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					                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ARAB TIMES, SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 2012
    BUSINESS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             35

                                     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-
                                                 ers say.
                                                    “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.

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