Money – Yahalava Fri, 11 Jun 2021 20:27:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Money – Yahalava 32 32 John Oliver uses the national debt to explain the absence of Regé-Jean Page in season 2 of “Bridgerton” (video) Mon, 24 May 2021 04:23:44 +0000

John Oliver is perfectly cool with our huge national debt, but not so much with “America’s Hottest Little Slut” Ronald Reagan. This will (a little) make sense in the context. Also on Sunday, Oliver used the national debt crisis to explain why it makes perfect sense that Regé-Jean Page is not in season 2 of “Bridgerton”.

Or wait, did he use Regé-Jean Page’s upcoming absence from the Netflix hit, which rocked occasional fans, to explain the national debt situation?

In both cases.

During the first 15 minutes of the above video, HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” host tried to seriously break down the $ 28 trillion that we as a country owe. Oliver reviewed each of America’s Presidents from the late 1980s to the present day, ranking them according to the damage they each caused.

You can probably guess which side of the ledger George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump ended up on.

He then went all over to Dr. Seuss on Ted Cruz. Not a president, but still a problem, argued Oliver.

But we know why you are here. This is for the “Bridgerton” hottie.

Oliver stole the melodramatic footage from the riot adjacent to John Stossel’s Debt to show how upset everyone is that Page shouldn’t appear in Season 2 of “Bridgerton”.

Here’s the deal though: Even Oliver knows Page was not supposed to star in the second season of the soapy streaming drama.

That it is explained via the video above.

Netflix revealed on Friday that Page won’t reprise in fan favorite role of Simon Basset, The Duke of Hastings, for season 2 of “Bridgerton”. While this came as a shock to many fans, Page was prepared for the change in focus of the show from Simon and Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) to her brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), which mirrors the plot of the novels of love of Julia Quinn on which the series is based.

“It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a start, a middle, an end – give us a year, “said Page, who had only signed and contracted for the first season of” Bridgerton “, told Variety Friday his first conversations with Rhimes. and other producers re joining. the show in the role of Simon. “[I thought] “It’s interesting” because it looked like a limited series at the time. I can come in, I can make my contribution, and then the Bridgerton family continue. “

The page added: “One of the things that’s different about this [romance] kind is that the audience knows the arc ends. They come knowing that, so you can tie people into emotional knots because they have the assurance that we’re going to come out and have the marriage and the baby.

Although Page is not appearing on season 2, Dynevor will continue on to “Bridgerton” in his role as Daphne, remaining a vital part of the series, and Simon de Page will also continue to live in the “Bridgerton” world as the husband of Daphne, a person familiar with the production says TheWrap. The door is also open for Page to return to potential future seasons.

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” which airs Sundays at 11 pm, is produced for HBO by Avalon and Sixteen String Jack Productions; executive produced by John Oliver, Tim Carvell, Liz Stanton, Jon Thoday and James Taylor; directed by Paul Pennolino and Christopher Werner.

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How the RBA will react to the changing face of the mortgage market Mon, 24 May 2021 04:23:44 +0000

Mortgage borrowers seem to have come to the conclusion that interest rates are unlikely to stay at such low levels indefinitely. And that they would be well advised to freeze those rates while they can.

“The share of fixed rate loans is increasing,” report economists at the Commonwealth Bank. “About half of all homeowner loans were fixed rate in April.

“Fixed rate loans accounted for about 45% of investor loans during the month.”

And, of course, the sharp rise in house prices has been accompanied by a corresponding increase in the average home loan amount.

“The average amount of loans has skyrocketed in recent months,” said economists at the Commonwealth Bank. “Rising house prices mean buyers generally have to borrow more than before.”

Of course, the growing popularity of fixed-rate loans – which traditionally represent only around 15% of mortgages – itself reflects the emergency monetary measures that the Reserve Bank adopted last year to protect the economy. economy from the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In order to ensure a plentiful supply of cheap financing for businesses and households in the country, the Reserve Bank authorized banks in the country to borrow $ 200 billion over three years at the ultra-low rate of 0.1%.

And to underscore its commitment to keeping interest rates extremely low for an extended period, the Reserve Bank adopted a new three-year bond yield target of 0.1%.

Armed with a plentiful supply of super-low-cost finance, the country’s major banks have embarked on a relentless effort to increase their share of the attractive mortgage market – where their levels of problem loans have remained low, despite the disruptions. economic effects caused by the pandemic.

But, as the economic recovery became more vigorous, the Reserve Bank began to cut some of its emergency monetary support.

He has previously announced that banks only have until the end of June of this year to access the remaining $ 100 billion in cheap three-year funds remaining under the term finance facility.

And most economists expect the Reserve Bank to take the April 2024 bond as a target for the three-year goal, rather than pushing it over to the next maturity, the November 2024 bond.

Economists expect that this slight decrease in monetary stimulus will eventually translate into a modest rise in long-term bond yields in wholesale financial markets, which in turn will lead to higher interest rate lending rates. fixed.

Real challenge

And that should provide further relief to the extremely hot residential real estate market. Already, the pace of price increases appears to have eased, with buyers increasingly aware that lower borrowing costs won’t last forever.

But, of course, the real challenge for the legions of indebted home loan borrowers will come when the Reserve Bank raises its official cash rate, which is currently at the historic low of 0.1%.

The Reserve Bank has continuously sought to allay this concern, stressing that it will not raise official interest rates until it is certain that real inflation is permanently within its target range of 2 to 3%.

For this to happen, the labor market would have to tighten considerably, to spur much stronger wage growth. The Reserve Bank believes this should not happen until 2024 at the earliest.

But market participants believe the Reserve Bank is unduly pessimistic about the strength of the economic recovery and the outlook for inflation. Indeed, market prices indicate that official interest rates will likely reach around 1% by 2024.

Regardless of the timing, when the time comes for the Reserve Bank to start raising official interest rates again, the central bank will have no choice but to consider the changes in the mortgage market.

First, the Reserve Bank will have to take into account that people have increased their borrowing levels. This higher debt burden means that any increase in official interest rates will have a more dampening effect on consumer spending than before.

At the same time, however, the growing share of fixed rate loans means that the rise in official rates will be slower to have an effect on overall economic activity.

This is because people who are stuck in fixed rate mortgages will not have to raise repayments even if official rates rise.

Yet while immune to the immediate impact of higher official rates, mortgage borrowers are likely to be keenly aware that their loan repayments will eventually increase when their fixed rate loan comes to an end. and they will have to renew it at a higher rate.

And of course, that could be a considerably higher rate than what they’ve already paid on the ultra-low fixed-rate home loan they took out in the wake of the pandemic.

And that will be another factor the Reserve Bank will need to weigh carefully when it comes to future rate hikes.

When it comes to rolling over their fixed rate loan, borrowers will not simply be faced with an increase in official interest rates from the Reserve Bank. Instead, they will be faced with the entire increase in borrowing costs from the time they first take out their loan.

Borrowers from non-bank mortgage lenders will also feel the spur of rising interest rates as the Reserve Bank begins to reduce its emergency monetary support.

This is because non-bank lenders have been the indirect beneficiaries of this support.

The Reserve Bank’s $ 200 billion term financing facility meant the country’s banks did not need to raise funds by issuing asset-backed securities.

But non-bank real estate lenders quickly took advantage of banks’ absence from the market to ramp up their own issuance of residential mortgage-backed bonds. And they were able to borrow at very attractive rates.

As the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Statement notes, “Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS) spreads have narrowed significantly for non-banks and banks in recent months, falling sharply. below pre-pandemic levels ”.

Indeed, the press release notes that “spreads on RMBS are at their lowest level since 2007”.

According to the statement, “Market comments suggest that low levels of bank bond issuance are contributing to these low spreads, as investors turn to other securities, including RMBS, seen as substitute investments for bank obligations “.

The author owns shares in major banks.

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Johannesburg to grant 50% debt relief to eligible taxpayers Mon, 24 May 2021 04:23:44 +0000

Johannesburg City Mayor Geoff Makhubo said the city will offer large debt cancellations to eligible taxpayers as part of its debt rehabilitation program.

In his State of the City address on Tuesday, May 4, Makhubo said that minimizing the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in cities has become an active feature of post-Covid urban management strategies.

“In response, the city – through the council – approved a debt rehabilitation program that includes additional relief measures for taxpayers amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“The new program includes an increase in the value of eligible properties from R600,000 to R1.5 million following calls from residents asking the city to review the terms and conditions of the initial relief program, which was first launched in 2019.

“The enhanced relief program will allow eligible taxpayers to receive immediate relief through 50% debt forgiveness.

Talk to EWN, the city said the relief program would allow eligible taxpayers to receive immediate relief through a 50% debt write-off, after which the remaining 50% could be written off if certain conditions are met.

“If they continue to pay the city for current consumption, including tariffs and taxes over a three-year period without fail, then we amortize the remaining 50%,” he said.

Speaking on the current state of the city’s finances, Makhubo said that when he took office in December 2019, he inherited an institution that lacked experience and was riddled with governance failures in the areas of purchasing.

“In addition, the city’s internal systems almost collapsed, revenue collection was poor, financial mismanagement was high, irregular spending was record high, the city’s absence from all international platforms and government personnel. demoralized local amid a myriad of challenges.

Despite these issues and the difficult institutional and macroeconomic environment due to the pandemic, Makhubo said the city managed to collect 86.3% of revenue, against an adjusted Covid-19 risk target of 88% for the fiscal year 2019/20, as well as a surplus of Rand 3.7 billion for fiscal year 2019/20.

“It is encouraging to see that the city still collected more than 6% revenue,” he said. “In addition, the city’s financial position is strong, with total assets increasing by 5%.

Rate increase

Johannesburg Draft Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and Medium-Term Budget Framework published at the end of March proposes increases of around 14.59% for electricity and 6.8% for water.

Jolidee Matongo, a member of the City Mayor’s Committee for Johannesburg City Finances, said a large percentage of the city’s annual operational and capital expenditure is funded through the property tax levied on domestic properties and commercial.

There are also utility charges on electricity, water, sewer and garbage. The city also collects interest on fines, forfeitures and penalties. A marginal part comes from operating grants. To remain financially viable, tariff increases must be considered.

“The city is not oblivious to the current economic environment, made worse by the current pandemic,” he said.

“We would have preferred to table a zero increase in the tariff proposals, but if we go down this route, the city will put its own liquidity at risk. It is also important that we exercise financial prudence to meet the service delivery imperatives expected by taxpayers and residents.

Matongo said residents can always give their opinion on tariff proposals in the reports.

“The post-tabling public consultation process, as stipulated by the Municipal Systems Act, will allow residents and stakeholders to comment on the draft budget and the IDP within 30 days of reporting to Council. Stakeholders will be consulted through a variety of engagement methods.

“We are committed to continuing to improve the daily living experience for our residents and that is why we need residents to give us their opinion on the draft budget and the IDP. “

Lily: Electricity and water prices expected to rise in Johannesburg

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A real eye-opener: Navigating the UK’s pandemic ‘sleep debt’ crisis Mon, 24 May 2021 04:23:44 +0000


As pandemic home work begins to shift to more permanent ‘hybrid’ work, both employers and occupational health may need to take a more proactive approach to supporting employees in good sleep practices. and sleep hygiene, argues Gosia Bowling.

The pandemic has disrupted our routines both inside and outside the workplace, with many suddenly being forced to work from home. While many have embraced the positive aspects of working remotely – such as reduced commuting, the ability to exercise or spend more time with family – the change has taken its toll on other aspects of our lives. lives.

Research shows the number of people with insomnia has risen to one in four since the pandemic, many turn to the Internet for help. Google searches for “insomnia” have flew, most of them being done early in the morning, around 3 a.m.

As we look forward to the relaxation of restrictions, it’s important to note that the “new normal” will not automatically facilitate perfect sleep patterns. Businesses will likely take a “hybrid” approach to work, and employees will face new challenges. This is why it is crucial that employers “fall asleep” and work with occupational health practitioners to support their workforce.

The impact of the pandemic on sleep

Sleep disturbances have been one of the many negative symptoms of pandemic life, with 50% from the UK who experienced sleep loss in the past year.

Our biological clocks have been disrupted by social restrictions, with individuals unable to trust their usual “time anchors” – such as morning commutes, evening errands, and general exposure to clear mornings and dark evenings. Our meal times and normal work and life routines were also disrupted.

As a result, our bodies find it difficult to regulate the time and ‘turn off’ at night when we need to rest and recharge.

In addition, the pandemic has consequences for mental health. The constant uncertainty that surrounds our lives – from anxiety around job security to worrying about the physical risk of the virus – it leaves us in a constantly heightened state of stress.

As our bodies remain in “alert mode” with increased heart rate and blood pressure, it is difficult to return to the level of relaxation needed to fall asleep at night.

The problem is, we can’t just “start over” or pay off our sleep debt the next day. It takes time to physically recover from lost sleep. A single hour of lost sleep can cause the body catch up for four days.

For chronically struggling sleepers, this sleep debt accumulates to have a significant impact on all aspects of their lives.

Measure long-term effects

Lack of sleep doesn’t just leave employees feeling tired and groggy. Sleep deprivation can also lead to a weakened immune system, as our bodies are unable to effectively target infections and inflammation. Employees are then more likely to suffer from colds and infections, which in turn impacts performance at work and further disrupts their sleep in the future.

Long-term sleep deprivation is also linked to more serious health problems like an increased risk of certain cancers, heart disease, ulcers and gastrointestinal problems.

Once people are in a poor sleep cycle, it can be difficult to escape. Up to 35% of people who have had trouble sleeping have done so for five years or more. Unregulated sleep leads to higher levels of stress hormones in our body, as well as impacting our appetite regulators and musculoskeletal (MSK) health.

Occupational health practitioners have a role to play in helping employees manage the impact resulting from poor sleep, which can include fatigue, anger, anxiety and depression, hunger and even pain. physical. This may include broader tips such as improving their remote working setup, suggesting daily exercise to alleviate MSK issues, and regulating their appetite by making more nutritional food choices.

Occupational health practitioners have a role to play in helping employees manage the impact resulting from poor sleep, which can include fatigue, anger, anxiety and depression, hunger and even pain. physical. This may include broader tips such as improving their remote working setup, suggesting daily exercise to alleviate MSK issues, and regulating their appetite by making more nutritional food choices.

With this support, individuals can be helped to break the vicious cycle of sleep deprivation.

Low productivity

It is believed that sleep deprivation will cost the UK economy £ 37 billion a year of lost productivity, with bad sleepers having reduced reaction times and difficulty concentrating. They are also more likely to have accidents or make costly mistakes.

Ultimately, chronic disrupted sleep increases the risk of being absent from work. by 171%.

Those trapped in the vicious cycle of disturbed sleep may experience stress-related fatigue – a constant state of fatigue, more frequent in anxious and depressed people. Even if they get a period of quality sleep, they can still feel tired.

Despite the impact of fatigue on productivity at work, 86% of working adults in the UK report feeling unable to speak openly and confidently with their supervisor about how fatigue affects their performance.

Taken together, these numbers should serve as a “wake-up call” for employers.

Will a hybrid work environment be any different?

In the wake of the success of flexible working, many companies are likely to adopt a “hybrid” work environment, with employees continuing to work from home a few days a week.

For many, this brings benefits in terms of limited daily commutes and a better balance between work and personal tasks – reducing anxiety, which can improve sleep in those who find their mind racing when their head is racing. hits the pillow.

However, the impact of long-term remote working – even as part of a hybrid approach – can also wreak havoc on employees who struggle to disconnect.

Remote employees can regularly exceed their scheduled working hours, continue to respond to emails late into the evening, and engage in “bedmin”. And while they might think of it as harmless and proactive, the reality is that it’s hard to relax when you’re used to being “always active.”

Employers can provide advice on the separation of work and family life. This may include encouraging appropriate ‘sleep hygiene’ for remote workers and suggesting ways to move from work to personal life, for example by exercising after work or turning off notifications. devices outside working hours.

Support for employers in the “new normal”

Companies tend to overestimate individuals who underestimate sleep. However, for those looking to maximize the potential of their employees and build a positive and productive workforce, reducing the business and health risks associated with sleep deprivation is important.

Those who take a hybrid approach to work need to set their expectations up front. This means setting working hours and informing employees that they are not supposed to respond to emails outside of them. Employees should also be encouraged to bypass their natural sleep patterns where possible, for example, by avoiding scheduling calls early in the morning or late at night.

It can be difficult for career-focused employees to notice signs of difficulty in themselves, so supervisors need to be equipped to recognize the distress of others and be confident in supporting them. Emotional literacy training and mental health awareness training for managers are designed to equip leaders with effective knowledge, tools and skills.

Occupational health specialists also play a key role in helping employees get quality sleep. This can include helping them figure out how to structure their day, for example avoiding having potentially stressful meetings in the late afternoon, when they risk bringing stress home when their bodies need to relax. loosen.

Providing advice on nutrition and caffeine can help individuals make healthier choices, avoiding unhealthy habits that can exacerbate feelings of tiredness or fatigue, or stimulants that have the opposite effect, increasing their heart rate. and making them particularly alert, interfering with rest and sleep.

It is also important to stress the benefits of exercise in regulating sleep patterns, but not right before bed, as we stay in “on” mode for a while after exercise, which makes sleep difficult. Instead, an outdoor run or a brisk lunchtime walk not only takes workers away from their desks, but also exposes them to natural daylight, thereby promoting healthy sleep hormones.

Employers who are worried their teams won’t take healthy breaks or are reluctant to stop may even consider hosting group exercise classes. For example, inviting a fitness instructor to host a video call lunch session and informing employees that they are encouraged to attend. It is important to lead by example and announcing that directors and managers will attend these sessions can drive adoption across the company.

Additional employer support may include inviting a sleep specialist to host a webinar on best practices before bed, such as avoiding blue light devices and keeping bed for sleep only – not for work.

Likewise, offering cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach that helps employees recognize and break unnecessary thought patterns that trigger anxiety and stress that keep them awake at night.

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3 economic facts point to a big federal budget Mon, 24 May 2021 04:23:44 +0000

“It’s hard to make predictions,” the saying goes, “especially on the future. “The many forecasts that federal budgets make for the economy over the next four years must therefore be taken with a big grain of salt.

But as the 2021 budget approaches (which will be announced by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on May 11), three notable economic facts, on which no speculation is required, weigh heavily.

Inflation at its lowest

Fact # 1 is the inflation figure for the first quarter of 2021, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week.

Using the commonly accepted measure known as the “truncated mean” – which eliminates short-term fluctuations in trimming the most important up and down movements – core inflation has only increased by 1.1% over the past year.


This, as an office Remarks, is “the weakest annual movement on record” for the March quarter.

What this highlights is the absence of significant inflationary pressures in the economy. It validates the Reserve Bank’s view that aggressive monetary and fiscal stimulus are needed to revitalize the economy. The central bank can keep interest rates at historically low levels without triggering a dangerous rise in inflation.

Manageable debt levels

Fact 2 concerns the sustainability of public debt levels, which have increased due to Australia’s fiscal response to the pandemic.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer published a report on Wednesday noting:

Gross debt has increased from 28% of GDP before the pandemic to over 40% of GDP in 2020-2021, and is expected to reach over 50% of GDP in 2022-2023. The government predicts that the debt will remain above 50% of GDP for at least the next decade.

There is no shortage of deficit hawks who find these debt levels alarming, despite being among the lowest among advanced economies.

But as the PBO points out, historically low interest rate levels mean the government is able to borrow cheaply, making these debt levels comfortably sustainable:

Our scenarios for GDP growth, interest rates and fiscal balance suggest that the government will be able to maintain a sustainable level of debt relative to GDP over the coming decades. We present 27 different scenarios, showing that the public debt stabilizes or decreases beyond the next decade. Interest payments on debt also remain manageable.

This means the government can avoid damaging spending cuts in this budget and beyond. Rather than introducing austerity measures when unemployment is “comfortably below 6%”, according to treasurer John Frydenberg previously reported, it can continue to invest heavily in social and physical infrastructure to increase productivity and help reduce unemployment to 4%.

Frydenberg clearly nodded at this yesterday when he said:

These are unusual and uncertain times. For these reasons, we are resolutely staying in the first phase of our economic and fiscal strategy.

This is important for at least three reasons.

First, the RBA pushed monetary policy to its limits with record interest rates. Thus, fiscal policy – the way the government taxes and spends – is the only lever available to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment.

Second, the possibility of reducing unemployment to levels not seen for an extended period in decades would make a huge difference in the lives of over 100,000 Australians who would otherwise be unemployed.

Third, the RBA and the Treasury have stressed that unemployment must fall below 5%, perhaps less, to revive wage growth.

Read more:
Jobs for men have barely increased since the COVID recession. What matters now is what we do about it

Booming iron ore revenues

Fact 3 concerns our iron ore exports.

Australia exported a record A $ 14 billion worth of iron ore in March, according to ABS data. This represented 39% of the country’s total exports for the month.

This value was due to higher volumes sold as well as a rise in the price of iron ore – now over US $ 190 per tonne. It’s a level no seen in a decade. Analysts predict it will soon exceed US $ 200.

Iron ore price chart by month, in US dollars, January 2001 to January 2021.


This results in a sharp increase in government tax revenue, giving Frydenberg more leeway to spend a lot while keeping the deficit at manageable levels.

An electoral budget

The May 11 budget will likely be the last before the next federal election. It’s worth noting. Only a reckless treasurer would cut spending just before going to the polls.

But as I and most other mainstream economists have said for some time – seeing a distillation here – the continuation of budgetary support is vital to relaunch economic growth, reduce unemployment and return to real wages.

So the treasurer not only has the electoral incentives to do the right economic thing, but the economic data to support that movement.

Read more:
Exclusive. Top economists back budget for unemployment rate starting with “4”

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Uneven global economic recovery in 2021 promises to reverse a long-held principle of success and failure Mon, 24 May 2021 04:23:44 +0000

“All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina’s opening sentence is one of the most famous in world literature, but it has special significance for economists, for whom it represents a principle that can be applied in multiple contexts and fields of study. ‘studies. The Anna Karenin Principle states that success requires the full fulfillment of a necessary set of conditions, and the absence of any of these conditions will lead to failure. Therefore, the successes are all fundamentally similar, as they reflect the presence of the same range of factors, while the failures are diverse, each stemming from its own shortcomings.

The global economic crisis surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic reverses Anna Karenina’s principle. The causes of the pandemic shock – lockdowns, border closures, trade collapse, travel bans and financial market volatility – were common to all countries and regions, while the expected recovery will be marked by the divergent circumstances of each. country and the peculiarities of its political response. Success in the post-pandemic era will reflect a constellation of country-specific policies and capacities, including national immunization rates, integration into major economic blocs, the ability to provide fiscal and monetary stimulus measures and restoring the solvency of the private sector. While all “unhappy” countries will be essentially alike, each “happy” country will be happy in its own way.

While each national recovery will depend on the characteristics of countries, the success or failure of large economies and economic blocs will profoundly influence the prospects of small economies and developing countries. Recent advances in vaccine rollout in the United States and other advanced economies have raised expectations about the global economic recovery. According to the Spring 2021 edition of the IMF’s Global Economic Outlook, the global economy is expected to grow at a rate of 6% in 2021, compared to 5.5% forecast in January, due to the faster-than-expected recovery of the economy. advances.[1] With unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, the United States, China and Western Europe are on the verge of a rapid rebound: Annual GDP growth in the United States, China and Western Europe is expected to reach 6.4%, 8.4% and 4.5%, respectively, in 2021. Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and Europe and Central Asia (ECA) are expected to grow by 4.4% and 3 , 6%, respectively, although with large disparities between countries.

Differences in vaccination rates are behind the divergence in growth projections, as the easing of restrictions linked to the pandemic and the resumption of mobility, production, trade and travel all depend on generalized vaccination. Although good progress has been made overall, large disparities in immunization coverage closely correspond to national income levels. Slow vaccination efforts in developing countries threaten to hamper their recovery while exacerbating the global risk of mutating the virus. Several countries currently facing new waves of contagion and / or new virus strains have been forced to reimpose restrictions and delay the return to normal economic activity.

A second driver of divergent recovery trends is the degree of integration of each country into international value chains linked to advanced economies. As global economic activity rebounds, the World Trade Organization predicts that merchandise trade will grow at a rate of 8.0% in 2021. The reestablishment of global and regional value chains is also boosting trade in goods. equipment and intermediate inputs. For example, the growth of US industrial production is expected to accelerate the recovery of Mexico’s manufacturing sector due to the strong synchronicity between the economic cycles of the two countries. Likewise, given the close integration of many developing countries in the ECA zone with the European Union, the restoration of European regional value chains should improve growth prospects throughout the ECA zone. As global economic activity picks up, the prices of oil, metals, food and other commodities are expected to rise. The recovery in commodity prices has already boosted growth in some ECA countries, including Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, as well as LAC countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Peru. While higher commodity prices will be favorable winds for resource-rich commodity exporters, they will be headwinds for net importers, especially developing countries that depend on oil imports. Trade in services is likely to remain moderate and is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2022. The hospitality and travel sectors continue to be the hardest hit by the crisis, and tourism-dependent countries in the Caribbean and the Balkans face a slow and uncertain recovery.

A third source of divergence lies in the policy response adopted by the fiscal and monetary authorities. Several countries are facing inflationary pressures that will limit the ability of their central banks to maintain accommodative monetary policies. Expansionary monetary positions, rapid credit growth, exchange rate depreciation and rising commodity prices have amplified inflationary pressures in Brazil, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Many central banks have already raised their policy rates in the first quarter of 2021 or signaled the end of their easing cycles. Although necessary to manage inflation, monetary tightening could dampen prospects for a rapid recovery by putting pressure on interest rates, stimulating capital outflows or weakening exchange rates. Stricter monetary policies in advanced economies could also worsen financing conditions in emerging markets and heighten volatility in capital flows, especially to the most vulnerable economies in the ECA and LAC zone. Even in the absence of monetary tightening, US 10-year bond yields rose sharply in the first quarter of 2021, putting pressure on emerging market exchange rates which may need to accelerate monetary policy tightening.

Fiscal pressure has also intensified as governments seek to expand their emergency economic support without undermining investor confidence. The pandemic-induced recession triggered rising deficits and debt levels in many economies, particularly the LAC and ECA countries, many of which had already experienced rapid debt build-up before 2020. Debt dynamics unsustainable could force governments to cancel vital budget support before a broader recovery has fully consolidated. While budget deficits are expected to narrow, overall, between 2020 and 2021, they are expected to remain large by historical standards. The shrinking fiscal space will weaken the ability of many governments to provide additional cyclical support, although Chile and Peru are notable exceptions in the LAC region which have additional room to continue to stimulate economic activity. . In the ECA area, as fiscal space shrinks in many countries, including the Western Balkans and Ukraine, the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Mechanism will provide significant subsidies to Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. Poland. Resource economies in Central Asia may continue to provide stimulus measures financed by high commodity prices. If public debt trajectories become unsustainable, some countries may resort to financial repression to prevent soaring borrowing costs, accelerating inflation and weakening their currencies.

A final contributor to the uneven global recovery is the relative vulnerability of each country’s private sector. The corporate debt burden in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDE) was already at historically high levels before the COVID-19 outbreak: with easy access to international credit markets, liabilities denominated in foreign currencies accumulated over the past decade have resulted in a currency mismatch between profits. and debt servicing which has increased the vulnerability of companies to currency shocks and a growing global risk aversion. By the end of 2019, corporate debt levels in Ukraine, Poland, Slovak Republic and Slovenia reached almost 50% of annual GDP, while in Bulgaria, Russia and Turkey this ratio had reached more than 70%. Corporate debt levels are relatively low in the LAC region, with the exception of Chile, where corporate debt exceeds 100% of GDP. Business vulnerabilities in EMDEs increased sharply during the pandemic, especially among businesses with high pre-existing debt and those operating in industries particularly vulnerable to the economic impact of COVID-19. In the aftermath of the pandemic, policymakers in many EMDEs have focused on preventing premature corporate insolvency through an unprecedented cash injection and adopting forbearance measures to allow banks to expand credit to the real sector. However, the government’s abstention has blurred the line between illiquid firms and insolvent firms (i.e. ‘shadow firms’), and non-performing loan indicators do not fully reflect the deterioration in quality. assets in the financial sector. High business risk premiums indicate a high risk of default, and companies facing significant debt distress may reduce future investments and grow more slowly over the medium term. The divergence in recovery paths will reflect the relative ability of national policymakers to facilitate smooth debt adjustment and ensure that debt restructuring mechanisms and solvency frameworks operate effectively. These conditions are particularly critical in EMDEs, where bankruptcy frameworks are generally weaker and ineffective debt resolution often leads to excessive destruction of capital, even under normal circumstances.

[1] The January 2021 edition of the World Bank’s Global Economic Outlook forecast a global economic growth rate of 4%, but this projection was revised up to 5.3% in April 2021 due to the rate of GDP growth. stronger than expected in the second half of 2020, a faster-than-expected deployment of vaccination in 2021, and the continuation and expansion of monetary and fiscal stimulus in advanced economies.

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Biden’s COVID-19 rescue bill cost revised to $ 2.1 trillion Mon, 24 May 2021 04:23:44 +0000

President BidenJoe Biden Biparty lawmakers press Biden to ‘immediately’ evacuate Afghans who aided US forces Chris Wallace: backlash over Fauci emails ‘Highly political’ Democrats demand justification, GOP shouts at witch hunt as McGahn finally testifies MOREThe COVID-19 relief bill that became law in March will end with a price tag of $ 2.1 trillion over the next decade once interest charges are factored in, the Congressional Budget said on Friday. Non-partisan Office (CBO).

The revised estimate – higher than the $ 1.9 trillion associated with the measure earlier this year – came in response to a request from Sen. Lindsey grahamLindsey Olin GrahamTop Manufacturing Group Urges Congress to Protect House Lawmakers from “Dreamers” Calls on Pentagon to Support Re-enactment of Israel’s Iron Dome Defense System Graham says Israel will demand $ 1 billion from the United States after the Gaza war MORE (SC), the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

The CBO said the spending plan would result in borrowing costs of $ 208 billion.

But the budget rating bureau noted that its latest estimate does not take into account how the implementation of the legislation will affect the economy.

A larger economy would likely lead to higher tax revenues, as well as lower spending on safety net programs and lower borrowing costs.

Without taking this into account, the CBO said the debt burden would reach 113% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2031, up from a projection of 107% in February.

Republicans criticized Biden for the cost of his spending plans beyond the COVID-19 relief measure. The president called for an increase in non-defense spending by 16% in fiscal 2022, with more immediate measures totaling $ 4.1 trillion for infrastructure and family support.

Biden has said he wants to raise taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans to cover the $ 4.1 trillion price tag, an approach Republicans vehemently oppose.

In response to a second request from Graham, the CBO found that increasing non-defense spending in 2022 to the level Biden sought would add $ 655 billion in additional spending over a decade, assuming spending levels remain on par with inflation. Of this amount, $ 47 billion would be in interest charges alone.

Along with the already adopted COVID-19 relief measure, the budget increase would bring the debt burden to 115% of GDP by 2031, according to the CBO.

Although Biden has not discussed how to pay for his proposed budget increase, he is expected to release a full budget proposal on May 28 that is expected to include a 10-year budget outlook, offering clues on the issue of Whether Biden will seek to meet the long-term financial outlook and whether he plans to cover the costs of the increased non-military spending.

The CBO also estimated that without higher taxes for corporations and wealthy Americans, deficit funding for Biden’s infrastructure and family proposals would add $ 4.4 trillion to the deficit.

In total, the COVID-19 relief plan, the increase in the non-defense budget, and the infrastructure and family proposals would add $ 7.6 trillion to the deficit and bring the debt to 130% of GDP by the end of this year. the decade, assuming no action was taken to increase income, the CBO said.

Biden said funding the two programs at $ 4.1 trillion just through deficit spending was not an option.

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U.S. tax policy can help Africa fight illicit financial flows – Foreign Policy Mon, 24 May 2021 04:23:43 +0000

An expert’s point of view on a current event.

May 17, 2021, 05:49

As US presidential candidate, Joe Biden declared that he “would lead international efforts to bring transparency to the global financial system, attack illicit tax havens, seize stolen assets and make it harder for rulers who steal their people to hide behind corporations anonymous screens “. Nowhere will his intervention be more welcome than in Africa.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, illicit financial flows outside Africa stood at $ 836 billion from 2000 to 2015, while the continent’s external debt for 2018 was $ 770 billion. Each year, Africa loses an estimated $ 88.6 billion to illicit financial flows, nearly double its annual official development assistance, valued at $ 48 billion, and almost half of its funding gap. annually, valued at $ 200 billion, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Stemming illicit financial flows and returning stolen assets are therefore an absolute priority in countries on the continent wishing to finance national development. It would be extremely beneficial for Africa if Biden made the fight against illicit financial flows a central element of US policy in Africa. After all, the United States is partly to blame for Africa’s financial hemorrhaging problem.

This is because Washington, as the major shareholder of the Bretton Woods institutions, imposed capital account liberalization on African countries as part of the structural adjustment programs of the 1980s and 1990s, even though African countries did not ‘had not put in place adequate protections to guard against illicit financial flows. , which has skyrocketed with the influx of multinational corporations.

the 2015 Report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa (also known as the Mbeki report named after former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who chaired the panel) found that 65% of illicit financial flows from the continent came from the business activities of multinational companies through the biased transfer pricing, bogus commercial billings, bogus billings for services and intangibles, treaty shopping and unequal contracts; the remaining 35 percent are linked to criminals and funds stolen by government officials.

A Brookings Institution Report also revealed that from 1980 to 2018, the United States was only the second destination after China among the main destinations for illicit financial flows from sub-Saharan Africa. The United States hosted $ 129 billion, representing 9.1% of illicit financial flows from the region during this period.

The United States continues to be a destination of choice for illicit financial flows from Africa, thanks to its status as a “jurisdiction of secrecy” facilitating offshore private tax evasion. For the second time in a row, in 2020, the United States ranks second out of Tax Justice Network Financial Secrecy Index, overtaking Switzerland. Meanwhile, U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) law has made it difficult for U.S. citizens to store money abroad.

While FATCA requires foreign financial institutions and signatory governments to disclose to US authorities information about the holdings of US citizens in their jurisdiction, the US government is waiving its reciprocal obligation to provide the 113 participating governments with information on the holdings of US citizens. assets of their citizens held in the United States. The United States has also resisted joining more than 100 countries that have so far adhered to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Common Reporting Standard, an inspired and modeled after FATCA platform for automatic exchange of information on foreigners’ financial accounts. with the governments of their country of origin.

The reluctance of the United States to disclose information about the assets of foreigners has made it a preferred offshore tax haven, effectively attracting more transparent tax haven funds. The US financial system also provides a lifeline for African criminals who exploit it to support illicit activities such as money laundering; drug, arms and human trafficking; contraband contraband; and the financing of terrorism. Funds from these criminal activities constitute 30% of illicit financial flows from Africa, according to the Mbeki report, while the remaining 5%, part of which also infiltrates the US financial system, comes from corruption and theft of money. public funds by representatives of the African government.

Although the United States recently passed beneficial ownership law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, the new law is not ambitious enough improve the ranking of the United States in the Tax Justice Network Financial Secrecy Index.

The many exceptions to beneficial ownership reporting and the limited categories of businesses required to report mean that criminals and tax evaders can still own entities in the United States without disclosing their identity. In addition, the US government does not provide open access to beneficial ownership information, unlike the UK, which provides public access to such information, and the European Union, which also requires member countries to provide public access to information on beneficial owners.

The United States would benefit from supporting Africa’s fight against illicit financial flows. The US government will commit fewer financial resources and security personnel to tackle insecurity in Africa when the financiers of conflict and terrorism on the continent are denied access to illicit funds.

The US government will also spend less on foreign aid to a more economically independent Africa and see a decrease in illegal immigration from the continent. And while American programs such as the Young African Leaders Initiative provide important training and opportunities for a few selected (and arguably advantaged) young Africans, a multitude of young Africans will realize their potential and spur the continent’s growth if the money which is currently being siphoned off from the continent is funneled into increased access to quality education and employment opportunities.

Supporting Africa’s fight against illicit financial flows is also a moral issue, especially since Biden is committed to tackling systemic racism against African Americans. The defense of the economic rights of Africans (through supporting Africa’s fight against illicit financial flows) must go hand in hand with efforts to combat discrimination against African Americans. As long as Africa remains underdeveloped, people of African descent all over the world will face discrimination.

Stopping illicit financial flows will also provide the United States with an opportunity to claim high moral standards against China, which America accuses of exploiting Africa. The Brookings Report estimated illicit financial flows from sub-Saharan Africa to China from 1980 to 2018 at $ 226 billion (almost double the illicit flows to the United States during the same period), with 85 percent of these illicit flows that occurred between 2010 and 2018 as China’s trade with Africa has grown rapidly.

The United States must show the strength of its example when it comes to illicit financial flows. The recently announced proposal by United States Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen for a global minimum corporate tax rate of 21% (in the wake of the Biden plan to increase the corporate tax rate in the states United at 28%) mainly favors the rich countries by reducing the incentive for their multinationals to divert the revenues of their countries to tax havens for companies.

Multinationals that pay corporate tax rates below 21% in foreign jurisdictions should always pay the difference to their home government. According to this proposal, African countries would continue to lose income through profit shifting, as their statutory corporate tax rates are much higher. The average statutory corporate tax rate in Africa for 2021 is 27.5%, according to at KPMG. Tax rates for sectors such as mining, oil and gas can be as high as 35 or 40 percent. The U.S. government should protect the interests of African countries and other developing countries by including an element of unitary taxation in the proposed minimum corporate tax, to ensure that developing countries receive taxes commensurate with the volume of taxes. sales and employment of multinationals in their country.

The United States must also demonstrate its commitment to increasing the transparency of the international financial system by providing public access to beneficial ownership information and by adhering to the Common Reporting Standard. The US government can further support Africa by easily providing details of Africans’ holdings in the United States to their governments through FATCA and national financial intelligence units. Better access to this information will accelerate efforts by African governments to return stolen assets to the continent.

Finally, the United States could partner with African countries through technical and financial support to their international tax services, the majority of which are understaffed and underfunded, and would thus face challenges in audit of multinationals and compliance with reporting obligations vis-à-vis platforms such as the Common Reporting Standard. Government organizations and agencies should also support more good governance programs, journalists and whistleblowers in Africa to control corruption on the continent and expose financial crimes.

Accountants and lawyers at American firms, such as the Big Four accounting firms and consulting giants, have been accused of largely being partner in crime in the illicit transfer of money from Africa and would have helped African kleptocrats and money launderers who hide money abroad.

US authorities must crack down on these companies by adopting and enforcing strict regulations to prevent them from dealing with suspicious transactions from suspected criminals and politically exposed persons. The US Financial Crime Network must also stop US banks from handling of suspicious transactions when banks file suspicious activity reports. To deter these powerful US banks from continuing to serve suspicious customers even after receiving huge fines and deferred prosecution agreements, the US government should fully prosecute the leaders for violating these regulations.

Global financial transparency will increase dramatically with the power and political will of the United States. Biden should start by imposing comprehensive tax policies that favor all countries over those that closely serve American interests. This will strengthen the status of the United States as a world democratic leader.

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The high cost of living in our golden cage, Australia Mon, 24 May 2021 04:23:43 +0000

And it’s golden, with a booming economic comeback, falling unemployment, rising house and stock prices. “It remains to be seen whether the recovery is under its own power or solely under the leadership of the government,” warns Willox, and ultra-low interest rates. “It could be that stimulus is responsible for 90% of this recovery; things could turn out pretty quickly ”when government money runs out.


JobKeeper ended, but Treasurer Josh Frydenberg pumped extra wads of short-term money into the economy to keep the stimulus going a bit longer. This includes $ 20.7 billion to maintain emergency tax breaks for businesses another year, $ 7.8 billion in tax compensation payments for another year for low- and middle-income people, and 2, $ 7 billion for JobTrainer for an additional six months.

And wherever the Morrison government saw a political threat from Labor, it “flooded the area”. But where a sports team will flood the zone with players, the Morrison government is flooding the zones with money – for child care, senior care, mental health care.

At any other time in modern history, a Liberal Party treasurer would be embarrassed to produce a budget that continues to add to the national debt for at least a decade into the future to pay for decisions made today.

Conservatives who remember principles like saving, or living within your means, are scathing: “In the past, only the Labor Party was unable to say no to every call for increased spending and government intervention in people’s lives, ”says Institute of Public Affairs’ John Roskam.


But Morrison and Frydenberg are spending taxpayer dollars with far more abandon than any Labor government of the past half century. The biggest budget deficit of the Whitlam years was equal to 1.8% of GDP. This year’s deficit is budgeted at 5 percent of GDP.

Under Rudd and Gillard, Labor took the Costello-Howard surplus budget to leave behind a net debt of 13 percent of GDP. The Morrison and Frydenberg plan foresees a net debt of 40.9% of GDP in four years. It simply eclipses any other debt burden bequeathed by a Labor government, including Whitlam’s.

If that doesn’t embarrass Morrison and Frydenberg, it should. The financial review Wellington correspondent Luke Malpass reported on New Zealand’s budget this week under the headline: “Ardern is more budget tight than Frydenberg”.

The Morrison government is pleased to increase not only the size of government spending, but also the role of government in the economy. He pledged to spend $ 2 billion to subsidize Australia’s two oil refineries over the next 10 years, at least $ 300 million to build strategic fuel stocks, $ 1.5 billion to manufacturing subsidies and $ 600 million to build a gas-fired power plant in the Hunter Valley.


None of this is necessarily bad. In fact, Australia has woken up to its supply vulnerabilities in the COVID crisis. It is important that Australia has the capacity to refine and store fuel, develop critical manufacturing capacity in food, medical products, essential minerals and rare earths, and defense. These are all investments in national resilience. The gas plant can be questionable.

But the point is, the Morrison government is prepared to spend big, go into debt, “flood the zone” to protect itself politically, invest in bigger government wherever it sees fit. So why dwell on protection against the pandemic?

Morrison shows a genuine reluctance to spend as much as needed on the two obvious solutions to our national golden cage containment – an established system of rapid vaccinations and a rigorous quarantine system. For months now, the medical profession, states and businesses have been calling for a bigger, more rigorous quarantine system – cabin-based.

Morrison is correct that the hotel quarantine was 99.9% effective. But the 0.1 percent it failed represents 14 instances where the virus got out of the system and into the community. In most of these cases, this has led to a city or state lockdown. These breakdowns are therefore infrequent but costly. Very high indeed.

And the federal government’s cabin quarantine camp at Howard Springs in the Northern Territory has been found to be 100% effective. Morrison has pledged to expand the camp from a capacity of 850 to 2,000 people.

But his government is refusing state demands for more cabin-based camps. Morrison refuses to build more federal camps, and he doesn’t put much effort into helping states that want to build theirs, including Queensland and Victoria.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the lack of any federal funding for the new regional quarantine camps was “the most glaring omission from the budget”. She said: “In this current era of COVID, there are two things Australia needs: security and certainty. The regional quarantine is our last best hope for both.

“The return of Australians stranded from abroad, the filling of gaps in the labor market, the return of international students, the return of international travel – all of these issues are resolved with the regional quarantine. Our hotels were never designed for long-term quarantine. “

And in the long run, it has to be. Until the entire world is protected from the COVID-19 virus, it will continue to mutate. New variations will appear. And that means two things. First, we’re going to need long-term quarantine, in the cabin, and on a much larger scale than the existing system if we hope to have any real reconnection with the world beyond the cage. And second, we will need a high-volume vaccination system that can quickly adapt to new variants. It requires a rapid mass immunization system, which we do not yet have. States are stepping up efforts with their own vaccination centers after federal deployment has proven to be intolerably slow.


It also means the ability to manufacture mRNA vaccines in Australia. The capacity of mRNA is essential because it allows rapid conversion of a vaccine to adapt it to new variants. This group includes Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which Australia cannot yet manufacture.

The federal government said on Friday it had published a “go-to-market approach” to seek out companies interested in developing mRNA manufacturing capacity in Australia. It therefore moves and retains the possibility of subsidies. But it has been an obvious gap in Australia’s vaccine arsenal for months.

Innes Willox says the failure to coordinate between the federal and state governments has “stuck” Australia’s ability to respond effectively. “The pandemic has shown that the federal government has the power of the stock market and the power of persuasion, but the states have the power of delivery. The federal government has lost control of the narrative; there is no sense of pressure from the federal government ”to get things done.


“The national cabinet was set up with good intentions, but they don’t seem to talk to each other half the time. It was a disappointment. Have we given up on the idea that we are one country?

Morrison says no; there is an international border and it keeps it tightly closed. His government’s indicative timelines for the border and government spending appear to coincide to keep the cage locked and gilded until after the federal election, which is due to take place no later than a year from now. This is the government’s first emergency. And that helps explain the lack of urgency.

So why rush, and why worry about the openness? Morrison has his three campaign themes in hand: creating jobs and growth, protecting Australians from COVID-19 and preparing for war with China. Take advantage of your confinement.

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Biden’s tax plan would hurt the economy Mon, 24 May 2021 04:23:43 +0000

Edward B. Harmon

In 1963 John F. Kennedy wrote, “Capital gains tax directly affects investment decisions, mobility and the flow of venture capital from static to more dynamic situations, the ease or difficulty encountered by new businesses in obtaining capital, and therefore the strength and growth potential of the economy. ”

Was Kennedy right? Yes, in all respects.

President Joe Biden’s proposal to increase the capital gains tax to 43.4% is silly for a number of reasons. Ultimately, it would hurt our economy, hurt our most vulnerable citizens, help China, and increase our deficit. Other than that, it’s a great idea.

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The preferential tax rate, which existed under the Liberal and Conservative presidencies, recognizes that all gains are taxed, but that all losses are not deductible and that asset “gains” are not indexed to income. inflation as are other areas of the tax code. It is also a second corporate income tax.

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