Economy is expanding: Fed
The economy expanded at a slow to moderate pace in most areas of the US over the past two months, according to a Federal Reserve survey. A modest pickup in consumer spending, tourism and manufacturing drove the growth. The Fed said economic conditions improved in all but one of its 12 bank districts. The one exception was the St Louis District, where conditions declined. However, hiring was weak in most areas. Businesses in six of the Fed regions said they had a hard time finding qualified workers for those jobs that were open, particularly for high-skilled manufacturing and tech jobs. The report, known as the Beige Book, covered the period from Oct. 8 through the middle of last month.
Economic pessimism rising
People are more pessimistic about the future of the economy than any time since the height of the global financial crisis in 2008, according to a poll released yesterday. In the BVA poll 83 percent of respondents said they were less confident about the future of the economy, while 16 percent were confident. One percent did not express an opinion. The result was the worst since October 2008 after the collapse of Lehman Brothers caused turmoil in global financial markets. The BVA survey questioned a statistically representative sample of 1,405 people aged 15 and above from Nov. 24 to Nov. 25.
Inflation on the rise again
The annual inflation rate was 4.2 percent last month, official figures showed yesterday, back above the central bank’s target range, despite a revision of the consumer price index. The figure announced by Statistics Korea compared with a revised 3.6 percent increase in October. However, it was below the median forecast for a 4.5 percent rise in a Dow Jones Newswires poll of seven economists. Month-on-month, the index rose by 0.1 percent last month. The increase — blamed on food prices — came despite a recalibration of the price index that cut the year-to-date inflation figure by 40 basis points. The Bank of Korea has set a 2 percent to 4 percent target range for inflation this year.
Inflation remains moderate
Inflation held steady last month, government data showed yesterday, as the country’s worst flooding in decades caused widespread damage to farmland and forced food prices higher. The consumer price index rose 4.19 percent last month from a year earlier, against a similar 4.19 percent rise in October, the Ministry of Commerce reported. Core inflation last month, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, rose 2.9 percent compared with last year, but the increase remained within the central bank’s 0.5 percent to 3 percent target range.
UBS appoints new risk head
UBS AG, the Swiss bank that reported a US$2.3 billion loss from unauthorized trading in September, appointed Philip Lofts as the group’s chief risk officer, replacing Maureen Miskovic, who is leaving the firm after less than a year. Robert McCann, head of the wealth management Americas unit, will also assume Lofts’ previous role of chief executive officer of all business in the Americas, the Zurich-based bank said in a statement yesterday. Chief operating officer Ulrich Koerner, 49, will take on additional responsibility for business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the role filled by Sergio Ermotti before his appointment as group chief executive last month.