►Retailers don’t see back-to-school boost, report spotty sales for July
Cautious consumers translated into spotty sales for national retailers in July, according to data released Thursday, potentially signaling a tough back-to-school season for the industry.
►German Industrial Production Unexpectedly Declines
Industrial production in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, unexpectedly declined in June led by a drop in investment goods such as machinery and trucks.
►2 Top Economists Differ Sharply on Risk of Deflation
When the latest unemployment figures are announced on Friday, all of Wall Street will be watching. But for Richard Berner of Morgan Stanley and Jan Hatzius of Goldman Sachs, the results will be more than just another marker in an avalanche of data.
►Christina Romer, Top Economic Adviser to Obama, to Step Down
Christina Romer, one of President Obama’s top economic advisers, plans to step down effective Sept. 3.
►OECD composite leading indicators point to a possible peak in expansion
OECD composite leading indicators (CLIs) for June 2010 point to a possible peak in expansion. The CLI for the OECD area decreased by 0.1 point in June 2010. The CLIs for France, Italy, China and India all point to below trend growth in coming months, whilst the CLI for the United Kingdom points to a peak in the pace of expansion. Stronger signs of a peak in expansion have also emerged in Brazil and Canada, and in the United States the CLI has turned negative for the first time since February 2009. The CLIs for Japan and Russia point to future slowdowns in the pace of expansion but for Germany the CLI remains relatively robust.
►Annual inflation in OECD area falls to 1.5% in June 2010
Annual inflation in the OECD area1 fell to 1.5 % in the year to June 2010 compared with 2.0% in May amid a slowdown in energy price rises. Annual energy inflation slowed to 4.7% in June compared with 11.0% in May. Excluding food and energy, the annual inflation rate held steady at 1.3 % in June for the third consecutive month. Food prices rose by 0.6% in the year to June 2010 compared with 0.5% in May.
►Dogs that didn’t bark
Remarkably, for a short period of the general global economic crisis, output was down across the whole of the world economy. This was a risky period for the global economy, which had grown and matured thanks to impressive growth in the volume of world trade, which was itself due in part to years of hard-won liberalisation in trade rules. When the global pie fails to grow, individual countries can only increase their consumption at the expense of others. Zero-sum thinking can take over, leading to mercantilist and protectionist policies.
►The Battle Over the Bush Tax Cuts
Congressional Democrats and Republicans will likely lock horns in the coming weeks over the fate of the 2001 Bush tax cuts. Divided largely along party lines, lawmakers are at odds about whether to extend or repeal more than $3 trillion in tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of the year. Senior Fellow William Gale weighs in saying it’s a complicated and thorny issue.
►When Labor Is Capital: The Limits of Keynesian Policy
In the United States, the economic mystery of 2010 is the persistence of high unemployment, in spite of the application of the stimulus treatment that follows the prescription of the prevailing Keynesian orthodoxy. I wish to offer an alternative to that orthodoxy.
►To spend or not to spend: Is that the main question?
The debate over fiscal policy has reached a fork in the road. One way leads to maintaining or increasing the fiscal stimulus. This column argues that policymakers should take the other path. This would mean phasing out government expenditure while phasing in social protection programs at the risk of a double-dip recession but potentially resulting in a more vibrant economy.