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Pelosi Flags Poison Pills in Stimulus Talks; Testing Deal Nears By Bloomberg

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(Bloomberg) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democratic colleagues that a divide persists with the White House over a number of components of the fiscal stimulus she’s attempting to negotiate, even as an agreement nears on a coronavirus testing program.

The establishment of a national testing strategy had been a roadblock cited by Pelosi and her aides this week during talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

After a call lasting more than an hour Thursday, Mnuchin said the administration would only make minor edits to a Democratic proposal on that score. Paperwork is expected to be exchanged on Friday.

“Many other disagreements remain,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues Thursday evening. “These include but are not limited to funding for state and local government, tax benefits for working families, support for vulnerable small businesses, and child care funding.”

She also cited multiple so-called poison pills, “including their radical Liability Provision which forces workers to risk their lives in unsafe workplaces with no legal recourse.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been a strong advocate for liability protections for businesses to shield them from coronavirus-related lawsuits as they reopen.

McConnell has raised his own major roadblock to any deal: the size. President Donald Trump said Thursday he was prepared to go beyond the $1.8 trillion his team had been trying to offer to Pelosi, who favors a $2.2 trillion plan.

Republican Roadblock

“He’s talking about a much larger amount than I can sell to my members,” McConnell said Thursday of Trump’s latest position.

The Treasury chief told Pelosi that Trump would weigh in with McConnell if an agreement were reached. Trump himself said of the Senate Republicans, “They’ll go. I haven’t asked them” because there isn’t a deal yet.

Mnuchin is expected to head to the Middle East in coming days, adding to signs that a pre-election agreement on stimulus won’t be forthcoming — though both sides have pledged to keep working on it.

Details of the emerging testing agreement haven’t been released. Pelosi and House Democrats have demanded $75 billion for what they’ve described as “a science-based national plan for testing, tracing, treatment and isolation, and for the equitable and ethical distribution of a safe and effective vaccine once developed.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Economy

Asian investors prepare for choppy trade as U.S. stimulus talks drag on By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A TV reporter stands in front of a large screen showing stock prices at the Tokyo Stock Exchange after market opens in Tokyo

By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian investors prepared for rough trading on Thursday after a bumpy session on Wall Street amid fears that agreement on a key U.S. stimulus bill will not be reached until after the presidential election on Nov. 3.

In early Asian trade, Australian stocks () fell at the open.

“We’re looking at a fairly rough day for regional investors, we had a volatile session in the U.S.,” said Michael McCarthy, chief markets strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. “Futures markets are reflecting a worse day here. We’ll see losses across the region.”

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe () shed 0.06%.

On Wednesday, the Nikkei 225 index () closed up 0.31% at 23,639.46. The futures contract is down 0.31% from that close.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures () <.hsic1> were up 0.32%.

Wall Street’s three major averages closed lower on Wednesday after a choppy trading session, as investors eyed difficult negotiations in Washington for a fresh coronavirus stimulus package.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average () inched lower by 0.35%, while the S&P 500 () lost 0.22%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite () dropped 0.28%.

U.S. lawmakers had not reached an agreement on the stimulus package by late Wednesday. President Donald Trump blasted Democrats in a Tweet, accusing them of being unwilling to compromise, despite earlier reports of progress.

The dollar hit a seven-week low on Wednesday against a basket of currencies, while benchmark U.S. Treasury yields rose to four-month highs, after Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi boosted hopes an agreement on stimulus was close.

Oil prices ended lower after U.S. inventories showed demand weakening for refined products as global COVID-19 cases rose.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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IMF endorses Japan PM Suga’s reform agenda, urges BOJ to review inflation goal By Reuters

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© Reuters. Japanese PM Suga walks past the Indonesian national flag as he arrives for a press conference in Jakarta

By Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund gave a thumbs-up on Wednesday to plans by new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to maintain the thrust of his predecessor’s “Abenomics” stimulus programmes, while pushing through reforms to revitalise the economy.

Odd Per Brekk, deputy director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific department, also urged the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to consider reviewing its 2% inflation target to make it more flexible — repeating a recommendation made earlier this year.

“Such a review would provide the BOJ with an opportunity both to reconfirm its commitment to the target and to increase policy flexibility as needed,” he told Reuters in a written interview.

In succeeding Shinzo Abe as prime minister last month, Suga pledged to maintain the first two “arrows” of Abenomics – huge fiscal and monetary stimulus measures to prop up growth.

He also vowed to pursue a re-modeled version of structural reforms, such as steps to boost smaller firms’ productivity, promote digitalisation and consolidate regional banks.

“Giving renewed momentum to the ‘third arrow’ of structural reform would help in the recovery and in putting the economy on a longer-term growth path,” Brekk said.

“In this regard, reforms to promote the digital economy, revive regional economies, and deal with regional bank issues should be given high priority,” he said.

Labour market reforms, such as opening up more career opportunities for women and encouraging more telework, must also remain a priority, Brekk said.

Japan’s economy suffered its biggest postwar slump in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic slammed domestic and global demand, and analysts expect any rebound to be modest as uncertainty over the outlook weighs on consumption and capital spending.

FLEXIBLE TARGET NEEDED

The economy was already in recession before the health crisis due to the blow from last year’s sales tax hike. Regional banks are reeling from sluggish credit demand, a rapidly ageing population and narrowing margins from years of ultra-low interest rates.

With high uncertainty over the economic outlook, the BOJ should avoid a premature withdrawal of stimulus and wait until a recovery takes hold, Brekk said.

It could take additional steps if needed, such as an expansion of its special lending programmes, a cut in longer-term yield targets and an increase in purchases of exchange-traded funds, he said.

In the longer run, the BOJ should consider a review of its price target and policy framework to allow itself more room to address financial system risks, Brekk said.

Under yield curve control (YCC), the BOJ guides short-term rates at -0.1% and 10-year bond yields around zero as part of efforts to achieve its elusive 2% inflation target.

Years of heavy money printing and the adoption of YCC, however, have failed to fire up inflation, drawing criticism that the policies were doing more harm than good by hurting commercial banks and discouraging them from boosting lending.

Brekk’s comments followed those in a staff report in February, in which the global lender urged the BOJ to re-define its inflation target as a long-term goal with room for some allowances.

It said this would give the central bank more flexibility in whittling down stimulus to ease the pain on financial institutions.





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U.S. set to announce legal action on opioid maker By Reuters

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© Reuters. Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

By Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday will announce legal action involving an opioid manufacturer, the department said in a statement as officials have sought to stem the decades-long public health crisis involving painkiller addiction.

U.S. officials will “announce the results of the global resolution of criminal and civil investigations with an opioid manufacturer,” at a news conference scheduled for 11 a.m. (1500 GMT), it said.

The department did not identify the company involved.

But U.S. officials have been seeking to negotiate a settlement with Purdue Pharma LP, maker of the addictive pain drug OxyContin, and members of the wealthy Sackler family that own the drugmaker.

Painkiller addiction has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the United States since 1999 while communities have sought to grapple with the financial and societal costs of the overdose crisis.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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