It will be accompanied by an independent assessment of the fiscal and economic impact of the policies by the Office for Budget Responsibility, a government watchdog.

While markets have cheered the government’s promise to have its policies independently reviewed, questions remain about how the gap in the public finances can be closed. Economists say there is very little room in stretched department budgets to make cuts. That has led to concerns of a return to austerity measures, reminiscent of the spending cuts after the 2008 financial crisis.

There is a danger,” Mr. Chadha said, “that we end up with tighter fiscal policy than actually is appropriate given the shock that many households are suffering.” This could make it harder to support people suffering amid rising food and energy prices. But Mr. Chadha argues that it’s clear what needs to happen next: a complete elimination of unfunded tax cuts and careful planning on how to support vulnerable households.

The chancellor could also end up having a lot more autonomy over fiscal policy than the prime minister, he added.

“The best outcome for markets would be a rapid rallying of the parliamentary Conservative Party around a single candidate” who would validate Mr. Hunt’s approach and the timing of the Oct. 31 report, Trevor Greetham, a portfolio manager at Royal London Asset Management, said in a written comment.

Three days after the fiscal statement, on Nov. 3, Bank of England policymakers will announce their next interest rate decisions.

Bond investors are trying to parse how the central bank will react to the rapidly changing fiscal news. On Thursday, before Ms. Truss’s resignation, Ben Broadbent, a member of the central bank’s rate-setting committee, indicated that policymakers might not need to raise interest rates as much as markets currently expect. Traders are betting that the bank will raise rates above 5 percent next year, from 2.25 percent.

The bank could raise rates less than expected next year partly because the economy is forecast to shrink over the year. The International Monetary Fund predicted that the British economy would go from 3.6 percent growth this year to a 0.3 percent contraction next year.

That’s a mild recession compared with some other forecasts, but it would only compound the longstanding economic problems that Britain faced, including weak investment, low productivity growth and businesses’ inability to find employees with the right skills. These were among the challenges that Ms. Truss said she would resolve by shaking up the status quo and targeting economic growth of 2.5 percent a year.

Most economists didn’t believe that “Trussonomics,” as her policies were called, would deliver this economic growth. Instead, they predicted the policies would prolong the country’s inflation problem.

Despite the change in leadership, analysts don’t expect a big rally in Britain’s financial markets. The nation’s international standing could take a long time to recover.

“It takes years to build a reputation and one day to undo it,” Mr. Bouvet said, adding, “Investors will come progressively back to the U.K.,” but it won’t be quickly.

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As UK’s Truss fights for job, new finance minister says she made mistakes

  • Truss sacked finance minister on Friday
  • New chancellor Hunt warns of tough decisions
  • ‘I’ve listened, I get it’, Truss says
  • BoE’s Bailey says agrees with Hunt on need to fix finances
  • Some Conservative lawmakers say Truss will be ousted

LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Britain’s new finance minister Jeremy Hunt said on Saturday some taxes would go up and tough spending decisions were needed, saying Prime Minister Liz Truss had made mistakes as she battles to keep her job just over a month into her term.

In an attempt to appease financial markets that have been in turmoil for three weeks, Truss fired Kwasi Kwarteng as her chancellor of the exchequer on Friday and scrapped parts of their controversial economic package.

With opinion poll ratings dire for both the ruling Conservative Party and the prime minister personally, and many of her own lawmakers asking, not if, but how Truss should be removed, Truss is relying on Hunt to help salvage her premiership less than 40 days after taking office.

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In an article for the Sun newspaper published late on Saturday, Truss admitted the plans had gone “further and faster than the markets were expecting”.

“I’ve listened, I get it,” she wrote. “We cannot pave the way to a low-tax, high-growth economy without maintaining the confidence of the markets in our commitment to sound money.”

She said Hunt would lay out at the end of the month the plan to get national debt down “over the medium term”.

But, the speculation about her future shows no sign of diminishing, with Sunday’s newspapers rife with stories that allies of Rishi Sunak, another former finance minister who she beat to become leader last month, were plotting to force her out within weeks.

On a tour of TV and radio studios, Hunt gave a blunt assessment of the situation the country faced, saying Truss and Kwarteng had made mistakes and further changes to her plans were possible.

“We will have some very difficult decisions ahead,” he said.”The thing that people want, the markets want, the country needs now, is stability.”

The Sunday Times said Hunt would rip up more of Truss’s original package by delaying a planned cut to the basic rate of income tax as part of a desperate bid to balance the books.

According to the newspaper, Britain’s independent fiscal watchdog had said in a draft forecast there could be a 72 billion pound ($80 billion) black hole in public finances by 2027/28, worse than economists had forecast.

Truss had won the leadership contest to replace Boris Johnson on a platform of big tax cuts to stimulate growth, which Kwarteng duly announced last month. But the absence of any details of how the cuts would be funded sent the markets into meltdown.

She has already ditched plans to cut tax for high earners, and said a levy on business would increase, abandoning her proposal to keep it at current levels. But a slump in bond prices after her news conference on Friday still suggested she had not gone far enough.

‘MEETING OF MINDS’

Kwarteng’s Sept. 23 fiscal statement prompted a backlash in financial markets that was so ferocious the Bank of England (BoE) had to intervene to prevent pension funds being caught up in the chaos as borrowing costs surged.

BoE Governor Andrew Bailey said he had spoken to Hunt and they had agreed on the need to repair the public finances.

“There was a very clear and immediate meeting of minds between us about the importance of fiscal sustainability and the importance of taking measures to do that,” Bailey said in Washington on Saturday. “Of course, there was an important measure taken yesterday.”

He also warned that inflation pressures might require a bigger interest rate rise than previously thought due to the government’s huge energy subsidies for homes and businesses, and its tax cut plans.

Hunt is due to announce the government’s medium-term budget plans on Oct. 31, in what will be a key test of its ability to show it can restore its economic policy credibility.

He cautioned spending would not rise by as much as people would like and all government departments were going to have to find more efficiencies than they were planning.

“Some taxes will not be cut as quickly as people want, and some taxes will go up. So it’s going to be difficult,” he said. He met Treasury officials on Saturday and will hold talks with Truss on Sunday to go through the plans.

‘MISTAKES MADE’

Hunt, an experienced minister and viewed by many in his party as a safe pair of hands, said he agreed with Truss’s fundamental strategy of kickstarting economic growth, but he added that their approach had not worked.

“There were some mistakes made in the last few weeks. That’s why I’m sitting here. It was a mistake to cut the top rate of tax at a period when we’re asking everyone to make sacrifices,” he said.

It was also a mistake, Hunt said, to “fly blind” and produce the tax plans without allowing the independent fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, to check the figures.

The fact that Hunt is Britain’s fourth finance minister in four months is testament to a political crisis that has gripped Britain since Johnson was ousted following a series of scandals.

Hunt said Truss should be judged at an election and on her performance over the next 18 months – not the last 18 days.

However, she might not get that chance. During the leadership contest, Truss won support from less than a third of Conservative lawmakers and has appointed her backers since taking office – alienating those who supported her rivals.

The appointment of Hunt, who ran to be leader himself and then backed Sunak, has been seen as a sign of her reaching out, but the move did little to placate some of her party critics.

“It’s over for her,” one Conservative lawmaker told Reuters after Friday’s events.

($1 = 0.8953 pounds)

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Reporting by Michael Holden, Alistair Smout and William Schomberg
Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Helen Popper, Ros Russell and Diane Craft

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Battle Over Wage Rules for Tipped Workers Is Heating Up

Sylvia Gaston, a waitress at a restaurant in Astoria, Queens, said her base wage is $7.50 an hour — even though New York City’s legal subminimum is $10, which must come to at least $15 after tips. Ms. Gaston, 40, who is from Mexico, feels that undocumented workers like her have a harder time fighting back when they are shortchanged.

“It doesn’t really matter if you have documents or not — I think folks are still getting underpaid in general,” she said. “However, when it comes to uplifting your voices and speaking about it, the folks who can get a little bit more harsh repercussions are people who are undocumented.”

Subminimum base pay for some tipped workers in the state, such as car washers, hairdressers and nail salon employees, was abolished in 2019 under an executive order by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, but workers in the food and drinks industry were left out.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mr. Cuomo’s successor, said while lieutenant governor in 2020 that she supported “a solid, full wage for restaurant workers.” And progressive legislators plan a bill in January that would eliminate the two-tier wage system by the end of 2025.

When The New York Times asked if she would support such changes, Ms. Hochul’s office did not answer directly. “We are always exploring the best ways to provide support” to service workers, it said.

Proponents of abandoning subminimum wages say there could be advantages for employers, including less turnover, better service and higher morale.

David Cooper, the director of the economic analysis and research network at the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank, contends that when wage laws are changed to a single-tier system, business owners can have the assurance that “every single person they compete with is making the same exact adjustment,” reducing the specter of a competitive disadvantage.

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China’s Communist Party Congress: What It Means for Business

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At a Communist Party congress starting in Beijing on Oct. 16, Xi Jinping is expected to be named to a third five-year term as the country’s top leader, paving the way for him to consolidate power to an extent not seen in decades.

Under Mr. Xi, China has become the world’s dominant manufacturer of everything from cement to solar panels, as well as the main trading partner and dominant lender for most of the developing world. It has built the world’s largest navy, developed some of the world’s most advanced ballistic missiles and constructed air bases on artificial islands strewn across the South China Sea.

in a tailspin. Its property market, which over the last ten years contributed about a quarter of the country’s economic output, is melting down. Foreign investment has faltered. And widespread lockdowns and mass quarantines, part of China’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19, have hurt consumer demand and stalled businesses.

At the same time, Mr. Xi has worked to turn China into a more state-led society that often puts national security and ideology before economic growth. He has cracked down on Chinese companies and limited their executives’ power. Some of China’s best-known entrepreneurs have left the country and others, such as Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, have largely disappeared from public view.

All of this has hurt China’s economy, which was just 0.4 percent larger from April through June than during the same period last year. The growth was far below the government’s initial target for growth of about 5.5 percent this year. For the first year since the 1990s, China’s economic growth is expected to fall below the rest of Asia’s.

at the start of the last party congress, in 2017, lasted more than three hours. But buried in that jargon are likely to be some important messages. Here’s what finance leaders and corporate executives around the world want to know.

One of Mr. Xi’s favorite economic policy initiatives in recent months has a simple, innocuous-sounding name: “common prosperity.” The big question lies in what it means.

Common prosperity, a longtime goal of the Communist Party, has been defined by Mr. Xi as reining in private capital and narrowing China’s huge disparities in wealth. Regulators and tax investigators cracked down last year on tech giants and wealthy celebrities. Beijing demanded that tycoons give back to society. And Mr. Xi has strongly discouraged speculation in housing, pushing instead for government subsidies for the construction of more rental apartments.

A regulatory crackdown on tech companies and after-school education companies contributed to a wave of layoffs that left one in five young Chinese city dwellers unemployed by August. Lending limits on China’s highly inflated housing sector have triggered a nosedive in the number of fresh construction projects being started and a wave of insolvencies among real estate developers. Many Western hedge funds that bet heavily on the real estate developers’ overseas bond issues incurred considerable losses.

The term “common prosperity” was seldom used by top officials last spring during those setbacks. But Mr. Xi conspicuously revived it during a tour of northeastern China in mid-August. The Politburo subsequently mentioned common prosperity when it announced on Aug. 30 the starting date and agenda for the party congress.

first put forward in May 2020, is a theory of what he calls “dual circulation.” The concept involves relying primarily on domestic demand and innovation to propel the Chinese economy, while maintaining foreign markets and investors as a backup engine for growth.

Mr. Xi has pushed ahead with lavish subsidies to develop Chinese manufacturers, especially of semiconductors. But the slogan has attracted considerable skepticism from foreign investors in China and from foreign governments. They worry that the policy is a recipe for replacing imports with Chinese-made goods.

China’s imports have indeed stagnated this year while its exports have soared, producing the largest trade surpluses the world has ever seen. Those surpluses, not domestic demand, have sustained China’s economic growth this year.

Chinese officials deny that they are trying to discourage imports, and contend that China remains eager to welcome foreign companies and products. When the Politburo scheduled the party congress for Oct. 16, it did not mention dual circulation, so the term might be left aside. If it goes unmentioned, that could be a conciliatory gesture as foreign investment in China is already weakening, mainly because of the country’s draconian pandemic policies.

China’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19 has prevented a lot of deaths and long-term infections, but at a high and growing cost to the economy. The question now lies in when Mr. Xi will shift to a less restrictive stance toward controlling the virus.

in Tiananmen Square, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, when he reiterated China’s claim to Taiwan, a self-ruled island democracy. President Biden has mentioned four times that the United States is prepared to help Taiwan resist aggression. Each time his aides have walked back his comments somewhat, however, emphasizing that the United States retains a policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding its support for the island.

Even a vague mention by Mr. Xi at the party congress of a timeline for trying to bring Taiwan under the mainland’s political control could damage financial confidence in both Taiwan and the mainland.

The most important task of the ruling elite at the congress is to confirm the party’s leadership.

Particularly important to business is who in the lineup will become the new premier. The premier leads the cabinet but not the military, which is directly under Mr. Xi. The position oversees the finance ministry, commerce ministry and other government agencies that make many crucial decisions affecting banks, insurers and other businesses. Whoever is chosen will not be announced until a separate session of the National People’s Congress next March, but the day after the congress formally ends, members of the new Politburo Standing Committee — the highest body of political power in China — will walk on a stage in order of rank. The order in which the new leadership team walks may make clear who will become premier next year.

a leading hub of entrepreneurship and foreign investment in China. Neither has given many clues about their economic thinking since taking posts in Beijing. Mr. Wang had more of a reputation for pursuing free-market policies while in Guangdong.

Mr. Hu is seen as having a stronger political base than Mr. Wang because he is still young enough, 59, to be a potential successor to Mr. Xi. That political strength could give him the clout to push back a little against Mr. Xi’s recent tendency to lean in favor of greater government and Communist Party control of the private sector.

Precisely because Mr. Hu is young enough to be a possible successor, however, many businesspeople and experts think Mr. Xi is more likely to choose Mr. Wang or a dark horse candidate who poses no potential political threat to him.

In any case, the power of the premier has diminished as Mr. Xi has created a series of Communist Party commissions to draft policies for ministries, including a commission that dictates many financial policies.

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As E.U. Seeks to Curb Russia’s Revenues, Oil Supply Cut Poses Obstacle

Credit…Getty Images

What impact a European price cap on Russian oil may have remains a matter of conjecture because many of the details, including the price, remain to be determined. But some analysts say it could have unintended consequences.

Henning Gloystein, a director at Eurasia Group, a political risk firm, said that the cap might wind up just continuing the status quo, since Russia is already selling oil to China and India at a 30 percent discount. The end result of the cap may be to simply replicate that discount on Russian oil exports to those nations, which have resisted joining the West in imposing sanctions. “It is formalizing something that is already there,” he said.

Others say that the cap, which is expected to gain final approval on Thursday, will add more bureaucratic procedures to a long series of sanctions already in place against Russia. Those extra steps may impede the flow of oil around the world and raise prices, causing the sort of major disruption that Washington appears to be trying to avoid.

“It adds new complexity to the task of redirecting Russian oil to new destinations,” Richard Bronze, head of geopolitics for Energy Aspects, a political risk firm, said.

That the specifics of the cap, including the price, have not been spelled out will likely make life difficult for people buying and selling oil, who need to make decisions several weeks in advance, Mr. Bronze said.

“They would not know what they would need to do or what price they would need to agree with a Russian seller if they wanted to abide by the price cap,” he said. “This is another example of how policymakers are not in tune with what the industry and the market are saying to make this policy work.”

China has leaned in favor of Russia during the Ukraine war, repeating Russian disinformation, but so far, Western government experts say, China has refrained from providing Moscow military assistance or helping Russia to evade sanctions.

China’s foreign ministry criticized the concept of price caps soon after the idea was first unveiled by Western leaders a month ago, warning that oil was too important to the global economy to be subject to the planned price controls. “Oil is a global commodity — ensuring global energy supply security is vitally important,” Mao Ning, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said on Sept. 5.

Four days later, Ben Harris, the assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury for economic policy, said at forum that price caps by other countries would allow China to demand deep discounts on the oil it purchases from Russia as well. The United States would be satisfied with that indirect effect on Russia’s prices, he said.

China’s foreign ministry is closed this week for a national holiday, and issued no immediate response to the European action on Wednesday.

Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, said in an email on Wednesday that while Russia had profited in recent months from high world energy prices, the country would pay a long-term price.

“It’s clear at this stage that Russia isn’t winning the energy battle,” Mr. Birol said. “Its short-term gain in income from the crisis is outweighed by the long-term loss of both trust and revenues that it has brought about by ruining its relationship with the European Union, its biggest customer.”

Before the invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Birol pointed out, about 75 percent of Russia’s natural gas exports and 55 percent of its oil exports went to Europe. “Finding alternative markets on this scale cannot be done quickly or easily, especially in the case of natural gas,” he said.

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The Cost Of Being A Teacher

Teachers are spending hundreds of dollars out of pocket on school supplies to personal protective equipment.

Adoptaclassroom.org says classrooms today only look creative because of the teacher.  

“Every year one of the biggest challenges that teachers face is not having the budget that they need to purchase school supplies for every student. That’s why so many teachers spend their own money on school supplies because if they didn’t many students would go with out. On average teachers spend $750 of their own money each year purchasing school supplies for their students,” said Devon Karbowski, the senior marketing manager at AdoptAClassroom.org. 

“I spent probably a couple hundred dollars on my classroom. Whether it be on pencils, or tissues, or hand sanitizer, all year long,” said Rebecca Rogers, a content creator and former teacher. 

According to Adoptaclassroom.org, since 2015 teacher spending on school supplies has increased by 25%.  

In its 2022 teacher survey, 96% of teachers said inflation is negatively impacting their classroom’s access to school supplies. 

In that same survey, 62% of teachers said they were considering leaving the classroom because they spent too much of their own money on classroom materials.  

“This isn’t a recent problem. It’s been around for a long time. I’ve spoken with teachers that have been spending their own money on school supplies in the 1960s and still are to this day,” said Karbowski. 

The most common items that teachers purchase are basic school supplies like pencils, pens and notebooks.  

But when the pandemic hit, many teachers spent money on much more.  

“During the COVID-19 pandemic 95% of teachers said that their classroom supply budget wasn’t enough to meet their students’ need. Not only were teachers spending more out of pocket on basic school supplies that they could drive to their students’ home during distance learning, or technology so that students could participate remotely, but teachers also spent an average of $160 out of pocket just on the classroom PPE alone,” said Karbowski. 

According to the Economic Policy Institute, public school teachers earn about 20% less than other college-educated professionals with similar skills and experience.  

And that’s made it difficult for districts to keep current teachers in the classroom and attract new ones. 

“I don’t think people really understand how little teachers get paid for the amount of work that they put in and I know ‘oh well get another job,’ well that’s why we have such teacher shortages. You can’t tell us to go get another job if it’s that bad and then complain that there’s no more teachers,” said Rogers. 

80% of teachers surveyed said students’ families are having a harder time paying for school supplies this year, and that’s one of the biggest challenges students will face.  

So, higher teacher salaries and providing more supplies and resources needed in the classroom are two big ways the community can help. 

“They just can’t do it alone; they need support from their community,” said Karbowski. 

Source: newsy.com

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Biden Administration’s Bid to Cap Russia Oil Prices Faces Resistance

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration’s push to form an international buyers’ cartel to cap the price of Russian oil is facing resistance amid private sector concerns that it cannot be reliably enforced, posing a challenge for the U.S.-led effort to drain President Vladimir V. Putin’s war chest and stabilize global energy prices.

The price cap has been a top priority of Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, who has been trying to head off another spike in global oil costs at the end of the year. The Biden administration fears that the combination of a European Union embargo on Russian oil imports and a ban on the insurance and financing of Russian oil shipments will send prices soaring by taking millions of barrels of that oil off the market.

But the untested concept has drawn skepticism from energy experts and, in particular, the maritime insurance sector, which facilitates global oil shipments and is key to making the proposal work. Under the plan, it would be legal for them to grant insurance for oil cargo only if it was being sold at or below a certain price.

Mike Salthouse, global claims director at The North of England P&I Association Limited, a leading global marine insurer. “If you have sophisticated state actors wanting to deceive people, it’s very easy to do.”

He added: “We’ve said it won’t work. We’ve explained to everybody why.”

That has not deterred Ms. Yellen and her top aides, who have been crisscrossing the globe to make their case with international counterparts, banks and insurers that an oil price cap can — and must — work at a moment of rapid inflation and the risk of recession.

“At a time of global anxiety over high prices, a price cap on Russian oil is one of the most powerful tools we have to address inflation by preventing future spikes in energy costs,” Ms. Yellen said in July.

The Biden administration is trying to mitigate fallout from sanctions adopted by the European Union in June, which would ban imports of Russian oil and the financing and insuring of Russian oil exports by year’s end. Britain was expected to enact a similar ban but has not yet done so.

not solve the world’s oil supply problems. European officials, who have been skeptical, continue to say they are analyzing its viability.

restricted natural gas flows to parts of Europe in retaliation for sanctions, would curb oil exports because of their importance to its economy.

senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who works in the financial services industry, said of Russia’s cooperation with a price cap. “If that were the case, he wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine in the first place.”

But proponents believe that if the European Union bans insurance transactions, an oil price cap may be the best chance to mitigate the economic fallout.

John E. Smith, former director of the foreign assets control unit, said the key was ensuring that financial services firms and maritime insurers were not responsible for vetting every oil transaction, as well as providing guidance on complying with the sanctions.

“The question is will enough jurisdictions agree on the details to move this forward,” said Mr. Smith, who is now co-head of Morrison & Foerster’s national security practice. “If they do, it could be a win for everyone but Russia.”

Matina Stevis-Gridneff contributed reporting from Brussels.

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How The Federal Reserve’s Rate Hikes Affect Your Finances

Answers to some of the most common questions about the impact of the rate hike.

Higher mortgage rates have sent home sales tumbling. Credit card rates have grown more burdensome, and so have auto loans. Savers are finally receiving yields that are actually visible, while crypto assets are reeling.

The Federal Reserve’s move last week to further tighten credit raised its benchmark interest rate by a sizable 0.75 percentage point for a second straight time. The Fed’s latest hike, its fourth since March, will further magnify borrowing costs for homes, cars and credit cards, though many borrowers may not feel the impact immediately.

The central bank is aggressively raising borrowing costs to try to slow spending, cool the economy and defeat the worst outbreak of inflation in two generations.

The Fed’s actions have ended, for now, an era of ultra-low rates that arose from the 2008-2009 Great Recession to help rescue the economy — and then re-emerged during the brutal pandemic recession, when the Fed slashed its benchmark rate back to near zero.

Chair Jerome Powell hopes that by making borrowing more expensive, the Fed will succeed in slowing demand for homes, cars and other goods and services. Reduced spending could then help bring inflation, most recently measured at a four-decade high of 9.1%, back to the Fed’s 2% target.

Yet the risks are high. A series of higher rates could tip the U.S. economy into recession. That would mean higher unemployment, rising layoffs and further downward pressure on stock prices.

How will it all affect your finances? Here are some of the most common questions being asked about the impact of the rate hike:

I’M CONSIDERING BUYING A HOUSE. WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH MORTGAGE RATES?

Higher interest rates have torpedoed the housing market. Rates on home loans have nearly doubled from a year ago to 5.5%, though they’ve leveled off in recent weeks even as the Fed has signaled that more credit tightening is likely.

That’s because mortgage rates don’t necessarily move in tandem with the Fed’s increases. Sometimes, they even move in the opposite direction. Long-term mortgages tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which, in turn, is influenced by a variety of factors. These factors include investors’ expectations for future inflation and global demand for U.S. Treasurys.

Investors expect a recession to hit the U.S. economy later this year or early next year. This would force the Fed to eventually cut its benchmark rate in response. The expectation that the Fed will have to reverse some of its hikes next year has helped reduce the 10-year yield, from 3.5% in mid-June to roughly 2.8%.

WILL IT BE EASIER TO FIND A HOUSE?

Sales of existing homes have dropped for five straight months, while new home sales plunged in June. If you’re financially able to go ahead with a home purchase, you’re likely to have more choices than you did a few months ago.

In many cities, the options are few. But the number of available houses nationwide has started to rise after falling to rock-bottom levels at the end of last year. There are now 1.26 million homes for sale, according to the National Association of Realtors, up 2.4% from a year ago.

I NEED A NEW CAR. SHOULD I BUY ONE NOW?

The Fed’s rate hikes typically make auto loans more expensive. But other factors also affect these rates, including competition among car makers, which can sometimes lower borrowing costs.

Wednesday’s rate hike won’t likely affect new-vehicle sales much because those buyers are mainly affluent customers who won’t be squeezed by a relatively small uptick in monthly payments, said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Cox Automotive. By contrast, he said, used-car buyers with weaker credit who pay higher loan rates could be hurt.

“Many used-vehicle buyers are already acutely feeling the impacts of higher prices for energy, food and rent,” Smoke said.

Used vehicle prices have begun to fall, he noted, and vehicle availability is beginning to return to normal levels.

The full amount of a Fed rate hike doesn’t always pass through to auto loans, according to Bankrate.com. New 60-month loans for new vehicles have risen about a percentage point this year to an average of 4.86%, Bankrate.com says, while a 48-month used-vehicle rate rose just under 1 point to 5.38%.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY CREDIT CARD?

For users of credit cards, home equity lines of credit and other variable-interest debt, rates would rise by roughly the same amount as the Fed hike, usually within one or two billing cycles. That’s because those rates are based in part on banks’ prime rate, which moves in tandem with the Fed.

Those who don’t qualify for low-rate credit cards might be stuck paying higher interest on their balances. The rates on their cards would rise as the prime rate does.

The Fed’s rate increases have already sent credit card borrowing rates above 20% for the first time in at least four years, according to LendingTree, which has tracked the data since 2018.

HOW WILL THIS AFFECT MY SAVINGS?

You can now earn more on bonds, CDs, and other fixed income investments. And it depends on where your savings, if you have any, are parked.

Savings, certificates of deposit and money market accounts don’t typically track the Fed’s changes. Instead, banks tend to capitalize on a higher-rate environment to try to boost their profits. They do so by imposing higher rates on borrowers, without necessarily offering any juicer rates to savers.

But online banks and others with high-yield savings accounts are often an exception. These accounts are known for aggressively competing for depositors. The only catch is that they typically require significant deposits.

HOW HAVE THE RATE HIKES INFLUENCED CRYPTO?

Like many highly valued technology stocks, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have sunk in value since the Fed began raising rates. Bitcoin has plunged from a peak at about $68,000 to $21,000.

Higher rates mean that safe assets like bonds and Treasuries become more attractive to investors because their yields are now higher. That, in turn, makes risky assets like technology stocks and cryptocurrencies less attractive.

All that said, bitcoin is suffering from its own problems that are separate from economic policy. Two major crypto firms have failed. The shaken confidence of crypto investors is not being helped by the fact that the safest place you can park money now — bonds — seems like a safer move.

WILL MY STUDENT LOAN PAYMENT GO UP?

Right now, payments on federal student loans are suspended until Aug. 31 as part of an emergency measure that was put in place early in the pandemic. Inflation means that loan-holders have less disposable income to make payments. Still, a slowed economy that reduces inflation could bring some relief by fall.

Depending on the state of the economy, the government may choose at the end of summer to extend the emergency measure that’s deferring the loan payments. President Joe Biden is also considering some form of loan forgiveness. Borrowers who take out new private student loans should prepare to pay more. Rates vary by lender but are expected to increase

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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As Latin America Shifts Left, Leaders Face a Bleak Reality.

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — In Chile, a tattooed former student activist won the presidency with a pledge to oversee the most profound transformation of Chilean society in decades, widening the social safety net and shifting the tax burden to the wealthy.

In Peru, the son of poor farmers was propelled to victory on a vow to prioritize struggling families, feed the hungry and correct longstanding disparities in access to health care and education.

In Colombia, a former rebel and longtime legislator was elected the country’s first leftist president, promising to champion the rights of Indigenous, Black and poor Colombians, while building an economy that works for everyone.

election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico and could culminate with a victory later this year by a leftist candidate in Brazil, leaving the region’s six largest economies run by leaders elected on leftist platforms.

A combination of forces have thrust this new group into power, including an anti-incumbent fervor driven by anger over chronic poverty and inequality, which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic and have deepened frustration among voters who have taken out their indignation on establishment candidates.

sliding backward, and instead of a boom, governments face pandemic-battered budgets, galloping inflation fed by the war in Ukraine, rising migration and increasingly dire economic and social consequences of climate change.

In Argentina, where the leftist Alberto Fernández took the reins from a right-wing president in late 2019, protesters have taken to the streets amid rising prices. Even larger protests erupted recently in Ecuador, threatening the government of one of the region’s few newly elected right-wing presidents, Guillermo Lasso.

“I don’t want to be apocalyptic about it,” said Cynthia Arnson, a distinguished fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “But there are times when you look at this that it feels like the perfect storm, the number of things hitting the region at once.”

Chile and Colombia, have shown people the power of the streets.

five of the six largest economies in the region will be run by leaders who campaigned from the left.

focused on austerity, is reducing spending.

What does link these leaders, however, are promises for sweeping change that in many instances are running headlong into difficult and growing challenges.

have plummeted.

Ninety percent of poll respondents told the polling firm Cadem this month that they believed the country’s economy was stuck or going backward.

Like many neighbors in the region, Chile’s yearly inflation rate is the highest it’s been in more than a generation, at 11.5 percent, spurring a cost-of-living crisis.

In southern Chile, a land struggle between the Mapuche, the country’s largest Indigenous group, and the state has entered its deadliest phase in 20 years, leading Mr. Boric to reverse course on one of his campaign pledges and redeploy troops in the area.

Catalina Becerra, 37, a human resources manager from Antofagasta, in northern Chile, said that “like many people of my generation” she voted for Mr. Boric because Mr. Kast, “didn’t represent me in the slightest.”

according to the Institute of Peruvian Studies — is now subject to five criminal probes, has already faced two impeachment attempts and cycled through seven interior ministers.

40 percent of households now live on less than $100 a month, less than half of the monthly minimum wage — while inflation has hit nearly 10 percent.

Still, despite widespread financial anxiety, Mr. Petro’s actions as he prepares to assume office seem to have earned him some support.

He has made repeated calls for national consensus, met with his biggest political foe, the right-wing former president Álvaro Uribe and appointed a widely respected, relatively conservative and Yale-educated finance minister.

The moves may allow Mr. Petro to govern more successfully than say Mr. Boric, said Daniel García-Peña, a political scientist, and have calmed down some fears about how he will try to revive the economy.

But given how quickly the honeymoon period ended for others, Mr. Petro will have precious little time to start delivering relief.

“Petro must come through for his voters,” said Hernan Morantes, 30, a Petro supporter and environmental activist. “Social movements must be ready, so that when the government does not come through, or does not want to come through, we’re ready.”

Julie Turkewitz reported from Bogotá, Colombia, Mitra Taj from Lima, Peru and John Bartlett from Santiago, Chile. Genevieve Glatsky contributed reporting from Bogotá.

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Trump Returning To Washington To Deliver Policy Speech

Advisers are urging him to spend more time talking about his vision for the future and less time relitigating the 2020 election.

Former President Donald Trump will return to Washington on Tuesday for the first time since leaving office, delivering a policy speech before an allied think tank that has been crafting an agenda for a possible second term.

Trump will address the America First Policy Institute’s two-day America First Agenda Summit as some advisers urge him to spend more time talking about his vision for the future and less time relitigating the 2020 election as he prepares to announce an expected 2024 White House campaign.

“I believe it will be a very policy-focused, forward-leaning speech, very much like a State of the Union 5.0,” said Brooke Rollins, AFPI’s president. Composed of former Trump administration officials and allies, the nonprofit is widely seen as an “administration in waiting” that could quickly move to the West Wing if Trump were to run again and win.

Trump’s appearance in Washington — his first trip back since Jan. 20, 2021, when President Joe Biden was sworn into office — comes as his potential 2024 rivals have been taking increasingly overt steps to challenge his status as the party’s standard-bearer. They include former Vice President Mike Pence, who has been touting his own “Freedom Agenda” in speeches that serve as an implicit contrast with Trump.

“Some people may choose to focus on the past, but I believe conservatives must focus on the future. If we do, we won’t just win the next election, we will change the course of American history for generations,” Pence had planned to say in a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on the eve of Trump’s visit. Pence’s appearance was postponed because of bad weather, but he will be delivering his own speech Tuesday morning before the Young America’s Foundation not far from the AFPI meeting.

Trump has spent much of his time since leaving office fixated on the 2020 election and spreading lies about his loss to sow doubt about President Biden’s victory. Indeed, even as the Jan. 6 committee was laying bare his desperate and potentially illegal attempts to remain in power and his refusal to call off a violent mob of his supporters as they tried to halt the peaceful transition of power, Trump continued to try to pressure officials to overturn President Biden’s win, despite there being no legal means to decertify the past election.

On Tuesday, he plans to focus on public safety.

“President Trump sees a nation in decline that is driven, in part, by rising crime and communities becoming less safe under Democrat policies,” said his spokesman, Taylor Budowich. “His remarks will highlight the policy failures of Democrats, while laying out an America First vision for public safety that will surely be a defining issue during the midterms and beyond.”

Beyond the summit, staff at the America First Policy Institute have been laying their own groundwork for the future, “making sure we do have the policies, personnel and process nailed down for every key agency when we do take the White House back,” Rollins said.

The nonprofit developed, she said, from efforts to avoid the chaotic early days of Trump’s first term, when he arrived at the White House unprepared, with no clear plans ready to put in place. As Trump was running for reelection, Rollins, then the head of Trump’s Domestic Policy Council, began to sketch out a second-term agenda with fellow administration officials, including top economic policy adviser Larry Kudlow and national security adviser Robert O’Brien.

When it became clear Trump would be leaving the White House, she said, AFPI was created to continue that work “organized around that second term agenda that we never released.”

The organization, once dismissed as a landing zone for ex-Trump administration officials shut out of more lucrative jobs, has grown into a behemoth, with an operating budget of around $25 million and 150 staff, including 17 former senior White Houses officials and nine former Cabinet members.

The group also has more than 20 policy centers and has tried to extend its reach beyond Washington with efforts to influence local legislatures and school boards. An “American leadership initiative,” led by the former head of the Office of Personnel Management, Michael Rigas, launched several weeks ago to identify future staff loyal to Trump and his “America First” approach who could be hired as part of a larger effort to replace large swaths of the civil service, as Axios recently reported.

The group is one of several Trump-allied organizations that have continued to push his policies in his absence, including America First Legal, dedicated to fighting President Biden’s agenda through the court system, the Center for Renewing America and the Conservative Partnership Institute.

The summit is intended to highlight AFPI’s “America First Agenda,” centered around 10 key policy areas including the economy, health care and election security. It includes many of Trump’s signature issues, like continuing to build a wall along the southern border and a plan to “dismantle the administrative state.”

In a speech Monday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose “Contract with America” has been credited with helping Republicans sweep the 1994 midterm elections, praised the effort as key to future GOP victory.

“The American people want solutions,” he said

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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