A third straight monthly gain of industrial production was witnessed in the United States with a rise of 1.6% being witnessed in the month of December. Even with this continuous rise, industrial production still remains below levels reached before the pandemic. The month of November had seen a 0.5% increase while October showed an increase of 1%.
The Producer prices have risen less than expected in the month of December, even though consumer prices continued to rise as expected. A rise of just 0.3% was seen in producer prices as compared to the 0.4% which were expected. This led to the producer prices being up similar to as seen in November, 0.8% YoY. Pricing power is continuously being limited due to the pandemic response.
Earlier this week, Google revealed that it was ’conducting experiments’ to evaluate the merit of its services to news outlets in Australia. Media reports suggested that Australian news websites were not showing up in searches following the experiment. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg called out to Google, accusing it of ’blocking’ users when it should be paying for the content.
The Financial Conduct Agency had introduced the special measures due to the exceptional financial hardship as a result of Covid-19. It has this week confirmed that the ban will be lifted for cars and other products after 31 January, thought it has proposed for the restriction on repossession of homes to be extended to 31 March.
Dollar General is offering its hourly employees four hours worth of pay to compensate for the time spent getting the COVID-19 vaccine. While the store is not mandating its employees get the vaccine, it is strongly encouraging them. Dollar General has become one of the first U.S companies to provide an incentive for workers to get vaccinated.
American workers filed new 965,000 applications for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said. The figure is 181,000 more than the previous week. This was an unexpected surge as the Covid-19 pandemic kept the labor market under pressure. With the new claims, the total number of Americans who have applied for unemployment aid since the pandemic hit the US has touched 74.8 million.
The US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said it is way to early to talk about making any changes to the central bank’s easy monetary policy stance, including its $120 billion per month bond-buying program. He stated it won’t be appropriate to talk about slowing down the bond purchases until there is ’clear evidence’ that the Fed is making progress on its employment and inflation goals.
The Trump administration announced that it will ban cotton and tomato imports from China’s Xinjiang province where Beijing has embarked on a large-scale campaign of persecution of the Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities. Officials said Customs and Border Protection will products suspected of being produced with forced labor to keep out cotton, tomatoes and related products from Xinjiang.
A Politico report said Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine has hit a production snag, which may delay the delivery of millions of doses by at least two months. J&J, which vowed to make 12 million of the single-dose jabs available by February-end, told health officials that it would be difficult to meet its supply target. However, a company representative said there was no production slowdown.
With no one hitting all the all six winning numbers in Tuesday’s Mega Millions’ $625,000,000 jackpot draw, the lottery’s jackpot has now swelled to an estimated $750 million. It is now the fifth largest in US lottery history and second largest for Mega Millions. The next draw will be on Friday. The jackpot has grown since fall, with 34 drawings without a winner since September’s $119 million hit.
Deutsche Bank became the latest large company to cut ties with US President Trump in the wake of the deadly attack on the Capitol. The bank, serving the Trump Organization for two decades, has been Trump’s most important lender. After a series of bankruptcies in the 1990s, it was the only bank willing to give him money. The Trump Organization owes the bank about $340M in outstanding loans.
Archer Aviation said it was entering a partnership deal with Fiat Chrysler to manufacture electric vertical take-off and landing flying cars. Archer said it was currently developing ’the world’s first all-electric airline’ with a 187kWh battery. The aircraft is designed for a 60-mile range, traveling at up to 150 miles per hour. The eVTOL capabilities would mean that it can operate in urban areas.
Leading automaker Volkswagen tripled sales of its battery-only cars in 2020 despite the pandemic as its new electric compact ID.3 came on the market ahead of tough new European Union limits on auto emissions. It’s an early sign of an upcoming year of increasing market share for electric cars as EU regulations tighten their grip.
Twitter stock fell over 10% Monday morning in the first trading session since the social media company permanently suspended President Trump’s account. Experts suggest that Twitter’s stance could likely reignite legislation to revoke Section 230, the law that protects internet companies from liability for content users post. Twitter banned Trump citing ’the risk of further incitement of violence.’
Ford has announced the closure of its last three factories in Brazil. The carmaker blamed the pandemic, which it said had amplified years of poor sales and ’significant losses’ in the region. The closure would impact about 5,000 jobs. The company said it expected the wind-down to cost $4.1B, including separation payments.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies tanked on Monday wiping off nearly $170B from the entire market. The market capitalization currently stands at $973B. Bitcoin has fallen over 10% from a day earlier to $35,572. Ethereum has fallen 14% to $1,118. The sell-off in cryptocurrencies comes after a huge rally. Bitcoin is still up over 340% in the last 12-months.
The Trump administration is reportedly trying to push a rule that could compel banks to offer loans to the gun manufacturers, and oil exploration companies. Banks are unwilling to finance gun manufacturers who make assault-style weapons and drilling for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, among others. The new rule is designed to designate such practices as unfairly discriminatory.
Businesses in the US are rethinking political contributions in the wake of the deadly Capitol siege by President Trump’s supporters. Citigroup confirmed that it is pausing all political donations for the first three months of the year. Marriott said it is stopping donations to the 147 Republicans who opposed certifying Biden’s win. JPMorgan paused contributions for both Republicans and Democrats.
Ford and Nissan on Friday confirmed they are cutting vehicle production at plants in the US and Japan due to a shortage of semiconductors. Ford plans to idle an SUV plant in Kentucky next week, while Nissan is reducing production at a plant in Japan. Automakers began warning of a semiconductor shortage late last year after demand for vehicles was increasing faster than expected.
US employers closed 140,000 job positions last month. This has happened for the first time since April. This shows how hard the economy has been bit by the raging Covid-19 pandemic, which is showing no sign of slowing down as of now. This shedding left the country’s unemployment rate unchanged at 6.7%. Labor Department’s stats show employers have rehired roughly all the workers they can afford.