Correspondent, Washington
Jason's Feed
Sep 4, 2015

Muddled U.S. jobs report leaves Fed in a ‘jam’ watching markets

By Jonathan Spicer and Jason Lange

NEW YORK/RICHMOND, Va. (Reuters) – The latest U.S. jobs report was not definitively good or bad enough to help the Federal Reserve decide whether to raise interest rates later this month, leaving the decision hanging on volatility in financial markets over the next couple of weeks.

The economy added 173,000 jobs in August, quite a bit fewer than expected. But employment growth in June and July were revised higher, wage gains last month were better than expected, and the unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low of 5.1 percent.

Sep 2, 2015

Tight U.S. labor markets fuel wage gains; China impact looms: Fed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. labor markets were tight enough to fuel small wage gains in some professions in recent weeks, though some companies already were feeling a chill from an economic slowdown in China, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.

Overall, U.S. economic activity continued to expand across most regions and sectors from July to mid-August, the Fed said in its Beige Book report of anecdotal information on business activity collected from contacts nationwide.

Sep 2, 2015

History of US Aug job growth revisions could muddy Fed rate hike calculus

WASHINGTON, Sept 2 (Reuters) – The U.S. government has
initially underestimated job growth for almost every August over
the last decade, a trend that could make it harder for the
Federal Reserve to decide if an upcoming employment report will
signal America is ready for a rate hike.

The Fed said in July it needs to see “some” further
improvement in the labor market before raising rates. The Labor
Department’s jobs report for August, which will be released on
Friday, will be the last monthly employment report before the
Fed’s Sept. 16-17 policy review.

Sep 1, 2015

China should clearly explain policies to markets: U.S. Treasury

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Tuesday urged China to carefully explain its policy changes to financial markets and to shift its economic focus toward consumer spending so that its economy can keep growing.

The comments made by a senior Treasury official followed Beijing’s surprise decision in August to let its currency CNY= devalue.

Aug 27, 2015

UBS to pay $1.7 mln settlement over sanctions case – U.S. Treasury

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury on Thursday said it
had reached an agreement with UBS for the Swiss bank
to pay a $1.7 million settlement for “apparent violations” to
U.S. sanctions.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said
in a statement that UBS processed 222 transactions from 2008 to
2013 involving securities held in the United States for a
customer in Zurich, even though the individual was designated by
OFAC in 2001 for committing, threatening to commit, or
supporting terrorism.

Aug 24, 2015

Market turmoil threatens Fed’s rate hike plans

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Turmoil in world financial markets and growing fears of a China-led global economic slowdown threaten to derail the Federal Reserve’s plans to start raising rates from near zero, making the chances of a September lift-off look increasingly remote.

A near 9-percent dive in Chinese shares on Monday triggered sharp sell-offs in Asia and Europe, wild swings and losses on Wall Street, and knocked crude prices to new multi-year lows.

Aug 20, 2015

Strong jobs, weak inflation data muddy Fed rate debate – minutes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Federal Reserve officials widely agreed last month the economy was nearing the point where interest rates should move higher, but worried lagging inflation and a weak global economy posed too big a risk to commit to “liftoff.”

Only one Fed policymaker was ready to vote for a rate hike at the central bank’s July 28-29 policy meeting, while some others “viewed the economic conditions for beginning to increase the target range for the federal funds rate as having been met or were confident that they would be met shortly,” according to minutes from the meeting released on Wednesday.

Aug 19, 2015

Job growth edged Fed toward rate hike, inflation a drag: minutes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An improving job market edged the U.S. Federal Reserve closer to an interest rate hike at its July meeting, but policymakers continued to fret that lagging inflation and a weak global economy posed too big a risk to commit to a “liftoff,” according to minutes released on Wednesday.

Only one Fed policymaker was ready to vote for a rate hike at the July 28-29 meeting, while some others “viewed the economic conditions for beginning to increase the target range for the federal funds rate as having been met or were confident that they would be met shortly,” according to the minutes.

Aug 6, 2015

Fed’s forecasts for jobless rate look out of step with history

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Most Federal Reserve policymakers expect the U.S. jobless rate will stop plunging and stabilize right around its long-term normal level, a risky forecast given that this apparently hasn’t happened in at least a half century.

Across decades of economic records as the economy healed after recessions, the rate dipped well below what analysts consider normal, the so-called “natural rate” of unemployment.

Aug 5, 2015

U.S. Treasury warns of debt cap impact on markets, cyber readiness

WASHINGTON, Aug 5 (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury warned on
Wednesday that a brush with the threat of default could leave
government finances more vulnerable to cyber attacks, while also
putting a squeeze on debt markets.

The federal government is currently scraping just under
its$18 trillion legal debt cap, with political wrangling over
fiscal policy putting Washington at risk of not being able to
pay its bills.