The U.S. Federal Reserve System raised the federal funds target rate for the 16th consecutive time on May 10, 2006, raising it by 1/4 point, to 5%. This raised that rate to the highest level at which it has stood in over five years, and the System's public announcement said that it may not be finished raising rates as it works to control inflation, but that future decisions will depend upon the health of the nation's economy at any given time. As a result of the Reserve System's action, American commercial banks quickly raised their own prime lending rates to 8%.  (SOURCE:  Report, "Fed keeps on pushing" by Elizabeth Lazarotz in Biz News section, New York Daily News, Thursday, May 11, 2006, page 68).


     According to a chart printed in USA Today, the nationwide average price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline in the United States of America on Wednesday, May 3 of this year was US$2.920; a year ago the price was US$2.235 per gallon.  (SOURCE:  Chart, "Nation's gas gauge" based on information from, printed in USA Today, Wednesday, May 3, 2006, page 1B). 


    According to another report in USA Today, "Gas prices went up nearly 40% during April [of this year], and industrywide sales showed signs that fuel efficiency is becoming a bigger selling point than in years past."  (SOURCE: Article, "Gas price dents sales of guzzlers", by Sharon Silke Carty, USA Today, Wednesday, May 3, 2006, page 1B).


                                        30-year U.S. Treasury Bond Yield:  5.21%  (as of 5/2/2006)

                                        10-year U.S. Treasury Bond Yield:  5.11%   (as of 5/2/2006)

                                         (SOURCE, BOTH): USA Today, Wednesday, May 3, 2006, page 1B). 


    In an indication of a developing trend in the United States of America towards healthier eating habits, USA Today reported on Wednesday, May 3 of this year that FRITO-LAY CORP., which it described as the world's snack-food "kingpin" was replacing the type of oil which it uses in making its Lay's potato chips. The paper said that the snack-food company would now be using sunflower oil instead of cottonseed oil to manufacture Lay's and Ruffles chips. This was being done in an effort to reduce the amount of saturated fat in their products, which in the case of what the paper describes as "the flagship Lay's Classic chips" will be a drop of 66%, from 3 grams per 1-ounce serving to just one gram per the same serving.  (SOURCE:  Article, "Lay's hips wawy at " 'bad' " fat with new oil", by Bruce Horovitz, USA Today, Wednesday, May 3, 2006, page 1B).




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