Producer Prices Rise 8.6%, Matching September Record High
The Labor Department reported Tuesday that its producer price index — which measures inflation before it hits consumers — rose 0.6% last month from September, pushed higher by surging gasoline prices. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, wholesale inflation was up 0.4% in October from September and 6.8% from a year ago.
More than 60% of the September-October increase in overall producer prices was caused by a 1.2% increase in the price of wholesale goods as opposed to services. A 6.7% jump in wholesale gasoline prices helped drive goods prices up.
DOJ Asks Court to Lift Order Blocking Vaccine Rules
In a filing to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which temporarily blocked the mandate with a nationwide stay last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said the rule is firmly grounded in law and necessary to keep people safe. Stopping the mandate from taking effect “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day,” the DOJ wrote. “Petitioners’ asserted injuries, by contrast, are speculative and remote and do not outweigh the interest in protecting employees from a dangerous virus while this case proceeds.”
Federal law gives OSHA the authority to issue an emergency temporary standard if it determines workers are exposed to a “grave danger” that necessitates a rule. However, the states and private companies argue that COVID-19 is not a “grave danger” specific to the workplace, saying the rule is an unlawful overreach of federal power.
GE to Break Up into 3 Companies Focusing on Aviation, Health Care and Energy
U.S. industrial giant General Electric will split into three companies following years of seeing its stock underperform, the company announced on Tuesday. The company will be divided into separate units focused on aviation, health care and energy. GE plans to spin off the health-care unit by early 2023 and the energy unit by early 2024, the company said in a news release. The name GE will live on with the aviation company after the move is complete.
“By creating three industry-leading, global public companies, each can benefit from greater focus, tailored capital allocation, and strategic flexibility to drive long-term growth and value for customers, investors, and employees,” CEO Lawrence Culp said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “We are putting our technology expertise, leadership, and global reach to work to better serve our customers.”
Honda, Toyota Trim Outlooks on Chip Shortage
The leaders of Honda Motor Co. have lowered their vehicle sales forecast for fiscal 2022 by 13% and see full-year profits coming 15% lower than they had expected in August. Citing the global shortage of semiconductors as well as rising raw materials prices, Tokyo-based Honda now expects to sell 4.2 million automobiles globally in its current fiscal year, which will end March 31. That’s down from executives’ prior forecast of 4.85 million and includes an expected drop of 275,000 vehicles, or more than 16%, in North America.
The numbers are similar, albeit smaller, at Toyota: They expect full-year sales to be about 2% lower than previously forecast. Executives there now see overall fiscal-year sales coming in at 8.55 million versus 8.7 million previously but think North American sales will fall about 5% from their past forecasts, more than twice the company’s overall expected drop.
U.S. COVID Update – Mandates for Kids?
Now that a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is authorized for children ages 5 to 11 years in the US, state regulators—along with parents, pediatricians, and public health officials—are contemplating when and if the shots should become mandatory for children. All 50 US states have requirements for school-age children to be immunized against other diseases such as polio, chickenpox, and measles.
The nation’s second-largest school district, Los Angeles Unified School District in California, already has said children aged 12 and older must be vaccinated by mid-December to continue in-person learning, and several other jurisdictions and states have plans to make SARS-CoV-2 vaccination mandatory for children and adolescents to attend school as soon as the US FDA grants a vaccine full approval for those age groups.
NYS Vaccine and COVID Update
Vaccine Stats as of Tuesday November 9th:
One Vaccine Dose
- 75.1 of all New Yorkers – 14,468,194 (plus 14,173 from a day earlier).
- In the Hudson Valley 1,513,522 (plus 1,897).
- 67.2% of all New Yorkers – 13,059,671 (plus 8,735).
- In the Hudson Valley – 1,344,142 (plus 1,009).
The Governor updated COVID data through Monday November 8th. There were 36 COVID related deaths for a total of 58,413.
- Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,878.
Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:
- Statewide 2.65%
- Mid-Hudson: 1.92%
Regeneron’s Antibody Drug Cut Risk of Covid-19 by 82%, Company Says
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. said its monoclonal antibody drug continued to provide strong protection against Covid-19 infection for eight months, reducing the risk of contracting the disease by 81.6% compared with a placebo in a long-term study. Data show the drug, called REGEN-COV, can provide long-lasting temporary immunity against Covid-19, which could make it an attractive option for people who don’t respond to vaccines because they have impaired immune systems.
The data were gathered as part of a study of people at high risk of contracting Covid-19 because they are living with someone recently diagnosed with the disease. In September, Regeneron published data from the same study showing that the drug reduced the risk of Covid-19 infection by 81.4% for one month after patients received the drug, achieving the study’s primary goal. The new study data confirmed that the same level of protection is durable for at least an additional seven months, Regeneron said.
Truckers May be Exempt from Federal Vaccine Mandates, Says Labor Department
Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released an emergency temporary standard (ETS) that requires employers with 100 or more workers to implement vaccine mandates by Jan. 4, 2022, or ensure that unvaccinated employees are undergoing weekly COVID-19 testing. But the ETS does not apply to employees who “do not report to a workplace where other individuals such as coworkers or customers are present, employees while they are working from home, or employees who work exclusively outdoors,” according to OSHA’s summary of the new regulation.
By that definition, many truckers may be exempt.. “We’ve heard some pushback from truckers today. The ironic thing is most truckers are not covered by this, because they’re driving a truck, they’re in a cab, they’re by themselves, they wouldn’t be covered by this,” Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told CNBC late Thursday.
Britain Backs Rolls-Royce Mini Nuclear Plants in Net Zero Quest
Britain has backed a $546 million Rolls-Royce funding round to develop the country’s first small modular nuclear reactor, in a drive to reach net zero carbon emissions and promote new technology with export potential.
Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) can be made in factories, with parts small enough to be transported on trucks and barges and assembled more quickly and cheaply than large-scale reactors. Each mini plant can produce power for around 1 million homes.
Euro Zone Bond Yields Extend Falls; Real Yields Hit Record Lows
Euro zone bond yields dropped on Tuesday, resuming their fall that began last week after major central banks pushed back against market expectations for tighter monetary policy. The German 10-year yield had its biggest weekly drop since 2012 last week and other euro zone government bond yields hit multi-week lows, as investors reduced their bets on future interest rate hikes following dovish moves by the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England.
Germany’s 10-year inflation-linked bond, which reflects the so-called real yields, fell to a record low of -2.09% . The Real yield is defined as the return on the inflation linked bond minus the rate of inflation. In the United States that figure stands at -1.11%
Thanksgiving Dinner Staples Might Be Hard to Find Thanks to Supply-Chain Issues
Supplies of food and household items are 11% lower than normal as of Oct. 31, according to data from market-research firm IRI. That figure isn’t far from the bare shelves of March 2020, when supplies were down 13%.
Although U.S. supermarket operators started purchasing holiday items early, aiming to avoid shortages, many holiday essentials are already in short supply. For grocery shoppers this holiday season, it means that someone with 20 items on their list would be out of luck on two of them.
Credit Card Trends Begin to Normalize after Pandemic Paydown
The latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data shows that overall debt balances increased in the third quarter of 2021, bolstered primarily by a sizable increase in mortgage balances, and for the second consecutive quarter, an increase in credit card balances. The changes in credit card balances in the second and third quarters of 2021 are remarkable since they appear to be a return to the normal seasonal patterns.
Credit card balances typically follow a pronounced seasonal pattern—modest increases in the second and third quarter, a larger increase in the fourth quarter coincident with holiday spending, and then a large reduction in the first quarter, as borrowers pay off their holiday spending. These patterns changed a lot over the first four quarters of the pandemic.
Governors Hochul, Murphy, and Lamont Announce Agreement on Federal Funding Awarded to the Region’s Public Transportation Systems
After negotiations, the states agreed that approximately $10.85 billion of the funding will be for New York, $2.66 billion will be for New Jersey, and $474 million will be for Connecticut.
This funding, provided from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), recognizes that the tristate area was among the hardest hit by the pandemic and provides the resources necessary for the nation’s largest subway, commuter rail and bus services located in these states to avoid layoffs, furloughs, and severe service reductions. These transit agencies ensured essential workers could be where they were needed most, and this funding will help support their longer-term recovery and sustainability.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Spacecraft Splashed Down in the Gulf of Mexico
Four astronauts in the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavor capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico late Monday, capping a nearly 200-day stay in orbit. The spacecraft splashed down at roughly 10:33 p.m. ET off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., NASA said in a statement.
The crew spent a total of 199 days in orbit, surpassing the record for longest spaceflight by a U.S. crew spacecraft. That record was previously held by NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission, which launched earlier this year and spent a total of 168 days in orbit.