QUICK READS

Canada pumps out the jobs in June Employment rises by 28,400, Statistics Canada says; jobless rate unchanged at 7.4 per cent

ECB Signals More Rate Increases  The European Central Bank raised interest rates for the second time since April to keep inflation in check and signaled that more rises are likely despite an escalating debt crisis in Greece and mounting evidence of slower growth in much of the 17-member euro bloc.

ECB

Food Prices Near Record Highs World food prices edged up in June to near their record highs as a sharp increase in sugar prices outweighed a slump in the grains complex, the United Nation’s food body said. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index, which covers prices of a basket of commodities, rose 1% to 234 points last month, up 39% compared with the same time last year and just below the record 238 points hit in February.

Brent crude jumps 4% to three-week high  Oil prices have rebounded about 10 per cent after plunging to four-month lows following the International Energy Agency’s shock announcement on June 23 that member nations would release 60 million barrels of oil reserves. The IEA said it would consider later this month whether or not to release more reserves, but does not see the program extending for longer than a month or two.

More Empty Stores at Malls  The average vacancy rate at malls in the top 80 U.S. markets increased to 9.3% in the second quarter from 9.1% in the first. Meanwhile, average lease rates at U.S. malls remained steady at $16.54 per square foot per year, unchanged from the first-quarter rate. The average strip-center vacancy rate increased to 11% in the second quarter from 10.9% in the first, while lease rates remained steady at $38.77. Reis forecasts that, later this year, average strip-center vacancies will exceed 11.1%, their peak from the recession of the early 1990s.

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Unit labor costs for Q1 2011:

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