone Debt Crisis: Credit Agricole to Cut 2,350 jobs

Eurozone Debt Crisis: Credit Agricole to Cut 2,350 jobs

ECONOMY

  • Credit Agricole stocks fall 52% in 2011, third-quarter profit down 65%
  • Global banking sector sheds 120,000 jobs in 2011
  • Moody’s downgrades top three French banks

France’s third-biggest bank Credit Agricole has announced plans to let 2,350 of its employees go, mostly from its investment-banking sector, in an effort to cut costs in the face of the Eurozone debt crisis.

Among the cuts are 600 jobs in Credit Agricole’s factoring and consumer finance branch and 1,750 jobs at its corporate and investment bank, which has a staff of 13,000 total. Among the 1,750 corporate and investment positions to be axed, 500 will be cut in France.

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EU Manufacturing Drops, Causes Higher Unemployment

EU Manufacturing Drops, Causes Higher Unemployment

ECONOMY

  • European PMI falls to 46.4, lowest rate since 2009
  • Manufacturers cut jobs due to low sales, unemployment rises to 10.3%
  • Czech and British factories slow output, German manufacturing declines
  • Reuters poll: 60% chance of EU recession

Europe's manufacturing sector fell in November at its fastest pace in 28 months, with production and new orders down to levels not seen since the height of the credit crisis in mid-2009.

Markit's, a financial services firm, Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the Eurozone fell from 47.1 to 46.4 in November, marking the lowest PMI since the summer of 2009. A PMI under 50 marks a contraction, while anything above suggests growth. This is the Eurozone's fourth consecutive month below 50.

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Will China Lend More Money By Adapting Its Monetary Policy?

Will China Lend More Money By Adapting Its Monetary Policy?

ECONOMY

  • Central bank lowers banking reserve, promotes capital flow
  • Global stocks improve as Chinese stocks fall
  • China's real estate market, manufacturing sector drops

China is reducing its banking reserve requirements for the first time since 2008. According to the central bank's website, the reserve ratios will be cut by 50 basis points on December 5, leading to an increase of 350 billion yuan ($55 billion) to their money supply.

Bloomberg News speculates that the shift in China's monetary policy might signal that the government believes that the world's second-largest economy may be entering a deeper slowdown.

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Roadblocks To Foreign Direct Investment In India Retail Industry

Roadblocks To Foreign Direct Investment In India Retail Industry

ECONOMY

  • Heavy opposition to FDI in India's retail sector, government to meet today
  • Participating foreign companies must invest minimum $100 million in next 5 years
  • Discussion represents a significant change in India’s legislation on foreign ownership

India’s cabinet has voted to allow foreign investment in the nation’s $500 billion retail sector, a move touted by India’s Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, who hopes it will provide farmers fairer compensation and create 10 million jobs.

Potential investors, including retail giants such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco, are eager to enter a market that analysts estimate will double to over $780 billion by 2015. Moreover, the Indian government promises foreign investment will curb India’s high inflation rate and low rupee, and reduce the waste caused by the rotting of 40% of fruits and vegetables prior to selling.

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US Economic Growth Rate Dips Down To 2%

US Economic Growth Rate Dips Down To 2%

ECONOMY

  • Revised quarterly GDP 0.5% lower than predicted, 2.5% yearly rate expected
  • Inventory slump may boost fourth-quarter growth
  • Banks and corporations record quarterly profits

Third quarter gross US domestic progress figures have been adjusted by the Department of Commerce, revealing a downward revision from 2.5% to 2% growth.

The slower growth figure surprised economists, who expected the figure to remain in tact, and disappointed those who were eagerly awaiting an economic rebound in the first half of 2012. Despite the downward revision, the new figure is still much higher than the meager 1.3% growth reported in the second quarter.

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US Unemployment Claims Drop, Home Building Permits Up

US Unemployment Claims Drop, Home Building Permits Up

ECONOMY

  • Unemployment claims lowest in 7 months; state unemployment benefits down to a 3-year low
  • New building permits up 11% last month
  • Home-builder sentiment index reaches 20

In the latest data to suggest an economic recovery, separate reports were posted that reveal a decline in unemployment claims and a spike in home construction permits: Unemployment claims dropped 5,000 to 388,000, while building permits for housing development soared to nearly 11% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 653,000.

As the US begins its economic recovery, the European debt crisis and rising gas prices remain two major obstacles to growth. Despite these promising figures, Europe's debt kept global stocks low.

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Oil Breaches $100 Per Barrel Mark In 4-Month High

Oil Breaches $100 Per Barrel Mark In 4-Month High

ECONOMY

  • Benchmark crude jumps over 25% since end September
  • Report of rising consumer spending for 5 months fuels oil prices
  • Political tension in oil producing countries spurs oil prices

The benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil price has breached the $100 per barrel mark, climbing to $100.79.

The price of benchmark crude has jumped more than 25% since the close of September on the back of economic improvement. The impetus on the Federal Reserve to spur economic growth is mounting in the face of slowing inflation.

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US Manufacturing Boosts Economy As Inflation Eases

US Manufacturing Boosts Economy As Inflation Eases

ECONOMY

  • Industrial output grows 0.7%, exports up to $180 billion
  • Labor Department shows 0.1% CPI drop, 3.5% decline in inflation
  • Corporate spending boosts economy with over 17% rise

New manufacturing and inflation figures suggest that the US economy is weathering Europe's financial and political problems better than expected: the Federal Reserve has recorded a 0.7% improvement in industrial output, the quickest growth in three months, while the Labor Department reported a 0.1% decline in the consumer-price index (CPI) as the cost of living dropped for the first time in four months.

Analysts told the Associated Press that exports to Europe account for one-fourth of all US corporate revenue, and that they expect the US economy to slow next year as the unstable Euro makes American goods more expensive abroad.

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