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Macro chatter: NYC gets pricier, but it's no Mumbai

Around the world today in business and economics. Need to know, want to know, and strange but true.
Mumbai real estateEnlarge
Indian sales executives take in the view from a luxury high-rise in Mumbai. Mumbai developers have been busy building dream homes for a rapidly-growing list of Indian millionaires, and property prices have skyrocketed. (Punit Paranjpe /AFP/Getty Images)

Need to know:
China’s economy is slowing down, but it’s still growing at more than 8 percent a year.

Chinese GDP grew at an annual rate of 8.1 percent in the first quarter. The decline marks 15 months of contraction in the Chinese economy, and puts China on track for its weakest year in a decade.

But the news isn’t all bad.

China’s economy grew more quickly than its government had aimed, and a look behind the numbers show Chinese consumption is increasing, something both China and the rest of the world have been pushing for.

Want to know:
Google, the tech company whose shares have a higher price tag than Apple’s, made a profit of nearly $3 billion during the first quarter.

Google is still refusing to reward its shareholders with the cash dividend they’ve been asking for, but it did cough up a stock dividend. It's a token gesture that Marketwatch said would help founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin tighten their already steely grip on the company.

Dull but important:
A US agency charged with protecting consumers is making it easier for credit card companies to charge fees that another government agency has already deemed unfair.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to make it easier for companies to charge a wider array of fees to provide credit cards to less-than-worthy borrowers. This comes as credit card companies are increasingly targeting those borrowers

The bureau has proposed reversing an earlier rule from the Federal Reserve that sought to protect cardholders from such exorbitant charges, the Washington Post said.

Just Because:
Mumbai has the world’s least affordable real estate, according to Bloomberg News.

A swanky pad in India’s bustling financial capital costs the equivalent of 308 years – yes years – of the country’s average annual income. A similar place would cost about 136 years of income in London, 78 years in Paris and 48 years in New York.

Strange but true:
What’s growing faster than the Chinese economy? Rents in Manhattan.

The median rent in Manhattan is up 9 percent since the beginning of the year and now hovers around $3,070 a month, WNYC radio reported.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/macro/macro-chatter0413