U.S. economy grew at 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter, which was below analyst expectations but reflected growth in consumer spending. World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, featured discussions on a global trade pact to spur growth for countries and bolster the world’s poor. Also, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said he’s confident about U.S. economic expansion.
Federal Reserve unanimously agrees to go ahead with a plan to buy as much as $600 billion in long-term Treasury bonds as the recovery is slow and joblessness remains high. Housing prices, already down, fell to new lows in cities across the nation in November. New home sales hit a 47-year low in 2010. TheWashington area market bucked the trend. Japan’s credit rating on its long-term sovereign debt was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s, which said the government’s high debt burden was likely to continue. U.S. wheat exports are rising sharply as global buyers try to lock down supplies. European Central Bank warned that it could raise interest rates in response to inflation fears sparked by increases in food, oil and rawmaterial prices. British economy shrunk 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter, performing worse than economist expectations of a 0.5 percent gain.