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Brace, brace, brace: commodity prices surge

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It was all meant to fall into place: The world gets vaccinated, and the recovery from the pandemic-doom begins. But soaring energy prices are about to put the crunch on China, and then the rest of the world.

The latest bout of commodity-price surge has taken markets by surprise just as major central banks were planning to find a path out of their stimulus measures.

But the price of commodities may put an end to that sort of wishful thinking on the part of federal treasurers and the Fed.

INNER MONGOLIA, CHINA

OIL, GAS RISE

Oil’s climbed to more than $80 a barrel for the first time in three years, natural gas for October delivery traded at the costliest in seven years and the Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index rose to the highest level in a decade. 

The rising cost of power, as well as intermittent power cuts to Chinese factories as Beijing tries to force reduced emissions, could now lead to surging prices for Chinese goods.

Sharp cuts in production across a range of energy-intensive industries in China are now expected to drag growth lower this year, with economists from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Morgan Stanley cutting forecasts.

Trader on the New York Stock Exchange
Trader on the New York Stock Exchange

WALL STREET BRACES FOR IMPACT

Investors have been caught by surprise, having spend much of the year planning for a sudden recovery. Wall Street stocks ended sharply lower on Tuesday in a broad sell-off driven by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

It was the S&P 500 index’s biggest one-day percentage drop since May, and the Nasdaq’s largest since March.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite index were on track for their largest monthly declines since September 2020.

“The big picture is the sudden surge in the past week of yields, which has led to a ‘sell first, ask questions later’ mentality.”

Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial

In the US, rising costs for households and companies are hitting confidence while pushing inflation faster than economists had expected only a few months ago. 

In the U.K., consumer confidence fell in September at its sharpest pace since almost a year ago as Britons brace for a looming income squeeze. 

All three major U.S. stock indexes slid nearly 2%, with tech and tech-adjacent stocks weighing heaviest as investors lost their risk appetite.

“(But) there are multiple factors weighing on sentiment today,” Detrick added. “The back-and-forth in Washington with the debt ceiling and the spending bill and potential higher taxes have weighed on overall investor psyche and has led to a pretty good sized sell-off.”

THE SILVER LINING

Thankfully for advanced economies, they have been able to recover from the “COVID recession” better than anticipated a year ago. 

Many officials around the world are still hopeful the current spike in prices will fade without the need for action. 

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde believes the key challenge for policy makers is that “we do not overreact to transitory supply shocks that have no bearing on the medium term.”

Business

IRS to require facial recognition in order to file and pay taxes

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A major shake-up is coming to the way US citizens file their taxes

Citizens that file their taxes online tax will soon be required to submit a selfie to a third-party identity verification company using facial recognition tech in order to file their taxes or make IRS payments online.

According to Gizmodo, from this summer, online users with an IRS.gov account will no longer be able to log in with a simple username and password.

The new process will instead involve facial recognition. Users will need to provide a government identification document, a selfie, and copies of their bills to Virginian-based identity verification firm ID.me to confirm who they are.

That change, first noticed by Krebs on Security, marks a major shift for the IRS which previously allowed users to file their taxes without submitting personal biometric data.

Gizmodo reports that a statement from an IRS spokesperson said users can still receive basic information from the IRS website without logging in, however the representative added they would need to sign in through ID.me to make and view payments, access tax records, view or create payment plans, manage communications preference, or view tax authorisations.

Users attempting to log in to their accounts using ID.me will have to create an account with the company by uploading either a driver’s license, passport, or passport card.

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The international airlines suspending US flights

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Emirates has announced that it is suspending a majority of flights to the United States due to the planned launch of 5G

Flights are suspended to all destinations in the United States, except major cities including Los Angeles, New York and Washington.

Due to operational concerns associated with the planned deployment of 5G mobile network services in the US at certain airports

EMIRATES SAID in a memo to employees

Air India, All Nippon Airways, and Japan Airlines, have all suspended most routes to the United States as well.

This follows the world’s largest telecommunications company AT&T announcing it will delay the implementation of its 5G service at some airports in the United States.

This is all in response to CEOs of America’s largest airlines warning of a major disruption to travel and shipping if the service is rolled out. 

In an open letter, the executives call for 5G technology to be limited near US airports.

In the statement, the CEOs are requesting a limit on 5G within 2 miles of airport runways as defined by the FAA

It says “Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies”.

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Airline CEOs warn of major 5G disruption near airports

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CEO’s of America’s largest airlines are warning of a major disruption to travel and shipping

They’re calling for 5G technology to be limited near U.S airports

In an open letter also signed by shipping giants FedEec and UPS, the CEO’s wrote with urgency to request a limit on 5G within 2 miles of airport runways as defined by the FAA

The say that “Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies”

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