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Depression without inflation – Al-Ittihad newspaper



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Stagnation without inflation

Something funny happened on the way to the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate hike. On June 15, the Federal Reserve boldly raised its interest rates by 75 basis points, or 0.75 percentage points. It’s a sharp rise for a company that usually tries to move gradually.

Why the rush? Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has made it clear that he and his colleagues fear that inflation expectations are “slackening,” with some economists arguing that this could lead to “rooting” of inflation. (Loose anchoring, contrast metaphor takes time to call the police!).

Powell said one factor influencing the decision was an improvement in the University of Michigan’s long-term inflation expectations, which he described as “significant.” I and others have cautioned against relying too much on the one-month figures, especially since other measures of expected inflation don’t point in the same direction.

To be fair, Powell acknowledged that this is a prime number that can be revised. Of course, the figure has been revised to a lower level. However, inflation expectations do not appear to be slipping.

Indeed, the big story right now is the sharp drop in market expectations of medium-term inflation. The five-year equilibrium, the interest rate difference between ordinary U.S. government bonds and inflation-protected bonds linked to consumer prices, is an implicit expectation of inflation over the next five years, and has declined by one percentage point since March. The underlying picture is better than this number because investors think we may have a year or so of high inflation before we return to the Fed’s long-term target of a 2% inflation rate. The PCE deflator is slightly lower than the CPI. Earlier this month, a market-based estimate (somewhat in line with others) pegged inflation at 4.4% next year, but only 2.2% over the next five years.

Why are these ratings important? Not because financial markets or consumer surveys are particularly good at forecasting inflation, neither of which predict a rise in inflation in 2021 and 2022, but because most economists believe that expected inflation is an important determinant of actual inflation.

Let’s think of prices that are set a year in advance, like many wage contracts, house rents, and so on. In an economy where everyone expects a 10% pay raise in the next year, even though the supply and demand for workers are roughly balanced, employers tend to offer a 10% increase each time they revise salaries.

Once inflation stabilizes within expectations, it can become self-sustaining. The only way to lower it in the rankings is for a long period of time when demand is less than supply, i.e. stagnation. This is not a hypothetical scenario, but rather what actually existed in the early 1980s, when everyone expected high inflation to continue, and it took years of high unemployment to bring things under control.

Understandably, the Federal Reserve does not want to find itself in this situation again, so it is highly sensitive to any signs that projected inflation is spiraling out of control. Currently, no such symptoms are known. In fact, there is some evidence that the Federal Reserve may be on the verge of making the opposite mistake of what happened last year.

At the time, the Federal Reserve failed to act and did not predict the current rise in inflation. Is he now lagging behind, but in the opposite direction and not seeing an immediate decline in inflation? To be fair, official price figures do not yet show a slowdown in inflation.

Actions that exclude volatile food and energy prices, or extreme price moves that indicate more stable core inflation at 4%, which the Federal Reserve considers unacceptably high. But unofficial numbers, some of which are more recent than official data, indicate that several forces have recently pushed inflation in the opposite direction.

For example, do you remember shipping charges? Going down. Overall, the supply chain problems that caused the price hike turned in the opposite direction. Major retailers have said they have too much excess inventory and are planning to cut prices in an effort to pull items from shelves and warehouses. Why is inflation falling so fast?

Regardless of special factors like the war in Ukraine, many analysts, myself included, attribute rising inflation in the U.S. to government spending and easy money overheating the economy. But despite this warming, the rate at which inflation has increased is surprising.

Historical evidence suggests that the Phillips curve is very flat, or in other words, that the inflation rate is not very sensitive to how hot or cold the economy has been. But that’s not how it looks in 2021 and 2022, leading many economists to conclude that the relationship between jobs and inflation is strengthening as the economy approaches capacity. But if inflation is very sensitive to upside demand, it will also be very sensitive to the downside. With mounting evidence that the economy is weakening too quickly, it is now possible that the economy actually contracted in the second quarter, and it seems reasonable to suggest that inflation will also fall quickly.

However, this is what the markets expect. Now, this progress against inflation, if it happens, will come at a cost. It is clear that growth in the US economy is slowing, and the contraction may be severe enough to be considered a recession, and it will be moderate. Since inflation takes some time to fully reverse its rise, there is a good chance that we will see a short-term economic stagnation with constant inflation, i.e. “stagflation”.

But if I and the markets are right, the “inflation” part of the term won’t last long. Sooner than many think, the Federal Reserve may retreat by trying to exit “recession” territory.

American academic and Nobel laureate in economics.

Published by special arrangement of The New York Times Service.

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Meta unveils new artificial intelligence products



Meta unveils new artificial intelligence products

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of MetaPlatforms, has introduced a group of new products powered by artificial intelligence, including smart glasses that can answer questions and broadcast live on Facebook, as well as “bot” programs to create images and an advanced headset for virtual reality. .

Zuckerberg described the products as bridging the virtual and real worlds, and asserted that low-cost or free artificial intelligence in what Meta offered could be integrated into daily routines.

The MetaQuest virtual reality headset is one of the most popular in the burgeoning virtual reality industry, and company executives described it as the best value in the industry, marking the imminent launch of an expensive headset from Apple.

Speaking from the central courtyard at Meta’s sprawling campus in Silicon Valley, Zuckerberg said Meta’s new generation of Ray-Ban smart glasses will launch on October 17 for $299.

The device will have a new assistant from Meta that works with artificial intelligence and will be able to live-stream what the user sees on Facebook and Instagram, a feat compared to the previous generation’s ability to take pictures.

Earlier during the presentation, Zuckerberg said that the latest mixed reality headset (Quest) will start rolling out on October 10.

Zuckerberg’s statements came at the MetaConnect conference, the social media company’s biggest event of the year and the first to be held in person since the start of the Covid pandemic.

It launched the first consumer-oriented generative artificial intelligence products, in which a chatbot (meta AI chatbot) can generate text responses and realistic images.

Zuckerberg emphasized: “It’s not just about answering inquiries. It’s about helping people do things for entertainment and interacting with the people around you.”

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The US economy is between the trap of recession and stubborn inflation



The US economy is between the trap of recession and stubborn inflation

Debate continues among officials and big banks over whether the US economy will fall into recession, as analysts expect the economy to slip into recession as it faces stubborn inflation and raises interest rates to record highs. .

Expected growth

Data for the final reading of US GDP showed the economy grew by about 2.1%, which is the same as the second reading. In the second quarter of 2022. Fixed income investments showed a growth of around 5.2% in the three-month period ended June, compared to 3.1% in the first quarter.

US exports fell 9.3% in the second quarter, and imports fell 7.6%. As for personal consumption expenditures, they rose about 0.8%, compared with a 3.8% increase in the first quarter.

A survey showed that business activity in the U.S. is close to stagnating in August 2023, with growth hitting its slowest level since last February, as demand for new business in the largest services sector has weakened.


Standard & Poor’s Global said – in its preliminary composite purchasing managers’ index for the US, which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors – the reading fell to 50.4 points in August from 52 in July; This marks the biggest decline since November 2022.

Although August’s reading showed growth for the seventh month in a row, it was slightly above the 50-point level that separates growth from contraction, in light of weak demand for manufactured goods and services.

For months, a strong labor market and strong consumer spending have eased recession fears, and both factors led to an upward revision in GDP growth expectations, but the data paint a less optimistic picture of the economy.

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Recession is possible

Abhilash Narayan, director and chief investment strategist at Standard Chartered, believes the probability of the US economy entering recession next year is 50 to 60%.

In an interview with “Eqtisad Al-Sharq”, Narayan cited three reasons for this, the first being that consumer spending, which has been a fundamental factor in the strength of the US economy, will slow down as savings run out, the second is the risk of a government shutdown in October, which will limit government spending, and the third is that the 18 Date strong interest rate hike. Last month, the Federal Reserve showed its negative impact on US economic activity in 2024.

“Healthy” mode

On the other hand, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US economy shows no signs of an imminent slowdown.

Bloomberg News quoted Yellen as saying in an interview with CNBC last week that “I don’t see any signs that the economy is headed for a recession,” and that while the labor market may have contracted somewhat, the market is still there. A “healthy” situation. Industrial production is increasing and “inflation is falling.”

Yellen said she is watching for several developments, including the potential impact on consumer spending as student loan payments resume after a multi-year hiatus.

He noted that despite the rise in interest rates, credit is still available and “it has made a difference in some sectors”. He also said that he expects crude oil prices to stabilize.

Interest rates

Commenting on the decision to stabilize US interest rates in September, US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the bank was ready to raise interest rates at any time to push annual US inflation to 2%.

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The chairman of the Reserve Bank emphasized that despite factors beyond the central bank’s control, there is a good chance that strong interest rate hikes will not push the US economy into recession.

Moderate depression

Central bank experts expect the potential economic consequences of recent bank developments to lead to a “moderate recession” later this year. Bank failures can make borrowing more difficult, reduce spending and impact economic activity, meaning lenders may tighten their standards in the wake of recent bank failures.

Real estate sector

Mortgage interest rates in the U.S. rose last week to their highest level since 2000, negatively impacting already low home-buying applications.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose 10 basis points to 7.41% in the week ended Sept. 22, according to Mortgage Bankers Association data released Wednesday. As a result, the home purchase order index fell to 144.8, one of the lowest readings in decades.

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Launch of “Azizi Wines” in “Dubai South” at a cost of 30 billion dirhams



Launch of “Azizi Wines” in “Dubai South” at a cost of 30 billion dirhams

Assisi Real Estate Development Company revealed its plans to develop the “Azizi Venice” project in the “Dubai South” area at a cost of around 30 billion dirhams, noting that the new luxury complex is inspired by the Italian city of Venice. It is located entirely within a crystal clear lake, in which swimming is possible.

The project was launched last night at a grand function in Dubai attended by over 10,000 people.

The new project will offer 24 million square feet of space on a 15 million square foot land, apart from the “Opera”, a temperature-controlled “luxury pedestrian boulevard” and a wide range of other amenities.

Azizi assumes lead developer responsibility for the construction of buildings, roads and all infrastructure for the mixed-use project, which will have more than 30,000 residential units distributed across nearly 100 residential complexes, in addition to more than 400 villas and luxury homes.

“Azizi Venice” is distinguished by its large pool with many beaches surrounding all its residential buildings, villas and luxury houses, in addition to designated areas for entertainment, retail and various commercial activities.

The beaches are surrounded by desalinated and filtered water, as well as a promenade that includes an eight-kilometer cycling and running track, yoga facilities and other sports activities, restaurants and a group of specialty shops. Apart from shops, brands and restaurants featuring international cuisine, there are three-story buildings on both sides of Assisi Boulevard.

In addition to a private hotel located on an island in the middle of the lake, the project will offer two five-star hotels owned and managed by Assisi at its entrances.

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“Azizi Venice” will have a full-service hospital, a kindergarten, high school to grade schools, and four kilometers of main road, and will be surrounded by additional options of restaurants and shopping outlets.

Mirwais Azizi, founder and chairman of the board of directors of Azizi Real Estate Development, pointed out that “Assisi Venice is a unique complex and destination in Dubai and the Middle East region in general,” adding, “The new project will change that. It is home to around 80,000 residents, and more than 80,000 people are tourists.” Fascinating place.” 30 thousand visitors daily.

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