Overseas Headlines – May 18, 2021

United States:

U.S. Housing Starts Trail Estimate, Hinting at Supply Chain Woes

“U.S. housing starts fell by more than forecast in April, suggesting that supply-chain constraints and rising materials costs continue to hold builders back. Residential starts decreased 9.5% in April to a 1.57 million annualized rate, according to government data released Tuesday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for a 1.7 million pace.”



Spain Is Fighting History in Push to Have Rural Migrants Stay

“The decline of Spain’s rural population has vexed lawmakers and citizens for more than half a century. Now Covid-19 is suddenly changing the landscape. For the first time in decades, some towns outside the country’s main urban centers are counting more people arriving than leaving, as stay-at-home restrictions and worries about the spread of the virus spur demand for more spacious living conditions and locations closer to nature.”



China Steps Up Efforts to Join Trade Pact Created to Exclude It

“China is pushing ahead with behind-the-scenes talks to join a major trade deal that originally aimed to exclude Beijing and cement U.S. economic power and trade ties in the Asia-Pacific region. Officials from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and possibly other nations have held technical talks with Chinese counterparts on details of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. That’s according to officials from four member countries with knowledge of the discussions, who asked not to be named as they weren’t authorized to comment on the talks.”



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