Daily Digest 10/3 - UK Hooked On Debt, Beef And Poultry Lead Food Price Increases
Spain’s banks face a capital shortfall that could climb to 105 billion euros ($135 billion), almost double the estimate the government provided last week, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
Greece held a new round of talks with foreign lenders to bridge differences over 2 billion euros of disputed austerity cuts yesterday, with time running short to clinch a deal before a key meeting of euro zone ministers next week.
Europe's nuclear reactors need investment of 10-25 billion euros, a draft European Commission report said, following a safety review designed to ensure a disaster like Japan's Fukushima cannot happen.
The central bank has placed a $5,000 (£3,100) limit on the amount of foreign currency travellers can take in or out of Iran.
The rial has reportedly lost more than 80% of its value since 2011 because of US-led trade sanctions.
Reports from Tehran suggest the rial plunged 18% in Monday's trading and then another 9% on Tuesday.
What they’re saying is that when it comes to debt and to the prospects for future debt, the U.S. is no “clean dirty shirt.” The U.S., in fact, is a serial offender, an addict whose habit extends beyond weed or cocaine and who frequently pleasures itself with budgetary crystal meth. Uncle Sam’s habit, say these respected agencies, will be a hard (and dangerous) one to break.
Britain is part of a debtor nation “ring of fire” where bondholders are at risk of being “burned to a crisp”, the head of the worlds biggest bond house has warned.
Canada's youth are facing challenges when it comes to employment, according to a report by the Community Foundations of Canada.
"The linear path from school to career, home ownership and family has disappeared," said Ian Bird, president and CEO ofCommunity Foundations of Canada. "We want communities to recognize that this is 'the new normal.' We need to work with youth to find better ways of preparing and supporting them for a journey that is less certain and more fragmented."
The national quality-of-life report, Canada's Vital Signs 2012 — Vital Youth, pulls together research conducted by many organizations to paint a picture of the economic, educational and societal factors affecting youth as they enter adulthood.
Illinois' pension woes have earned it fifth place among states with the highest debt-per-capita, according to a new report.
The liabilities -- mostly pension related -- would cost every person in the state $21,067 to pay it off, says State Budget Solutions, a nonpartisan advocate for budget reform. Only Alaska, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Mexico rank higher in terms of debt-per-capita.
Additionally, Illinois has the fourth-highest debt in the nation, with liabilities totaling $271 billion. Only California, New York and Texas are carrying more debt, according to the report.
Student loan defaults have risen for the sixth straight year, as students from traditional non-profit universities have an increasingly difficult time paying off their college debt.
Numbers released by the Department of Education Friday show that of the 4.1 million borrowers who began making payments in late 2009 and early 2010, 9.1% defaulted within two years, up from 8.8% the year before.
The grim 18,196,000 headline jobless figure for August released by Eurostat was the highest since records began in 1995 and equated to a massive jump of 2,144,000 in the last 12 months.
A north London council has revealed it plans to charge people 150% council tax for leaving their second homes empty for more than two years.
Labour-run Camden Council said the move would tackle the one in 16 homes left vacant by owners.
High food prices have often been cited as a factor behind mass protest movements. But a group of researchers say food prices can actually be used to predict when social unrest will occur. And according to their mathematical modeling, we've hit the threshold for more waves of riots.
Arla Foods Ingredients, a leading developer and supplier of nutritional and functional milk-based ingredients to the global food industry, recently reported that a wave of unprecedented pressure in the world market for eggs has left the North American market facing tightening supplies and rising prices.
Dairy prices are the latest grocery item predicted to skyrocket in the near future.
"It goes back to not only the energy price that were starting to rise, but it's a double hit in that now we have the drought compounding those prices," said John Jenkinson, KSN Ag expert.
The most dramatic rise in food prices will be at the end of the fourth quarter or at the start of the new year. It is expected to be a 15 percent increase.
The index for all food increased 2 percent from August 2011 through August 2012, and ERS projects the index to be up 2.5 to 3.5 percent for the year. During 2011, the index for all foods increased by 3.7 percent.
In contrast, the index for beef and veal increased by 5.8 percent between August 2011 and August 2012. During that same period, steak prices were up 5.4 percent and ground beef prices increased 6.8 percent ERS projects an annual increase of 3.5 to 4.5 percent in the beef and veal index for 2012 and another jump of 4 to 5 percent in 2013.
Civil cases could be getting more expensive across the state. Budget cuts are forcing many litigants, including in Santa Clara County, to pay for their own court reporters.
California courts have seen their budgets cut $350 million this fiscal year, resulting in many court reporters being laid off.
N.C. insurance companies are proposing to raise homeowner insurance rates by an average of 30 percent for both beaches and inland areas in New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties.
The figures were contained in a filing Tuesday by the N.C. Rate Bureau, an industry organization that serves as insurance companies’ collective bargainer with the N.C. Department of Insurance.
The average statewide increase is 17.7 percent, according to the filing.
As of Tuesday, AAA South Dakota said the average price of gasoline in the state is $3.87—nine cents more than the national average.
AAA South Dakota says the national average price of regular gasoline is $3.78, which is three cents less than last week ago but 36 cents more expensive than a year ago.
"Motorists are frustrated because gas prices are still quite a bit more than they were during June and July," said Marilyn Buskohl, AAA South Dakota spokeswoman, said in a news release. "Even with the end of the summer driving season, drivers can't seem to catch a break."
It's not just homeless people eating there though; it's a type of "new homeless," as City Rescue Mission Communications Manager Laura Grimwood describes it. People who are working but can't afford anything else, or recently lost their home or job. With more and more of them using the services, the food supply is running low, even after generous donations from the community.
"We're at 48 pounds of ground beef left, and so, it looks pretty scarce," Program Coordinator Bryan McGruder said.
By comparison, D.C.’s neighboring counties have not hauled in nearly the windfall. Since 2009, Montgomery County has earned approximately $30 million from camera fines, while Prince George’s County has made a more modest $8 million from the same practice in 2012.
Spokesman for Mayor Gray, Pedro Ribeiro clarifies that the city doesn’t balance its budget on speed cameras.
Officials have warned Japan's government could grind to a halt if parliament does not pass legislation allowing it to borrow more money.
But Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's political opponents are threatening to hold up bills until they have a timetable for a general election.
"It is important to look carefully at the condition of the economy, but it is too early to decide if any new fiscal stimulus is required," Finance Minister Koriki Jojima said on his first full day in the job.
Bernanke, setting the stage for a third round of quantitative easing in an Aug. 31 speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, said the strategy works in part by boosting the prices of assets such as equities. In a speech yesterday in Indianapolis he said higher stock and home prices would provide further impetus to spending by businesses and households.
“It’s pretty clear that the stock market is the most important transmission mechanism of monetary policy right now,” said Peter Hooper, chief economist at Deutsche Bank AG in New York. “That’s where you’re getting most of the action in terms of lift to the economy. It’s the stock market that’s going to have to be carrying the load.”
The prices charged by euro-zone factories for their goods rose sharply in August, mainly due to higher energy costs, a development that could raise concern at the European Central Bank whose governing board meets Thursday to announce its latest decision on interest rates.
Rising factory prices could add to the upward pressure on consumer price inflation, the ECB's targeted measure. An official estimate last week showed annual growth in consumer prices accelerated to 2.7% in September from 2.6% in August, significantly higher than the ECB's target of a little under 2%.
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