The United States trade deficit shrank in May even when average prices for imported oil surged during the month to a record, according to a US Department of Commerce release on Friday. The deficit narrowed to 59.8 billion US dollars from 60.5 billion in April as both exports and imports rose to record highs.
One of the largest United States mortgage lenders, the California-based IndyMac Bank, has collapsed amid a growing credit crisis. Federal regulators seized the bank's assets, fearing it might not be able to meet withdrawals by depositors. It is the second-largest financial institution to fail in US history, regulators say.
The United States said it was satisfied at the way the Argentine government is handling the dispute with the farmers, said Argentine Ambassador to the US Héctor Timerman on Friday, after participating in a meeting with the US Under-Secretary for Western Hemispheric Affairs Thomas Shannon and the Treasury Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Brian O'Neill.
In United States as in the rest of world, consumers have suffered the impact on rising food and fuel prices of adverse climate, larger global demand and roaring speculation. But even so on average, US consumers still spend 10% of their income on food, which is possibly the lowest in the world according to the latest surveys from the American Farm Bureau Federation, AFBF.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed more than 20% below its October 2007 peak on Wednesday, meaning it is officially a bear market. The blue-chip index fell 166.8 points or 1.46% to 11,215.5, which is 21.0% below its 14,198.1 close on 11 October.
The EU farm chief called for the comeback of the curvy cucumber and other odd-shaped produce sold in shops as part of proposals to ease market restrictions on fruit and vegetables amid rising food prices.
A ban on handguns in Washington DC has been ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, the justices upheld a lower court ruling striking down the ban. They said individuals had a right to keep handguns for lawful purposes
US consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest level in 16 years while US home prices fell in April at the fastest rate in years, two economic reports have said.
In a move which did not surprise, the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept interest rates unchanged at 2%. In its usual release following the two day meeting the Open Market Committee said that recent information indicates that overall economic activity continues to expand, partly reflecting some firming in household spending.
At a time of record-high gasoline prices and a corresponding surge in transit ridership, US citizens are driving less for the sixth month in a row, highlighting the need to find a more sustainable and effective way to fund highway construction and maintenance, said United States Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters.