Overseas Headlines – January 19, 2021

United States:

Yellen Faces Senate to Sell $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Package

“U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen on Tuesday steps into a new role following more than a quarter-century in government: salesperson for economic policy after years of defending Federal Reserve thinking and actions. The Senate Finance Committee’s 10 a.m. hearing Tuesday is likely to feature topics from foreign-exchange policy to taxes, but it will also serve as the first congressional forum where lawmakers will vet President-elect Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan. Yellen will tell them that low borrowing costs mean it’s time to “act big,” according to her prepared remarks.”



U.K. Firms Tell Sunak They Need Urgent Help to Survive Lockdown

“Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak can’t afford to wait for the budget on March 3 to provide extra support for hobbled U.K. firms, according to the U.K.’s biggest business lobby group. With Britain back in a severe lockdown, urgent action is needed to help companies survive, the Confederation of British Industry said in a letter to the Chancellor on Tuesday. The group is calling for an extension of the government’s job support program to the end of June, rather than stopping in April, and a “commitment to targeted support thereafter.” It also wants to see the deadline for sales tax payments pushed back and a lengthening of the business-rate holiday.”



China’s Wide Income Gap Undercut Spending as Growth Recovers

“China’s successful control of Covid-19 made it the only major economy to have grown last year, but wide income inequality and still weak consumer spending reflects an unbalanced recovery. Here’s a deeper look at some of the data published alongside the gross domestic product report this week: Official figures released on Monday which showed that the economy’s growth rate surpassed pre-pandemic levels in the last quarter also revealed that the richest 20% of Chinese had an average disposable income of more than 80,000 yuan ($12,000) last year, 10.2 times what the poorest 20% earn.”




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