The Weekend Read

New York Fed President William Dudley on Friday cited the new improved tablet as an example of the economy’s dearth of upward inflation pressures. But for a Queens, N.Y., audience more worried about the price of food, that didn’t go down so well.

The central banker hit the iceberg when he was trying to defend his belief–one shared by many private-sector economists–that underlying inflation in the U.S. economy is low despite a worrisome surge in commodity prices which Dudley said the Fed would be “unwise” to overreact to. The grief Dudley got indicates the Fed is facing a growing gulf between how it and the public at large perceives inflation. If this disconnect widens, it could risk undoing the public’s confidence that the Fed will be able to keep price pressures at bay.

Dudley’s day went south when he was pressed by several audience members about how he can view inflation as low when things such as grocery prices are marching higher. One participant asked “when was the last time, sir, you went grocery shopping?”WSJ

China
Chinese Bank Lending Slows – WSJ
China’s government may at last be getting a grip on its banks – Economist
China’s Fiscal Legerdemain – WSJ

Commodities
The World’s Next Great Bust: China and Commodities – The Atlantic

Demographics
The Countries Where Old Age Costs The Most – 24/7 Wall St.

Economics
California combines most of the shortcomings of the modern Western state – Economist
Irish inflation is lowest in EU at 0.9pc, says Eurostat – Independent.ie
Manufacturing Boosts U.S. Expansion as Fuel Dent Consumer Sentiment – Bloomberg
UK consumer confidence crashes to record low – Telegraph
U.S. Consumer prices climb 0.5% in February – MarketWatch

Energy
Wind, solar, biofuels to double by 2020, report says – CNET
World energy crunch as nuclear and oil both go wrong – Telegraph

Equities
Apple’s component deals should help it weather Japan crisis – CNET
Does Anne Hathaway News Drive Berkshire Hathaway’s Stock? – The Atlantic
SEC Sues IBM Alleging China, Korea Bribes – WSJ

European Debt Crisis
Euro-Zone Ministers Stall on Bailout Details – WSJ

General
Hedge funds hit by quake-fueled market selloff – MarketWatch

Geopolitical
Coalition prepares for air strikes on Libya – FT
Saudi king disappoints reformists – FT
Washington’s stark choice: Democracy or Riyadh – FT

Japan
Japan in ‘battle against time’ says IAEA – FT
Just Imagine Big Tokyo Quake, 23 Years Later: Michael Lewis – Bloomberg
Some natural disasters change history. Japan’s tsunami could be one – Economist

Monetary Policy
A Look Inside the Fed’s Balance Sheet – WSJ
NY Fed Chief’s iPad 2 Comment Irks Queens Audience – WSJ
Trichet Says His Message on ECB’s Rate Stance Hasn’t Changed – Bloomberg

Sovereign Debt
IMF Chief: Wider Definition Of Sovereign Risks Warranted – WSJ
Paradoxes that stalk the realm of sovereign debt  – FT

Video
UN Security Council Resolution  SC/10200Security Council Approves ‘No-Fly Zone’ over Libya, Authorizing ‘All Necessary Measures’ to Protect Civilians, by Vote of 10 in Favour with 5 Abstentions

(click here if video is not observable)

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