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Tuesday: Housing Starts, CPI, Industrial Production

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From Annie Lowery at the NY Times: Europe Split Over Austerity as a Path to Growth

Economic fortunes during the recovery from the Great Recession have diverged, with new estimates of growth by the monetary fund expected on Tuesday. But they will not change the basic picture, which Ms. Lagarde has taken to describing as a “three-speed” world. Developing and emerging economies are growing apace. Some advanced economies, including the United States, are gaining strength.

But a third category of countries remains mired in stagnation or recession. Japan has struggled with a stalled-out economy, but has recently engaged in an athletic campaign of fiscal and monetary stimulus. The true laggard is Europe, suffering from rising unemployment and another bout of economic contraction — seemingly without the political consensus or economic mechanisms to tackle those problems.

In light of that reality, the monetary fund and its European partners, the European Commission and the European Central Bank — the so-called troika — have come under continued criticism for the austerity measures imposed on countries including Spain, Portugal and Greece, where unemployment rates extend well into the double digits. The criticism has become louder since the fund said it had determined that austerity had a far worse impact on weak economies than it once thought.

At least people are questioning the current policies in Europe.

Tuesday economic releases:
• At 8:30 AM ET, Housing Starts for March from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for total housing starts to increase to 930 thousand (SAAR) in March, up from 917 thousand in February.

• Also at 8:30 AM, the BLS will release the Consumer Price Index for March. The consensus is no change in CPI in March (due to lower gasoline prices) and for core CPI to increase 0.2%.

• At 9:15 AM, the Fed will release Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization for March. The consensus is for a 0.2% increase in Industrial Production in March, and for Capacity Utilization to decrease to 78.3%.

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