South-Westerns' Economic News Summaries
EconNews Online

EconNews Online is South-Western's service to provide summaries of the latest economics news stories. Review the brief summaries and, for stories of interest, select the full summary.
ELASTICITY 
Title  Brief Summary 
Iran, a World Leader in Production of Oil, Considers Rationing Gasoline
Full Summary 
Iran subsidizes its citizens' gasoline consumption, such that the price paid by consumers is only 1/5th the actual market price. But now it's considering not only removing the subsidy, but also rationing gasoline consumption. Why? Because while Iran has lots of oil, it's missing that middle step between crude oil and gasoline - refining capacity.
(Updated April, 2007)
Guess what? People don’t like direct mail the way they used to…
Full Summary 
Despite people’s vehement dislike of direct mail, the annoying fliers work. Or, at least, they used to.
(Updated December, 2005)
Does not smoking make you fat?
Full Summary 
Since the early 1970s, the percentage of Americans who smoked has fallen from 37 percent to 22.5%; during the same period, the percentage of Americans over the age of 20 who are considered obese has increased from 14% to 30%. Is there a connection?
(Updated September, 2005)
Costco's business model proves successful
Full Summary 
Costco is the largest warehouse retailer, with almost 50% of the market, compared with Sam's Club 40% market share. Costco's profit last year was $882 million, up 22% from the previous year. How does it do it and keep it going?
(Updated September, 2005)
Broadband Just Keeps Getting Cheaper And Cheaper
Full Summary
SBC Communications has announced a move to lower the price of broadband Internet access for only $14.95 a month, sharply undercutting competitors, and putting it below the cost of some dialup plans. The move is putting significant pressure on competitors to follow suit and lower prices.
(Updated August 2005)
Government Considers A 'Botax' for Botox
Full Summary 
Some state governments are considering imposing a tax on a number of cosmetic surgery procedures, from face-lifts to liposuction to Botox injections. This has drawn protests from plastic surgeons who argue that they will be adversely affected by such a tax.
(Updated August, 2005)
Wireless Users Find They Can't Completely Cut The Cord...
Full Summary 
The percentage of wireless-only households increased to 6% last year, an increase over the previous year. But the increase isn't as large or as dramatic as experts predicted it to be.
(Updated August, 2005)
Make Sure You Don't Throw The DVD Out With The Camcorder
Full Summary
On the heels of the success of the disposable cameras, drugstore giant CVS Corporation is going to begin selling single-use, disposable digital camcorders.
(Updated August 2005)
The price of oil just keeps going up, up, up...
Full Summary 
Global oil demand is expected by grow globally by 2 million barrels a day in 2005, but supply will grow by less than half that rate.
(Updated July, 2005)
Do you know what tungsten is? Well, it's now more expensive...
Full Summary 
Tungsten prices worldwide have increased by over 100% since the beginning of 2005, rising from $9,000 per ton to about $22,000 per ton. What is tungsten? Why is its price increasing?
(Updated June, 2005)
Conservation? What's That?
Full Summary 
Even though the price of oil has increased more than 40% since last year, U.S. demand for gasoline has not shown any sign of abating.
(Updated November, 2004)
My French-Mocha-Vanilla-Double-shot-Latte-Espressochino with non-fat milk and cinnamon is going to cost HOW MUCH?
Full Summary 
For the first time in 4 years, Starbucks is raising its prices across is menu by 4-5%. The good thing - for Starbucks - is that most people probably won't care about the additional 10-15 cents that their treats will cost.
(Updated October, 2004)
You Need a Calculator - and a Second Mortgage, Sometimes - to go to Amusement Parks These Days
Full Summary 
While some amusement parks have increased their gate prices this year, they have also aggressively discounted tickets by offering a variety of package and online discounts to increase park attendance.
(Updated August, 2004)
The Vacation Party's Over
Full Summary 
Business travel has begun to pick up after a three-year lull, and with increased business travel comes the end of discounts and travel packages designed to encourage people to take vacations.
(Updated August, 2004)
With Health Care, US Learns That You Don't Always Get What You Pay For?
Full Summary 
Recent studies demonstrate that while U.S. citizens spend far more than any other country's citizens on health care services - about 14% of GDP compared to 8% for other developed nations - U.S. consumers receive fewer services and lower quality health care in some health concerns.
(Updated August, 2004)
AIDS drugs just got more expensive - but only in the US
Full Summary
Pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories has decided to increase the price of its drug Norvir, a critical component in AIDS drug "cocktails," from $1500 annually to $7800. Consumer and AIDS advocates argue that this is price gouging at its most extreme.
(Updated June, 2004)
Broadband Market Growth Narrows
Full Summary 
Broadband access to the Internet is growing more slowly as prices rise and discounts are reduced in a sluggish economy.
(Updated June 15, 2002)
Drinks Suppliers Try to Keep Spirits Up
Full Summary 
Alcohol sales are growing less than expected due to the recession. Consumers are drinking at home more, and are buying cheaper bottles. Retailers and producers are stepping up their promotional campaigns.
(Updated January 15, 2002)
Health Maintenance Organizations Fail to Maintain Health Benefits
Full Summary 
In the face of inadequate Medicare payments, HMOs are leaving enrollees to pick up larger co-payments, and are restricting coverage, such as for brand-name drugs. Long gone are the days of free eyeglasses and health club memberships.
(Updated November 1, 2001)
European Airlines: Too Many For Their Own Good?
Full Summary 
Airline travel has fallen since September 11. Losses and layoffs abound. The European Commission would like to see more airline consolidation, rather than huge subsidies.
(Updated November 1, 2001)
GB: Great Bargains
Full Summary 
Bargains abound for tourists wishing to visit Great Britain. Foot and mouth disease has scared many away, although it is harmless to humans and tourist sites are reopening.
(Updated July 1, 2001)
Upscale Hotels' Concern: Sleeping With The Enemy
Full Summary 
The economic slowdown is resulting in curbs on business travel. Many companies are requiring their employees to stay at lower-rated hotels. Such hotel chains are trying to appeal to corporate clients by enhancing amenities.
(Updated May 1, 2001)
House Prices Go Through the Roof
Full Summary 
House prices in the Tampa Bay area are rising rapidly due to the booming economy, a growing population, and concern about the availability of suitable housing in the future. While house buyers are paying high prices now, there is uncertainty about whether they will remain high.
(Updated June 1, 2000)
Cold Comfort: Heating Oil Aid
Full Summary 
The rising price of home heating oil led President Clinton to release more federal aid to low-income families in the Northeast. However, he declined to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
(Updated April 1, 2000)
Happy Holidays for Retailers
Full Summary 
Retailers saw sales grow faster over the 1999 holiday season than in any December since 1992. The gains were uneven, however, with moderate-price department stores performing less well than high-end retailers, specialty retailers, and discount stores.
(Updated February 1, 2000)
Higher Health-Care Costs: Who Pays?
Full Summary 
The price of managed care plans is increasing. Employers are variously raising co-payments and premiums, charging differential amounts for generic and name-brand drugs, and changing plans. Some employees are affected more than others.
(Updated January 1, 2000)
States Try to Trump Video Poker Machine Owners
Full Summary 
Louisiana has recently banned video poker machines in many parishes, and South Carolina is putting the issue to the voters. If video poker gambling survives, it will be limited and taxed heavily, although jackpots will be allowed to increase.
(Updated August 1, 1999)
Hard Drive to Increase Computer Sales; Prices Lowest in Memory
Full Summary 
Although nearly half the households in the U.S. own a PC, December 1998 saw a massive PC sales growth as prices tumbled. Retailers who sold budget computers fared better than those who stayed in the mid-price market segment.
(Updated March 1, 1999)
Government and Cigarette Manufacturers Butt Heads
Full Summary 
A government study indicates that increasing the price of cigarettes would cause some smokers to quit or to cut back. The effect would be greater among the young, minorities, and the poor. (Updated August 18, 1998)
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