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Recessions and depressions

Worrying eurozone inflation sags again to 0.3 pct

Inflation falls to 0.3 per cent in countries that use euro; pressure is on central bank to act
David McHugh, The Associated Press

FRANKFURT - Inflation in the 18 countries that use the euro sank to 0.3 per cent in August, a worrying sign of economic weakness that is putting pressure on the European Central Bank to take drastic steps to save a stalling recovery.

The figure was down from 0.4 per cent in July, the EU statistics agency said Friday, and is the lowest since October 2009. Back then the eurozone was deep in recession after the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers threw global markets into a tailspin.

Applications for US unemployment aid slip to 298K

Applications for US unemployment benefits dip to 298K, remain near pre-recession lows
Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 298,000, a low level that signals employers are cutting few jobs and hiring is likely to remain strong.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 299,750, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's just 6,000 higher than four weeks ago, when the average fell to the lowest level in more than eight years.

US home price gains slow in June

US home prices rise 8.1 per cent in June; smallest increase in more than 18 months
Josh Boak, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - U.S. home prices increased at a slower pace in June — a cooldown that could continue for several more months.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 8.1 per cent in June from 12 months earlier, according to a Tuesday report. That's down from 9.4 per cent a month earlier and the smallest annual gain since December 2012.

Retail sales weaken in Dec. but cap a record year

Retail sales inch up to end record year; holiday-season layoffs boost unemployment claims
Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - America's retailers enjoyed a record 2011 and their first $400 billion sales months ever. But the final month of the year was a dud.

Sales eked out a 0.1 per cent increase in December, to a seasonally adjusted $400.6 billion.

It was the second straight month that sales topped $400 billion. Revised government data showed that sales in November also surpassed that level.

Skyscraper boom may herald downturn

Pride cometh before a fall: Skyscraper boom may herald economic downturn
Erika Kinetz, The Associated Press

MUMBAI, India - A skyscraper building boom in China and India may be a sign of an impending economic correction in two of Asia's largest economies, according to a new report by Barclays Capital.

Barclays has mapped an "unhealthy correlation" between construction of the world's tallest buildings and impending financial crises over the last 140 years.

Today, China is home to half of the world's skyscrapers — defined as buildings over 240 metres tall — currently under construction.

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