ARAB TIMES, SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 2012
Obama, Sarkozy discuss oil market conditions US gets respite from high fuel prices
US President Barack Obama dis- White House press secretary Jay declined to comment. Rising fuel costs have darkened not seem like much, but for mil- Association.
cussed conditions on world oil mar- Carney said during a briefing. “I simply have no more informa- the outlook for the US recovery and lions of Americans struggling to The recent price dip, which has
kets during a video conference on Oil markets are on red alert for a tion about that subject, no subsumed the White House race get from A to B with their wallets echoed a similar dip in crude
Thursday with French President release from strategic reserves to announcements to make on that like an oil slick would a fledgling, intact, it is a U-turn in the right prices, has left economists and
Nicolas Sarkozy, the White House ease supply shocks after French subject today,” he said. yet despite the gloom, prices may direction. consumers wondering whether the
said, but declined to say if they ministers disclosed last month that The high cost of crude oil has have already peaked. “After rising for all but four pain at the pump may have peaked
talked about the release of strate- the United States had held talks driven up the price of US gasoline In the last week the average days in February and March — or just temporarily eased.
gic reserves. “The president and with the British and the French since the start of the year, fanning price of a gallon — nearly four liters an increase of 38 cents during Since late last year energy prices
President Sarkozy agreed to con- about such possible action. concern that this could dent the — of gasoline has fallen three that period — prices have been have increased dramatically, driven
tinue their consultations about the Asked repeatedly if the leaders’ gradual US economic recovery and cents to $3.91 in the United States. down more days than they’ve by tensions with Iran, unseason-
tightness in global oil markets, in had discussed a release from do real harm to Obama’s hopes for Europeans may scoff at that been up in April,” said Avery Ash ably warm weather and stop-start
line with previous conversations,” strategic reserves, Carney flatly re-election on Nov 6. (RTRS) paltry cost, and the drop itself may of the American Automobile global demand. (AFP)
No fresh policy measures expected during next meet
Fed ready to act, but only if economy weakens
WASHINGTON, April 13, (RTRS): US Late Wednesday the Fed’s influential tle more systematic and coherent about cial interest rates near zero. The easy promote maximum employment in the slowed to the low 2 percent range in the
Federal Reserve officials, out on a speak- vice chair, Janet Yellen, said the central how it depends on the economy,” Plosser money that has flooded markets has been context of stable prices,” Raskin said in a first three months of this year.
ing spree on Thursday, suggested the bank’s policy of near-zero interest rates is told reporters after a speech to econo- viewed as a key factor in supporting asset speech to Los Angeles business and com- The unemployment rate has fallen
economy would have to deteriorate for appropriate given high unemployment mists. values. The Fed’s Operation Twist pro- munity leaders. from around 9.1 percent last summer to
the central bank to consider additional and the headwinds facing the economy. The Fed next meets on April 24-25, gram, which is designed to lower long- Still, investors were left with the sense 8.2 percent in March. But employment
monetary stimulus. She added the central bank has a variety and it is not expected to take any fresh term interest rates by lengthening the that things would need to get worse for growth slowed sharply last month as
Policymakers did hint at the possibility of options were it to engage in further policy measures at that time, but rather average maturity of the Fed’s bond port- the central bank to act. well, raising fears that the labor market
of further action. Fed Board Governor asset purchases, and that the Fed remains use the meeting to discuss the latest eco- folio, is to end in June. “We believe it would take a significant might sputter out yet again.
Sarah Raskin said the US central bank “quite willing” to take whatever actions nomic developments and further refine- Investors will be keen to see what Fed weakening in the data before the commit- The economy has made up less than
stands ready to do all it can to support the are necessary to achieve its mandate. ments to its communications strategy. Chairman Ben Bernanke has to say on tee would initiate further asset purchas- half the jobs lost during the Great
economic rebound, while William However, that message was not unani- Still, a Reuters poll conducted after last Friday when he gives the latest in a string es,” said Michael Gapen, economist at Recession, without adjusting for popula-
Dudley, president of the New York Fed, mous. While Yellen defended the Fed’s week’s release of disappointing March of recent public pronouncements that Barclays in New York. tion growth.
emphasized the recovery’s fragility. guidance that it would likely leave rates employment figures found most Wall included four lectures to college students Yellen said she expects the economic Still, Plosser and others at the Fed
“Some economic news has been near zero until late 2014, Philadelphia Street primary dealers think another last month. Raskin said the Fed’s actions recovery to continue and to strengthen argue further monetary stimulus would
encouraging and may be suggesting that Fed President Charles Plosser on round of bond-buying will eventually have helped with business investment somewhat over time. offer little additional boost to employ-
the pace of the recovery is picking up,” Thursday said the central bank should take place. spending and she noted the pick-up in car US economic growth has been erratic ment while raising the risk of inflation
Raskin said, citing the drop in the unem- move away from the approach of sug- Financial markets have been keenly sales. The lower value of the US dollar during this recovery, and the job market and complicating an eventual exit from
ployment rate over the past six months gesting a specific calendar date for the attuned to any signs that the Fed might has also helped exports, but the pace of has been especially slow to get into gear. the low rates policy.
and the creation of about 1 million jobs. start of rate hikes. expand its asset-buying program, which recovery is still slow. Gross domestic product registered “Maximum employment is largely
“However, the national economic recov- “I’d like to get us to move away from it has used to stimulate the economy “The Federal Reserve remains fully growth of 3 percent in the fourth quarter determined by factors that are beyond the
ery clearly has a long way to go.” that and substitute something that’s a lit- along with the decision to keep the offi- committed to doing everything it can to of 2011, but growth is expected to have control of monetary policy,” he said.
Obama’s ‘green jobs’
Job creation falls short
US March inflation mild as
seen slow to sprout
NEW YORK, April 13, (RTRS): “We’ll put nearly half a million
gas prices growth ticks lower
Three weeks ago, President Barack
Obama stood in front of a sea of
people to work building wind tur-
bines and solar panels, constructing
Core prices increase 0.2 percent month-on-month
gleaming solar panels in Boulder fuel-efficient cars and buildings, and
City, Nevada, to celebrate his admin- developing the new energy technolo- WASHINGTON, April 13, (AP): Gas prices rose more slowly Prices are “benign and likely to stay that way for some time yet,” said Ian
istration’s efforts to promote “green gies that will lead to new jobs,” he Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics.
energy.” said at a wind-turbine plant in Ohio in March, keeping overall US inflation mild. Mild price increases leave US consumers with more money to spend, which boosts
Stretching row upon row into the the day before he took office. The consumer price index rose 0.3 percent in March, the Labor Department economic growth. Lower inflation also gives the Fed more leeway to keep interest rates
desert, the Copper Mountain Solar In December 2009, Vice President said Friday. That’s slower than February’s 0.4 percent rise. low.
Project not far from Las Vegas pro- Joe Biden said the effort would create Excluding food and gas, so-called “core” prices increased 0.2 percent in March. Gas prices are high but have started to level off. In March, they gained 1.7 percent,
vided an impressive backdrop for the 722,000 green jobs. Inflation has eased since last fall and is expected to stay tame. In 12 months that slower than the 6 percent increase in February.
president. Built on public land, the The White House said in ended in March, prices rose 2.7 percent. That’s below last year’s peak year-over-year And in the past week, the national average price per gallon fell 4 cents, to $3.90 on
facility is the largest of its kind in the November 2010 that its clean-energy rate of 3.9 percent. Friday.
United States. Its 1 million solar pan- efforts had generated work for Core prices have risen 2.3 percent in the past 12 months, close to the Federal Despite more hiring, unemployment is still high and few workers are getting pay
els provide enough energy to power 225,000 people and would ultimately Reserve’s inflation target of 2 percent. raises. So many retailers can’t charge more without risking the loss of some business.
17,000 homes. create a total of 827,000 “job years” Food prices ticked up last month but
And it employs just 10 people. — implying average annual employ- are moderating after sharp increases last
Three years after Obama launched ment of around 200,000 over the four year.
a push to build a job-creating “green” years of Obama’s presidential term. The cost of meat, poultry and some
economy, the White House can say White House officials stand by fruits rose. Chicken prices jumped by the
that more than 1 million drafty that estimate and say job creation is most in four years. The price of used cars
homes have been retrofitted to lower only one aspect of the clean-energy and trucks also increased and rents rose,
heating and cooling costs, while push. driving up core prices. Americans also
energy generation from renewable “We have a record of success that paid more for medical care, clothing and
sources such as wind and solar has has created tens of thousands of jobs airline fares.
nearly doubled since 2008. and is ensuring that America is not Invest
But the millions of “green jobs” ceding these industries to countries A small amount of inflation can be
Obama promised have been slow to like China,” White House spokesman good for the economy. It encourages
sprout, disappointing many who had Clark Stevens said. “Thanks to the businesses and consumers to spend and
hoped that the $90 billion earmarked investments we’ve made, these invest money sooner rather than later,
for clean-energy efforts in the reces- industries will continue to grow, before inflation erodes its value.
sion-fighting federal stimulus pack- along with the jobs they create.” Still, few workers are receiving pay
age would ease unemployment — One problem is that, unlike other raises, which makes even a small amount
still above 8 percent in March. elements of the Recovery Act that of inflation challenging for most
Supporters say the administration injected money into the economy Americans. Average hourly wages,
over-promised on the jobs front and quickly, efforts to develop high- adjusted for inflation, fell for the third
worry that a backlash could under- speed rail or electric-car batteries month in a row, the department said
mine support for clean-energy poli- Obama also promoted could take a Friday.
cies in general. decade or longer to yield dividends. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has
“All of this stuff is extraordinarily Gains in the sector don’t necessar- acknowledged that rising gas prices have
worthy for driving long-term eco- ily lead to wider employment. boosted inflation. But he has maintained
nomic transformation but extremely The wind industry, for example, that the increases are likely temporary.
inappropriate to sell as a short-term has shed 10,000 jobs since 2009 even Most economists expect the Fed
job program,” said Mark Muro, a as the energy capacity of wind farms won’t announce any new policy initia-
clean-energy specialist at the has nearly doubled, according to the tives at its April 24-25 meeting.
Brookings Institution. American Wind Energy Association. Policymakers appear less inclined to
Efforts Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry take further steps to boost growth.
Others say the green-jobs push has has added 75,000 jobs since Obama Minutes from their March 13 meeting
crowded out less fashionable efforts took office, according to Labor showed only a couple members
that would have put people back to Department statistics. expressed support for purchasing more
work quickly. Stimulus bonds as a way to drive down long-term
“From my perspective it makes Federal agencies also have strug- interest rates and promote more borrow-
more sense for us to arm our clients gled to get stimulus money out the A job seeker meets with a recruiter during a job fair hosted by the State of New York at the Shirley A. Chisholm State ing and spending.
with the basic skills, rather than say- door in a timely manner, even for Office Building, Brooklyn, New York. (AFP) A report Thursday indicated that infla-
ing, ‘By golly, you will do something prosaic efforts that help local govern- tion pressures aren’t increasing much at
in the green economy or you won’t
work,’” said Janet Blumen, the head
ments reduce energy costs.
The rush of funding encouraged
Four-week moving average chalks moderate rise the wholesale level. The producer price
index, which measures price changes
of the Foundation for an Independent private-sector participants to inflate before they reach the consumer, was
Tomorrow, a Las Vegas job-training their job-creation projections as they unchanged in March. Rising costs for
organization that has seen positions
in trucking and accounting go
unfilled because training money had
angled for a piece of the action, insid-
“They were obviously just guess-
US jobless claims dampen market food and pickup trucks were offset by a
drop in wholesale gas prices.
In the past 12 months, wholesale prices
been earmarked for green efforts. ing,” said Robert Pollin, a University rose 2.8 percent, the smallest year-over-
WASHINGTON, April 13, (RTRS): The data for seasonal variations. was the biggest month-to-month decline year rise since June 2010. Excluding food
A $500 million job-training pro- of Massachusetts professor and number of Americans filing for jobless Claims have risen in nine of the last 11 in the trade shortfall since May 2009.
gram has so far helped fewer than green-energy supporter who helped and gas, core wholesale prices rose 0.3
aid hit a two-month high last week and Easter holiday weeks and have over the The shrinking of the deficit prompted percent and 2.9 percent in the past year.
20,000 people find work, far short of the Energy Department sort through more applications were received in the past year tended to increase in the first economists, including those at Goldman
its goal. loan applications. “If an undergradu- “I would think that that would be very
prior week than initially reported, sug- full week of a quarter. Sachs, to lift their estimates for first-quar- much a part of the administration’s policy
Republicans, meanwhile, have ate gave me a paper of that quality I gesting a cooling in the labor market “We’re also getting some payback for a ter economic growth. Goldman Sachs now
seized on the failure of solar panel would have probably given them a C this time around,” he said.
recovery. mild winter. Mild temperatures kept con- see US gross domestic product expanding Rosenberg pointed out that there are
maker Solyndra, which received a or a C-plus.” Initial claims for state unemployment struction workers on the payrolls and that at a 2.5 percent annual pace instead of 2.3
$535 million loan guarantee, to argue The high-profile failures of com- 50,000 Colombian immigrants in Florida
benefits increased 13,000 last week to a is causing some issues with the seasonal percent estimated previously. alone, a bloc with a vested interest in
that White House allies have been the panies that have benefited from fed- seasonally adjusted 380,000, the Labor adjustment as well,” said Ryan Sweet, a The economy grew at a 3 percent rate
only ones who have benefited from eral backing, such as Solyndra and Obama’s trip that could help decide an
Department said on Thursday, defying senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in in the fourth quarter. election in a close contest.
the green jobs push. Beacon Power Corp., have given economists’ expectations of a drop to West Chester, Pennsylvania. A third report showed little sign of
“He handed out tens of billions of ammunition to Republicans who The White House said members of the
355,000. The prior week’s count was “The increase caught our attention, but inflation pressures. The Labor Latin American and Caribbean diaspora
dollars to green energy companies, paint the effort as a costly boondog- revised to show 10,000 more applications the next few weeks will be very telling. If Department said prices received by US
including his friends and campaign gle. sent $61 billion home last year, represent-
than previously reported. claims continue to tick higher then it will producers were unchanged in March after ing a major source of income in many
contributors at companies like They also have targeted the $500 While economists cautioned against be a signal that the sword over the jobs advancing 0.4 percent in February, while
Solyndra that are now bankrupt,” job-training program that aims to nations. In seven countries in Latin
reading too much into the report, saying market is real. For now we take this wholesale prices excluding volatile food America and the Caribbean, remittances
Republican presidential candidate train workers for skills they would problems adjusting the data for seasonal report with a grain of salt.” and energy costs rose 0.3 percent.
Mitt Romney said on April 4. need in a new “green economy.” account for more than 10 percent of the
fluctuations around Easter may have pushed Measure That should allow the Federal Reserve gross domestic product, the White House
Backers of the notion of a “green The program’s initial results were last week’s figure higher, they said it to keep interest rates ultra low and even
collar” work force argue that earth- so poor that the Labor Department’s The four-week moving average for said.
nonetheless provided a worrying signal. new claims, considered a better measure embark on a third round of asset purchas- If Hispanics are paying attention to
friendly energy is a promising inspector general recommended last “It certainly bolsters the view that things es, or quantitative easing, should job
growth sector that could create a fall that the agency should return the of labor market trends, rose moderately. Obama’s trip, so are many in the business
are starting to slow down,” said Tim Stocks on Wall Street ended more than growth completely stall. community who have been pressing the
bounty of stable, middle-class jobs $327 million that remained unspent. Quinlan, an economist at Wells Fargo New York Federal Reserve Bank
and fill the gap left by manufacturing The numbers have improved 1 percent higher as investors focused on a administration to expand trade. They will
Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina. decline in yields of some euro zone gov- President William Dudley said o n T be keeping a close watch on whether
work that has moved overseas. somewhat since then, but the depart- The data comes in the wake of a report hursday the US central bank was gather-
On the campaign trail in 2008, ment remains far short of its goal of ernment bonds and hopes that China will Obama will announce that Colombia has
on Friday that showed the economy cre- report strong first-quarter growth on ing more data to determine whether last met the labor rights conditions that were
Obama promised that a $150 billion placing 80,000 workers into green ated only 120,000 jobs last month, the month’s weak employment report was
investment would generate 5 million jobs by 2013. Friday. required under a free trade agreement
fewest since October. The unemployment US Treasury debt prices lost some of just a weather-related setback or a sign approved by Congress and signed by
jobs over 10 years. By the end of 2011, some 16,092 rate fell to a three-year low of 8.2 per- the recovery is losing momentum again.
Obama included $90 billion in the participants had found new work in a their safe-haven appeal and fell, while the Obama last year.
cent, but largely as people gave up the dollar weakened broadly. “The somewhat softer March labor Obama is under pressure from US
American Recovery and “green” field, according to the Labor search for work. market report that was released last
Away from the labor market, there was labor leaders to put off that announce-
Reinvestment Act to weatherize Department — roughly one-fifth of Economists noted that initial claims Friday may reflect the earlier positive ment. The US Chamber of Commerce,
some good news for the US economy.
drafty buildings, fund electric-car its target. The program also helped tend to be volatile at this time of year due A report from the Commerce influence of the mild weather on job cre- which has sent a delegation to Cartagena
makers and encourage other clean- employed workers upgrade their to shifts in the timing of Easter and Department showed the nation’s trade ation in January and February, although to participate in a regional CEOs summit
energy efforts. skills. school spring breaks, making it difficult gap shrank 12.4 percent to $46 billion in other less-sanguine interpretations are on Saturday, is pushing Obama to imple-
for the Labor Department to adjust the February as exports hit a record high. It also plausible,” he said. ment the trade deal.