Residents are urged to flee the rising floodwaters, which have already forced the closure of Bangkok's Don Muang airport and the evacuation of flood victims who have taken refuge there.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
The rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose to 4.4% from 4.2% in June, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure was unchanged at 5%.
Clothing and footwear prices measured for CPI saw their biggest annual increase since records began in 1997.
Bank of England governor Mervyn King has written another letter to the chancellor to explain why CPI inflation remains well above the 2% target rate.
The governor must write a letter every three months if CPI is more than one percentage point above or below the target.
He blamed the continuing high inflation rate on, "the increase in the standard rate of VAT to 20%, and past increases in global energy prices and import prices".
He also stressed that "the big risks currently facing the UK economy come from the rest of the world".
The Bank of England said last week that it remained confident that inflation would return to its target level in the next two years.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Industrial goods accounted for much of the fall in exports.
The figures come amid growing concerns about the US economic recovery and the country's high debt levels.
Total exports for the month fell by $4.1bn to $170.9bn, while imports fell by $1.9bn to $223.9bn.
Consumer goods exports actually increased, while cars and car parts were virtually unchanged from the previous month.
Imports and exports of services were virtually unchanged.
The US's deficit with China grew to $26.7bn, up from $25bn in May, while that with the European Union rose by $1bn to $9.8bn.
The US recorded a trade surplus with Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore and Egypt.
Source: BBC News
Monday, August 8, 2011
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Triple-A debt club just got even more exclusive: Late Friday, the United States was booted out of a prestigious group of countries that boast a spotless credit rating.
Now only 15 countries (and the very small Isle of Man) hold the triple-A rating from both Standard & Poor's and Moody's.
Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland are among those with the undisputed stamp of approval -- so is Isle of Man, a British crown dependency off the United Kingdom's west coast, and Singapore (both of which are too small to see on our CNNMoney map above.)
The triple-A rating enables nations to borrow funds at a low cost, because their governments are considered stable and their bonds safe.
S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating
The United States for example, has seen its dollar become the world's No. 1 reserve currency because its bonds are held in such high regard by investors. They're backed by the "full faith and credit of the U.S. government" -- which until now, has never seriously been called into question.
On Friday, S&P downgraded the United States to AA+, an investment grade level just one notch below triple-A. It marked the first time the world's largest economy has been downgraded, since Moody's first gave the country a credit rating in 1917.
S&P cited estimates that U.S. government debt would balloon to 79% of the size of the entire U.S. economy by 2015, and 85% by 2021 -- a level S&P says is consistent with AA+ rated countries.
In comparison, estimates from the International Monetary Fund show triple-A rated Canada's debt is likely to only rise to 34% of its economy by 2015, and Germany's is forecast to rise to 52%. (The IMF does not publish forecasts out to 2021).
Your money in a AA-rated U.S.
The debt of Belgium, another AA+ rated country on S&P's list, is expected to grow to 85% of GDP by 2015, according to the IMF.
Abu Dhabi, with a AA rating, is just a step below AA+. Also in that group are Bermuda, Chile, Qatar, Slovenia and Spain.
Meanwhile, China -- the world's second largest economy -- is rated two notches below the United States, at AA-.
Greece -- the lowest rated country in the world -- is forecast to see its debt well exceed the size of its economy, at 149% the size of its GDP in 2015.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The dispute du jour in the debt ceiling debate? How long a debt ceiling increase should last.
The two sides -- with a week to go before the Treasury Department says it may run short of money to pay all the government's bills -- have starkly different answers to the question.
President Obama and Democrats want an increase to last until 2013.
To that end, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has proposed a $2.7 trillion debt reduction plan in exchange for a $2.7 trillion increase in the debt ceiling. Such a package would not include any tax increases or entitlement cuts.
House Republicans, however, say they don't want to give Obama what they call "a blank check" just so he can avoid another debt ceiling fight during his re-election campaign in 2012.
They would rather the $14.3 trillion ceiling be raised in two steps.
The first increase of up to $1 trillion would last about six months and be accompanied by $1.2 trillion in savings achieved by cutting and capping domestic and defense spending over 10 years.
To get the debt ceiling increased by another $1.6 trillion after that, Congress would need to enact an additional $1.8 trillion in savings that don't include any tax hikes. Those savings would be chosen by a new joint committee, and the House and Senate would have to vote on the committee's recommendations without amendment.
If they vote down the committee's proposals, the debt ceiling couldn't be raised.
U.S. credit: Raising the debt ceiling isn't enough
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Sunday said he doesn't have a problem with a two-stage approach to debt reduction but worries that dragging out the debt ceiling decision could be dangerous.
"What we cannot do because it would be irresponsible is to leave the threat of default hanging over the economy," he told CNN's Candy Crowley on the "State of the Union."
Increasing the debt ceiling through the next election -- and removing the fear of default until then -- will help economic growth in the second half of this year, Geithner argued.
What certainly could impede economic growth is a credit rating downgrade, which the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's has threatened to do in the next three months.
S&P hasn't said specifically that it would downgrade the United States if the initial debt-ceiling increase was short-term.
But it did note that continued use of the debt ceiling as a political bludgeon might trigger a downgrade.
"We may also lower the long-term rating and affirm the short-term rating if we conclude that future adjustments to the debt ceiling are likely to be the subject of political maneuvering to the extent that questions persist about Congress' and the administration's willingness and ability to timely honor the U.S.' scheduled debt obligations," the agency said earlier this month.
On the other hand, S&P and the other ratings agencies have said they won't be pleased if lawmakers fail to pull together a credible, substantial debt reduction package.
That's one reason why Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office director who now runs a Republican think tank, doesn't think the prospect of a short-term increase followed by a longer one would damage the economy.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
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