May 21, 2020
Americans Again File by the Millions for Unemployment Benefits
“Millions more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, indicating major job losses are continuing two months after the coronavirus pandemic started shuttering businesses. Initial jobless claims for regular state programs totaled 2.44 million in the week ended May 16, Labor Department figures showed Thursday. The prior week’s figure was revised down by 294,000 to 2.69 million after a clerical error by Connecticut labor officials inflated the overall nationwide figure. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 2.4 million claims in the latest week.”
British Lenders Brace for Negative Rates Floated by Central Bank
“British banks are confronting the European import of sub-zero interest rates that could damage profits already weakened by the coronavirus pandemic as the Brexit divorce rumbles toward its rocky end. Bank of England officials have begun talking openly about going negative, erasing the red line drawn by former Governor Mark Carney. His successor, Andrew Bailey, told lawmakers on Wednesday, “I have changed my position a bit” and refused to rule it out.”
China Blew a Chance at Global Leadership Responding to Covid-19
“In mid-April, China engaged in what appeared to be a particularly pointless fight. With France’s death toll spiking from the novel coronavirus and its economy shuttered, China could well have offered commiserations and support. Instead, it lobbed rhetorical grenades at Paris. Beijing had taken umbrage at remarks by French officials that it had mishandled the outbreak. China’s embassy responded with a tart post on its website that suggested France had abandoned nursing home residents to die from hunger and disease. Paris then summoned the Chinese ambassador, one of an aggressive group of propagandists known as “Wolf Warrior” diplomats, for a dressing-down.”
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