The most important events and reports on the economy, central banks and politics from the Dow Jones Newswires program
US consumer sentiment is deteriorating more than expected
US consumer sentiment deteriorated more clearly than expected in July. The US Consumer Sentiment Index, calculated at the University of Michigan, fell to 73.2 (mid-June: 78.1) points in the mid-month survey. Economists interviewed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a level of 77.8. The index for expectations was 66.2 (72.3) and the index for assessing the current situation was given as 84.2 (87.1).
US housing starts rose sharply in June
New construction in the USA expanded significantly in June. The number of ground-breaking ceremonies rose by 17.3 percent compared to the previous month to an extrapolated annual figure of 1.186 million. Economists had forecast an increase of 18.1 percent. The change of plus 4.3 percent reported for the previous month was revised to plus 8.2 percent. The number of building permits issued in June climbed 2.1 percent compared to the previous month to an annual rate of 1.241 million. An increase of 4.9 percent was forecast. In the previous month, the revised increase was 14.1 percent to an extrapolated annual value of 1.216 million.
Controversy over mandatory masks in Georgia and school openings in Florida
Dispute over mask requirement in Georgia and school openings in Florida: The presidential election campaign is increasingly influencing the fight against the corona pandemic in the USA. The Republican governor of the U.S. state of Georgia filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the democratic mayor of Atlanta for a mask requirement that she ordered. The state of Florida, the new pandemic epicenter of the USA, is meanwhile causing discussions with its plans for a full school opening in August.
ECB agrees repo lines with Serbia and Albania
The European Central Bank (ECB) has entered into repo agreements with the central banks of Serbia and Albania. As announced on Friday, both will be valid until June 2021. The repo line with Serbia has a volume of 1 billion euros, that with Albania 400 million euros. The measure is intended to help prevent a possible shortage of euro liquidity in the two countries. Banks in both countries will receive euro liquidity for a maximum of three months against appropriate euro-denominated collateral.
Karliczek dampens hopes of a quick result when looking for vaccine
Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) has dampened hopes of a quick result in the search for an effective vaccine against the coronavirus. “Some researchers and companies are apparently on the right track. But success is by no means guaranteed,” Karliczek told the newspapers of the editorial network Germany.
BDI calls for “clear diplomatic reactions” to Nordstream 2
The Federal Association of German Industry (BDI) has rejected the announced US sanctions in connection with the Nordstream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline as a “serious burden on transatlantic relations”. “German industry criticizes the extraterritorial application of US sanctions that violates international law,” explained BDI chief executive Joachim Lang. “It expects clear diplomatic reactions from the EU and the Member States concerned.”
Open enforcement for representatives of Catalonia’s independence movement
Almost two years after she was sentenced to long prison terms, nine prominent representatives of the Catalan independence movement have started an open process. The convicts, including the former Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras, will from now on spend the weekends at home, according to the regional government in Barcelona on Friday.
OECD postpones Pisa studies on corona pandemic by one year
Because of the corona pandemic, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is postponing its next two Pisa studies. The next survey will take place in 2022 instead of 2021, the OECD announced on Friday in Berlin. The subsequent study will also be postponed by one year.
Maas calls in UN Security Council more action against sexual violence in conflict
Federal Minister of State Heiko Maas (SPD) has called for more action against sexual violence in conflict before the UN Security Council. Rape, forced prostitution and sexual enslavement are still used as weapons in conflicts worldwide, Maas complained, according to the speech manuscript, during the video conference debate on Friday. He criticized that even 20 years after the adoption of resolution 1325 and more than a year after the adoption of resolution 2467, “progress was hardly noticeable”.
Russia wants to mediate in the border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan
Russia has offered to mediate the armed conflict between the former Soviet states of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Russian president Wladimir Putin and members of the Russian Security Council are “very concerned” about the resurgence of the fighting in the south of the Caucasus, a Kremlin spokesman said on Friday. On Friday, Baku and Yerevan reported that the situation had calmed down for the time being. The parties to the conflict urgently need to agree on a ceasefire, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskow, according to the Interfax news agency. Russia is ready to support the two sides in this. Russia has mediated in earlier clashes between Yerevan and Baku.
Fed / Kaplan is open to exceeding the inflation target
The Dallas Fed president, Robert Kaplan, is open to the Federal Reserve’s decision to change its policy framework. This would allow the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low by keeping inflation slightly above its 2 percent target for some time. However, Kaplan would prefer to wait a few more weeks to assess the development of the coronavirus pandemic and the US economy before changing the Fed’s policy, as he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The Fed’s interest rate committee will meet next on July 28 and 29. “I will be unbiased about whether we need to do more, but I am also aware that the possible scenarios are very different,” said Kaplan. “I understand that even in the most positive case, we will end the year with unemployment far above what we started the year with.”
EU summit interrupted in a large group for soundings
After almost eight hours, the EU summit was interrupted in large groups to hold talks with smaller groups of heads of state and government. The break should last until dinner at 8:00 p.m., a spokesman for EU Council President Charles Michel said on Twitter on Friday. Michel will now conduct “consultations in smaller formats”.
+++ economic data +++
Uni Michigan 1-y inflation expectations July + 3.1%
Uni Michigan 5-y inflation expectations July + 2.7%
DJG / DJN / AFP / hab
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 17, 2020 13:00 ET (17:00 GMT)