* Japanese wholesale prices fall (Mure Dickie, The Financial Times)
Japanese wholesale prices fell for the first time in five years in December as the yen strengthened and the global economic downturn sent the cost of energy and raw materials tumbling.
* The injustice wreaked by rate cuts (The Financial Times)
Many savers and pensioners have suffered heavily as a result of the governments crisis policy measures. Interest rates have been cut to unprecedented levels and most cash savings accounts now pay depositors little or no income, compared with around 5 per cent just a few months ago.
* UPDATE: The Spiral: Lingering Deflation May Spell Disaster For Stocks (Alistair Barr, SmartMoney)
SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones) — As 2009 began, U.S. dairy farmers slaughtered more than 70,000 cows in one week to fight slumping prices.
* Crunch time for the kroon (The Baltic Times)
TALLINN – Having faced great duress from external and internal economic circumstances, the Estonian kroon is now battling heavy skepticism in its struggle to remain pegged to the euro.
* Retail sales rise in January (Des Moines Business Record)
U.S. retail sales unexpectedly rose 1 percent in January, ending a six-month slide as gasoline prices increased and automobile sales were up, Bloomberg reported.
* Bowles to review report of UNC grade inflation (Eric Ferreri, News & Observer)
CHAPEL HILL — A recent report detailing grade inflation at UNC-Chapel Hill has caught the eye of UNC system President Erskine Bowles, who said today he plans to review the issue soon.
* Easing does it (The Financial Times)
Were all Keynesians now and perhaps monetarists too. The UK Treasury is spending �20bn on fiscal stimulus. And now Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, has started focusing his attention on controlling the supply of broad money directly; he announced this week that the Bank was readied for a policy of quantitative easing .
* Will Bailout 2.0 pack a bigger punch? (Newsweek)
It was hard to believe following Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s vaguely worded unveiling on Feb. 10 of the newest bailout plan for the banks. Obama Administration officials had pledged to restore confidence with a more aggressive effort than the rescue hatched by Henry Paulson, Geithner’s predecessor. Instead, investors disappointed by Geithner’s lack of specifics sent stocks tumbling. “…
* Farmland values fall amid lower farm incomes (Roxana Hegeman)
WICHITA | Farmland values fell in the fourth quarter of 2008 in some Midwest and Western states amid weakening farm income and waning market demand, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City reported Friday.Farmland values peaked in September 2008 at historic highs, when adjusted for inflation, said Jason Henderson, the report’s author and an executive at the Federal Reserve’s Omaha branch…
* Letter: Decrease in home value brings questions (Herald-Bulletin)
State representatives have legislated an automatic increase in the assessed value of property while the governor has proposed a 1 percent cap on that continual increased assessment. An appraisal by a bank will indicate a decreased value of your property. Then, when you receive an insurance statement, the amount owed will have increased due to the inflated cost of replacement.