Economy Grew 2.5% in First Quarter, Which Was Below Expectations of 3.0% Growth (Reuters)
Gross domestic product expanded at 2.5 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday, after growth nearly stalled at 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter. The increase, however, missed economists’ expectations for a 3.0 percent growth pace.
BoJ sharply raises economic forecasts (FT)
The Bank of Japan has sharply upgraded its outlook for the world’s third-largest economy and raised its forecast for inflation even as data showed the nation slipped deeper into deflation in March. On Friday, as the BoJ released its semi-annual report on prices and economic activity, it said that its policy board members expected inflation to average 1.4 per cent in the next fiscal year, rising to 1.9 per cent the year after. … While that figure is just short of the 2 per cent target imposed on the bank by Japan’s new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, it represents a dramatic shift from the BoJ’s expectations in January, when board members said they expected prices to rise at an annual rate of 0.9 per cent in the 2014 fiscal year.
Still Sputtering, Spain Turns Away From Cuts (WSJ)
On Friday, the government is expected to announce new, less-stringent deficit targets, which means it won’t have to take significant new austerity measures. In addition, it will present new “structural reforms” to deregulate industries such as telecoms and energy and to eliminate regulations imposed by regional governments.
Yellen’s Focus on Unemployment Adopted by Fed (Bloomberg)
Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen has fought for more than a decade to put attacking unemployment and boosting growth on an equal footing with fighting inflation at the heart of the Fed’s policy. After years on the periphery, she now finds herself at the center of the prevailing view at the Fed and at central banks around the world, just as the spotlight swings to her as a potential successor to Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.
Reinhart & Rogoff: Debt, Growth and the Austerity Debate (NYT)
Our research, and even our credentials and integrity, have been furiously attacked in newspapers and on television. Each of us has received hate-filled, even threatening, e-mail messages, some of them blaming us for layoffs of public employees, cutbacks in government services and tax increases. As career academic economists (our only senior public service has been in the research department at the International Monetary Fund) we find these attacks a sad commentary on the politicization of social science research. But our feelings are not what’s important here.
Plan to Jail Bankers Who Behave Recklessly Eyed by UK Lawmaker (FT)
Bankers who behave recklessly would be jailed under a new law being considered by MPs and peers on the banking commission, whose final report is due next month. Several members of the commission, which was set up by George Osborne after the scandal over the London Interbank Offered Rate, argue for a new law which would hold bankers personally liable for catastrophic losses.
Underground Cellphone Service Expands, but Some Call for Quiet (NYT)
“If you don’t get reception, that gives you peace of mind,” Leo Bruce, 44, from Maspeth, Queens, said as he waited for a train at 18th Street. But when it arrived, Mr. Bruce tested the new system, placing a call as the doors closed. “Hey, how you doing, hon?” he shouted into the phone. “You going to be there by 2:30?” About a dozen passengers turned toward him, displeased, as the train hurtled toward 14th Street.
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