October 19, 2021

Biden’s Paid Leave Plan at Risk as Lawmakers Seek Cuts

Research on California, the first state to offer paid family leave, has mostly shown that paid leave has a positive effect on women’s wages and participation in the labor force. Nine states and the District of Columbia have passed paid leave programs.

Christopher J. Ruhm, a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Virginia, found that under California’s paid leave law, new mothers who had worked during their pregnancy were estimated to be 17 percent more likely to have returned to work within a year of their child’s birth. During the second year of their child’s life, mothers’ time spent at work increased.

“The evidence is pretty strong that we’d see favorable effects,” Mr. Ruhm said. “It’s not going to lead to a huge increase in employment or labor force participation of women, but it would be a modest one.”

Maya Rossin-Slater, an associate professor of health policy at Stanford University, said research found that policies offering up to one year of paid leave can increase labor participation among women after childbirth. Under California’s program, the biggest gain in leave-taking is seen for Black mothers, who became more likely to take maternity leave, according to Ms. Rossin-Slater’s research.

“Implementation of paid family leave can reduce inequities,” Ms. Rossin-Slater said.

Pepper Nappo, 33, a mother in Derry, N.H., said she was left alone to take care of her newborn son the day she was discharged from the hospital in 2016. She had required stitches after childbirth.

As a barber, she did not have paid parental leave, and her husband could not afford to take more than a week off from his job at a landscaping company. The family downgraded their car and limited what they bought at the grocery store but still struggled to keep up with the bills.

“If I had paid leave, we wouldn’t have been behind,” Ms. Nappo said.

Public support for paid family and medical leave is strong, but Americans tend to differ over specific policies. A recent CBS News/YouGov poll found that 73 percent of U.S. adults surveyed supported federal funding for paid family and medical leave.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/18/us/politics/biden-paid-leave.html

First bitcoin futures ETF ready to debut on Wall Street

This comes as the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) greenlighted bitcoin futures ETFs on Friday.

“We believe a multitude of investors have been eagerly awaiting the launch of a bitcoin-linked ETF after years of efforts to launch one,” said ProShares CEO Michael L. Sapir.

“BITO will open up exposure to bitcoin to a large segment of investors who have a brokerage account and are comfortable buying stocks and ETFs, but do not desire to go through the hassle and learning curve of establishing another account with a cryptocurrency provider… or are concerned that these providers may be unregulated and subject to security risks,” said Sapir.

Also on rt.com Bitcoin climbs to $60,000 on prospect of first exchange-traded fund

ProShares filed for its Bitcoin Strategy ETF this past summer. There are four bitcoin futures ETFs scheduled for review in October, from ProShares, Valkyrie, Invesco and Van Eck. They will be allowed to list 75 days after their paperwork was filed if the SEC doesn’t intervene within that period.

Investing in a futures-based ETF is not the same thing as investing directly in bitcoin. A futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell an asset at a future date at an agreed-upon price. A futures-based ETF tracks cash-settled futures contracts, and not the price of the asset itself.

Also on rt.com Nearly 90% of bitcoin have been mined, and new coin issue unlikely after 2140 – analysts

“This will be probably the biggest endorsement from the SEC for crypto,” Ian Balina, CEO of the data and analytics firm Token Metrics, was quoted as saying by CNBC. “This will be a floodgate of new capital and new people into the space.”

News of the long-awaited approval for a bitcoin-related ETF sent the world’s top crypto by market value to levels not seen since April. The price of bitcoin surged over $62,000 per coin as of 2:25pm GMT.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/537775-bitcoin-etf-wall-street-debut/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

European gas prices surge 20% after cooling down to $980 per 1,000 cubic meters

The price of gas futures for November delivery at the TTF hub in the Netherlands went down to $983.50 per thousand cubic meters Monday morning, marking a long-anticipated drop of around 10% compared to the previous trading day.

However, the decline was followed by a spike in prices of more than 20%. Earlier this month, the TTF hit an all-time high as the gas price topped $1,900 per thousand cubic meters.

Also on rt.com Soaring energy prices push Russian ruble to multi-month highs against dollar euro

Seasonal factors exacerbated by the reopening of European economies after Covid-related lockdowns along with Brussels’ unwillingness to approve Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline created the perfect storm for energy prices in the region, sending them to all-time highs.

Meanwhile, European underground storage facilities are underfilled ahead of a winter season that is expected to be particularly cold.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/537780-europe-gas-prices-soar/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Debate Weighs Price of Biden’s Big Plan vs. Not Acting

Many Democrats fear the United States cannot afford to wait to curb climate change, help more women enter the work force and invest in feeding and educating its most vulnerable children. In their view, failing to invest in those issues means the country risks incurring painful costs that will slow economic growth.

“We can’t afford not to do these kinds of investments,” David Kamin, a deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, said in an interview.

Take climate change: The Democratic think tank Third Way estimates that if Congress passes an aggressive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. companies will invest an additional $1.3 trillion in the construction and deployment of low-emission energy like wind and solar power and energy-efficient technologies over the next decade, and $10 trillion by 2050. White House officials say that if the country fails to reduce emissions, the federal government will face mounting costs for relief and other aid to victims of climate-related disasters like wildfires and hurricanes.

“Those are the table stakes for the reconciliation and infrastructure debate,” said Josh Freed, the senior vice president for climate and energy at Third Way. “It’s why we think the cost of inaction, from an economic perspective, is so enormous.”

But to some centrist Democrats, who have expressed deep reservations about spending $2 trillion on a bill to advance Mr. Biden’s plans, “affordable” still means what it did in decades past: not adding to the federal debt. The budget deficit has swelled in recent years, reaching $1 trillion in 2019 from additional spending and tax cuts that did not pay for themselves, before topping $3 trillion last year amid record spending to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Manchin says he fears too much additional spending would feed rising inflation, which could push up borrowing costs and make it harder for the country to manage its budget deficit. He has made clear that he would like the final bill to raise more revenue than it spends in order to reduce future deficits and the threat of a debt crisis. Mr. Biden says his proposals would help fight inflation by reducing the cost of child care, housing, education and more.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/17/us/politics/biden-budget-affordability.html

German diesel prices climb to all-time high amid European energy crunch

The price of diesel at German filling stations hit €1.555 per liter on Sunday, exceeding the previous all-time high of €1.554 recorded in August 2012, Europe’s largest motoring association reported.

According to the ADAC, the latest surge is mainly attributable to rising crude prices as global economies recover from the Covid-19 slump. At the same time, the stronger dollar has weighed on prices as crude-oil contracts are settled in the US currency.

Also on rt.com Global energy crunch could soon send oil prices to $100 spur another economic crisis, Bank of America warns

The Munich-based alliance noted that the highest gasoline price to date was registered at €1.709 on September 13, 2012. The current price for crude is lower than nine years ago with the Brent contract hovering around $84, but the dollar is significantly stronger than it was back in 2012, which makes oil imports to Europe more expensive.

When it comes to diesel, the price increase is also due to high demand for heating oil, which is typical for the upcoming cold season. Moreover, the carbon dioxide price of €25 per ton has resulted in an additional surcharge of around six to eight cent per liter since the beginning of the year.

Also on rt.com UK transport minister adds fuel to fire by saying there will be no petrol shortage if Brits just stop queuing at petrol stations

Earlier, German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer called on the country’s government to prepare short-term countermeasures. They include tax cuts if energy and fuel prices keep spiking in order to ease the burden on cash-strapped households. 

Germans living in border areas have reportedly rushed to the neighboring Czech Republic to fill up their tanks at lower prices.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/537766-germany-diesel-price-energy-crunch/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Oil prices hit highest levels in years as post-Covid demand continues recovery

Brent oil futures rose about 1% to $85.73 per barrel by 09:00 GMT, the highest price since October 2018, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed 1.4% to $83.40 per barrel, its highest since October 2014. Both contracts grew by nearly 3% last week.

The rally in oil prices reportedly comes as the latest shortages of natural gas and coal spread across Asia and Europe have triggered extra demand for oil products in power generation. Moreover, the world’s major economies began rebounding from the Covid-19 pandemic, creating a buoyant demand that caused a significant tightening of the market.

Also on rt.com Australia is making the most out of the COAL BOOM

“Easing restrictions around the world are likely to help the recovery in fuel consumption,” analysts from ANZ bank told Reuters.

“The jet fuel market was buoyed by news that the US will open its borders to vaccinated foreign travelers next month. Similar moves in Australia and across Asia followed.”

Gas-to-oil switching for power generation alone may reportedly boost demand by as much as 450,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/537747-oil-price-soaring-covid-recovery/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Biden’s Plans Raise Questions About What U.S. Can Afford Not to Do

Many Democrats fear the United States cannot afford to wait to curb climate change, help more women enter the work force and invest in feeding and educating its most vulnerable children. In their view, failing to invest in those issues means the country risks incurring painful costs that will slow economic growth.

“We can’t afford not to do these kinds of investments,” David Kamin, a deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, said in an interview.

Take climate change: The Democratic think tank Third Way estimates that if Congress passes an aggressive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. companies will invest an additional $1.3 trillion in the construction and deployment of low-emission energy like wind and solar power and energy-efficient technologies over the next decade, and $10 trillion by 2050. White House officials say that if the country fails to reduce emissions, the federal government will face mounting costs for relief and other aid to victims of climate-related disasters like wildfires and hurricanes.

“Those are the table stakes for the reconciliation and infrastructure debate,” said Josh Freed, the senior vice president for climate and energy at Third Way. “It’s why we think the cost of inaction, from an economic perspective, is so enormous.”

But to some centrist Democrats, who have expressed deep reservations about spending $2 trillion on a bill to advance Mr. Biden’s plans, “affordable” still means what it did in decades past: not adding to the federal debt. The budget deficit has swelled in recent years, reaching $1 trillion in 2019 from additional spending and tax cuts that did not pay for themselves, before topping $3 trillion last year amid record spending to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Manchin says he fears too much additional spending would feed rising inflation, which could push up borrowing costs and make it harder for the country to manage its budget deficit. He has made clear that he would like the final bill to raise more revenue than it spends in order to reduce future deficits and the threat of a debt crisis. Mr. Biden says his proposals would help fight inflation by reducing the cost of child care, housing, education and more.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/17/us/politics/biden-budget-affordability.html

China’s GDP Growth Slows as Property and Energy Take a Toll

Volkswagen, the market leader in China, said on Friday that its production had been falling as the company faced an ever-worsening chip shortage and other supply chain issues. The company doesn’t have enough cars to fill customers’ and dealerships’ orders, creating a backlog.

“Our priority is to work off our backlog,” said Stephan Wöllenstein, the chief executive of Volkswagen’s China division.

For months, economists have made the same prediction: the fast growth of China’s exports cannot last.

The economists were wrong.

China’s exports kept surging through the third quarter and finished strong, up 28.1 percent in September compared with the same month last year. China posted its third-highest monthly trade surplus ever last month.

China has essentially maintained its strength in exports ever since its economy emerged from the pandemic in the spring of last year. As much of the world hunkered down at home, families splurged on consumer electronics, furniture, clothing and other goods that China manufactures in abundance.

The export boom, though, is creating another source of tension between the United States and China.

Katherine Tai, the United States trade representative, suggested in a speech two weeks ago that China’s export prowess was partly the result of subsidies and other unfair practices. “For too long, China’s lack of adherence to global trading norms has undercut the prosperity of Americans and others around the world,” she said.

But Chinese officials and experts contend that the country’s success is the result of a strong work ethic and consistent, large investments in manufacturing. They are quick to point out that by bringing the pandemic firmly under control within several weeks early last year, China was able to reopen its factories and offices quickly.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/17/business/economy/china-economy-gdp.html

At Axel Springer, Allegations of Sex, Lies and a Secret Payment

He also said the Bild workplace culture would not be replicated in the United States. “We will not tolerate any behavior in our organizations worldwide that does not follow our very clear compliance policies. We aspire to be the best digital media company in the democratic world with the highest ethical standards and an inclusive, open culture,” he said.

Axel Springer forwarded a letter from lawyers stating that Bild was not legally obliged to fire Mr. Reichelt.

But a March 1 message from Mr. Döpfner to a friend with whom he later had a falling out over the way the company handled the allegations against Mr. Reichelt, Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre, suggests that, while Mr. Döpfner was central to deciding how to act on the investigation’s findings as chief executive, he may not have been impartial. In the message, sent after Axel Springer had become aware of the allegations, but before the investigation was underway, Mr. Döpfner referred to an opinion column by Mr. Reichelt complaining about Covid restrictions.

Mr. Döpfner wrote that “we have to be especially careful” in the investigation, because Mr. Reichelt “is really the last and only journalist in Germany who is still courageously rebelling against the new GDR authoritarian state,” according to a copy of the message that I obtained. (The reference to GDR, or Communist East Germany, in this context, is a bit like “woke mob.”) Mr. Döpfner also wrote that Mr. Reichelt had “powerful enemies.”

Mr. Döpfner’s political statement in that message may seem at odds with his stated plans for his new American properties, which The Wall Street Journal reported last week, will “embody his vision of unbiased, nonpartisan reporting, versus activist journalism, which, he said, is enhancing societal polarization in the U.S. and elsewhere.”

As Axel Springer was struggling to contain the fallout from the Bild investigation, Mr. Döpfner’s focus was on Washington. This spring and summer, he conducted secret, parallel conversations with executives at two rival news organizations based in Washington, Politico and Axios, the site started in 2016 by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz, all formerly of Politico.

Mr. Döpfner’s goal was to buy both and combine them into a mighty competitor to the nation’s largest news outlets. The Politico acquisition, announced in August, was a triumph for his company. But behind the scenes, Axel Springer’s courting style had alienated its other target.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/17/business/media/axel-springer-bild-julian-reichelt.html

Russia to boost coal supplies to India amid global power crunch

The deal was inked at the Russian Energy Week Forum, held from October 13-15 in Moscow.

According to Russian Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov, Russia currently supplies around eight million tons of all types of coal to the South Asian country.

The agreement is also meant to stimulate enterprises in Russia and India in the development of coal deposits, the development of coal logistics and infrastructure, the promotion of RD in production, as well as education and training for the coal industry.

Also on rt.com India faces a power crisis as coal stocks decline – Delhi chief minister

The world’s third-largest coal importer, India, is currently struggling with coal shortages. Coal accounts for around 70% of the nation’s electricity generation. Most of India’s coal-fired power plants have critically low levels of inventory amid growing electricity demand.

A widening gap between soaring international and domestic coal prices has also seen imports decline sharply in recent months.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/537484-russia-india-coal-supplies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS