Daily Comment (September 17, 2021)

by Bill O’Grady, Thomas Wash, and Patrick Fearon-Hernandez, CFA

[Posted: 9:30 AM EDT] | PDF

Good morning, all! U.S. equity futures are pointing toward a lower open this morning. It has been a fairly quiet news day so far. Today’s report begins with an international news roundup followed by U.S. economics and policy. China news is next, and we end the report with our pandemic coverage.

International news: 

 Economics and policy:

  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has authorized a review of the central bank’s ethics rules regarding trading by policymakers. The review comes after financial disclosures of Fed officials Eric Rosengren and Robert Kaplan showed that the two traded securities while the Federal Reserve was implementing controversial policy accommodation.
  • Transportation prices continue to be a problem for firms. Rising shipping costs are making it harder for firms to fill orders. So far, firms have been reluctant to push these prices on to consumers. However, if these problems persist, suppliers may have no choice.
  • Democrats are considering a carbon tax to incentivize moderates to support the $3.5 billion spending bill.
  • President Biden announced that his administration will look into why retail gasoline prices are so high. Gasoline prices rose $3.19 per gallon on Wednesday, the highest since October 2014.
  • On Thursday, House Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Cori Bush (D-MO) pushed Congress to include an expansion of enhanced unemployment aid in the $3.5 trillion tax plan.


COVID-19: The number of reported cases is 227,089,247 with 4,670,690 fatalities.  In the U.S., there are 41,785,979 confirmed cases with 670,009 deaths.  For illustration purposes, the FT has created an interactive chart that allows one to compare cases across nations using similar scaling metrics.  The FT has also issued an economic tracker that looks across countries with high-frequency data on various factors.  The CDC reports that 462,384,885 doses of the vaccine have been distributed with 383,038,403 doses injected.  The number receiving at least one dose is 210,700,361, while the number receiving second doses, which would grant the highest level of immunity, is 180,086,143.  The FT has a page on global vaccine distribution.

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