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Recessions and depressions

US consumer prices ticking up as Fed weighs first rate hike

US consumer prices up in April for third month, paving way for Fed to raise rates this year
Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Core consumer prices outside of food and energy posted the biggest increase in April in more than a year, suggesting that an improving U.S. economy is finally starting to lift prices. That could prompt the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates later this year.

Overall consumer prices edged up 0.1 per cent for the third straight climb, the Labor Department said Friday. Overall gains were held back by a 1.3 per cent drop in energy costs.

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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