Americans on the cusp of retiring are facing a tough choice as they watch their nest eggs shrink: Stay the course or keep working. A stock market slump this year has taken a big bite out of investors’ portfolios, including retirement plans like 401(k)s. The S&P 500, the benchmark for many index funds, is down about 17% since its all-time high in early January. The sharp reversal after a banner 2021 for Wall Street has been particularly unsettling for those who have been planning to retire sooner, rather than later, and banking on a healthier stock portfolio to help fund their post-work lifestyle.
Sri Lanka’s navy says that it has arrested 67 people who it believes were trying to travel by sea to Australia illegally. The navy said in a statement that 12 men were arrested first near the eastern port town of Trincomalee on Monday. Upon questioning them, the navy intercepted 55 more people at sea traveling in a fishing vessel. It said the persons were aged between 3 and 53 and that five of them are suspected be part of a human smuggling ring. A navy spokesperson said while their destination is still not clear it is suspected that they were headed to Australia. Sri Lankans over the years have traveled to Australia and other developed nations illegally for economic and political reasons.
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Americans are becoming less supportive of punishing Russia for launching its invasion of Ukraine if it comes at the expense of the U.S. economy, a sign of rising anxiety over inflation and other challenges. That's according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. It finds that while broad support for U.S. sanctions has not faltered, the balance of opinion on prioritizing sanctions over the economy has shifted. Americans interviewed by the AP detail how they've had to cut back on driving and spending and want the White House to focus on domestic concerns, even as many people have sympathy for Ukraine.
Sri Lanka received a first shipment of a $16 million humanitarian aid package from neighboring India to help mitigate severe shortages caused by the country’s devastating economic crisis. The goods worth $5.6 million include rice, milk powder and essential medicines. It was donated by the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and delivered late Sunday to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Gamini Peiris. Sri Lanka is near bankruptcy and running short of essentials from food, fuel, medicines and cooking gas to toilet paper and matchsticks. People stand in long lines to buy the limited stocks.
The statistics discussed at the inaugural Global Citizen NOW conference were bleak. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed 100 million people back into lives of extreme poverty. Up to 243 million people could face food insecurity between now and November due to the war in Ukraine. Yet Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans says he feels optimistic. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic shows that the world can unite to fight a crisis when it needs to. Evans and dozens of speakers from the worlds of business, politics, culture and philanthropy gathered in New York for the two-day summit that ended Monday expressed hope that same united effort can be applied to help curb climate change, food insecurity and extreme poverty.
Stocks closed higher on Wall Street Monday following seven weeks of declines that nearly ended the bull market that began in March 2020. The S&P 500 rose 1.9%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2% and the Nasdaq rose 1.6%. Banks and technology stocks made some of the strongest gains. Concerns about inflation have been weighing on the market and have kept major indexes in a slump recently. The S&P 500 is coming off its longest weekly losing streak since the dot-com bubble was deflating in 2001. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which helps set mortgage rates, rose to 2.86%.
Two high-level speakers at the World Economic Forum gathering say Afghanistan’s most urgent need is saving its economy from complete collapse. U.N. Development Program administrator Achim Steiner said Monday in Davos that “we cannot abandon 40 million Afghans simply on the principle of moral outrage.” The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan nine months ago and the hasty U.S. withdrawal of its troops triggered economic fallout. Some argue that aid to Afghanistan should be made conditional to ensure the protection of women’s rights. Pakistani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar says that while her country views Taliban curbs to women’s rights as a threat, she asked what would happen to Afghans “in order to appease our conscience.”
A perfect cure for FOMO, new Mastercard findings suggest travel and all its incidental spending is back with a vengeance. Buzz60’s Chloe Hurst…
The European Union is extending looser limits on spending by member countries for an extra year in a bid to counter the economic fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine. The European Commission recommended Monday that the EU’s regular rules on national budget discipline be suspended through 2023. The 27-nation bloc’s executive arm says member countries need the longer fiscal flexibility to tackle heightened economic risks due to the Ukraine war. The EU deactivated its full controls on national debt levels in 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the laxer framework was ending this year. Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni says the EU is still “far from economic normality.”
The United States and four other nations emphasized their support for host nation Thailand after they walked out of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group meeting in Bangkok. They said their protest was aimed solely at Russia over its Ukraine invasion. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and delegates from Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada walked out of Saturday’s session just as Maxim Reshetnikov, Russia’s minister for economic development, was set to deliver his opening remarks. In a statement on Monday from the five nations, joined also by South Korea and Chile, said they had “unwavering support for APEC” but condemned “the unprovoked war of aggression by Russia.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is calling for “maximum” sanctions against Russia during a virtual speech at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland. He said Monday that sanctions need to go further to stop Russia’s aggression, including an oil embargo, blocking all of its banks and cutting off trade with Russia completely. Zelenskyy also says Ukraine needs at least $5 billion per month. He said tens of thousands of lives could have been saved if Ukraine had “received 100% of our needs at once, back in February” in terms of weapons, funding, political support and sanctions against Russia.
President Joe Biden has launched a new trade deal with 12 Indo-Pacific nations aimed at strengthening their economies as he warns Americans worried about high inflation that it is “going to be a haul” before they feel relief. The president says he does not believe an economic recession is inevitable in the U.S. Biden spoke at a news conference in Toyko after holding talks with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. He acknowledged the U.S. economy has “problems” but said they were “less consequential than the rest of the world has.” He added: “This is going to be a haul. This is going to take some time."
US announces 12 countries join Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a pact designed to bolster trade with Asian economies.
When Vladimir Putin announced Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the war seemed far away from Russian territory. Yet within days the conflict came home — not with cruise missiles and mortars but in the form of unprecedented and unexpectedly extensive volleys of sanctions by Western governments and economic punishment by corporations. Three months after the invasion, many ordinary Russians are reeling from blows to their livelihoods and emotions. Moscow’s vast shopping malls have turned into eerie expanses of shuttered storefronts. Harsh new restrictions and the closure of independent media have prompted many Russians to flee. But even that has gotten much harder, as Western nations banned flights. One expert says a summer of economic misery could be coming for Russians.
President Joe Biden is expected to come out with a list of countries that will join an Indo-Pacific trade pact, but Taiwan won’t be among them. The pact is meant to allow the U.S. to work more closely with Asian economies on supply chains, digital trade, clean energy and more. Biden plans to highlight the framework as he meets Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan confirms that Taiwan isn’t among the governments signed up for the launch. Taiwan's inclusion would have irked China, which claims the self-ruled island as its own.
The much-ballyhooed World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alpine town of Davos gets underway this week after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There's no shortage of issues to keep elite policymakers, business gurus and activists busy as forum organizers hope those groups try to work toward improving the state of the world. Ukraine's war, climate change and the yawning gaps between rich and poor are some of the themes to be tackled in roughly 270 panel discussions. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be participating by video, while other world leaders and notables like U.S. climate envoy John Kerry are set to take part.
With prices across the economy soaring at their fastest pace in decades, you might think Americans would tap the brakes on spending. Not so far. Consumers as a whole are showing surprising resilience, not only sustaining their spending but increasing it even after adjusting for inflation. That spending is helping allay concerns that a recession might be near. Yet there are signs that some people, especially in lower-income households, are starting to cut back. How long consumers as a whole continue to spend at healthy levels despite the pressures from inflation will be key to whether the U.S. can avoid a recession as the Federal Reserve raises borrowing rates.
President Joe Biden tended to both business and security interests as he wrapped up a three-day visit to South Korea on Sunday. Biden showcased Hyundai's pledge to invest at least $10 billion in electric vehicles and related technologies in the United States. He also visited Osan Air Base, where thousands of U.S. and South Korean service members monitor the rapidly evolving North Korean nuclear threat. Biden says the U.S. is ready for any provocation that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might deliver while Biden is touring the region. Japan is the next stop on Biden's trip to Asia.
U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol say after meeting that they will consider expanded joint military exercises to deter the nuclear threat from North Korea. The announcement Saturday during Biden's visit to Seoul reflects a shift in direction from former U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump had considered scrapping the exercises and had expressed affection for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The announcement may also put to rest concerns in Seoul that Washington would revert to the Obama administration's policy of “strategic patience” in which it largely looked the other way while North Korea expanded its nuclear arsenal.
Australia’s center-left opposition party has toppled the conservative government after almost a decade in power. Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese in his Saturday election victory speech promised sharper reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while he faces an early foreign policy test. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he quickly conceded defeat despite millions of votes yet to be counted because an Australian leader must attend a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders from Japan and India. Albanese has described himself as the only candidate with a “non-Anglo Celtic name” to run for prime minister in the 121 years that the office has existed. He referred to his own humble upbringing in the Sydney suburb of Camperdown.
Russia has halted natural gas exports to neighboring Finland. The highly symbolic move that came early Saturday marks a likely end to nearly 50 years of natural gas import from Moscow to Helsinki. It also comes just days after Finland announced it wanted to join NATO. Russia’s energy giant Gazprom cut gas supplies after Finland refused to pay for the gas in rubles as demanded by Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February. Moscow also cut off electricity exports to Finland earlier this month. The Finnish state-controlled oil company Neste has also decided to replace imports of Russian crude oil with crude from elsewhere.
The top U.S. trade negotiator says with world economies all suffering from more than two years of the coronavirus pandemic and global supply problems exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States has an “incredible opportunity” to engage with other nations and forge new partnerships and agreements. Ahead of a planned announcement with President Joe Biden of a new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told The Associated Press that the time is ripe for the proposal. She says: “I don’t think anybody’s economy is stronger because of COVID and there is a pretty pervasive sense of anxiety about how we recover. I actually think that this presents an incredible opportunity.”
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy devoted his nightly video address to Ukraine’s demand that Russia be held financially responsible for the damage its forces are inflicting on Ukraine. Just on Friday, he noted, the Russian army fired a missile at the northeastern Kharkiv region, destroying a cultural center in Lozova, and also hit the cities of Odesa in the south, Poltava in the east and Zhytomyr in the west. Zelenskyy said Russia should pay for every home, school, hospital and business it destroys. He said a legal mechanism should be created through which everyone who suffered from Russia’s actions could be compensated.