US Briefing - Friday 22.05
Headlines
  • Fed’s Balance Sheet Tops $7Tln, Increased Bond ETFs Bought
  • President Trump: Won’t Close Country If Second Wave Virus Hits
  • US Stimulus Efforts Stall As Senate Adjourns On Partisan Divide
  • US Senators Seek To Sanction Chinese Officials Over Hong Kong
  • China Abandons Economic Growth Target, Shifts Focus To Jobs
  • China Pledges To Implement Trade Deal Amid Rising Tensions
  • Hong Kong Activists Urge Protests Against New Security Law
  • BoE’s Ramsden: Slow Recovery Risks, Stimulus Under Review
  • UK PM Johnson Wants To End Reliance On Chinese Imports
  • UK Posts Largest Budget Deficit, Retail Sales Crater On Virus
  • BoJ Keeps Focus Helping Companies Ahead Of Falling Prices
  • Oxford, AstraZeneca Begin Advanced Trials Of Covid Vaccine
Commentary
Beijing Scraps GDP Target, Bad Sign For World Reliant On China Growth

China broke with more than a quarter-century of tradition by not issuing an economic growth target for 2020, a stark acknowledgment of the challenges facing the world’s second-largest economy as it grapples with uncertainties around the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The unusual move—it’s the first time a formal target has been omitted since the practice began in 1994—suggests Beijing’s leaders aren’t eager to unleash a large-scale stimulus after China’s sharpest contraction in four decades.

 

It foreshadows more economic pain for a world that has become increasingly reliant on China as an engine of growth. (WSJ – Continue Reading)

Hong Kong Activists Urge Protests Against New China Security Law

Democracy advocates called for protests against sweeping national security legislation China introduced Friday, as authorities in Beijing vowed to end what they called a “defenceless” posture due to “those trying to sow trouble.”

 

Legislation slated for passage in the National People’s Congress in Beijing would help complete Hong Kong’s obligation to pass laws curbing acts of treason, secession, sedition and subversion, NPC Vice Chairman Wang Chen told lawmakers Friday. The measure would also seek to counter terrorism and foreign interference in Hong Kong, Wang said.

 

The announcement on national security legislation prompted calls for protests and a spike in Hong Kong residents downloading VPN software that helps mask internet usage. US President Donald Trump, when asked about China’s moves, pledged he would respond “very strongly.” (BBG – Continue Reading)

UK In Deepest Downturn For Centuries, Scant Chance Of Negative Rates

Britain is enduring its deepest recession in centuries but the havoc wrought by the coronavirus pandemic will not be enough to push the Bank of England to adopt negative interest rates, a Reuters poll found.

 

The virus has infected just over 5 million people worldwide and killed more than 327,000. Britain has the highest COVID-19 related death toll in Europe despite a lockdown that has kept citizens at home and businesses closed since March 23.

 

That virtual halt in activity means the economy will contract 17.5% this quarter, the May 19-21 poll found, a much sharper contraction than the 13.1% predicted last month. In a worst-case scenario the economy will shrink 22.5% this quarter. (RTRS – Continue Reading)

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