Money Matters - Simplified

Economy

Consumer confidence does not spur spending

Princeton -- Increased confidence in the economy has not translated into increased spending, surveys of U.S. consumer habits indicate, Gallup researchers said Tuesday.

Self-reported consumer spending continues to run 20 percent below last year's depressed weekly comparables," Gallup said.

At the same time, Gallup's Economic Confidence Index was minus 30, only slightly lower than minus 28 from the previous week, but far less than the minus 58 of December 2008, Gallup said.

Ben Bernanke wins approval for second term

Washington, December 18 -- Chairman of Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, got a four year term extension Thursday, due to the Senate Banking Committee’s votes.

U.S. leading indicator rose in November

New York -- The U.S. leading economic index rose for the eighth consecutive month in November, the Conference Board, an economic research group, said Thursday.

The U.S. leading economic index rose 0.9 percent after rising 0.3 percent in October and 1.2 percent in September, the Conference Board said.

In November, the employment index "held steady" for the first time since December 2007, the month the recession officially began.

Improved financial conditions and increased housing permits also added to the index in November, the report said.

Consumer prices rise 0.4 percent in month

Washington -- Consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in November compared with October, in line with expectations, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Wednesday.

Prices rose 1.8 percent from November 2008, with energy prices posting a 7.4 percent increase. Energy commodities rose 19.6 percent and gasoline prices 23.6 percent from a year ago, when petroleum prices were crashing after a record spike in July.

Ignoring food and energy prices, which tend to fluctuate more wildly than other prices, the so-called core prices were flat from a month ago and up 1.7 percent over the past 12 months.

Mortgage applications rise slightly

Washington-- The volume of applications for U.S. mortgages rose 0.3 percent in a week on a seasonally adjusted basis, an industry group said Wednesday.

Both the Market Composite Index and the Refinancing Index increased in the week ending Dec. 11, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.

The average interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose from 4.88 percent to 4.92 percent with points falling from 1.17 to 1.08, the organization said.

Rates for the average 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage were unchanged at 4.33 percent. Points in 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages fell from 1.02 to 0.91.

Airline industry to lose $5.6bn in 2010: IATA

New York, December 16 -- The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a representation of the airline industry, on Tuesday projected a loss of $5.6 billion in 2010, $1.8 billion more than previously predicted.

Canadian GDP expected to turn up in 2010

Ottawa-- RBC Economics said the Canadian economy would grow in 2010 and 2011 after a 2.9 percent drop in 2009.

With the financial crisis behind us and the U.S. economy on the mend, Canada's economic growth is expected to rise steadily throughout the next year," Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC.

"While challenges remain, a peak in stimulus and infrastructure spending across the federal, provincial and municipal governments, along with low interest rates, should result in a sustained recovery," he said.

Abu Dhabi's $10 billion magnanimity towards Dubai

Dubai, December 14 -- Thanks to Abu Dhabi, Dubai World (DBWLD.UL), the state-owned holding company at the center of a $26 billion debt storm, has some breathing space.

Obama criticizes Wall Street, calls for stringent regulations

New York, December 13 -- President Barack Obama in his weekly radio address Saturday expressed an appeal to tighten the financial rules and regulations which caused the credit crunch in the first place.

7 Ways to Grow Business During Recession

Recession brings with it problems like high taxes, low profits, sharp and sustained losses, bankruptcies and suicides. There is a temptation to pretend that it is only a temporary phase--and will go--but it is not. So when the inevitable happens, one is advised to make business “recession proof”.