Archive for May, 2015

UK Only Article: 
standard article

Issue: 

The weaker sex

Fly Title: 

Greece and its creditors

Rubric: 

Despite the foreboding, a deal still appears the most likely outcome

Location: 

ATHENS

THE latest episode in Greece’s long-running economic drama is coming to a head. Since the victory of the radical-left Syriza party in the election of late January, Greece’s creditors and the new government headed by Alexis Tsipras have been exchanging threats. A resolution of some kind must occur in June, and sooner rather than later in the month.
It could still be a disastrous falling-out that leads to Greece defaulting on official loans, imposing capital controls, freezing deposits and tumbling out of the euro. But as time and money run out, the concentrating of minds on both sides seems likely to bring a deal.

Mr Tsipras is the one under most pressure. A recent payment to the IMF of €750m ($825m) was made only by drawing down a special account Greece held at the fund. Next month the government is due to pay …<div class="og_rss_groups"></div>

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UK Only Article:&nbsp;
standard article

Fly Title:&nbsp;

America's grocery market

Rubric:&nbsp;

Walmart's results show that life is still rough for retailers in America

Byline:&nbsp;

CR

Main image:&nbsp;

20150523_wbp501.jpg

ON MAY 19th, Walmart, America’s and the world’s biggest retailer, unveiled its first-quarter results. Analysts had been expecting another dip in profits, but the retail giant's performance was even worse than they had thought.&nbsp;Operating profits at Walmart dropped 8.3% to $5.7bn in the three months to the end of April, while sales also dropped 0.1%. That did not please investors: the firm's shares fell 4% in morning trading.

And although Target, one of Walmart’s rivals, is expected to reveal better figures on May 20th, these are still difficult times for American grocers. Last week the Census Bureau reported that retail sales in April were flat. Fears of a economic slowdown, and small pay rises for low- and medium-income households, have all contributed to the rough time supermarket …<div class="og_rss_groups"></div>

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GREECE'S looming debt payments, America's deadline for prosecuting white collar financial crimes and Europe's improving economy
Comment Expiry Date:&nbsp;

Wed, 2015-06-03

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New charities pop up all the time. But how do you know which ones work? Economists have come up with a strategy to figure it out. They’ve used it to tackle one of the biggest problems in the world.

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UK Only Article:&nbsp;
standard article

Issue:&nbsp;

The great distortion

Fly Title:&nbsp;

Italy’s regional divide

Rubric:&nbsp;

As the north limps ahead, the south swoons

Location:&nbsp;

CATANIA

AFTER three years of recession, Italy’s economy actually grew in the first three months of the year, by 0.3% compared with the previous quarter. It is forecast to grow by 0.7% over the year as a whole, boosted by a weak euro, cheap oil, the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme and a reform-minded government. That looks good compared with the country’s grim recent record: between 2001 and 2013 GDP shrank by 0.2%.
National economic data always mask regional differences. In Italy, however, they disguise a divide that is deeper than normal (see charts). The country is, in effect, made up of two economies. Take that 2001-13 stagnation. In that period northern and central Italy grew by a slightly less miserable 2%. The economy of the south, meanwhile, atrophied by 7%.

This is partly because the south grew more slowly than the …<div class="og_rss_groups"></div>

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Comment Expiry Date:&nbsp;

Fri, 2015-05-29

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HOW strong is the American economy? Forecasters are pretty confident; the average prediction is for 2.6% GDP growth this year and for 2.8% next. But actual growth was just an annualised 0.2% in the first quarter and, after disappointing retail sales numbers for April, the Atlanta Fed's GDPnow model, which was pretty accurate about Q1, is going for just 0.7% annualised in Q2. Citigroup's economic surprise index (which shows whether data have been better or worse than forecasts) has been relentlessly negative since the start of the year.Does this mean the US is heading towards recession? Not necessarily. Whether or not you call it "secular stagnation", the developed economies are in an era where growth seems to be stuttering; last year's first quarter dip in GDP was a case in point. However, as HSBC points out, it is now six years since the US economy bottomed – a reasonably long cycle by pre-1980 standards. Suppose that developed economies did slip back into recession. What could the authorities do?What they normally do is to cut interest rates; since the mid-1970s, the average downturn has seen cuts of 6.2 percentage points. But of course, many countries haven't managed to increase rates this cycle. Rates are close to zero; they can go negative, as Switzerland and others have shown. However, they can't go very negative (certainly not by 6 percentage points); people really …<div class="og_rss_groups"></div>

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