China Unexpectedly Cuts Key Benchmark Rate in Attempt to Jump-Start Flagging Economy

Financial Daily Dose 5.20.2022

May 20, 2022

Chinese central bankers unexpectedly cut a benchmark interest rate today, an “unexpected policy shift” in an era of rate hikes that “economists said would likely help the country’s moribund housing market but bring only limited relief to its struggling economy.” The move shows the bind China finds itself in thanks to its zero-tolerance Covid policy and the Fed’s hawkish turn here in the U.S. - WSJ and MarketWatch and Bloomberg

As parent Meta looks to develop new revenue streams, messaging app WhatsApp is “opening up commercial services to those who want to use [it] to power their businesses”—the app’s “largest step” yet toward “making money from the service” - NYTimes

The combination of “record home prices” and mortgage rates rising at blazing speeds was enough to cool the U.S. housing market in April, with existing-home sales falling 2.4% compared to a month earlier and overall sales down almost 6% from a year earlier. The results “are the latest sign that the frenzied market that took off in mid-2020 is losing much of its steam” - WSJ

A nice little check-in for anyone watching her portfolio shrivel up in recent months: yes, it’s ugly right now. But if you can afford to take the long-term view (and resist any impulse to try to outsmart the markets), don’t feel bad about hanging in there - NYTimes

And an explainer on why markets have been so shaky - WSJ

Also, why the Fed isn’t likely to deviate from its rate-hiking course, no matter how messy it’s getting on the Street - Bloomberg

No real surprise here: Spirit Airlines’ Board is officially out with its guidance to shareholders, recommending that they reject JetBlue’s hostile takeover bid in favor of the carrier’s existing planned merger with Frontier Air - WSJ

FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf faced tough questions from Congress on Thursday over his agency’s role in the “infant formula shortage exasperating families across the nation” - NYTimes

The SDNY Judge assigned to the criminal fraud trial of Archegos founder Bill Hwang announced this week that he “cannot preside” over the matter, “disclosing that he holds shares of purported victim bank JPMorgan Chase. The Judge’s wife was also former assistant general counsel at the bank – Law360

New GOP-led bipartisan legislation would “take aim at conflicts of interest in the advertising technology industry and force Google to break up its dominant online-ad business” as part of what’s considered the “most aggressive of the legislative proposals circulating in Congress that aim to rein in the power of Big Tech” - WSJ

The mullet, it seems, is making something of a comeback. Though I hardly have to remind you that at the rink, hockey hair never left - NYTimes

Stay safe, and have a great weekend,



The Robins Kaplan Financial Daily Dose features top stories and latest news headlines in financial markets, banking, securities and technology topics.