Unsaving the U.S. economy

October 30, 2012

The U.S. savings rate sank last month to its lowest since November, official data showed this week, in a sour reminder of how the economy is still dangerously exposed to any financial downturn or other shocks like the fiscal cliff. Following are some facts about this usually overlooked indicator:

When interest rates rise, credit growth should… accelerate?

October 29, 2012

Latin America has defied one of the most elementary rules of macroeconomics in the past decade, Citigroup economists Joaquin Cottani and Camilo Gonzalez found in a report.

Spain’s house of cards

October 26, 2012

Looking at some of the recent trends in the euro zone debt market, one could be forgiven for thinking the region is doing alright.

Latin America: the risks of being too attractive

October 25, 2012

Ironically, an increase of capital inflows to Latin America in the last few years due to unappealing ultralow yields in industrialized countries and the region’s relative economic success is posing a threat for development, according to a recent paper that provides wider background to BRIC criticism of the latest U.S. Federal Reserve´s quantitative easing.

Economists revise down third quarter U.S. GDP forecasts as business investment missing in action

October 25, 2012

Richard Leong contributed to this post

U.S.durable goods orders rebounded a solid 9.9 percent in September following the prior month’s plunge. However, a proxy for business investment was essentially stuck in neutral. This was sufficiently worrying to JP Morgan economists to force them to revise down their estimates for third quarter U.S. economic growth down to 1.6 percent from 1.8 percent. Barclays economists also marked down their Q3 GDP forecast by 0.2 percentage point, putting it at 1.8 percent. The Reuters consensus forecast for the number, due out on Friday, is 1.9 percent.

Deciphering the Fed: Guideposts for progress on jobs

October 24, 2012

The Federal Reserve’s open-ended bond-buying stimulus announced last month was coupled with a promise to continue purchasing assets “if the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially.” Central bank officials are expected to continue discussing what parameters they will take into account to define such progress, but are not expected to come to any hard and fast decisions just yet.

Could renewed U.S. economic strength turn the fiscal cliff into a fiscal ramp?

October 18, 2012

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The term ‘fiscal cliff’ has now safely transitioned from economic jargon to popular cliché. But how worried should Americans be about the growth-stunting mélange of expiring tax cuts and spending reductions set to begin kicking in at the start of next year?

Ambling through the archives: Don’t blame the deficit, 1983 edition

October 16, 2012

The battle over the amount and nature of government spending is the focus of the current U.S.presidential campaign and is unlikely to go away even after the November election is well in the rear view mirror.

Sustainable full employment is within reach: Green Party U.S. presidential candidate Stein

October 3, 2012

As Americans get ready or tonight’s presidential debate, there’s one candidate they won’t be seeing on television and may not even have heard of: Jill Stein, a Harvard-trained doctor and Green Party candidate. Stein is promising a Green New Deal that she says could create more than 20 million jobs, 16 million through a government-sponsored program for full employment and millions more due to the increase in demand that would come from the new investments. She wants to expand Medicare coverage for all Americans and sharply reduce military spending, and says her policies would reduce the deficit by boosting tax revenues. She spoke to Reuters recently by telephone. What follows is an abbreviated transcript of the interview.

Attempting to measure what QE3 will and won’t do

September 28, 2012

Deutsche Bank economists have tried to quantify what effect QE3 is likely to have on the U.S. economy. For an assumed $800 billion of purchases of both agency securities and Treasuries through the end of next year, the economy gets a little over half a percentage point lift over the course of two years and a net 500,000 jobs – or about two months’ worth of job creation in a typical strong recovery from recession.