Business, Economics and Jobs

Macro chatter: Operation twist and facepalm


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Capitol Hill July 21, 2010, in Washington, DC on July 21, 2010.


Brendan Smialowski

Need to know: 

The US Federal Reserve is betting on Operation Twist

The central bank said it would extend the quasi-stimulus program through which it swaps shorter-dated US Treasury securities for longer-dated ones until the end of the year. 

Since interest rates are already at record lows, the Fed was limited in its options and Twist was among its least controversial choices. But Twist has already been around awhile, and it's had a tough time saving the world. 

As Marketplace put it, "No matter how low our interest rates are, we can't save Greece, Spain and Cyprus with well-priced U.S. mortgage rates."

Want to know: 

Remember when GlobalPost told you Germany wasn't immune from the euro crisis? Well it isn't. 

The latest data from Germany shows German private sector output posted its steepest drop in three years. 

A key manufacturing index also fell to a nearly three-year low, and German business optimism is quickly fading.

Dull but important: 

Something concrete may yet emerge from this week's G20 meeting on the beach in Mexico: a euro zone effort to buy debt from troubled members. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is reported to have agreed to allow money from the euro zone's bailout fund to be used to purchase bonds from Spain and Italy. The move is aimed at holding down borrowing for the struggling euro zone borrowers. 

Just because: 

Owning a piece of paradise: priceless. 

Billionaire Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has bought Lana'i, well most of it anyway.

It's not clear how much he had to pay to join the billionaire island owners' club, but it was likely a lot. Lana'i is the Hawaiian paradise where Bill Gates held his wedding, and Ellison's purchase includes two Four Seasons resorts and two championship golf courses. 

Strange but true: 

The G20's latest communique is about as exciting a read as its predecessors. It is however inspiring angry screeds from around the world, including this one by GlobalPost's Thomas Mucha. 

The G20's latest plan to save the world is light on details but promises something big to save the world.

The world is not convinced.