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In brief

Economy seen on the mend

The economy registered modest growth in the early summer, considering how consumers and some businesses were buffeted by high gasoline prices and the sour housing market.

That’s the gist of a Federal Reserve region-by-region survey, released Wednesday, which also showed the economy clearly has emerged from a rut at the beginning of the year and is now growing, albeit slowly.

Five of the Fed’s 12 regions said that retail sales of housing-related items — such as furniture and home repair materials — were weak or declining. The economy is expected to clock in at a pace of around 3.2 percent for the April-to-June period. The government will release the second quarter’s results Friday.

Farm bill in jeopardy

Farm-state Republicans were threatening to defect from a multibillion-dollar farm bill in a spat over taxes, putting the measure in jeopardy as it headed to the House floor on Thursday.

While the White House threatened to veto legislation it said didn’t do enough to slash subsidies to growers, Republicans said they would pull their support if Democrats pressed ahead with plans to include a tax hike. The proposal to tax certain foreign-owned companies with U.S. subsidiaries would pay for $4 billion in food stamps and other nutrition programs.

GOP officials said their rank and file — including those from rural states that would benefit greatly from the farm bill — were loath to support what they viewed as a massive business tax increase.

China leads world growth

Led by China’s booming economy, stronger than expected global financial growth continued in the first half of 2007, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday.

In the first in a series of updates to its twice-yearly Global Economic Outlook, the IMF projected global growth of 5.2 percent for 2007 and 2008, up 0.3 percentage points from its April outlook.

Charles Collyns, the IMF’s Deputy Director of Research, said as the United States economy slows China will be the largest contributor to growth for the first time.

Auto dealers raise funds

Twenty-two members of the Northeast Pennsylvania Auto Dealers Association recently raised $1,750 in monetary donations and approximately $1,000 in goods during a fundraiser and pantry drive for the Ronald McDonald House.

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