Thursday, September 10, 2009

Quick Notes & Articles for the Day - September 10

Initial Jobless Claims Fall - The Labor Department reported that the number of people filing for state unemployment benefits for the first time fell 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 550,000 last week which is the lowest report since mid-July. Also, the number of people collecting regular state benefits dropped to the lowest number since April by falling 159,000 to a seasonally adjusted 6.09 million.

Trade Gap Widens as Imports Come Back - The Commerce Department reported that the US trade deficit widened by 16.3% in July to $32.0 billion. This is the largest percentage increase in the deficit since February 1999 and above economists estimates of $27.5 billion. Imports rose at a record pace in July, but there was also an increase in exports. The U.S. trade deficit with China was $20.42 billion in July compared with $25.01 billion in the same month last year. Excluding petroleum, the deficit rose 18.3% to $23.46 billion. Real imports rose 5.3%. Real exports rose 3.9%.

Bank of Canada Leaves Rates Unchanged - The Bank of Canada left interest rates unchanged at 0.25% on Thursday as it has stated that rates will not move until the end of the second quarter 2010 with the only caveat being if inflation comes in too strong.

In a statement the Bank of Canada said, "Global economic and financial developments have been broadly in line with the bank's expectations. Stimulative monetary and fiscal policies, improved financial conditions, firmer commodity prices, and a rebound in business and consumer confidence are supporting domestic demand growth in Canada."

Household Income Falls in 2008, Children Without Insurance Lowest Recorded Number - The Census Bureau reported that the real median household income fell 3.6% in 2008 to $50,303 and the poverty level increased by 2.6 million people to 39.8 million (13.2%). The number of children without health insurance fell to 7.3 million which is the lowest since 1987 when the data was first collected.

Energy Inventories - Oil stayed above Wednesday's close after data from the EIA showed a drop in last week's crude inventories as imports fell. Crude inventories fell 5.9 million barrels versus the estimate of a less than 2 million barrel drop. The EIA data also showed a buildup in gasoline and distillate inventories, as demand weakened. Gasoline inventories rose 2.1 million barrels, and distillate stockpiles, which include heating oil and diesel, rose 2 million barrels.

Meanwhile, natural gas inventories rose 69 billion cubic feet. At 3,392 billion cubic feet, stocks were 495 billion cubic feet higher than last year at this time and 503 billion cubic feet above the five-year average.


Natural Gas Hits a Roadblock in New Energy Bill - By Clifford Krauss - The New York Times - We have discussed over and over about the benefits of switching to natural gas, and this article discusses the issues surrounding any changes any Congress. "The natural gas industry has enjoyed something of a winning streak in recent years. It found gigantic new reserves, low prices are encouraging utilities to substitute gas for coal, and cities are switching to buses fueled by natural gas. But its luck has run out in Washington, where the industry is having trouble making its case to Congress as it writes an energy bill to tackle global warming."

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