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Primark hopes luck of the Irish will see it win US hearts, and dollars

This week the chain opens a store in downtown Boston. But can it succeed where so many UK giants have failed?

The Burnham building in Boston, Massachusetts, is widely regarded as one of the finest pieces of architecture in the city. It was designed for the Filene’s department store chain in 1912 by Daniel Burnham, the Chicago architect behind the Selfridges building on London’s Oxford Street, and is on America’s national register of historic places.

But its recent past has been traumatic. In 2007 it fell empty when the branch of Filene’s that it had housed since before the first world war closed. A property developer then gutted the interior, sparking fury in the Boston area.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

A rates hike may hurt the US economy – so why don't the 2016 candidates seem to care?

Despite volatile markets and a deceptively tepid recovery, the Federal Reserve looks unequivocally committed to raising interest rates – but try getting any of the candidates for president to admit such action could undermine the recovery

There was something for everyone in August’s US jobs report. The headline figure for jobs growth was less than expected, but the last two months were revised up. Wages grew, but the number of people out of the workforce remains worryingly high. What’s a central banker to do? Sadly the answer is exactly what they want to do, and no one – not even Donald Trump – seems to think that’s an issue.

At their annual retreat in Jackson Hole last month, several top officials of the Federal Reserve board reiterated their desire to raise interest rates, even if the recent market turmoil may have put these plans on hold for the moment.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Labor day weekend gas prices likely to reach an 11-year low

  • AAA says gas prices could drop below $2 come Christmas
  • US Labor Department says low gas prices are basically tax cuts

This Labor Day customers are likely to pay the lowest gas prices since 2004, according to the American Automobile Association.

Related: US crude oil prices hit lowest since 2009, eliminating thousands of jobs

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Is company's claim of meat without murder too good to be true?

Brooklyn startup Modern Meadow says it is developing laboratory-grown meat but the process currently relies on the blood of unborn calves

Meat without murder, or “animal” flesh grown in a lab for human consumption, has been touted as an ethical gourmand’s dream for nearly a century, but is it a fantasy too good to be true?

Not according to Modern Meadow, a Brooklyn biotech startup that is promising to bring so-called in vitro meat to a dinner table near you, although it is not without its critics.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Australian dollar falls to new six-year low amid economic turbulence

Lower commodities prices and bond yields, slower growth in China and narrowing interest rate differentials all contributed to the fall

Ongoing global economic worries have pushed the Australian dollar to a fresh six-year low.

The Aussie is currently buying 69.11 US cents after more selling overnight in the wake of jobs figures from America which showed unemployment had fallen further than expected.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

John Lewis's sales echo wider retail woes with more than 3% fall

Department store’s figures down from last August, as high street sales saw biggest fall since height of financial crisis

John Lewis has reported a fourth week of falling sales in the latest sign that retailers endured a grim month in August.

The department store said sales for the week ending 29 August were £81.7m, down 3.4% compared with last year. They fell 5.9% in the previous week and were 3% lower over the four weeks to 29 August.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Canada and Australia feel the squeeze in wake of Chinese economic slowdown

Iron and oil producers proved resilient during the crash of 2008-09 but are now struggling as commodities prices decline

In the mining town of Port Hedland, 1,500km north of Perth, modest prefabricated homes called fibro shacks, which were changing hands for more than A$1m four years ago, are now failing to find a buyer at a third of the price. Apartment blocks hurriedly tacked together by developers at the peak of the country’s boom stand empty, because their promised supply of “fly-in-fly-out” mineworkers has dried up, along with the jobs they were brought in to do.

In 2011, the iron ore-rich Pilbara region of north-west Australia was on the frontier of a 21st century gold rush, this time with iron ore as the main prize – driven by China’s formidable appetite for natural resources to build up its infrastructure and modernise its economy.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

ECB risks renewed criticism with 'magic money tree' sculpture

Work by Giuseppe Penone is part of a €1.25m art project at bank’s controversial billion-euro Frankfurt headquarters

The European Central Bank has installed a towering bronze and granite tree sculpture outside the bank’s Frankfurt headquarters as part of a €1.25m (£920,000) art project.

The work by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone, instantly dubbed the magic money tree, is a slender trunk with a perfectly round ball of gilded leaves at its halfway point. Something that looks like a faded beach ball is lodged among the barren upper branches.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Car sales up for August bucking miserable retail trend

Poor weather fails to dampen enthusiasm of car buyers as new car registrations rise 9.6% year-on-year

Poor weather in August might have dampened high street clothes sales but it seems to have triggered a stampede into car showrooms with a near 10% increase in monthly vehicle sales.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said new car registrations rose by 9.6% year-on-year to 79,060 vehicles with the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf models leading the way.

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Stock markets slide after 'mixed-bag' US jobs report – live updates

173,000 new jobs were created in America in August, fewer than expected, giving few clues into when the Fed might raise rates

5.30pm BST

Another volatile week finished with further woe for investors. Among the day’s data, German factory orders fell 1.4% month on month in July, but the big event was the US non-farm payroll numbers. As it turned out the headline figure disappointed, with 173,000 jobs added in August compared with the 220,000 or so expected. But the unemployment rate dipped to 5.1% and hourly wages were steady, so there were few clues as to whether the US Federal Reserve would raise interest rates this month or not.

Despite the turmoil caused by worries about China, many analysts believed there was nothing in the jobs data to prevent an increase. Equally, many others believed the Fed would keep its powder dry. The markets seemed to side with the hawks, especially since just before the figures were released, Richmond Fed president Jeffrey Lacker said the non-farm numbers should not derail the case for a rate rise.

4.58pm BST

Meanwhile Moody’s has downgraded the senior debt ratings of four Greek banks to C, in the expectation that holders will suffer losses in the forthcoming recapitalisations. It said:

The downgrade…primarily reflects Moody’s expectation that junior and senior debt holders will be bailed in and sustain material losses as part of the upcoming recapitalisation process…

Although Moody’s expects uninsured depositors to be excluded from bail-in, as indicated by a recent Eurogroup statement, the negative outlook reflects the ratings agency’s opinion that the recapitalisation process remains fluid and banks continue to face significant credit risks.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS