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Pic-of-the-Week: Has the Shift From Coal to Natural Gas Stalled? (10/06/2014)

Has the Shift From Coal to Natural Gas in Electricity Production Stalled? Just ten years ago, coal was used to generate 50% of U.S. electricity while natural gas held only an 18% share. Toss in the shale gas revolution and move forward to early 2012 and you have both coal and natural gas producing 32% of U.S. power each. It appeared natural gas was well on its way to replacing much of the coal-fired production in the U.S.

However, our pic-of-the-week illustrates that since early 2012 the shift has taken a clear short-term breather. Coal has made a small comeback and is now closer to 40% of total production. Natural gas has eased back a bit to just under a 30% share. Is the shift from coal to natural gas over?

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Pic-of-the-Week: Farm Boom Rolls On (07/28/2014)

STRENGTH IN THE FARM SECTOR REACHES NEW HEIGHTS.  A boom in agriculture has been underway in the U.S. since 2009. The breadth and strength of the ongoing expansion in the farm sector isn’t widely recognized outside the Plains states. Crop prices have reached remarkable levels relative to prices from only a decade ago. And it is not just the price for ethanol-driven corn. 

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Pic-of-the-Week: U.S. Problem Bank List Nearly Resolved (07/07/2014)

The number of problem banks resolved by the FDIC continues to diminish in 2014.  The data on the U.S. banking system continues to improve. The number of failed institutions totaled only 24 in 2013 and is on pace to improve further in 2014. Although nearly 500 banks have failed since 2008, the total remains well below the number of failures suffered in the cycle of the early 1990’s.

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