OVERVIEW in the evening / economy, central banks, politics | 02/23/21

The most important events and reports on the economy, central banks and politics from the Dow Jones Newswires program

Fed Chairman Powell confirms loose monetary policy

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has reiterated the Fed’s commitment to maintain loose monetary policy until the economy continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic. “The economy is far from our employment and inflation targets,” Powell said in remarks he had prepared for a hearing on the Senate Banking Committee. The Fed will therefore continue to support the economy with interest rates close to zero and large-scale purchases of securities until “substantial further progress is made”. This will “likely take some time,” he added.

LBBW: Powell remains true to his cautious line

LBBW’s chief economist, Uwe Burkert, sees the Fed on course. “The top US central banker remains true to his cautious line with regard to the assessment of the economic outlook. Financial market participants and economic players can thus be sure for the time being that the advancing economic recovery will not be threatened by changes in monetary policy for a long time to come,” writes Burkert in an initial response to Fed chief Jerome Powell’s speech.

US consumer sentiment improved in February

Sentiment among US consumers brightened in February. As reported by the Conference Board research institute, the consumer confidence index rose to 91.3. Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires expected a reading of 91.0. The previous month’s value was revised down to 88.9 from 89.3 initially. The index for assessing the current situation improved to 92.0 (previous month: 85.5), that for expectations fell to 90.8 (91.2).

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Scholz wants 100,000 social housing to be built every year

Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) wants to counteract the decline in social housing by building 100,000 social housing a year. This is feasible, said Scholz. “If you want to have enough social housing, you have to build enough,” said the SPD candidate for chancellor on the balance sheet of the federal government’s housing policy.

Scheuer’s advisors warn against subsidizing charging stations for too long

Experts from Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) have warned against subsidies for charging stations for electric cars that are too long. “In principle, the expansion of the public charging infrastructure for cars should be market-driven after 2025,” says the progress report of the National Platform for the Future of Mobility (NPM).

Seehofer and Altmaier are calling for a solution to old municipal debts

The union in the federal government has increased the pressure on the SPD to come to an agreement on reducing municipal over-indebtedness. Federal Building Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) said on the occasion of the balance sheet of the housing offensive that there was “an urgent need for a solution to the municipalities’ old debts.” “That is about 2,000 municipalities in Germany that are most affected.”

Energy lobby insists on better market conditions before heat dialogue

Before the top-level meeting of the federal government and industry on climate-neutral conversion in the building sector this week, the energy industry has called for stronger incentives for the heating transition. For this, existing infrastructures and energy sources have to be taken into account right from the start, said the head of the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW), Kerstin Andreae.

Experts see the Corona Tax Aid Act largely positive

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The majority of the experts at a public hearing in the Bundestag Finance Committee rated the third Corona Tax Aid Act planned by the coalition as positive. According to the Bundestag press service, the focus of the hearing was on the expansion of the loss carry-back for companies for 2020 and 2021, the extended application of the reduced VAT rate in the catering trade and the planned child bonus.

Great Britain gives the EU more time to ratify post-Brexit agreements

Britain has given the EU more time to ratify the post-Brexit agreement. At the request of the EU, the provisional application of the agreement was extended until April 30, a spokesman for the British government said on Tuesday. The EU had asked for more time so that the EU Parliament can examine and ratify the agreement. The provisional application of the trade agreement was originally due to end on February 28.

+++ economic data +++

US / Redbook: Retail sales first 3 weeks Feb -0.8% yoy

US / Redbook: Retail sales in the first 3 weeks of Feb + 2.6% yoy

DJG / DJN / AFP / apo / jhe

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 23, 2021 13:00 ET (18:00 GMT)

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