US Briefing - Friday 20.11
Headlines
  • Mnuchin Pulls Plug On Some Essential Fed Virus Lending Programs
  • Fed’s Bostic: Treasury Ending Programs Would Remove Backstop
  • Democrats’ Schumer: McConnell Agrees To Discuss Covid-19 Relief
  • California, Ohio Order Nightly Curfews On Gatherings As Cases Surge
  • Biden To Announce Treasury Pick Soon; Won’t Do National Lockdown
  • Biden Maintains His Lead Over Trump As The Georgia Recount Ends
  • ECB’s De Guindos: My View Is ECB’s Q4 Growth Projections Won’t Be Met
  • RTE: EU Told 95% Of UK Trade Treaty Done; Wide Gaps On 3 Core Issues
  • EU’s Von Der Leyen: Still Problems With LPF, But Progress On State Aid
  • RTE: EC Mulls Fisheries Review Clause Which Would Kick In After 5-10 Yrs
  • BBC - EU Diplomat: Gaps Are 'Only' Slowly Shrinking On Core Brexit Issues
  • Hungary PM Orban Says Talks Over EU Recovery Plan Should Continue
  • AFP: French PM Cites On Right Track To Reopen Small Shops On Dec 1
  • Madrid Region To Shut Over Coronavirus In The December 4-14 Period
  • UK's Hancock: Seeing Promising Signs And Flattening Of Virus Cases
  • UK Oct Retail Sales Beat Estimates Amid Early Christmas Shopping
  • BoFA: Investors Rush To Buy Equities, Dump Gold In Vaccine Euphoria
  • Pfizer Set To File An FDA Application For Its Coronavirus Vaccine Today
Commentary
Brexit Deal Close To Being Finalised, EU Ambassadors Told

A trade and security agreement with Britain is close to being finalised but the risk remains of an accidental no-deal Brexit in six weeks, with gaps on the contentious issues only “slowly shrinking”, EU ambassadors have been told. With Michel Barnier in self-isolation following the news that an EU negotiator has been tested positive for coronavirus, the talks will be conducted almost entirely by videoconference over the next few days.

 

The European commission’s most senior official, Ilze Juhansone, told representatives of the 27 member states in Brussels that the majority of the 11 key negotiation issues now had “joint legal texts with fewer and fewer outstanding points”.

 

The familiar problems of EU access to UK fishing waters and the design of a mechanism to ensure neither side can distort trade through undercutting standards remained unresolved but the differences were being gradually bridged, sources said. An EU diplomat said: “There is tangible progress on a number of areas while gaps are only slowly shrinking on core issues like level playing field, governance and fisheries.

(Guardian - Continue Reading)

Trump Team To Yank Fed Emergency Economic Support

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday asked the Federal Reserve to return all unused coronavirus relief funds set aside for its emergency lending programs by the end of the year, taking away a lifeline even as a resurgence in Covid cases threatens to upend the budding economic recovery. Mnuchin said the programs are no longer needed, but the move goes against the Fed’s desire to keep them going, according to a statement from the central bank, in a rare show of public disagreement between the two government agencies.


“The Federal Reserve would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy,” the Fed said. The emergency programs, which were set to expire Dec. 31 unless extended, have doled out billions of dollars in loans to keep the economy afloat. Their mere existence helped restore stability to the financial system after panic over the coronavirus earlier this year threatened to shut down key debt markets.


The Fed and Treasury have joint responsibility for designing and authorizing the programs, some of which were created at the behest of Congress in a massive relief package, called the CARES Act, signed by President Donald Trump in March.

(Politico - Continue Reading)

EU Leaders Brace For December Disasters In Meeting Of Doom

It was a summit for disaster planning — for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic; on a standoff over the bloc's historic €1.82 trillion budget-and-recovery package; and for the prospect that negotiations with the U.K. would fail to yield a post-Brexit trade deal. After EU heads of state and government conferred by videoconference on Thursday evening, leaders said the first two coronavirus vaccines would be approved next month. But that was perhaps the only bit of optimistic news.

 

The leaders described ongoing difficulties in devising common national protocols for the use of rapid antigen tests. They warned of logistical obstacles in manufacturing and distributing vaccines, as well as opposition from vaccine skeptics that would require an aggressive public relations campaign. They expressed deep worry that lifting containment measures too quickly could lead to a third wave of infections. And they hinted at the need for limiting travel that would likely put a huge damper on the Christmas and New Year holidays.

 

And if that wasn't enough, they said there was a long — and growing — to-do list of difficult topics for their regular December summit that would require leaders to gather in person in Brussels despite the health risks. Those topics include a continuing push to approve more ambitious climate targets; ongoing tensions with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, as well as a potentially worsening economic fallout from the pandemic.

(Politico - Continue Reading)

UK Retail Sales Buoyed By Early Christmas Shoppers, Stockpiling

London – Official numbers from the Office for National Statistics showed a sixth consecutive month of gains for UK retail sales in October, with evidence suggesting that households were already shopping ahead of the holiday season and the latest UK lockdown. On the month, headline retail sales volumes rose 1.2% in October, outstripping estimates of a -0.3% drop but short of the 1.4% September figure. Sales rose by 5.8% year-on-year, higher than the 4.1% expected and last month’s 4.6% print.   

 

Sales excluding auto fuels also surprised to the upside with a 1.3% rise on the month versus an expected flat reading. Annual activity increased 7.8% from a 5.9% forecast and 6.4% print previously.  

 

ONS’ Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics Jonathan Athow said, “Feedback from shops suggested some consumers may have brought forward their Christmas shopping, ahead of potential further restrictions. Online stores also saw strong sales, boosted by widespread offers.” 

(LiveSquawk - Continue Reading)

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