Political uncertainty in Russia fueling capital flight says NY-based Russian analyst

By Ted Regencia
Written for the Business and Economics Reporting Class
at Columbia Journalism School

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency for the third time is causing political uncertainty among Russia’s business elite, so much so that it is fueling a capital flight, a Russian energy analyst said.

Natasha Udensiva, a visiting Russian scholar at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, said a retreat in direct investments particularly in the energy sector could cost Russia its current position as the number one oil-producing country in the world.

“There is a lot of outflow investment coming from Russia because there is no political stability,” Udensiva said during the forum, “Russian Energy Diplomacy under Putin,” in New York. “There is a lot of doubt how [Putin] will handle the economy.”

Putin was voted back to the presidency in March with over 60 percent of the vote. He is expected to take over the post from President Dmitry Medvedev on May 7.
Continue reading “Political uncertainty in Russia fueling capital flight says NY-based Russian analyst”

Chicago home sales up; but prices at record 10-year low

Text and photo by Ted Regencia
Written for the Business and Economics Reporting Class
at Columbia Journalism School

Around this time a year ago, Kevin Anderson, a broker at Chicago’s largest residential real estate company @properties, was feeling downcast. A historic snowstorm had just hit the Windy City and he had only managed to list or sell two properties. As 2012 enters its second month, Anderson is more upbeat. So far he has four units listed or under contract.

“It is a buyer’s market,” Anderson said. “We have not seen this in decades, so it’s a great time to buy if you can.” Consumer sentiment is also up, he said.

Continue reading “Chicago home sales up; but prices at record 10-year low”

Economists predict weak U.S. jobs numbers for January 2012

Text and photo by Ted Regencia
Written for the Business and Economics Reporting Class
at Columbia Journalism School

Coming off the heels of a busy holiday season that saw a gain of 200,000 U.S. workers in December, economists estimate a sluggish January 2012 job market, with only over 100,000 jobs added and an unemployment rate inching up a tenth of a percent from last month to 8.6.

As the gift-giving period ended, as many as 40,000 couriers and messengers hired late last year were most likely left without work by January, slicing 20 percent from the December figure, according to Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington D.C. Additionally, the construction sector also slowed down due to the weather and the already weak building activity across the country.

“I think we’re probably going to get somewhere in the range of 100,000 to 120, 000 jobs,” Shierholz said referring to the job increase.

Continue reading “Economists predict weak U.S. jobs numbers for January 2012”

After midnight with the fishmongers in the Bronx

Text, photo and audio by Ted Regencia

NEW YORK — It’s been almost six years since the New Fulton Fish Market moved to The Bronx on Nov. 14, 2005 after 180 years of smelling up lower Manhattan. The $86-million, half-mile long facility houses more than 30 wholesale distributors, bringing over a billion dollars in annual revenue. Critics contend it lacks the character of the old market by the Brooklyn Bridge, and its remote location contributes to a recent slump in sales. Others say the city-owned Hunts Point warehouse has modern amenities that keep the produce fresh and in high demand. Most recently, one operator declared bankruptcy leaving the warehouse 15 percent empty. But on a midnight visit not too long ago, the market still pulsates with energy. And with the thick smell of the sea wafting over the vending spots, there’s no mistaking this is the world’s second largest fish market.

Also published in BronxInk.org

Geithner staying in office for now; warns of debt ceiling impasse

Web Exclusive
July 01, 2011

Text and photos by Ted Regencia

To read the Xinhua English version of the story please click here

CHICAGO — U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday he is keeping his post for the “foreseeable future,” telling an audience in Chicago that he wants to continue helping President Obama solve the country’s economic woes, on top of which is the budget negotiation that would raise the debt ceiling and prevent the country from defaulting.

“I live for this work. It’s the only thing I’ve ever done. I believe in it. We have lots of challenges in the country, I’m going to do it for the foreseeable future,” Geithner said when asked by former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Clinton hosted a two-day economic summit here.

Earlier, Bloomberg News reported that Geithner will resign as soon as the Obama administration and Congress reach a deal on raising the U.S. debt ceiling.

“People are worried, or interested, because you know, I have a family. My son’s going back to New York to finish high school and I’ve been commuting for a while, but I’m gonna be doing this for the foreseeable future,” Geithner said.

Speaking about the contentious issue that’s dominating Washington D.C., Geithner urged Republican lawmakers to reach an agreement with President Obama to raise the debt ceiling, warning that failure to do so would be catastrophic to the American economy.

Continue reading “Geithner staying in office for now; warns of debt ceiling impasse”

Bill Clinton hosts jobs and economic forum in Chicago

Xinhua English
June 29, 2011

Text and photo by Ted Regencia

CHICAGO — Seeking to help the U.S. domestic economy recover from the recession and cut down the 9.1 percent unemployment rate, former U.S. president Bill Clinton kicked-off a two day forum here on Wednesday, while touting Chicago as a model of innovation and economic resurgence.

Clinton, whose eight-year stint at the White House saw the U.S. economy prosper, urged American banks to unlock an estimated $2 trillion in cash for loans.

He also encouraged companies to invest within America another existing $2 trillion dollars in their reservoir, and called on more jobs training to fill as much as three million jobs currently available but remain vacant because of mismatch in qualification.

By filling the three million available jobs, unemployment rate will already be significantly reduced and create a more optimistic economic atmosphere, Clinton said.

On the first day of the event, Clinton has already secured the financial commitment of four organizations, including a 10 billion dollars in capital from the labor group AFL-CIO to be spent for public infrastructure repairs for the next five years.

To read the full story, please visit Xinhua English

Former Chicagoan is first female IMF chief

Xinhua English
June 28, 2011

By Ted Regencia

CHICAGO — French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde made history Tuesday by becoming the first female managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and her appointment received wide praise in Chicago, where she once served as chairman of one of the world’s largest law firms.

At the same time, international finance experts agree Lagarde’s leadership and financial skills will be immediately tested with the current crisis in Greece that is threatening to undermine Europe and the entire global economy.

“Christine was an effective leader who used her intellect, discipline and diplomacy to take our firm to new heights,” the law firm Baker & McKenzie said in a statement to Xinhua. “As the first female chair of a global law firm, she inspired so many of us with her grace, humanity and consensus-building approach, leaving a lasting impact on our firm and on the legal profession.”

Those skills would prove helpful as Lagarde navigates the turbulent current economic and political landscape, said Prof. Martin Eichenbaum, co-director of the Center for International Economics and Development at Chicago’s Northwestern University.

To read the full story, please visit Xinhua English