December 27, 2019
U.S. Consumer Comfort Hits Nine-Week High on Economic Optimism
“Confidence among U.S. consumers advanced to a nine-week high on greater optimism about the economy and brighter views of personal finances and the buying climate. Bloomberg’s index of consumer comfort increased to 62.3 in the week ended Dec. 22 from 61.1, according to data released Thursday. A measure of confidence in the economy climbed to the highest since the end of July, while the personal finances gauge also was the strongest in nine weeks.”
U.K. Minting Brexit Coins Again After Delays Triggered Meltdown
“The U.K. government reckons it will be third time lucky for its ill-fated Brexit coins. Earlier this year, then Chancellor Philip Hammond planned a batch of 50 pence coins to commemorate the original March 29 Brexit day. When the U.K.’s exit from the European Union was delayed, his successor Sajid Javid produced about one million of the seven-sided coins stamped with the Oct. 31 date. But those coins had to be melted down when Brexit was put off once more. Now Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a majority in Parliament and the U.K. is on course to leave the EU on Jan. 31, so Javid is trying again. According to a Royal Proclamation, Queen Elizabeth II has approved new coins to be minted with the Jan. 31 exit date.”
China’s Government Is Letting a Wave of Bond Defaults Just Happen
“China’s had another record year of corporate bond defaults. That’s not a crisis. It’s a plan. A decade ago, defaults almost never happened, but that wasn’t because companies in China were always healthy. It was a reflection of the tightly controlled financial system, where companies were often linked to the government and bonds were largely bought by state-owned lenders. Authorities have often stepped in to ensure that financially troubled enterprises didn’t crash into default, out of concern over social unrest in the event of job losses or missed payroll payments.”
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