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1. To find and discuss quantitative information concerning the economy--for example, term structure of interest rates, GDP growth, inflation, etc.

In inflation news, Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman, expects the monthly $85 billion Quantitative Easing (QE) purchase of assets to taper off by the end of 2013 (“Global Economy”, 2013).The tapering of QE in the United States is causing major concerns because this affects emerging market currencies. Currency in other countries is hitting a low. This markets have reacted rather quickly to their sliding currencies. Economists contend the severe reaction by investors has been unwarranted (“Global Economy”, 2013). A reduction in the pace of asset purchases by the Fed should be evaluated in the context of the nearly $3.5 trillion of assets already held on the Fed’s balance sheet and its ‘forward guidance’ on the main reserve rate (“Global Economy”, 2013).
The Fed has consistently said that interest rates will not rise if unemployment is above 6.5%, and if inflation remains under control. With the unemployment rate moving at its current pace the unemployment target is unlikely to be reached until early 2015 (“Global Economy”, 2013). However it does look like the Fed is at the beginning of a path back toward operating normal monetary policy that could take as long as 5 years (“Global Economy”, 2013) .
The Fed is not being pushed to consider tightening, mainly because of developments in the U.S. labor market and because of low inflation. This is particularly important as the Fed has signaled that interest rates are unlikely to be raised while the unemployment rate is above 6.5% (“Global Economy”, 2013). Although there is still a ways to go, if the current trend continues, the 6.5% target would be reached in about the first quarter of 2015 if all else remains constant.

2. To read and summarize two...

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