U.S. Stimulus Debate, Minimum Wage, New WTO Chief: Eco Day

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

  • In making the case for a mammoth $1.9 trillion economic relief package, President Joe Biden and his acolytes had maintained that economists across the board agreed on it. Well, so much for that
    • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. can return to full employment in 2022 if it enacts a robust enough stimulus package
    • Biden said he didn’t think his proposed increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour will survive congressional negotiations to pass his broader coronavirus-relief bill
  • The Biden administration made a number of key appointments at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, among them Obama-era Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Brad Setser as counselor to the nominee for the top job, Katherine Tai
  • The U.S. gave its formal backing to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the World Trade Organization, removing the final obstacle to her bid to be the first woman and the first African to run the Geneva-based trade body
    • The incoming chief of the World Trade Organization has a reputation for shaking up the guardians of wealth and power that will come in handy in her new role
  • The fresh wave of Covid lockdowns in Canada is having little impact outside close-contact sectors like retail, easing worries about spillover effects and long-term scarring from the restrictions
  • European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde predicted the euro-area recovery will pick up in the summer, while stressing that public authorities will have a difficult job weaning the economy off of emergency support
  • The ECB may have to do more to keep financing conditions in the euro area loose, according to Bloomberg Economics
  • German industrial production failed to grow for the first time in eight months in December, adding to signs that the economy is being weakened by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic
  • Money is edging toward its biggest reinvention in centuries as central banks embrace the creation of digital currencies. With modern technology and even the coronavirus facilitating a global shift toward cashless economies, monetary policy makers are acting to ensure they don’t fall behind
  • Finally, here’s what to be on the lookout for in the global economy this week

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