Overseas Headlines – May 22, 2020

United States:

U.S. Jobless-Claims Data Become Trickier as Economic Gauge

“For decades, the U.S. jobless-claims report has provided a straightforward, routine read on the labor market every Thursday. Now it carries a variety of asterisks. Two sizable reporting errors in as many weeks have inflated the U.S. Labor Department’s nationwide jobless-claims count and the number of applicants under a federal emergency program. On top of that, the report has been beset by data quirks stemming from filing schedules that vary from state to state, as well as seasonal adjustments that have been rendered less useful because of the explosion in layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic.”




Europe’s Bread Lines Get New Faces in Warning of Crisis to Come

“Giovanni Bruno, head of Italy’s food bank network Banco Alimentare, has never seen a crisis like the one sparked by the coronavirus: not only have requests for help surged by 40%, but the profile of those seeking help has changed. Volunteers are seeing new faces among the overwhelming number of people who show up each day, unable to feed themselves. Many are workers and the self-employed who until the coronavirus lockdown had always been able to put a meal on the table.”



China Dares Trump to Hit Back With Hong Kong Power Grab

“On the first day of China’s biggest political event of the year, Xi Jinping sent a clear message to Donald Trump: We’re going to do what we want in Hong Kong, and we’re not scared of the consequences. China confirmed on Friday that it would effectively bypass the city’s legislature to implement national security laws, which have long been resisted by residents who fear they will erode freedoms of speech, assembly and the press. The announcement, which came on the same day China refrained from setting an economic growth target for the first time in decades, triggered immediate calls for fresh protests and sent the MSCI Hong Kong index to its worst loss since 2008.”



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