U.S. Pickup, Japan-China Decouple, Biden Firm on $1,400: Eco Day

Welcome to Thursday, Asia. Here’s the latest news and analysis from Bloomberg Economics to help you start the day:

  • The U.S. economy is showing some scattered signs of picking up from an end-of-year slowdown
  • Japan continues to reward manufacturers for decoupling from its biggest trading partner: China
  • Joe Biden told House Democrats that he was open to tightening the eligibility for his $1,400 stimulus checks, but lowering the payments’ amount would mean starting his presidency with a broken promise
  • Mario Draghi managed to keep the euro together at the height of the sovereign debt crisis, and his next job might require a similar feat. Italy’s markets certainly think that they have their savior back
  • China watchers are in for a wild ride of economic data in the early months of 2021, giving a largely distorted picture of the recovery
  • China saw a record number of corporate defaults last year and that trend looks set to continue. Meantime, David Qu writes that government debt at 64% of GDP in 2030 is a burden, not a disaster
  • Most economists expect India’s central bank will hold interest rates for a fourth straight meeting and are focusing instead on an expansionary budget and a massive government debt plan
  • The U.S. Treasury is leaning toward backing a boost of as much as $500 billion to the IMF’s resources
  • St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said rising U.S. stock prices -- highlighted by GameStop Corp. -- don’t raise financial-stability concerns and there’s no hurry to slow massive bond buying
  • Ireland’s economy took a double hit as the impact of renewed pandemic lockdowns was aggravated by post-Brexit trade chaos
  • Bloomberg Economics has tallied up emerging markets’ Covid debt bill and forecasts out to 2030
  • South Korea’s prime minister warned that universal basic income was “impossible” to implement, drawing a sharp contrast with other populist contenders for the presidency
  • As a 16-year-old kid flipping burgers at a Seattle McDonald’s in 1989, Arindrajit Dube was earning the state minimum wage of $3.85 an hour. He still thinks about it, only now it’s from his perch at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

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