Economies

Federal Budget to Be a ‘Titanic Effort’: Aussie PM

The federal budget will be “unprecedented” in Australia’s history as the federal government does some “very heavy lifting” to ensure the economy can emerge successfully from the COVID-19 economic crisis, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says. Morrison says the government will continue to step up with…

Free Flow of Credit Critical to Australia’s Economic Recovery

Access to credit is expected to be made easier under law changes to be announced by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Sept 25. At the same time, the Morrison government will strengthen consumer protections for vulnerable people accessing so-called “payday loans”. About $13 billion of credit…

Costco Beats Estimates on Pandemic Boost

Costco Wholesale Corp beat estimates for quarterly profit and revenue on Thursday, as consumers staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic bought more fresh produce, appliances, and gardening and sporting goods. Walmart Inc, Target Corp, and other U.S. retailers have seen a surge in…

UK Watchdog Blasts Banks Over Dirty Money Safeguards

LONDON—Not all of Britain’s financial firms are convinced of the need to invest large sums to crack down on dirty money, leaving the quality of anti-money laundering controls falling short, the Financial Conduct Authority’s chief enforcer said on Thursday. Global banks, including UK-based HSBC, Barclays,…

Race to ruin as US Fed Reserve turns Japanese

If you want to know why the US economy risks turning Japanese, look no further than the Federal Reserve’s swelling balance sheet. The US central bank’s efforts to rescue a Covid-19 ravaged economy have long since taken it into uncharted territory. In March, its balance…

Insolvency Reforms to Help Aussie Small Businesses

Small businesses will be protected from needlessly being wound up under changes to be announced by the Morrison government on Sept 24. The reforms to be unveiled by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will cover around three-quarters of businesses subject to insolvencies today. They will draw on…

US Household Net Worth Surged in 2nd Quarter to Record High

American household wealth has hit a new historic high, with savings accounts and equity portfolios seeing a big boost from federal pandemic relief and surging stock markets, according to a Federal Reserve report. The Fed’s most recent Flow of Funds report, released Monday, provides a…

Norway Oil Fund to Invest More in US Stocks, Reduce EU Exposure

Norway’s massive oil fund is planning to invest more heavily in the United States and Canada while cutting back on its investments in Europe, according to a statement made Monday by the Norwegian government. Officially called the Government Pension Fund Global, the oil-rich nation’s sovereign…

Australia at Risk of Losing Ground to China in Pacific: Expert

One of Australia’s highest foreign policy priorities, the Pacific Step-up, is at risk of losing ground to China if the federal government ignores the region’s needs, a strategic expert has claimed. Beijing is moving to control vital trans-Pacific sea lines of communication under the guise…

Jobs and Economy Most Important Election Issue in Rust Belt States: Poll

A new Epoch Times poll of registered voters in the Rust Belt shows that by far the most important issues in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are the state of the economy and jobs. More voters cited the “economy and jobs” as the…

White House Ready to Extend Payroll Relief for Airline Employees

With the first round of payroll support ending Sept. 30 and the furlough of tens of thousands of airline workers imminent, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urged Lawmakers on Thursday to pass a bill extending payroll grants for airline employees for another six…

Unemployment Highest in Nevada, Lowest in Nebraska

New government figures show that the unemployment rate in August was highest in Nevada, lowest in Nebraska, and falling month-over-month in all states except Kentucky and Rhode Island, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a report Friday. On the whole, the jobless rate tended…

Another 860,000 Americans Filed Weekly Jobless Claims Last Week

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week ticked down by 33,000 from the previous week to 860,000, as the labor market continues its grueling recovery from the COVID-19 recession. The Labor Department also noted in its Sept. 17 release (pdf)…

EasyJet CEO Chides EU States Over Fragmented Travel Policies

PARIS/LONDON—European governments should focus on developing coherent air travel policies as airlines struggle to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than shielding national carriers, easyJet  Chief Executive Johan Lundgren said on Tuesday. Speaking at an online event with industry CEOs and EU policymakers, Lundgren blamed…

UK Reaches Agreement With Japan on First Post-Brexit Trade Deal

Britain has secured a free trade agreement with Japan, which is the UK’s first major trade deal after it left the European Union on Jan. 31. The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan’s Foreign…

Euro Zone Ministers Pledge Lasting Fiscal Support for Economy

BERLIN—Euro zone finance ministers pledged continued fiscal support on Friday to get their economies running again after the COVID-19 crisis, chairman of the Eurogroup Paschal Donohoe said after they met in Berlin. At their first in-person meeting since February, finance ministers from the 19 countries…

Vacant Storefronts on New York City’s Broadway Surge by 78 Percent: Report

In another troubling sign of the pandemic impact on the economy, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and her staff found over 330 vacant storefronts along New York City’s iconic Broadway avenue, a 78 percent increase from 2017, according to a report. The survey, carried out…

Jobless Claims Stay Flat at 884,000 in a Sign of Labor Market Struggles

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week stayed unchanged from the week before at just over 880,000, suggesting the labor market recovery has lost some steam. The Labor Department said in a release on Thursday (pdf) that initial claims for…

Ban on Drilling Would Cost 1 Million Jobs, Petroleum Body Says

The American Petroleum Institute (API) said Wednesday that banning oil and natural gas development offshore and on federal lands could lead to the loss of almost one million American jobs. In addition, such a ban would force the United States to rely more heavily on…

Insolvency Relief Extended for Australian Businesses Despite Concerns

The federal government has extended insolvency relief and bank protection beyond the original Sept. 25 deadline for another three months in a bid to avoid an avalanche of business failures amidst the economic recession. The move, announced on Sept. 7 following Victoria’s decision to extend…

California Requests Federal Emergency Order to Avert Blackouts

Following a September 6 request from California’s Independent System Operator (CAISO) (pdf), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a rare 7-day emergency order (pdf) to preserve the reliability of California’s bulk power system. The order authorized three natural gas-fueled power stations to operate at…

EU Aims for ‘Strategic Autonomy’ After CCP Virus Pandemic

The European Union is planning to build “strategic autonomy” in essential products in the wake of the CCP virus pandemic, European Council President Charles Michel said on Tuesday. Speaking at the Brussels Economic Forum, Michel said “strategic independence” was the EU’s “common project for this…

Oil Falls and Gasoline Futures Dip on Saudi Price Cuts and Weak Asian Recovery

The price of oil plunged by over 1.5 percent and gasoline futures similarly dipped lower intraday on Sept. 7, as Saudi Arabia slashed prices of Asian crude supply and lackluster economic recovery in China clouds expectations for a pickup in demand. Brent crude was trading…

The Victorian Government Needs to Provide Economic Aid: Australian PM

Scott Morrison wants Premier Daniel Andrews to provide extra financial assistance to Victorians after the state announced a prolonged exit plan from stiff COVID-19 restrictions. Only then will he and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg consider what further measures may be required from the federal government. “It…

Australia Hunts for ‘Global Super Talent’ as Rule-of-Law in Hong Kong Collapses

A new taskforce will spearhead a global campaign to lure leading talent and businesses to Australia, capitalising on the post-COVID business landscape and Hong Kong’s radically changed legal framework. Australia’s low virus infection rate, its democratic system, lifestyle, and proximity to Asia, are all expected…

Smith & Wesson Gun Sales Soar Amid ‘Unparalleled’ Demand

Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson reported this week that company revenue from firearms boomed in the first quarter of 2020 to $230 million—an increase of $134.4 million, or 141 percent compared to the first three months of last year. “The current increase in consumer demand…

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