Global Middle Shrinks, Plastic Inflation, Tourism Glut: Eco Day

Happy Friday, Asia. Here’s the latest news and analysis from Bloomberg Economics to help take you through to the weekend.

  • The global middle class shrank for the first time in decades because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with almost two-thirds of households in developing economies reporting they suffered a loss in income
  • For inflation examples, raw materials are a good start. But plastics, often overlooked, are on a tear right now. Ray Dalio said rising inflation could force the Fed to raise rates earlier than anticipated
  • New Zealand is considering ways to transform tourism amid concerns a flood of visitors is damaging the environment and infrastructure
  • Inequalities in income, wealth and other areas are holding back the U.S. economy, said Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse
  • U.S. and China officials are meeting for the first time since the election, and while too early for a breakthrough, averting worse ties would be worth a lot, says Tom Orlik. Beijing wants a meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping next month if talks succeed
  • Applications for U.S. jobless benefits unexpectedly rose to the highest since mid-February, underscoring labor market volatility
  • ECB President Christine Lagarde said governments must make sure to roll out their joint spending plan on time to ensure the recovery
  • Potential central bank digital currencies would need to be integrated into existing payment systems, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said
  • The Bank of England delivered a slightly more upbeat taken on the U.K. economy, sidestepping an opportunity to cool market rates
  • Norway’s central bank brought forward the timing of what will probably be the rich world’s first cycle of interest-rate hikes
  • The Brazilian real may be in for some stability after the central bank’s surprisingly bold interest rate increase
  • Jerome Powell and Janet Yellen testify, while Israel votes next week
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin fired back at Joe Biden’s accusation he’s a killer, saying “it takes one to know one.” The U.S. is weighing additional sanctions to block construction of the nearly completed pipeline from Russia to Germany

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