Interesting Inflation News Links (March 17, 2009)

* U.S. housing starts surge; wholesale prices edge up

Housing construction posted a surprisingly large increase in February, bolstered by strength in all parts of the country except the West.

* Housing starts surge; wholesale prices edge up

WASHINGTON — Wholesale prices edged up a tiny 0.1 percent in February as a big decline in food prices offset a second monthly increase in energy costs, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

* House prices in shock monthly rise but repossessions soar by 68% (The Daily Mail)

House prices rose slightly last month with the average cost of a home rising by 0.2 per cent in January, new figures have shown.

* Rising piles and falling prices (The Concordian)

Piles of paper and plastic are slowly taking over the land surrounding the city’s main recycling plant. Production at the centre, operated by Rebuts Solides Canadiens (RSC), has gradually been grinding to a halt ever since the market for recycled materials started to plummet a few months ago.

* U.S. February producer prices rise 0.1% (Bloomberg News)

March 17 — U.S. producer prices rose 0.1 percent in February as the cost of energy products, cigarettes, light trucks and household appliances increased.

* Wall Street is narrowly mixed in early trading (Stephen Bernard)

to lower its dividend in an effort to conserve cash amid the ongoing recession. The aluminum maker lowered its dividend on Monday after the market closed. Alcoa cut the dividend 82 percent to 3 cents and said it plans to sell stock and debt to help reduce annual costs by more than $2.4 billion.

* Food of the poor thats rich in taste (National Post)

When Gennaro Iorio thinks back to his childhood in Trail, B.C., he remembers foraging for mushrooms in the nearby forests, helping his dad make wine and the aroma of his mother’s fresh-baked bread.

* Shell pledges $10bn dividend payment (Adam Jones, The Financial Times)

Royal Dutch Shell pledged on Tuesday to pay out $10bn (�7.1bn) in dividends in 2009 even though the energy group felt that economic conditions could remain tough for more than a year.

* Xcel seeks 2.6% rate hike in second quarter (Gargi Chakrabarty, Denver Post)

Xcel Energy on Monday asked state regulators to approve a 2.6 percent hike in electric rates in the second quarter of 2009.

* Our ignorance of class, economics must end (Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star)

So now, with people’s 401(k) retirement accounts vanishing along with their puffed-up middle class pride, perhaps there is space for a little truth telling.The average American never leaves the class level into which he or she is born. Yes, it’s true, despite all those Horatio Alger kitchen table talks about “you can be anything you want dear, this is America!” I …

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