Money Matters - Simplified

Economy

Oil at $78, major Asian markets fall

New York, January 18 -- Crude oil price plummeted for the sixth day in a row as major economies of the world faced a bearish trend. Crude oil price stands at $78 as against $84 for last week.

US foreclosure rate rose by 21% in 2009

New York, January 14 -- Latest figures from RealtyTrac show that U.S. foreclosure filing rose by 21 percent last year. The online foreclosure marketplace said figures for 2009 went as high as 2.82 million.

Beige Book points to growing stability

Washington-- Improved economic conditions have spread, but overall economic activity remains muted, the U.S. Federal Reserve's Beige Book report said Wednesday.

Ten of the bank's 12 districts reported "increased activity or improvement in conditions," the report said. The remaining two, Richmond and Philadelphia, report "mixed conditions."

Consumer spending rose "slightly" from a year ago over the holiday seasons, but remains "still far below 2007 levels." Retail activity is still "very lean in nearly all districts," the bank said.

The manufacturing sector held its own or made slight improvements in the final quarter of 2009. Home prices also remained steady, although commercial real estate remained "weak in all districts."

Germany's economy contracted 5% in 2009

Frankfurt, Germany, January 13 -- In what can be termed as the worst economic performance of the country since the World War II, Germany’s economy contracted 5 percent in 2009.

Renovations impact Talladega economy

Talladega -- Grandstand renovations at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway are making a significant economic impact in the Talladega area, President Rick Humphrey said.

Figures indicate Talladega County contractors will generate approximately $3.5 million in direct local spending.

The contractors are Cheaha Construction, Haynes Construction, Anthony Dulaney Plumbing, Willow Creek Construction, Webb Concrete, McCartney Construction and G&M Electrical.

Monthly job cuts show 2009 as a split year

Chicago-- Announced U.S. job cuts in December were the lowest since the recession began in December 2007, a private outplacement firm said Wednesday.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas said U.S. employers announced 45,094 job cuts in December.

But the lowest monthly total of the year did not prevent job cuts in 2009 from surpassing each year back to 2002.

Job cuts have declined for five consecutive months and dropped 10 percent from November.

The figure is also 73 percent lower than the 166,348 job cuts announced in December 2008.
"It definitely was a bi-polar year when it came to downsizing," said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas

Study: State spending is dropping

Washington-- Forty-two states from coast to coast cut their general budgets by a combined $31.6 billion in 2009, a national study found.

The National Association of State Budget Officers and the National Governors Association said three states passed enacted budget cuts in 2007 and 13 did so in 2008.

The study projected the total of budget gaps for the 50 states would be $14.8 billion for 2010 on spending proposals that total $652.9 billion -- a 2.5 percent drop from the spending total of 2009.

"This spending decrease of 2.5 percent would be the worst expenditure growth in the past 32 years," the study said.

The sharpest expenditure drop before 2010 was the 2.2 percent decline in 2009.

Crude oil at $79, consumer confidence high

New York, December 30 -- That the U.S. economy is on the road to recovery was clear when crude oil traded at $79 Wednesday, after rising for the fifth consecutive day due to higher heating demand of winters.

Unemployment in UK to reach 2.8mn in 2010

London, December 29 -- According to latest figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, unemployment in U.K. will reach 2.8 million, rising continuously for the first six months of 2010.

Chinese premier to check property prices, keep Yuan stable

Beijing, China, December 27 -- In an interview with China's official press agency, Xinhua, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the government would keep a check on its property market and track illegal activities related to housing prices.