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SPI Management Newsletter 28.10

U.S. economy grows in the third quarter thanks to trade, but demand is stagnant

Despite a declining trade deficit, the U.S. economy saw a robust third-quarter comeback. However, the figures inflated the country's economic health because domestic demand was at its lowest level in two years as a result of the Federal Reserve's aggressive interest rate hikes.

As the sector sags under the weight of skyrocketing mortgage rates, the advance third-quarter gross domestic product report from the Commerce Department on Thursday also revealed residential investment contracting for a sixth consecutive quarter, the longest such stretch since the housing market collapse in 2006. Even while total inflation significantly decreased from the second quarter, underlying pricing pressures persisted.

After declining at a 0.6% pace in the second quarter, the gross domestic product rose at an annualized rate of 2.6% last quarter. The 2.4% rate of GDP growth was the average prediction of the economists surveyed by Reuters, with projections as low as 0.8% and as high as 3.7%.

There were some positive inflation-related headlines. A more comprehensive measure of inflation in the economy increased at a rate of 4.6%, slowing from an increase of 8.5% in the second quarter. As a result, after accounting for inflation, the income available to households increased at a 1.7% rate after declining at a 1.5% rate in the second quarter. Savings rates decreased from 3.4% to 3.3%. Inflation, though, is still uncomfortably high. After rising at a rate of 4.7% in the previous quarter, the personal consumption expenditures price index, which excludes the volatile food and energy components, increased at a rate of 4.5%.

ECB raises rates by 75 basis points as markets detect ‘dovish pivot’

In spite of the impending recession in the region, the European Central Bank has increased interest rates by 0.75 percentage points to their highest level since 2009. The bank also promised to keep raising borrowing costs in the months to come.

The hike was in line with market forecasts and was made public following the ECB governing council meeting on Thursday in Frankfurt. But as investors noticed evidence that the central bank was growing increasingly concerned about a downturn and may stop rising rates faster than anticipated, bond markets rose and the euro plummeted.

The ECB's president Christine Lagarde made it clear on Thursday that rate-setters would resist political pressure despite rising criticism of the bank's recent strong tightening of monetary policy, adding “we have to do what we have to do” to tackle inflation, which is now five times their 2 per cent goal.

Elon Musk finally buys Twitter for $44bn

The billionaire businessman removed Twitter's chief executive, Parag Agrawal, and chief financial officer, Ned Segal, as soon as he assumed control on Thursday night. According to one source, Sean Edgett, Twitter's general counsel, and Vijaya Gadde, the company's head of law, policy, and safety, were also fired.

“The bird is freed,” Musk tweeted.

The sale was finalized the day before, according to a regulatory filing from the New York Stock Exchange on Friday morning, and stock trading had been halted in anticipation of Twitter's delisting on November 8.

Adapted from CNBC, FT, The Economist, Reuters

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