November 18, 2017

World Economy Growing Unevenly, O.E.C.D. Says

PARIS — The world economy will continue slowly expanding for the rest of the year, despite signs of relative weakness in China and other emerging markets, and an uneven recovery in Europe, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Tuesday.

The United States, Britain and Japan are growing “at encouraging rates,” while the euro zone emerged from six straight quarters of contraction in the April-June period, the organization said in a new forecast. Recent indicators from the major advanced economies, including increased business confidence and stronger industrial production, suggest the trend will “continue at the improved rate seen in the second quarter.”

The United States economy will probably grow at a 2.5 percent annualized rate in the third quarter and 2.7 percent in the fourth, the report said. The country’s economy grew at a 2.5 percent rate in the second quarter.

Japan will grow by 2.6 percent in the third quarter and 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter, in line with the 2.6 percent second quarter figure, according to the organization, a Paris-based research and policy consortium representing the world’s most advanced economies. Its outlook contained no major surprises and appeared to be consistent with mainstream private and official forecasts.

Jorgen Elmeskov, the O.E.C.D.’s deputy chief economist, said the latest indicators point to “essentially the same” picture as in May, the time of the organization’s last assessment, although “the numbers are a tad higher.”

But the assessment of the jobs market was notably somber. Unemployment, currently at high levels across the developed world, could become entrenched, the O.E.C.D. said, as long-term joblessness becomes structural unemployment, with the potential to “remain even as the recovery takes hold.”

Germany, France and Italy, the three largest euro zone economies, are likely to expand by a combined 1.3 percent in the third quarter and 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter, the organization said. That would be a little slower than the second quarter, when growth in those economies was 1.6 percent. Germany’s economy will continue to be the main driver of European growth, the report suggests, even as France grows slowly and Italy continues to contract slightly.

The picture in emerging economies is less promising, the organization noted. China, it said, “appears to have passed the trough” — the nadir of its economic cycle — but it and other emerging economies face significant uncertainty, including possible financial market disruptions. That would be partly in reaction to the United States Federal Reserve’s plans to begin scaling back its economic stimulus program, a process being called “tapering” by the financial world.

The Chinese economy is likely to grow at a 7.2 percent annualized rate in the third quarter and 8.1 percent in the fourth, the report said, accelerating from the 7.0 percent growth recorded in the second quarter.

While China’s overall growth rate is faster than that of developed countries, and the recent cooling partly reflects the government’s desire to rein in credit market excesses, many economists say that high growth is necessary to hold social tensions in check.

In some emerging economies, slowing growth, together with the prospect of tighter Federal Reserve monetary policy and the increase in global bond yields that have accompanied it, have brought “market instability, rising financing costs, capital outflows and currency depreciations,” the report said. The problem is most pronounced where governments have depended on inflows of foreign investment to finance current-account deficits, it noted.

One country facing such a predicament is India, where the currency has been falling sharply. In such a situation, the report said, emerging market central banks might face “difficult policy dilemmas,” with capital flight and downward pressure on currencies arguing for higher interest rates that could in turn weigh on growth.

The renewed momentum of some of the more advanced economies marks a turnabout from recent years, when moribund growth in Japan and Europe was more than balanced by strong growth in emerging markets, the report said. Now, the weaker showing by emerging markets “makes for a continuation of sluggish global growth, notwithstanding the pickup in advanced economies.”

Mr. Elmeskov pointed to “a loss of momentum in structural reform” among emerging market countries as a contributor to the slowing growth,

Under the circumstances, the report cautioned, “a sustainable recovery is not yet firmly established and important risks remain,” among them the possibility of “deadlock and brinkmanship over fiscal policy in the United States,” and the 17-nation euro zone’s continuing vulnerability to “renewed financial, banking and sovereign debt tensions.”

“The risks still call for a determined policy approach,” Mr. Elmeskov said.

Unemployment, currently at high levels across the developed world, could become entrenched, it said, as long-term joblessness becomes structural unemployment, with the potential to “remain even as the recovery takes hold.”

The problem of long-term joblessness is best addressed by better training policies, as well as stronger demand, as well as tax reforms to increase work incentives, the organization said.

Both the developed economies and the emerging countries face the prospect that growth will remain slow over the longer term, it said, so “reforms to boost growth, rebalance the global economy and reduce structural impediments to job creation remain vital.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/04/business/global/world-economy-growing-unevenly-oecd-says.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Roundup: Mets Lose Spring Training Stadium Sponsor

On Friday, workers at the Mets’ spring training ground in Port St. Lucie, Fla., are expected to remove all signs related to Digital Domain, the animation company that held the stadium’s naming rights before filing for bankruptcy three months ago.

The Mets are now looking for a new sponsor for the stadium, owned by St. Lucie County. Digital Domain, which bought the naming rights in 2010 and had the rights through 2018, owed the county $100,000 this year for the rights and owed the Mets a similar amount.

But the county received only two of four required payments, with $50,000 still unpaid, according to Erick Gill, the county spokesman. It was not immediately clear how much the Mets received from Digital Domain and whether the team, too, is still owed money for 2012.

Gill said the loss of a naming rights partner would not hurt the county, because hotel taxes, which pay for the operation of the stadium and the bonds used to finance its construction, are higher than forecast this year.

Attendance at the stadium, which also hosts the St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League, has been strong, Gill said, and the county receives a percentage of parking and concessions revenue.

The impact on the Mets is less clear. They lost about $70 million in 2011, so every bit of lost revenue hurts. And this is not the first time a spring training naming rights partner has faltered.

Before Digital Domain, the Mets had a deal with Core Communities, which named the stadium Tradition Field, after one of its real estate ventures. But that deal was terminated after Core Communities failed to make its payments.

To generate more revenue, the Mets and St. Lucie County are also trying to lure a second major league team to Port St. Lucie for spring training.

That could require the addition of more offices and practice fields to the facility, which has already gone through several face-lifts. The county has hired a consultant to do a feasibility study.

JACKSON TO JOIN CUBS Edwin Jackson, who went 10-11 with a 4.03 earned run average for the Washington Nationals last season, agreed to a contract with the Chicago Cubs, a person in baseball with knowledge of the deal said. Jackson has a career record of 70-71 with seven teams. (NYT)

POLANCO HEADED TO MARLINS The former All-Star third baseman Placido Polanco agreed to a $2.75 million, one-year contract with the Miami Marlins, plugging the final hole in the team’s projected lineup following a payroll purge.

The 37-year-old Polanco battled injuries this year and hit .257 with 2 home runs and 19 runs batted in in 90 games with Philadelphia. (AP)

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/21/sports/baseball/mlb-roundup.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Filings for Unemployment Benefits Drop

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, partly reversing a sharp increase in applications the previous week.

The department said the number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 403,000 in the week ended April 16. Applications rose 31,000 a week earlier.

Applications near 375,000 are consistent with sustainable job growth. Applications peaked during the recession at 659,000.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose for a second week to 399,000, which is about 10,000 higher than it was a month ago.

The average has fallen about 7 percent since late January, but applications have plateaued in recent weeks.

The total number of people receiving unemployment benefits declined to 3.7 million. But that does not include millions of the unemployed who are getting benefits under emergency programs enacted by Congress during the recession. Including those programs, 8.3 million people received unemployment benefits during the week ending April 2, the latest data available. That was a drop of more than 200,000 from the previous week.

In a second economic report, a private research group said its measure of future economic activity rose 0.4 percent in March, the ninth consecutive monthly increase.

The group, the Conference Board, said its index of leading economic indicators began moving higher last fall as the jobless rate dropped and the stock market rallied. It had risen a revised 1 percent in February. The gains in the index suggest that the economy will strengthen as summer approaches, despite rising oil and food prices and the impact of the earthquake in Japan, the world’s third-largest economy.

In March, the index received a lift from signs of growing demand in the American manufacturing sector and a rebound from a five-decade low in building permits. The permits signal future construction in the housing market.

Economists surveyed by FactSet had expected the index to grow 0.3 percent in March.

Finally, a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area fell more than forecast in April.

The bank’s broadest index fell to 18.5, from 43.4 in March. That was the highest level since 1984. Readings above zero indicate expansion.

Increases in input prices continue to be widespread, according to a release, and a significant percentage of companies reported higher prices for their own manufactured goods.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=f8b64b5f36c0966db7436b672c52a208

Profit Down At Times Co., But Web Plan Shows Upside

The company said net income fell 57.6 percent, to $5.4 million, compared with $12.8 million in the quarter a year ago.

The weakness in print advertising, coupled with an unexpected drop in revenue at About.com, led to earnings of 4 cents a share before special items were excluded, compared with 8 cents a share in the period a year ago.

The Times did report growth in one significant area. In the first glimpse at how its digital subscription plan is faring, the company said it had signed up more than 100,000 subscribers since March 28, when it began limiting the number of articles that visitors to NYTimes.com could read free. While it said the program was still too young to be declared a success, early signs indicated that readers were responding well.

“While the advertising marketplace remains challenging, we are confident the path we have been pursuing to transform our company is the right one,” Janet L. Robinson, chief executive of the Times Company, said in a conference call with analysts on Thursday.

Full-price digital subscriptions start at $15 and renew every four weeks, but most subscribers have paid a discounted introductory rate of 99 cents for four weeks of access. The number of subscribers who have renewed at full price has been strong so far, Ms. Robinson said.

She said The Times had also noticed an increase in subscriptions to the print edition of the paper, which she said was a result of print subscribers receiving free digital access. Traffic to NYTimes.com, which the company had estimated could drop by around 15 percent once it started charging for access, has been on par with expectations, she added.

The Times’s results did not reflect any revenue from the start of the online subscription model, which began after the first quarter ended. The company said it expected to see a positive impact from digital subscriptions in the second quarter.

First-quarter revenue at the Times Company dropped 3.6 percent, to $566.5 million in the first quarter. Total advertising revenue declined 4.4 percent, but the performance by company sector varied widely. At The New York Times Media Group, which includes the namesake paper, NYTimes.com and The International Herald Tribune, the decline was 1.9 percent.

Digital advertising across the company grew 4.5 percent. As a percentage of the company’s total advertising revenue, digital was 28 percent, up from 25.6 percent a year earlier.

At the New England Media Group, which includes The Boston Globe, advertising revenue fell 5.1 percent. At the Regional Media Group, which includes local newspapers from Florida to California, the decline was 9.7 percent.

At About.com, which experienced a loss in visitors after Google adjusted its algorithms to filter search results with more precision, revenue dropped 10.2 percent.

Advertising at traditional media sectors has generally bounced back since the end of the recession, but newspapers, at least the print products, have been left out of the rebound. According to the Newspaper Association of America, advertising revenue across the industry declined 6.3 percent in 2010, to $25.8 billion, despite 11 percent growth in digital advertising. According to Nielsen, the media research company, advertising on cable television was up 13.9 percent in 2010, to $27.4 billion. Network television advertising grew 5.9 percent, to $25.6 billion. National magazines advertising grew 4 percent. “Newspapers are suffering from market share loss, the perception that the number of eyeballs are decreasing and the perception that newspaper advertising is expensive relative to other media,” said Doug Arthur, a managing director of Evercore, an advisory and investment firm.

Operating costs at the Times Company were essentially flat at $535.4 million. Rising newsprint costs continued to weigh on the company. They rose 12.7 percent, offset partly by other factors, including a drop in circulation. Circulation revenue fell 3.7 percent, to $228 million.

The company ended the quarter with $352 million in cash and short-term investments, a lower amount than at the end of 2010 because of $54 million in pension contributions.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=6fe27ff5f386ce82df68d54244dda79f

Economix: Core Inflation Rises, but Is Still Low

Friday’s inflation report was mostly as economists expected it to be. Core inflation — which excludes food and energy prices and is a better guide to future inflation — rose slightly less than expected, but only slightly.

How worrisome is core inflation? The Federal Reserve certainly needs to watch it. If it continues to accelerate, that would suggest the Fed may need to raise interest rates sooner than it now plans. But core inflation remains very low historically. Here it is over the last three months, compared with historical trends:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, via Haver Analytics

And here it is over the last year, again compared historically:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, via Haver Analytics

The recent signs of economic weakness remain a much bigger risk than inflation.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=71934cb71b69d7247518c3e34f8a2b3f