This Week in the News

A lot of interesting stories are floating around the financial news world this week.  We’re presenting some of them below with a brief summary and a link to the original story.  Enjoy!

Economic Growth Expected for US 

There’s optimism among US companies on employment outlook and total company sales. 78 percent of businesses surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics’ April survey indicated that they expect the US economy to grow by more than 2 percent this year. This represents a 13% increase from the group’s January report, coinciding with improvements in the labor market and decreased unemployment reports.

Link: Bloomberg Businessweek- Companies More Upbeat on U.S. Economy, NABE Survey Shows

How well do global citizens know how to handle their personal finances?

A recent survey by Visa International reveals that none of the 28 nations polled surpassed the 50% mark.  Researchers awarded Brazil the highest grade, while the US came in 4thwith just under 45% financial literacy.  Visa polled individuals in 5 areas of personal finance including budgets, emergency funds and educations programs. Read more about the key findings from the report by visiting the link above.

Link: TIME Moneyland- Financial Literacy: U.S. Trails … Brazil and Mexico?

How well do Americans know how to handle their finances?

Visa International’s recent financial literacy survey indicates some key findings and indicators concerning the United States:

  • 80% of adults say they could benefit from the advice of a professional when it comes to everyday financial decisions—up from 76% last year.
  • For adults seeking help with a debt problem, the first choice (27%) remains friends and family. But 13% say they would contact their lender first—up from 8% last year.
  • The proportion of adults who have ordered or received their credit score in the past 12 months jumped to 44% from 37%.

Link: TIME Moneyland- More Americans ‘Flunk’ Themselves in Personal Finance

Signs that the Dollar will climb this year

As Europe’s debt crisis roars forward, strategists now predict that the Dollar will climb by the end of 2012. Since February, the dollar has reversed a trend of depreciation over the last 10 years (weakening against all but the Mexican peso among “16 most actively-traded peers”) and gained against 13 of them since February. Their predictions—the opposite of November speculations—have been supported by US hiring growth and a 2.3 percent projected economic growth. Additionally, continued European turmoil, that would slow US growth, would still increase demand for US assets (i.e. Treasuries).

Link: Bloomberg- Bullish, Bearish Forecasters Agree on Strong Dollar

Will the Euro survive?

Economic austerity policies are needed to stabilize the Euro, but a recent Time’s article speculates that “Democracy,” in the form of European electoral season, could signal the end of the common European currency.  Sentiment has grown largely nationalistic in nature, and parties that support the currency are expected to fare badly in 2012. Most notably, French incumbent Sarkozy is expected to lose this year’s election to an opponent of Euro austerity measures—which aim to salvage and stabilize the common currency system.

Link: TIME Business- Democracy Could Destroy the Euro

IMF received $430 billion in additional funding

“I want money,” says IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, as the International Monetary Fund received last Friday $430 billion in additional funding, as a hedge against heightened global risks. Specifically, the IMF has warned that the “global economy faces serious risks,” pointing to labor markets and the banking system among others.

The US, which is responsible for 18% of the IMF’s resources, has declined to give any commitments regarding additional funding.

Link:  CNN Money- IMF doubles lending capacity

Proposed tax code changes in Dave Camp’s bill

Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the top Republican tax writer, remains undecided on what Congress should do about the retirement saving structure as the House deliberates a tax code makeover.

Interesting tidbit: Camp supports the idea of mandatory, automatic IRA enrollment. This position augments President Obama’s stance on requiring employers, who don’t offer retirement plans, to enroll their workers in IRA. Please visit the link above to read more about the proposed tax code changes in Camp’s bill.

Link:  Bloomberg- Tax Breaks for U.S. Retirement Should Be Simpler, Camp Says


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This Week in the News

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