Former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ms. Okonjo Iweala has emerged as the first woman and African, to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO).
She was confirmed as the director of the organization on Feb. 15, 2021 (Monday). Ms. Iweala has worked for the WTO in the past and is considered a top advisor within the organization, having been in senior positions within the WTO in the past.
She will be leading the WTO which is revitalizing it’s organizational apparatus and leadership. The former Nigerian finance minister was one of the final picks along with South Korea’s trade minister, Ms. Yoo Myung-Hee to lead the over 25 year old trade organization. -SB
1) President Biden is asking Congress for $1,400 stimulus checks, but economists advise caution before spending, because economists who have looked at what happens when people have time to mull over a financial windfall, found that they spend less of the money, rather they save more of it. With less spending, there is less stimulus to the economy, therefor the stimulus fails to do the intended purpose. For the first stimulus checks in April people generally spent between one-quarter and one-third of the check in the first 10 days. Bottom line, the longer payment delays make it more likely that households will save their stimulus checks, which undermines the goal of stimulating the economy by boosting consumption.
2) The Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen will be part of the Senate Finance Committee process of vetting President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion dollar Covid-19 relief plan. She will say that low borrowing costs means it’s time to act big. The new package includes a minimum-wage hike and substantial expansion in family and medical leave, social safety-network of programs that have already triggered Republican opposition. There are still almost 11 million unemployed Americans in an economy still being battered by the pandemic. Declines in both payrolls and retail sales in December left the nation’s economy limping into the new year. Additionally, more than 17 million people say they have little to no confidence in their ability to pay their rent next month. However, Yellen will also be asked what the safe debt limit is, since it is already on the verge of surpassing 100% of the GDP. There is also the question of the pros and cons of strengthening the dollar among fears that a stronger dollar will weaken the U.S. economy.
3) The U.S. government has approved routes for a system of pipelines that will move carbon dioxide across Wyoming for disposal. The greenhouse gas is captured from coal-fired power plants, to keep it out of the atmosphere where it causes global warming. The captured CO2 is then pumped underground to add pressure to and boost production of oil fields. The pipeline is about 1,100 miles of federal land through the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative. This project is a way to boost the state’s struggling coal mining industry.
4) Stock market closings for – 21 JAN 21:
Dow 31,176.01 down by 12.37 Nasdaq 13,530.92 up by 73.67 S&P 500 3,853.07 up by 1.22
Jack Ma’s Ant Group IPO was supposed to be going public on the Shanghai Stock Exchange recently, but has been halted by the Chinese government for disagreements between the Chinese government and Jack Ma (AliBaba/Ant Group’s co founder).
The IPO was listed to raise over $37 billion dollars USD, making it the biggest share sale in the history of the global stock markets. Saudi Arabia’s Aramco holds the biggest share offering title; currently with its share offering last December 2019, raking 29.4 billion dollars USD. The spectators will have to wait and see, if or when the IPO will go public -SB
With the national protests occurring in the United States. There has long been an issue about the income inequality among minorities and investment inequalities among minorities, especially African Americans.
Analytics and data collected from The Federal Reserve indicate that over 60% of white families have stock share holdings while only 30% of black families have stock holdings. Indicated is that only a third of African American families are seeing the benefits from the stock market rally, currently occurring.
The wealth gap between minorities and white families is also very wide. Median white family net worth is $171,000 while African American family median net worth is approx $18,000. These wealth gaps tend to have economical effect on minority and black families as they are not given a fighting chance to improve financially and economically amongst their counterparts. -SB
Vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger has indicated that the recession that has been displayed because of the Coronavirus; has had drastic effect on the US and global economy as a whole.
Vice chair Munger has indicated executives from top S&P 500 companies are not seeking a government bailout aka “government intervention”, because in his opinion they are “too frozen” to do so. He has spoken that the airline industry has done very little to bring increase scrutiny on where they lie ahead of their financial stats and balance sheets. -SB
Over 3.3 million Americans have claimed unemployment benefits because of the coronavirus, the U.S. Labor Dept has indicated this past week. The virus has taken a toll on businesses, income wages and society’s everyday way of living.
These numbers reflect a growing number of Americans who are currently unemployed and are seeking financial relief; because of what the COVID-19 virus has done to their working wages. Many people have insisted that the impact has burdened them into massive financial debt.
It also has to be noted, that the United States has now surpassed all other countries with the most infected individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Over 85,000 people in the USA have the coronavirus, as presented by data by John Hopkins University on March 26, 2020 (US infections 85,840).SB
Sources: US Labor Dept; John Hopkins University Covid-19 Data