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Recessions and depressions

Global oil impact: Who's hurting, happy, hopeful

Steep oil plunge slams Russia, Venezuela but US, China other big economies stand to benefit
Jonathan Fahey, The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Oil's plunge is spreading both pain and gain across the globe.

The price of a barrel has fallen by about half since June, punishing the economies of some major exporters. Russia's currency has nose-dived, for instance, and investors worry Venezuela could default on its debt.

Russia raises key rate to protect ailing economy

Russia's central bank raises key rate to 17 pct. from 10.5 pct. amid currency meltdown
Josh Boak And Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Bank of Russia has raised its key interest rate to 17 per cent from 10.5 per cent in a desperate move to boost its currency and rescue its troubled economy.

The action announced Tuesday in Moscow comes after the ruble's value has sunk roughly 50 per cent since January, battered by Western sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine and plunging worldwide oil prices. The falling ruble threatens to escalate Russia's inflation to dangerous levels and paralyze the economy.

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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