• Brazil central bank cuts benchmark rate to record low 2% Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 21:24

    SÃO PAULO—Brazil’s central bank cut its key Selic lending rate to a record low Wednesday and left the door open for more cuts, as the outlook for inflation remains below target amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

    The bank’s monetary policy committee trimmed the Selic to 2% from 2.25%, the ninth consecutive reduction. Any future cuts might take place with more time between changes amid greater-than-normal uncertainty about economic growth, the bank said in its statement.

    ...
  • The coronavirus pandemic further strains the U.S. agricultural economy already reeling from trade fights and a commodity glut Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 20:49

    More U.S. farmers are filing for bankruptcy, as federal payments projected to reach record levels this year fall short of compensating for the coronavirus pandemic and a yearslong slump in the agricultural economy.

    About 580 farmers filed for chapter 12 bankruptcy protection in the 12-month period ended June 30, according to federal data. That was 8% more than a year earlier, though bankruptcies slowed slightly in the first half of 2020 partly because of an infusion of federal aid and hurdles to filing during the pandemic,...

  • Chicago Fed chief Charles Evans said it would be very costly for the economy if Congress doesn’t agree on benefit extensions as the pandemic continues to take a toll Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 20:14

    Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said the U.S. economy would face a much steeper climb should Congress fail to at least partially extend more generous unemployment benefits and take broader fiscal policy action to combat the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

    “Trouble is brewing with the expiration of these relief policies,” Mr. Evans told reporters Monday during a virtual briefing. “If we go very long without somehow addressing the reduction and evaporation of that support, I think it’s going to show up in lower aggregate...

  • The coronavirus pandemic further strains the U.S. agricultural economy already reeling from trade fights and a commodity glut Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 19:34
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  • Democratic negotiators dismiss the idea that Trump could unilaterally provide new jobless aid and cut taxes in the absence of a deal in Congress Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 18:54

    WASHINGTON—Democratic negotiators dismissed the idea that President Trump could unilaterally provide new jobless aid and cut taxes in the absence of a deal in Congress, where fundamental disagreements over the size of the next coronavirus-aid package have brought talks to a stalemate.

    Mr. Trump has said he is considering executive actions to provide jobless aid, suspend the payroll tax, impose a partial moratorium on evictions and assist with student loan repayments, in an effort to pressure Democrats to give ground in negotiations....

  • Traditionally, the most important service your house delivered was shelter. But since the coronavirus pandemic, its services have expanded, writes Greg Ip Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 17:54

    More than a decade ago consumers and bankers thought houses were surefire investments whose prices never went down. That ended in 2008 with a financial crisis.

    It may be time to revisit the thesis. In a world of zero interest rates and bubbly stock markets, your house may once again offer the best returns of any asset class—provided you think of “return” the right way.

    Total...

  • The coronavirus pandemic further strains the U.S. agricultural economy already reeling from trade fights and a commodity glut Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 16:54

    More U.S. farmers are filing for bankruptcy, as federal payments projected to reach record levels this year fall short of compensating for the coronavirus pandemic and a yearslong slump in the agricultural economy.

    About 580 farmers filed for chapter 12 bankruptcy protection in the 12-month period ended June 30, according to federal data. That was 8% more than a year earlier, though bankruptcies slowed slightly in the first half of 2020 partly because of an infusion of federal aid and hurdles to filing during the pandemic,...

  • Millions in Latin America were slowly clambering into the global middle class. The pandemic has set them back for years. Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 16:19

    LIMA, Peru—The pandemic has devastated hundreds of thousands of businesses across Latin America, setting back the clock on the social and economic gains made over the past two decades when a global commodities boom powered breakneck growth.

    From 2003 to 2019, poverty fell from 45% to 30% regionwide, and poor Latin Americans by the millions, poised on the threshold of middle-class life, took their first airline flight, bought their own homes and paid university tuitions for their children.

    ...
  • “The worst crisis in our history”: The pandemic is devastating Latin America’s economy. Recovery will likely take years. Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 15:44

    LIMA, Peru—The pandemic has devastated hundreds of thousands of businesses across Latin America, setting back the clock on the social and economic gains made over the past two decades when a global commodities boom powered breakneck growth.

    From 2003 to 2019, poverty fell from 45% to 30% regionwide, and poor Latin Americans by the millions, poised on the threshold of middle-class life, took their first airline flight, bought their own homes and paid university tuitions for their children.

    ...
  • Layoffs continue to be elevated across the U.S. economy as Covid-19 remains widespread Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 15:09

    Filings for jobless benefits fell last week to their lowest level since March, a sign layoffs eased somewhat as the labor market tries to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

    Initial unemployment claims fell by a seasonally adjusted 249,000 to 1.2 million for the week ended Aug. 1, the Labor Department said Thursday. The decline came as an extra $600 a week in pandemic-related unemployment benefits ended.

    The...

  • Chinese buyers lead the decline with a 14.7% drop as foreign purchases of U.S. homes cools Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 14:39

    Foreign purchases of U.S. homes dropped to the lowest level since 2013, a boost for domestic buyers at a time when inventory has been tight.

    Foreigners bought $74 billion in U.S. residential real estate in the year ended in March, down 5% from the prior year and the third straight year of declines, according to a report released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors.

    Chinese...

  • India’s central bank keeps key lending rate unchanged Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 14:09

    India’s central bank left its key lending rate unchanged Thursday and said it would monitor inflation and wait to see if recent easing moves were enough to lift the economy, which was hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy committee maintained its policy repo rate at 4.00%, Gov. Shaktikanta Das said. The central bank also kept its reverse repo rate at 3.35%.

    Mr....

  • Brazil central bank cuts benchmark rate to record low 2% Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 13:39

    SÃO PAULO—Brazil’s central bank cut its key Selic lending rate to a record low Wednesday and left the door open for more cuts, as the outlook for inflation remains below target amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

    The bank’s monetary policy committee trimmed the Selic to 2% from 2.25%, the ninth consecutive reduction. Any future cuts might take place with more time between changes amid greater-than-normal uncertainty about economic growth, the bank said in its statement.

    ...
  • Chicago Fed chief Charles Evans said it would be very costly for the economy if Congress doesn’t agree on benefit extensions as the pandemic continues to take a toll Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 13:09

    Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said the U.S. economy would face a much steeper climb should Congress fail to at least partially extend more generous unemployment benefits and take broader fiscal policy action to combat the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

    “Trouble is brewing with the expiration of these relief policies,” Mr. Evans told reporters Monday during a virtual briefing. “If we go very long without somehow addressing the reduction and evaporation of that support, I think it’s going to show up in lower aggregate...

  • Filings for jobless benefits fell to 1.2 million last week, a sign layoffs declined as the labor market tries to recover. Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 12:44

    Filings for jobless benefits fell to 1.2 million last week, a sign layoffs fell as the labor market tries to recover.

    Initial claims for jobless benefits have held roughly steady at more than 1.3 million a week since late June, according to the Labor Department. That halted what had been a swift decline from a peak of 6.9 million in late March, when the pandemic and business closures shut down parts of the U.S. economy. The level recorded in recent weeks remains well above the highest on record before this year, which was...

  • Newsletter: Expiration Date Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 12:44

    This is the web version of the WSJ’s newsletter on the economy. You can sign up for daily delivery here. Next Level? New applications for unemployment benefits have held persistently at high levels in recent weeks, suggesting layoffs remain elevated and the labor market’s momentum is easing. Initial claims for jobless benefits have held nearly […]

  • North Korea’s economy grew by 0.4% in 2019, the first time Pyongyang posted positive growth in three years, despite international sanctions Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 12:24

    SEOUL—North Korea’s economy grew 0.4% in 2019, the first time Pyongyang showed positive growth in three years, helped by construction activity and expanded agricultural output, South Korea’s central bank said.

    But North Korea watchers cautioned against reading this as a sign of a recovery for Pyongyang’s sanctions-hit economy. The period measured was before the global spread of the new coronavirus, and the country’s mining industry, once a key cash generator, shrank for the third consecutive year.

    ...
  • Treasury to increase auction sizes across all tenors this quarter, particularly 7- and 10-year notes and 20- and 30-year bonds. Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 11:19

    WASHINGTON—The Treasury Department said Wednesday it expects the government’s borrowing needs to moderate somewhat this quarter but remain elevated amid an unprecedented surge in federal spending to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Treasury plans to increase auction sizes across all securities, particularly 7- and 10-year notes and 20- and 30-year bonds, as part of a broader effort to shift government financing to longer-dated maturities.

    ...
  • The economy contracted at a record 32.9% annual rate last quarter and weekly jobless claims rose to 1.43 million, amid signs of a slowing recovery Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 10:19

    The economy contracted at a record rate last quarter and July setbacks for the jobs market added to signs of a slowing recovery as the country faces a summer surge in coronavirus infections.

    The Commerce Department said U.S. gross domestic product—the value of all goods and services produced across the economy—fell at a seasonally and inflation adjusted 32.9% annual rate in the second quarter, or a 9.5% drop compared with the prior quarter. The figures were the steepest declines in more than 70 years of record-keeping.

    ...
  • U.S. trade deficit narrowed in June as imports, exports rose Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 09:19

    WASHINGTON—U.S. exports and imports both rose in June for the first time in six months as the global economy began climbing out of the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Exports from the U.S. rose 9.4% in June from May to $158.3 billion, the Commerce Department said in a report Wednesday. Imports rose 4.7% to $208.9 billion. The deficit narrowed 7.5% to $50.7 billion.

    “While...

  • Data suggest U.S. industries have started a slow recovery from April’s record decline Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 08:18

    U.S. manufacturing increased in June for the second straight month, a sign of economic recovery in the weeks before the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

    Industrial production—a measure of output at factories, mines and utilities—rose a seasonally adjusted 5.4% in June from May, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. That was a bigger increase than the 4% rise anticipated by economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal.

    The...

  • Why is a tax cut for high-income individuals part of the virus-relief talks in Congress? Democratic advocates say it is crucial to state finances. Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 07:18

    WASHINGTON—Rep. Tom Suozzi (D., N.Y.) knows his bid to repeal the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions is a long shot for inclusion in any final coronavirus-relief bill. He has seen the mockery from Republicans, who criticize Democrats for proposing a tax cut for the rich.

    But for Mr. Suozzi, restoring the tax break is urgent, central to New York’s ability to keep high-income residents from fleeing and to finance a progressive state government that can respond effectively to the pandemic.

    ...
  • Why is a tax cut for high-income individuals part of the virus-relief talks in Congress? Advocates say it is crucial to state finances. Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 06:18

    WASHINGTON—Rep. Tom Suozzi (D., N.Y.) knows his bid to repeal the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions is a long shot for inclusion in any final coronavirus-relief bill. He has seen the mockery from Republicans, who criticize Democrats for proposing a tax cut for the rich.

    But for Mr. Suozzi, restoring the tax break is urgent, central to New York’s ability to keep high-income residents from fleeing and to finance a progressive state government that can respond effectively to the pandemic.

    ...
  • American antipathy toward China has soared to a record high, a survey found, with an overwhelming bipartisan majority favoring a tougher stance on China at the expense of economic ties Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 05:18

    American antipathy toward China has soared to a record high amid the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey has found, with an overwhelming bipartisan majority favoring a tougher stance on China at the expense of economic ties.

    The proportion of Americans holding unfavorable views of China reached 73%, according to a Pew Research Center poll...

  • Mortgage-finance giant Fannie Mae reports drop in households that have suspended loan payments Link
    Real Time Economics Thu 06 Aug 2020 04:13

    Government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said their earnings improved in the second quarter, adding to evidence of a rebound in the U.S. housing market.

    Fannie Mae, the larger of the two companies, said 5.7% of the single-family loans it guarantees—representing about 972,000 mortgages—had suspended payments as of June 30, down from the 7% it reported May 1, when it released first-quarter earnings.

    “We...

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