Fed sees economy “leveling”, but still lots of economic pain

The US Federal Reserve, the country’s central bank, says that it sees the US economy beginning to stabilize after months of recession. But it kept short term interest rates on hold, near zero percent since December, after its FOMC, rate-setting committee meeting, Wednesday, 12 August. The Fed pointed to improving financial markets as an indicator that the recession is coming to an end. The bond markets dipped a little on the news, disappointed that the Fed was not going to increase its bond market interventions, but then came back. Major stock indices were at highs since the crisis began, and the dollar strengthened against the Yen. Reuters

Unemployment figures in the US are at an all-time high of 9.4 percent, and President Barack Obama says he believes they could go as high as 10 percent. Housing foreclosures set new records, too: more than 360,000 homeowners received a foreclosure filing in July, meaning that legal action was being taken to repossess their homes because they can’t maintain mortgage payments. In the first seven months of the year, 2.3 million homes have been repossessed, auctioned or foreclosed, a record. Reuters, Financial Times (pay), NZZ (Ger)