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Economy Faces Test With End Of QE2, Rising Oil Prices, Debt Limit Fight

NEW YORK — Recent fears of weakening economic growth have been tied to broad trends: falling home prices, the high unemployment rate and the tendency of rising energy prices to make Americans spend less money.But going forward, economists’ …

NEW YORK — Recent fears of weakening economic growth have been tied to broad trends: falling home prices, the high unemployment rate and the tendency of rising energy prices to make Americans spend less money.

But going forward, economists’ concerns center on a few crucial policy decisions, which in the coming months will help determine the nation’s — and the world’s — economic health.

The U.S. government is scheduled to reach its debt limit by mid-May, at which point the Treasury Department will resort to emergency measures to avert default if that ceiling is not raised. The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, will be finishing its $600 billion asset-purchase program, ending one of the economy’s major support systems. As policymakers gradually rein in stimulus measures, some experts fear the world’s economies are still too weak to survive without that boost.

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