What’s the New Normal?
Lasting changes: The post-Covid era is sure to usher in new realities for almost every industry, and impact how individuals interact with each other and the populated urban areas in which they live. It’s impossible to predict which of the changes the public have had to quickly adopt will stick in the coming months and years, reports Bloomberg. What can be said safely, however, is that whichever changes endure will make cities safer, healthier and more efficient.
Fed expands portfolio: The U.S. Federal Reserve bought $428 million in bonds of individual companies, making investments in major oil firms, household consumer names like Walmart, and tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc.
The move comes as part of the Fed’s plan to help the economy weather the long term effects of the pandemic. An additional $5.3 billion in 16 corporate bond exchange traded funds were also added. As per Reuters,“The Fed’s bond purchases and other emergency programs will be scrutinized by lawmakers at a Tuesday hearing before the House Financial Services committee with Fed chair Jerome Powell.”
Deferrals and creditworthiness: Banks have sharply pulled back lending to U.S. consumers during the pandemic as they can’t determine who remains creditworthy due to widespread deferred payment programs. While millions of Americans are out of work, missed payments aren’t currently reflected in their credit scores, nor are they recorded on borrowers’ credit reports.
The confusion arises due to a provision in the government’s coronavirus stimulus package which says, “lenders that allow borrowers to defer their debt payments can’t report these payments as late to credit-reporting companies.” Read more in this piece by The Wall Street Journal for a detailed insight.
Amazon goes for “driver-less” purchase: Amazon announced that it will be purchasing ride-hailing start-up Zoox, a move that could put the tech giant in the business of moving people and not just packages, reports The New York Times.
For several years, Amazon has worked on self-driving technology to deliver goods. They look to put Zoox’s ambitions focused on creating a new kind of autonomous car designed specifically for passenger rides without a driver, sometimes also called a “robo-taxi,” to their advantage.