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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

Journal Archives

Wholesale Prices in U.S. Rise More Than Forecast on Fuel

By Alex Kowalski - Oct 12, 2012 8:47 AM ET

Wholesale prices in the U.S. rose more than forecast in September, reflecting a jump in fuel costs that failed to trickle down to other goods.

The producer price index climbed 1.1 percent after a 1.7 percent gain in August, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 76 economists called for a 0.8 percent increase. So-called core producer inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, was unchanged, the first time it didn’t increase since October 2011.

Facing a global economic slowdown, businesses may have difficulty passing higher energy costs onto customers, keeping a lid on prices. In addition, weak demand from abroad and in the U.S. will probably prevent the cost of raw materials from flaring, limiting inflation pressures and allowing the Federal Reserve to focus on jump-starting employment growth.

“Inflation is still non-problematic,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Toronto, who correctly forecast the jump in the price index. “The Fed has made clear that getting unemployment down is priority number one as long as inflation is reasonably contained, and we don’t see anything that’s going to shift that in the near term.”



Italian FM: Israel Risks Global Isolation With Attack on Iran

By Flavia Rotondi and Andrew Frye - Oct 11, 2012 7:00 PM ET

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi urged continued pressure on Iran through sanctions and said Israel risks becoming a diplomatic outcast if it follows through on threats to carry out military strikes.

Terzi, speaking in an interview yesterday, said Europe was prepared to enforce tighter trade restrictions to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and disputed that an Israeli attack would deter Iran from developing an atomic weapon.

“It would not be decisive in terms of bringing to zero the nuclear military program,” Terzi told Bloomberg Television from his offices in Rome. “It could also have consequences in global terms in international diplomacy, the kind of isolation that it could provoke for Israel itself.”

Iranians have suffered a surge in the cost of living as Europe and the U.S. check oil output and cut off the flow of hard currencies. Spiralling inflation has put pressure on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who says his nuclear program is peaceful.



Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Rises to Pre-Recession High

Source: Bloomberg

Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly jumped in October to the highest level since before the recession began five years ago, raising the odds that retailers will see sales improve.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary October consumer sentiment index increased to 83.1 from 78.3 the prior month. The gauge was projected to fall to 78, according to the median forecast of 71 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Rising stock and property values along with falling joblessness may keep giving Americans a psychological boost, brightening the household-spending outlook during the year-end holidays. Improving confidence may play a role in next month’s election as Republican challenger Mitt Romney tries to make a case for unseating President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

“People expect the economy is going to be healthier next year, they expect their job prospects to get better and they even expect their income to be a little better,” Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York, said before the report. “People do seem to be comfortable saving a little less and spending a little more.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-12/consumer-sentiment-in-u-s-rose-in-october-to-pre-recession-high.html

Egypt’s Brotherhood Head Urges Jihad For Jerusalem

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, October 11, 2012 17:07 EDT

CAIRO — The supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi emanated, called on Thursday for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule.

“Jerusalem is Islamic … and nobody is entitled to make concessions” on the Holy City, said Sheikh Mohammed Badie in his weekly message to supporters.

“The jihad for the recovery of Jerusalem is a duty for all Muslims,” he said, stressing that the liberation of the Holy City “will not be done through negotiations or at the United Nations.”



Hezbollah Says It Sent Drone Over Israel

BEIRUT (AP) -- The leader of Hezbollah claimed responsibility Thursday for launching the drone aircraft that entered Israeli airspace earlier this week, a rare and provocative move by the Lebanese militants at a time of soaring regional tensions.

Israeli warplanes shot down the unmanned plane, but the infiltration marked a rare breach of Israel's airspace. Hezbollah had been the leading suspect because of its arsenal of sophisticated Iranian weapons and a history of trying to deploy similar aircraft.

"Today we are uncovering a small part of our capabilities, and we shall keep many more hidden," Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address. "It is our natural right to send other reconnaissance flights inside occupied Palestine ... This is not the first time and will not be the last. We can reach any place we want" inside Israel, he said.

With a formidable arsenal that rivals that of the Lebanese army, Hezbollah is already under pressure in Lebanon from rivals who accuse it of putting Lebanon at risk of getting sucked into regional turmoil. Confirmation that Hezbollah was behind the drone could put the group under further strain internally as it pursues its longstanding conflict with Israel.



The UnCOLA: Social Security Recipients To Get Puny Cost-Of-Living Boost (1.5% to 1.7%) In 2013

By Mary Beth Franklin

October 9, 2012 4:11 pm ET

Social Security recipients will receive a cost-of-living increase for 2013, but it will be only about half as large as the COLA they received this year, according to an unofficial estimate by the American Institute for Economic Research, an independent economic research in Great Barrington, Mass.

AIER economists estimate the 2013 increase to be between 1.5% and 1.7%, two percentage points below the 3.6 % increase seniors received for 2012.

The Social Security Administration will announce the official cost-of-living adjustment for 2013 on October 16. The federal government determines the size of a Social Security COLA based on the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W) from the third quarter of one year to the third quarter of the next.

“Because the CPI-W includes items with prices that rise more slowly than everyday purchases – refrigerators, for example – as well as items that get cheaper over time, the increase in Social Security checks coming in January may not be sufficient to cover the rising cost of everyday goods,” said Steven Cunningham, director of research and education for AIER.



Israeli Lawmaker Tells Americans On Visit To US That Obama Has ‘Not Been A Friend’ Of Israel

By Associated Press, Published: October 9

JERUSALEM — A lawmaker from the Israeli prime minister’s party is in the United States ahead of the presidential election and has said that President Barack Obama has “not been a friend of Israel.”

Danny Danon, chairman of Likud’s international outreach branch, said in Chicago on Tuesday that Obama’s policies have been “catastrophic.”

Danon said he will also travel to Florida and New York to promote his new book and to meet with Republican and Democratic leaders.

He says he is not interfering in the presidential race but merely stating his personal opinion. He has previously praised Mitt Romney.



U.S. Forecasts Record Heating Prices as Winter Returns

Source: Bloomberg

U.S. households that use heating oil will face record prices this winter as weather forecasters predict colder temperatures in the Northeast after an unusually warm season last year, according to a government report.

The Energy Information Administration, which tracks and analyzes energy data, projects households will spend 19 percent more on average for heating oil and 15 percent more for natural gas from Oct. 1 to March 31, the period covered in its short- term energy and winter fuels outlook released today.

About half of U.S. households use natural gas as their main heating source. While only 6 percent of U.S. homes use heating oil, 80 percent of families that use the fuel are clustered in the northeastern part of the country, according to the EIA.

“The forecast for higher household expenditures primarily reflects a return to roughly normal winter temperatures east of the Rocky Mountains compared with last winter’s unusual warmth,” the report says.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-10/u-s-forecasts-record-heating-prices-as-winter-returns.html

Moscow Warns over Use of Force Against Iran

Source: RIA Novosti

16:23 10/10/2012
MOSCOW, October 10 (RIA Novosti)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned on Wednesday that the use of force against Tehran would spell the end of the negotiating process on Iran’s nuclear program.

“Time and again we hear threats that if there is no progress on Iran’s nuclear program only one option will remain - the use of force. We hope that will never happen,” he said.

“This is a straight path to undermining the efforts to resolve all outstanding issues.”

The most important thing today is to focus on the work of the “five plus one” group, the minister said, adding there was hope for “a way out of the impasse.”

Read more: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20121010/176533267.html

Price Tag Of The Iran Scare Campaign Revealed

Unless Netanyahu is crazier than is commonly assumed, Israel will not attack Iran in the near future. Until quite recently, Netanyahu stubbornly claimed that Israel must attack Iran before the 2012 U.S. presidential elections. This was a calculated attempt by Netanyahu to put pressure on Barack Obama and advance the chances of Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.

This attempt at psychological warfare utterly failed: Obama, ice-cold, didn’t blink; he referred to Netanyahu’s demands as “background noise,” and adamantly refused to change his position. He left Netanyahu with no choice but to go to his Canossa, the UN General Assembly, and to make a retreat speech there. The bomb and fuse drawing (“this is the bomb, this is the fuse…” – possibly the lowest point ever reached by an Israeli prime minister) devoured all the attention – and camouflaged the only important part of that speech. Netanyahu announced that he postponed his threat to attack Iran to the spring or summer of 2013. Anything can happen until then – and as it looks, Netanyahu will dismiss the Knesset and go to elections before that time.

So Netanyahu’s attempt at a nerve war failed. Now we must ask how much it cost us. Let’s begin with the intangibles: How much damage will Israel suffer from a president who has to consider its prime minister to be a political rival or, at the least, an ally of his political rivals? How much damage will Israel take in U.S. liberal opinion, and actually in the mind of any American patriot, when the American public will begin to understand that Israel is no ally, but at best a cross the U.S. has to bear?

Obama’s former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, told Obama last summer that Israel is “an ungrateful ally.” As part of the shadowboxing between the U.S. administration and the government of the country it funds and arms, Gates also said recently that neither Israel nor the U.S. has the military capability to stop the Iranian nuclear plan, and that such an attack would only hasten it. The first part is not new – Gen. Dempsey said as much back in August. The second part, however, may indicate that a faction in the U.S. administration is moving away from supporting an attack an Iran, or may provide cover for Obama when he decides not to attack. This cannot be seen as a success by Netanyahu.


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