Overseas Headlines – October 5, 2020

United States:

Americans Are Driving Less Than Before Pandemic, and It’s Permanent

“The early days of the Covid pandemic brought an unprecedented decline in driving in the U.S., with vehicle miles traveled down 41% from February to April on a seasonally adjusted basis. By July, the most recent month for which the Federal Highway Administration has released data, vehicle miles were still down 13% (seasonally adjusted) from February. Driving will surely creep closer to its pre-pandemic level as Americans return to their offices this year and next. But it may never quite get there. A study this summer by accounting and consulting firm KPMG forecast that vehicle miles traveled will settle at about 90% of pre-2020 levels in coming years. On a per capita basis, they were down 5% from their all-time high in the mid-2000s even before the pandemic. Driving in the U.S. would seem to have peaked.”



Sunak Sees ‘Hard Choices’ With Warning on U.K. Expenditure

“Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said “hard choices are everywhere” as he warned about the need to get U.K. spending and borrowing under control in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has blown a hole in Britain’s public finances, as the government spent tens of billions to support jobs and prop up the economy.”



Kuwait Central Bank Denies Plan to Devalue, Stands by Peg

“The Central Bank of Kuwait, which pegs the dinar to a basket of currencies dominated by the U.S. dollar, affirmed its commitment to the country’s exchange-rate policy, responding to reports of an impending devaluation. “In light of recent online reports falsely speculating on the intent to devalue the national currency, the Central Bank of Kuwait reiterates its commitment to maintaining the Kuwaiti dinar exchange rate at a level that protects its purchasing power,” it said in a statement on Sunday. “CBK will continue its adherence to policies that aim to bolster the local currency and maintain monetary and financial stability.”




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