Sunday, Dec. 04, 2022 |
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Inflation and wages continue to climb rapidly, in bad news for the Fed
Economic data Friday brought troubling news for Federal Reserve officials who are trying to rein in the fastest inflation in decades: Prices are still rising quickly. Wages are rising rapidly too. And the strong consumer demand that is helping to fuel the inflationary fire shows little sign of letting up. The data, from two separate government reports, wasn’t a surprise, and included hints of progress. But it was confirmation of the challenges facing policymakers, and further evidence that their aggressive efforts to constrain the economy are taking time to have a significant effect.
US mortgage rates
rise past 7%
Mortgage rates barreled past the 7% mark Thursday to their highest level since 2002, as the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate increases, meant to combat inflation, continued to seep through the economy and weigh increasingly on the housing market. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages — the most popular kind among homebuyers in the United States — rose to 7.08%, up from 6.94% last week and 3.14% from this time last year, according to the latest weekly survey by Freddie Mac. Rates had already surpassed 7%, according to other trackers, but this is the first time that the closely watched Freddie Mac survey surpassed that level in two decade
CNN cuts back on original series and films
Chris Licht, the chair of CNN, told employees Friday that the network would stop buying documentary films and original TV series as part of its cost-cutting efforts. Licht said that the network would be moving away from those movies and shows, which include “Navalny,” “RBG” and “The Burning of Black Wall Street,” and original TV series such as “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.” Instead, the network will explore creating a studio focused on long-form content. Licht told employees earlier this week that CNN would cut its budget before the end of the year, resulting in “noticeable change” for the network.
Japan says it will subsidize electricity bills
Japan said Friday that it would subsidize around 20% of the average family’s electric bill, part of a sweeping economic package that comes as the country struggles with high food and energy prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a yen trading at decadeslong lows. The total package, which weighs in at over $200 billion, includes a wide variety of economic measures, ranging from individual payments to families with children to fuel subsidies for the transportation industry. The electricity subsidies are set to come into effect in January, but must first be approved by parliament as part of a supplementary budget for fiscal year 2022.
Ahead of harsh winter, tourism roars back in Mediterranean
Tourism is making a stronger comeback from the coronavirus pandemic than many expected. That’s in part due to a strong U.S. dollar and pent-up demand for travel in Europe after years of COVID-19 restrictions. It’s a blessing for the economies of southern European countries like Greece, Italy, Spain and Cyprus. The travel bug also has helped ease the continent’s tilt toward recession brought on by rocketing energy prices, the war in Ukraine and lasting disruptions from the pandemic. But experts warn the rebound is unlikely to last and that hopes of building year-round holiday destinations are being stalled by a lack of long-term planning in Mediterranean economies.
Poland chooses US
to build its first nuclear power plant
Poland says it has chosen the U.S. government and Westinghouse to build its first nuclear power plant. The announcement is an important step in efforts by the central European nation to burn less coal and gain greater energy independence. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced late Friday that Poland’s nuclear energy project will use the “reliable, safe technology” of Westinghouse. He said a strong Poland-U.S. alliance “guarantees the success of our joint initiatives.” U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the $40 billion project would create or sustain more than 100,000 jobs for American workers. She said it also sent a message to Russia that it would no longer be allowed to “weaponize” energy.
Feds unveil plan
to grow wind power while sparing rare whale
The federal government has outlined a strategy to try to protect an endangered species of whale while also developing offshore wind power off the East Coast. President Joe Biden’s administration has made a priority of encouraging offshore wind along the Atlantic coast as the U.S. pursues greater energy independence. Those waters are also home to the declining North Atlantic right whale, which numbers about 340 in the world. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released a draft plan this month to conserve the whales while also building wind projects.
Groups to US: Protect Nevada flower from mine or face court
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Conservationists say they’re ready to take federal wildlife officials back to court in a three-year-long fight over endangered species protection for a rare wildflower in Nevada. Thiem’s buckwheat only exists at the site of a proposed lithium mine. The Fish and Wildlife Service concluded last October that the wildflower was at risk of extinction and proposed declaring it endangered. It had one year to finalize the listing but missed that Oct. 7 deadline. The Center for Biological Diversity sent the agency a formal notice this week of its intent to sue. The center won a court order forcing the agency to expedite its review two years ago.
By wire sources
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