US economic growth stronger than expected despite weak demand

Stockpiling by businesses helps provide growth of 3.2% in first quarter of 2019 US economic growth surged in the first three months of the year to 3.2% as the dispelled concerns the US economy was heading into recession as early as the summer, as some analysts had feared,after a slowdown last year. But analysts said the Federal Reserve, which has put interest rate hikes on hold, was unlikely to view the figures as the beginning of an economic boom and reverse its current policy. In January, the US central bank suspended its three-year push to tighten monetary policy, saying it would pause further rate hikes this year. The Fed increased borrowing costs four times to a range of 2.25 to …

How Americas food giants swallowed the family farms

Across the midwest, the rise of factory farming is destroying rural communities. And the massive corporations behind this devastation are now eyeing a post-Brexit UK market When the vast expanse of rural Iowa was carved up for settlers in the 19th century, it was often divided into 160-acre lots. Four farms made a square mile, with a crisscross of dead-straight roads marking the boundaries like a sprawling chess board. Within each square, generations of families tended pigs and cattle, grew oats and raised children, with the sons most likely to take over the farm. That is how Barb Kalbach saw the future when she left her familys land to marry and begin farming with her new husband, Jim, 47 years …

Trump’s tariff war pushes US trade deficit to 10-year high

Trade imbalance rose to $621bn in 2018 despite new tariffs while deficit jumped 19% in December alone The US trade deficit hit a 10-year high in December, dealing a blow to Donald Trumps efforts to restrict imports, especially from China, with protectionist trade tariffs. The gap between the goods US companies sell to China and Chinese imports ballooned to a record $419bn (318bn), while the total deficit in goods with all countries jumped to $891bn. A surplus in services trade was unable to prevent the overall deficit for 2018 from rising nearly 19% in December to a decade-long high of $621bn, the commerce department said. With US consumers continuing to demand imported phones, laptops and computer accessories, mostly from China, …