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Fear of Inflation Finds a Foothold in the Bond Market

The so-called bond vigilantes may be back, 30 years after they led a sell-off in Treasury securities over the prospect of higher government spending by a new Democratic administration.The Federal Reserve has downplayed the risk of inflation, and many experts discount the danger of a sustained rise in prices. But there is an intense debate underway on Wall Street about the prospects for higher inflation and rising interest rates.Yields on 10-year Treasury notes have risen sharply in recent weeks, a sign that traders are taking the inflation threat more seriously. If the trend continues, it will put bond investors …

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Buy This NFT Column on the Blockchain!

Foundation makes minting an NFT easy, but adding it to the Ethereum blockchain can be expensive. It requires paying a “gas fee” — a kind of congestion tax that is based on how busy the network is — and listing my token required two transactions: one to mint the token and another to generate the code that runs the auction. These days, gas fees to create a single NFT can exceed $100, although many are closer to $50.The next step was to list my new NFT for sale. I set the minimum acceptable price of the auction at 0.5 Ether, or about $850 at today’ …

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Lebanon’s Financial Collapse Hits Where It Hurts: The Grocery Store

BEIRUT, Lebanon — In normal times, Ziad Hassan, a grocery store manager in Beirut, would get a daily email from his chain’s management telling him which prices needed to be adjusted and by how much.But as Lebanon’s currency has collapsed, sending the economy into a tailspin, the emails have come as often as three times a day, ordering price increases across the store.“We have to change everything,” an exasperated Mr. Hassan said, adding that his employees often weren’t even able to finish marking one price increase before the next one arrived. “It’s crazy.”The country’ …

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Why $4-a-Gallon Gas May Be Coming Your Way This Summer

HOUSTON — Even as oil and gasoline prices rise, industry executives are resisting their usual impulse to pump more oil out of the ground, which could keep energy prices moving up as the economy recovers.The oil industry is predictably cyclical: When oil prices climb, producers race to drill — until the world is swimming in petroleum and prices fall. Then, energy companies that overextended themselves tumble into bankruptcy.That wash-rinse-repeat cycle has played out repeatedly over the last century, three times in the last 14 years alone. But, at least for the moment, oil and gas companies are not following those old …

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Inflation Fear Lurks, Even as Officials Say Not to Worry

While the Biden administration’s ambitious effort to salve the pandemic’s deep economic wounds made its way through Congress, proponents insisted that funneling $1.9 trillion to American households and businesses wouldn’t unshackle a long-vanquished monster: inflation.Officials at the Federal Reserve, responsible for balancing the job needs of Americans with price pressures that could erode their buying power, have said there is little cause for worry.Yet as the legislation moved toward the finish line, inflation prospects increasingly influenced political commentary and Wall Street trading.The worries reflect expectations of a rapid economic expansion as businesses reopen and the …

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‘I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This’: Chaos Strikes Global Shipping

Off the coast of Los Angeles, more than two dozen container ships filled with exercise bikes, electronics and other highly sought imports have been idling for as long as two weeks.In Kansas City, farmers are struggling to ship soybeans to buyers in Asia. In China, furniture destined for North America piles up on factory floors.Around the planet, the pandemic has disrupted trade to an extraordinary degree, driving up the cost of shipping goods and adding a fresh challenge to the global economic recovery. The virus has thrown off the choreography of moving cargo from one continent to another. …

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This Cloud Computing Billing Expert Is Very Funny. Seriously.

OAKLAND, Calif. — When Jeff Barr, a prominent executive at Amazon’s cloud computing division and a prodigious corporate blogger, celebrated his 60th birthday last year, Corey Quinn had a surprise for him: a music video that mocked Amazon’s business.“Jeff, can you write me a launch blog post,” sang a cartoon Amazon manager to the tune of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” “What we’ve built is a mystery to me. But it’s vast and bespoke and its console’s a joke. But if it ships, I might make V.P.”After the video’s release, Mr. Quinn, …

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How a Minimum-Wage Increase Is Being Felt in a Low-Wage City

When the wage went up, Ms. Parra said, she could more easily help with rent and pay the phone and cable bills at the apartment that she shares with her mother, who makes $18.50 an hour at a heating and air-conditioning company.She noted, however, that her wages were not enough for her to live on her own. “I wouldn’t say that we’re poor, but I also wouldn’t say that we’re well off,” she said. “But because there is both of us who have incomes, we’re able to do O.K.”Mayor Jerry Dyer said there …

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Financial Aid: Grades, Merit and Talking to Kids About Paying for College

This Is Very UncomfortableIf you are raising your eyebrows now, administrators feel for you. They do not like the equity implications of merit aid either, even if affluent families who get $20,000 discounts may well be helping to cross-subsidize lower-income ones at many schools.Yet these managers of enrollment also wonder why you’re so shocked that they use merit aid in the first place. After all, it is awfully hard to fundamentally change a college’s character — its location, the tenured faculty, the type of students who come year after year, what the brand stands for in the market for …

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Suriname Could Be Latest Big Oil Find as Industry Cuts Costs

Suriname, Guyana and Brazil are now attracting more new investment than the Gulf of Mexico and other more established oil fields. And they are helping to keep global oil prices relatively low, undermining efforts by Russia and its allies in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, like Saudi Arabia, to manage global supply and push up prices.In Guyana, oil companies have found more than 10 billion barrels of probable reserves of accessible oil and gas offshore, according to IHS Markit, the energy consulting firm. Production began in 2019 and is ramping up quickly. Guyana already accounts for one of the …

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