By Gabriel D. Crossley
BEIJING (Reuters) – A coronavirus outbreak in China which has killed 81 people and spread to many countries is expected to hurt its economy, an engine of global growth, though analysts say it is too early to quantify the overall impact on businesses and consumers.
The consensus is that in the short term, economic output will be hit as Chinese authorities step up preventive measures, impose travel restrictions and extend the Lunar New Year holidays to limit the spread of the virus.
Millions who usually travel during this period have canceled their plans, with the government ordering that full refunds be provided to air and rail passengers
Shanghai said on Monday that companies cannot restart operations before Feb. 9, and businesses in the eastern Chinese manufacturing hub of Suzhou have been ordered to stay shut until at least Feb. 8.
The government has lengthened the week-long Lunar New Year holiday nationally by three days to Feb. 2.
Wuhan, a city of 11 million and the epicenter of the virus outbreak in central China, is already in virtual lockdown and severe limits on movement are in place in several other Chinese cities.
Many analysts are turning to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a coronavirus that originated in China and killed nearly 800 people globally in 2002 and 2003, to better understand the likely longer-term effects.
“The economy rebounded quickly after SARS faded away,” said Larry Hu of Macquarie Capital, in a note to clients. Transportation, restaurants and retail sales were hit, but Hu said on the whole SARS was “just a blip which didn’t change the big trend.”
This time, however, analysts say China’s increased reliance on consumption to drive the world’s second-biggest economy compared to early 2000s, could undermine growth.
“In China during 2019, consumption contributed about 3.5 percentage points to the overall real GDP growth rate of 6.1%. A back of the envelope calculation suggests that if spending on such services fell by 10%, overall GDP growth would fall by about 1.2 percentage points,” said analysts from S&P Global Ratings in a note.
The early data make for sober reading.
The usual Lunar New Year rush of spending on travel, tourism and entertainment is taking a beating already. Overall passenger travel declined by nearly 29% from a year earlier on the first day of the Lunar New Year, a transportation ministry official said.
With many cinemas closed, China’s theaters earned 1.81 million yuan ($262,166.86) from movie tickets on the first day of Lunar New Year, down more than 99% from the same day the previous year, according to data from Chinese movie-ticketing company Maoyan 1896.HK>.
Notably, external conditions in 2002-03 were favorable, whereas the coronavirus outbreak is “adding to existing growth headwinds,” said analysts from Nomura in a note. China’s GDP growth slumped to near 30-year lows in 2019, pressured by sluggish domestic demand and trade frictions with the United States.
China also now contributes more to global economic growth than it did 17 years ago, meaning any big domestic impact stemming from the virus will ripple through worldwide.
World shares fell to their lowest in two weeks on Monday on virus concerns, with demand spiking for safe-haven assets such as Japanese yen and Treasury notes.
Regions reliant on tourism, especially Chinese tourists, like Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines seem most at risk of spillover effects from the virus, said Louis Kuijs, Head of Asia Economics at Oxford Economics, in an email to Reuters.
The virus has already spread to more than 10 countries, including the United States, France, Australia, and Singapore, although all the 81 deaths have so far occurred in China.
Singapore, the Southeast Asian financial and tourism hub, earlier on Monday warned of an economic hit from the outbreak.
“We certainly expect there to be an impact on our economy, business and consumer confidence this year especially as the situation is expected to persist for some time,” Singapore’s trade minister Chan Chun Sing said Monday.
(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
Anwar’s New Challenge Is Finding a Champion for Malaysia’s Economy
(Bloomberg) — Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim promised a unity government to stabilize the country. Now he needs to find a finance minister who can steer the economy and help him hold onto power.
His pick must present a budget next month that can shield Malaysia’s fragile recovery amid concerns of a global slowdown next year. Inflation is elevated and the still-weak currency has made living costs untenable for low and middle-income households.
The job, which involves overseeing big projects to boost the economy and setting strategy for Malaysia’s state investment funds, is widely seen as training ground for future prime ministers. Past leaders at times have appointed loyal technocrats or simply taken on the finance portfolio themselves.
There’s no reason to pick a political nobody, “except in the case where the prime minister wants to stay in charge,” said Woo Wing Thye, professor emeritus at University of California at Davis who focuses on East Asian economies.
“The finance minister’s job is to identify good projects and have the political standing to be able to push what he thinks to be the right economic stance for the government,” he added.
Anwar has numerous candidates to consider given he heads a coalition made up of at least four political groups. Here’s a look at the top candidates:
Mohamad Hasan, 66
Mohamad Hasan is the deputy president of the United Malays National Organisation, the linchpin of Barisan Nasional that joined Anwar’s government last week. He had a 25-year career in banking and the corporate sector before being elected to public office in 2004. He served as chief minister of a tiny state next to Kuala Lumpur, where he’s credited with reducing the region’s debt and boosting economic growth.”
Mohamad was the election director for the UMNO-led coalition and actively pushed then-premier Ismail Sabri to call for snap elections so it could capitalize on a string of local poll victories. The coalition lost significant ground and Mohamad was initially reluctant to join Anwar’s government. Several Barisan Nasional lawmakers have publicly said he should be one of Anwar’s two deputy prime ministers.
Johari Abdul Ghani, 58
A trained accountant, Johari Abdul Ghani is best known for running fast-food franchise KFC Holdings in the 1990s. He’s a long-time UMNO member and came to the forefront when he won a seat in Kuala Lumpur in 2013. Three years later, then-premier Najib Razak named him second finance minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle that rewarded party loyalists.
Even though his boss held primary control over federal finances, it was Johari who spoke publicly about the escalating crisis of 1MDB and its billions of dollars of debt. He’s helped buy over UMNO’s stake in companies like KUB Malaysia in 2019 to help the party stay afloat after some of its bank accounts were frozen in relation to 1MDB.
Johari lost his parliamentary seat in 2018 but won it back in last week’s election as he was seen by the majority Malay voters in the district as a capable administrator.
Rafizi Ramli, 45
Rafizi Ramli was swept up in the “reformasi movement” protesting Anwar’s sacking as deputy prime minister in 1998. He worked as an accountant with state oil and gas producer Petronas for about six years before quitting to focus on politics with Anwar and his party.
He was elected to parliament in 2013 and focused on exposing corruption related to Najib and his government, including 1MDB. His revelations helped fuel public anger against UMNO and led to its historic defeat in 2018, though he was ineligible to defend his seat as he was appealing a jail sentence for leaking contents of a 1MDB audit report. He was acquitted in 2019.
Rafizi returned to the political fray earlier this year. His team swept most of the positions in Anwar’s party and he now holds its powerful deputy president position.
Azman Mokhtar, 61
Azman Mokhtar worked at Malaysia’s electric utility and cycled through a series of finance jobs before taking the reins of the sovereign wealth fund, Khazanah Nasional Bhd., in 2004. He’s the longest-serving managing director of the fund, which is owned by the Finance Ministry, making him well acquainted with the inner workings of government.
He oversaw the fund’s international expansion and led investments in healthcare, technology and creative industries while formulating deals to invest in an assortment of local companies. From mid-2004 through 2017, it notched average annual compound gains of 9.6%, trailing the 10% return of the KLCI Index.
He was regarded as part of then-premier Najib’s inner circle, advising him on the economy and capital markets. After Najib and UMNO’s historic defeat in the 2018 elections, Azman and the Khazanah board stepped down. They had come under scrutiny by Mahathir Mohamad, who became prime minister a second time and said the fund invested in too many companies.
Nazir Razak, 56
Nazir Razak was born into political royalty as the son of the Malaysia’s second premier and the younger brother of Najib Razak. He joined CIMB in the late 1980s and oversaw its rapid expansion, including a hostile takeover of Southern Bank.
After stepping down as CIMB CEO in 2014, but keeping the chairman role, Nazir became increasingly critical of the government’s handling of 1MDB and its impact on Malaysia. The country needs to “fix our moral compass and deal with our structural problems,” he said in 2016. Shortly after, he took a leave of absence while CIMB probed a $7 million transfer to his personal bank account from Najib, which had surfaced as part of the scandal. He was cleared and remained chairman until 2018.
Nazir has said he wants to broaden policies that now favor the Malays to also benefit ethnic groups in the lower-income bracket. He’s in the mix as many in corporate Malaysia regard him as a known entity who understands what’s needed to restart the economy.
Anthony Loke, 45
Anthony Loke was widely liked by Malaysians across political spectrum when he was transport minister under Mahathir Mohamad’s short-lived administration from 2018. That’s because he’s played a big role in renegotiating costly infrastructure contracts struck under Najib’s government and making public transport more efficient.
Holding the powerful secretary-general role in the Democratic Action Party — the largest in Anwar’s coalition — Loke is well positioned to get a key cabinet role. However the center-left party, which drew the support of Chinese and Indian voters, is likely to defer cabinet positions to Malay lawmakers to ensure the coalition remains stable.
Anwar Ibrahim, 75
The newly appointed premier told reporters last week that he’s not considering taking the role, at least at the moment. But such decisions can change and after all, Anwar’s predecessors Najib and Mahathir both took charge of the state finances toward the end of their reigns.
Anwar was finance minister in Mahathir’s cabinet for seven years and got fired at the height of the 1998 financial crisis after a falling out with his boss over the economy, in particular foreign exchange and capital controls. Mahathir wanted a low interest rate environment with more spending while Anwar advocated a tighter monetary policy with austerity measures.
–With assistance from Nurin Sofia.
Remarks by President Biden on Growing the Economy and Creating Good-Paying Jobs – The White House
SK Siltron CSS Facility
Bay City, Michigan
3:19 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Michigan! (Applause.) Hello, hello, hello, hello!
I’ll tell you what: I — if I — my mom is looking down from Heaven and saying, “Apologize to these people because you have their — you have their back to them.” I apologize — (laughter) — because I’m going to be talking that way. But thank you very, very much.
And I told Jeffrey that I went to a school that had these colors. The — you guys will recognize these colors. Well, they — you know, my college football coach played at Michigan. And he — he became a — he made it to the Hall of Fame as a coach. And — but the thing was that he always — here’s what he did to — I have to admit it front end. I told this to Kildee on the way up. We stole Michigan’s uniforms. (Laughter.) Same exact uniforms. So that’s why the blue and gold.
Many of you who are State folks, just remember —
AUDIENCE: Go green!
THE PRESIDENT: — just remember, for all of you who are looking at the tie, it’s Delaware, okay? (Laughter.) If you’re from the University of Michigan, it’s Michigan.
Hey, it’s great to be here. It really is. Jeff, thanks. Thank you, Jeffrey, for your introduction. I really mean it. It’s a big deal. And you’re a big guy. (Laughter.) And as I told you, if I had you running in front of me when I was playing flanker back, I could have been an All-American, man. (Laughter.) I could have been big. Could have been big.
Look, Governor Whitmer, thanks for inviting me back to Michigan. (Applause.) And congratulations on your historic victory. (Applause.) Historic. You stood for jobs. You stood for dignity. You stood for the American worker. You stood up for women’s fundamental rights. (Applause.) You insisted on democratic values. And we’re seeing here today business leaders, at home and abroad, recognize the importance of your leadership. And it’s not a small item. It’s a significant item.
And Senator Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both close friends, had to be in Washington today. But I want to say thanks to them because we wouldn’t have gotten half the stuff we passed passed. And they’re true leaders in the Senate and tireless fighters for the state of Michigan.
Representative Dan Kildee — we rode up together — he’s the most — one of the most effective members in the United States Congress and a good friend. (Applause.) No, he really is. And thanks for your partnership over the past couple of years, pal. I — I really mean it. And you’re doing a lot to revitalize American manufacturing in Michigan and across the country.
And Representative Slotkin came up on the plane with me. Where — is she here today? (Applause.) There you are. I’m — I — I love her. I’m very careful with her because she’s former CIA. I’m really worried. (Laughter.) She — (laughs) — good to see you. Thanks for your — your work on so many important issues in this state and everything you do to support service women and men and our veterans all over the world. And — and all those issues that, as my dad used to say, we used to talk about at the kitchen table, they’re the bread-and-butter issues, and you work like hell on all of them. And I appreciate it.
And I also want to thank the leaders of SK siltron css. And I met with the — some of their folks as well in Korea. They’re a first-rate operation, and they’re going to create a lot of good-paying jobs here, Rev. They’re going to do that pretty soon. (Applause.)
I recently got back from a trip literally around the world. You know that “around the world in 80 days”? Well, I did in six. (Laughter.) And I started off in Egypt and ended up in Guam and coming on home. And we ended with a meeting in Indonesia with the G20, the 20 largest economies in the world.
And it was clear in those meetings — and I mean it sincerely — that the rest of the world views the United States as better positioned than any other nation — any major nation in the world to lead the world economy in the 21st century. And that’s not a joke.
Here we have a strong sense — our strong sense of what all the leaders in the world and — look to us about. And they see resilience in the American economy. And we’re seeing that here at home as well with investments like we’re going to talk about today.
Together, with the help of your elected leaders here today, we had an extraordinary two years of progress. We passed the American Rescue Plan. (Applause.) Now, everybody knows that the — we did so much; no one knows the effects of it yet. We’re just — just — they’re just coming into play.
What that little plan did with the billions of dollars we spent is it kept tens of thousands of cops, firefighters, teachers, first responders on the job in 50 states because they lost income because of the significant reduction in employment in those states. And it provided them the money to be able to keep everyone employed.
We fully vaccinated — when I came to office, there were 2 million people vaccinated. We vaccinated 220 million people, saving thousands of lives. (Applause.)
And we’re rebuilding our infrastructure. And, Governor, we’re fixing the damn roads. (Applause.) Well, I cam- — I came and campaigned for the first time she ran for governor. She ran on the platform of “fix the damn roads.” Well, it stuck in my mind. I kept my promise. We’re going to fix your damn roads in a big way, to the tune of billions of dollars — bridges and airports as well.
And we’re lowering prescription drug cost. Anybody — a senior citizen on Medicare, the fact — I mean, the fact is that — and it won’t take effect until January 1st, but from that point on, you’ll pay $35 for your insulin, not $400 a month for your insulin. (Applause.)
And we’ve strengthened American manufacturing. We’ve creating more jobs in the first two years of any presidency: 735,000 manufacturing jobs. (Applause.) Manufacturing jobs. And we’re still counting. (Applause.)
And Michigan will once again become the manufacturing hub of the nation, and that’s not a joke. Because when I got to the United States Senate as a 29-year-old kid — I had to wait a couple days to be sworn in — but when I got there, this was the — one of the epicenters of manufacturing.
And we’re addressing the climate crisis as well. The climate plan we just passed is going to reduce emissions by 1 billion metric tons by 2030.
And because of our po- — our policies, gasoline prices are coming down. And what’s most exciting about it: People are starting to feel a sense of optimism and the impact of these legislative achievements in their own lives.
It’s going to accelerate in the months ahead. And so many things — you’re going to find out what we’ve already done that we haven’t been able to actually implement yet. We’re in the process of doing it.
And it’s part of a broader story about the economy we’re building that works for everybody — you know, one of the — one that grows from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down.
When it grows from the bottom up and the middle out, the wealthy do very well — they don’t get hurt at all — but working pe- — poor folks get a shot and a ladder up, and middle-class folks get a shot, as my dad would say, just to have a little breathing room. A little breathing room. And that positions America to win the economic competition of the 21st century.
My dad used to have an expression, and I mean it sincerely. Matter of fact, it was quoted to me today by one of the congressmen. He used to say, “Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about your place in your community.” Literally. Not a joke. Think about it. It’s about being able to look your child in the eye and say, “Honey, it’s going to be okay.”
That’s what a job should be about. And thousands of Michiganders are going to be able to look their child in the eye and say, “Honey, it’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay.” (Applause.)
Back in July when the chairman of SK, who is here today, came to the White House, we talked about a $50 billion investment SK is making in the United States. At the time, they wouldn’t let me come down from the — from the third floor because I was exposed to COVID. I didn’t have it yet, but they were worried about me exposing other people.
And so, as he said, it was like “Alice in Wonderland.” I’m up on the third floor in that balcony and waving to the chairman of SK, saying, “You are coming, aren’t ya?” (Laughter.) “You are coming, aren’t ya?”
But, look, they produce everything from semiconductors to electric vehicle batteries to chargers, pharmaceuticals.
And part of the investment is coming right here in Bay City to produce semiconductor materials for the small computer chips that power our everyday lives: smartphones, washing machines, hospital equipment, automobiles — just to name a few.
They’re especially critical for powering electric vehicles, which you can use 2- to 3,000 chips per single vehicle just to —
And, by the way, think about it: General Motors, Ford, Stellantis — all manufacturing electric vehicles made by the UAW here in Michigan. (Applause.)
And, by the way, if you can hold for a second, my — the person who introduced me — everybody thinks, because I’ve been so pro-union my whole career — everybody — and I talk about it, and I talked about this with SK in Korea and here: You’re the best workers in the world. You’re the most qua- — I’m not just — I’m not being nice. You’re the most qualified workers in the world.
What most people don’t know: This man here did not four years of college — five years learning this trade. Five years working at it. (Applause.)
They’re the best in the world. I mean it. Most people don’t know it. Most people who think, “I want to be a pipefitter” — and you show up and they give you a wrench. Come on, man. I’m serious. We have the best workers in the world. The most qualified workers in the world.
And, by the way, you know, I wanted — the middle class built America, and unions built the middle class. (Applause.) That’s a fact. That’s a fact. And that’s coming from the boy who grew in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Claymont, Delaware. (Applause.)
No, I really mean it. We sort of forgot. We forgot how critically important the skill of the labor force we have in the United States of America. We need these chips to make vehicles. SK said –excuse me — SK came along and is making the material that goes into these computer chips. So instead of relying on chips made overseas in places like China, the supply chain for those chips will be here in America, in Michigan. It’s a game changer. (Applause.)
America invented — I reminded the chairman of SK, who’s become a good acquaintance, we invented the chip in America. We invented the chip in America. Then we got lazy.
Federal investment helped reduced the cost of creating a market and a higher — an entire industry that America led. As a result, over 30 years ago, America produced 30 percent of all the chips in the world. Then something happened.
American manufacturing, the backbone of our economy, got hollowed out. Companies began to move jobs overseas instead of products overseas, because it was cheaper for them. That’s why it happened.
I come from the corporate capital of the world. There are more corporations incorporated in Delaware than every other state in the union combined. And guess what? A lot of businesses got greedy, go to the cheap labor overseas.
Well, now we’re sending good products overseas made by first-class labor. (Applause.)
Folks, as a result, today we’re down to producing only around 10 percent of the world’s chips despite leading the world in research and design of new chip technology.
Why does this matter? I had a long meeting with Xi Jinping at the G20. We have met for over 80 hours over the last 10 years. We know each other well. And he’s a little upset that we’re deciding we’re going to, once again, be — you know, and so are our European friends. They’re talking about the supply chain. We’re going to be the supply chain. And the difference is going to be we’re going to make that supply chain available to the rest of the world, but we’re not going to be held hostage anymore. (Applause.) I mean it.
We saw it during the pandemic when overseas factories that make these chips shut down because of the pandemic, the global economy began to comes to a halt, driving up costs for families.
In fact, one third of the core inflation last year is because of the price of automobiles. They couldn’t get the computer chips so they couldn’t make the automobiles, so the price of the fewer automobiles that are being made went way up. They had to shut down. Workers on the shop floor got laid off. Prices went up because cars were in short supply.
The reason I pushed for the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act is because I knew we could turn things around. I’ve never been more optimistic about America than I have been in the last several years. And I mean that sincerely.
Not just here in Michigan but all over the country, semiconductor companies are investing literally several hundred billion dollars over the next 10 years. Several hundred billion dollars in a field of dreams right outside of Columbus, Ohio. Thirteen thousand employees; five thousand full-time. You don’t need a college degree for 80 percent of the jobs there, and the average salary is $126,000. (Applause.)
Look, a record amount of money to bring chip production back home — that’s what that legislation did. And we’re bringing other key parts of the supply chain back to — supply chain back to America as well.
Think about it: Ten years ago, how many of you knew what the hell a supply chain was? (Laughter.) No, I’m serious. It’s a phrase — when I started talking about supply chains, people were going, “Supply…” No reason why they should have been. It’s not because they weren’t smart; we didn’t have to rely on the rest of the world.
We — we led the world. And because of the IBEW and I got elected, we’re going to lead it again. (Applause.) I mean it.
Companies in every part of the country are expanding factories, building new ones to make electric vehicle batteries and chargers, creating thousands of jobs in the process.
Folks, where is it written that America will not lead the world in manufacturing again? Where’s that written?
Now the United States is a top destination for companies across the globe looking to make investments in manufacturing again. They see what I see, what you see: We have world-class, high-skilled, highly committed workers. Union workers.
Union workers are the most highly trained, highly skilled workers in the entire world. That’s not a joke; that’s a fact. That’s a fact.
They’re building these factories. They’re working in them as well. This wasn’t built. This was here.
But many of the other places where these investments are taking place for semiconductors are building from scratch. The factories we’re in are going to a make big difference.
And now, I know many of you who are watching at home are like the folks I grew up with in Scranton — in Pennsylvania and in Claymont, Delaware. You felt left out for a long time. Used to be a really thriving economies. The economy left you behind. The industry that’s rapidly changing — you were left out.
I understand it. My family understands it. That’s why when coal died in Scranton, we moved down to Claymont, Delaware, which is a steel town. It used to have thousands of workers — 6,000 steel workers. They’re all gone now.
Delaware used to have the largest percentage of auto workers of any na- — any state in the nation. The largest General Motors plant outside of — they’re all gone. It’s gone.
But hear me: We’re going to leave nobody behind this time around. Nobody. (Applause.) We’re going to make sure all American workers with college degrees and without college degrees are prepared to compete with anyone in the world.
We’re working with companies and community colleges, technical schools, union-led apprentice train- — and training programs to make that happen.
In fact, a few months ago, I announced a $52 million grant from the American Rescue Plan, which we passed 20 months ago, with the help of your congressional leaders here today. It’s a partnership right here in Michigan, including the Big Three and the United Auto Workers to train our workers, upgrade our factories for the electric vehicle revolution.
You know, we were talking on the way up in the plane. We had a little event that your congressman came to — I put together on the South Lawn of the White House.
And in the process, I had the CEOs of all American auto companies. And Mary Barra, the Chairman of General Motors, was suing the state of California because they had a higher air quality standard than any other state. And — arguing it couldn’t be higher than the national standard.
And we had a little talk. I’m not saying she did this because of our talk, but I asked her what was going on. And about two weeks later, she gave me a call. She said, “I dropped the suit against California, and I commit to you we’re going to go all electric at General Motors.” Every other auto company did the same thing. They all stepped up. (Applause.)
So, just like over the last century, American workers built carburetors, now American workers are going to build vehicles, batteries in a new clean-energy economy.
My approach to building the economy of the future is working because of the strong support of your delegation. Our economy grew at 2.6 percent the last quarter while inflation started to slow and unemployment stayed low.
Here’s what that means for folks here at home. We’ve added jobs every single month in my presidency — 10 million total new jobs, more than any other administration in history in the first 20 months — more than 735,000 of them manufacturing jobs. (Applause.)
Exports is up — are up. And I mean this. We’re making things here in America, as I said earlier, and we’re shipping them overseas instead of shipping jobs overseas. (Applause.) Look, like we’ve been doing for much too long. Like we were doing before I got elected President.
Inflation at the grocery stores — thank God — is beginning to slow. Prices for things like clothes, television, and appliances are going down. That’s good news for the holiday season.
Earlier this month, we saw that the growth — price businesses pay for goods and services is also down.
And here’s the really good news: They’re not down enough in Michigan, but gas prices are now back to where they were before Russia invaded Ukraine. They’ve dropped $1.50 from their peak this summer. And in Michigan, they dropped $1.60 from their peak this summer. If you’re a Michigan family with two cars, you’re saving an average of $170 a month compared to what you’re paying in the summer. That’s real money.
And across the country, the common price at the pump is $2.99 a gallon; it’s much higher here. And the prices continue to go down.
This isn’t accidental. We’ve been on this for months.
Remember, I got criticized? In the face of Putin using energy as a weapon, I took some decisive action. I ordered the largest-ever release of pe- — from the petroleum reserve: 180 million barrels of oil. And I rallied our international partners to come up with their fair share as well.
That helped put pressure — downward pressure on prices because we were producing more gasoline. That helped stabilize crude oil markets. It reduced prices at the pump.
Now I’ve been calling on energy companies who had the biggest years they’ve ever had in all of their history to begin to pass on those savings to the pe- — American people at the pump, where they’re going to be — going to be coming to them.
And while these prices are lower, they’re not low enough. I continue to call on the producers to invest their record profits in America for Americans.
In America, we can do two things at the same time: We can increase production and lower prices for American consumers and businesses in the short term while accelerating our investment and transition to a clean-energy future. (Applause.) And I — we’re going to do that. We’re doing it.
It’s going to take time to get inflation back to normal levels as we keep the job market resilient. And we could see setbacks along the way, but we’re laser-focused on this. I promise you: We’re laser-focused on this.
In the meantime, for the first time in a long time, we’re investing in America and we’re investing in ourselves. I signed a once-in-a-generation investment on our nation’s roads, bridges, railroads, ports, airports, lead-free water systems, high-speed Internet, and the biggest investment in American infrastructure since Dwight Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System. Nothing has been as big since then.
We’re building 500,000 electric charging stations across the country. We have the money to do it. The great American road trip will be fully electrified when you’re driving costs — along the I-10 or I-75 from here to Mi- — in Michigan.
We just announced funding for Michigan Tech to help develop technology to recycle batteries in a way that uses less energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
We’re making the single-largest investment ever — $1 billion — to clean up and restore areas around the Great Lakes, including — (applause) — including the Detroit River, the Kalamazoo River, Torch Lake. (Applause.) This is going to matter. It’s going to matter for your kids and your grandkids in a big way.
Mitch Landrieu, the head of our infrastructure program, was just down the road in Saginaw announcing hundreds of millions of dollars of funding to clean up drinking water across the state of Michigan and replace lead service lines. (Applause.)
We’re making sure: No more Flints ever again. (Applause.) I mean it. No more Flints ever again.
We’re increasing capacity at the Port of Detroit, rebuilding platforms to handle dry-bulk cargo, improving the connection for rail lines so companies making things here in Michigan can get their products to market faster and cheaper.
And when you see these big projects in your hometown and cranes going up, shovels in the ground, workers with hardhats, I want you to feel the way I feel: pride — pride in what we can do when we do it together. (Applause.)
So let me close with this: It’s been a rough few hard years for hardworking Americans. For a lot of families, things are still tough. But there are bright spots where America is reasserting itself, and this is one of those bright spots. I also — it’s also happening in places like New York, Idaho, Arizona, Ohio.
I asked the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies a question: When the United States decides to invest considerable resources in new industries that we need to build up, does that encourage or discourage them to get in the game and invest? And the universal answer was it encourages them to get involved and invest.
Federal investment attracts private-sector investments. It creates jobs and industries. It demonstrates we’re all in this together. And that’s what today is about. I said for a long time: If we invest in America, we can change this country.
We used to — one — one of my staff is — anybody is tired of hearing me saying it. You know, we used to invest 2 percent of our GDP in pure research and development. The federal government invested in that. That got down to 0.7 percent. Well, we used to rank number two; now we rank number eight in the world. What the hell is going — what’s going on? (Laughter.)
No, I’m serious. Think about it. We can change this country’s future. That’s what we’re doing. And the whole world is looking now to invest here in America again. Again. (Applause.)
I’ve been determined to make things in this country again, to build American manufacturing capacity, and to make sure that we’re never again in a position where we were during the pandemic.
Some folks didn’t believe we could do it, but I made no bones about it. I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future than I am today.
We’re building a better America. We just have to keep it going. I know we can. We’re proving it’s never been a good bet — it’s never, ever, ever been a good bet to bet against America. Never, never, never. (Applause.) I mean it. It’s never been.
We’re the only country in the world where every crisis we’ve come into, we’ve come out stronger than we went in — because it’s who we are.
We just remembering — you need to remember who the hell we are. We’re the United States of America, and there’s nothing — nothing, nothing we can’t do if we do it together. (Applause.) So let’s keep this going.
God bless you all. And may God protect our troops. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. (Applause.)
3:44 P.M. EST
How Fintech Impacts Payday Lending
There has been massive growth in the world of digital banking over the past few years. Today, you can use your computer to do just about any task that required you to physically visit the bank a decade or so ago. Planning to open an account with a financial institution of your choice? Just visit their web portal or download their official mobile app, and you’re good to go. All these benefits can be attributed to the emergence of the financial technology (fintech) ecosystem.
Fintech has made it easier for people to access mainstream financial services without leaving the comfort of their homes or offices. This innovative feature has contributed to the growing popularity of the payday lending concept, even in markets where traditional banks are willing to provide loans.
Payday loans aren’t new in the corporate world, but they’ve been associated with high-interest rates for a long time. As such, it’s always been a nightmare for low-income consumers to access these lending facilities. However, fintech is now gradually revolutionizing this sector. But how exactly has it impacted payday lending in general? Read on to learn more.
- Access to instant cash loans
Gone are the days when you had to fill out stacks of paperwork and wait in long lines when applying for payday loans. With financial technology, things have changed drastically, and you can now access payday lending services from the comfort of your couch.
Lenders like MyCanadaPayday allow you to borrow and access loans within 15 minutes. The fact that all application procedures are done online makes these financial facilities more convenient than physical payday stores.
- Low interest fees
As mentioned earlier, accessing payday loans has always been an issue for low-income earners because of the high-interest rates. Some lenders take advantage of the borrower’s financial situation to make a fortune. As such, the interest can go as high as 400% per year. This is one thing that fintech has gradually rectified over the past few years.
The main purpose of payday loans is to help you solve your financial issues and then allow you to repay the money once your salary arrives. Fintech is doing pretty much the same thing as the payday lending industry but at a fair deal. With the help of these organizations, you can access part of your future earnings at no cost or a small dollar fee.
For instance, most fintech companies will charge you not more than CAD$5 to access 50% of your upcoming wages. Some mobile apps in the fintech ecosystem generate revenue through tips. As a borrower, in your application, you may choose how much to tip the lender, and that will be included in your total repayment.
- New model of accessing funds
The payday industry works by loaning you some money that you’re required to repay on your payday. This can be helpful when you’re in urgent need of financial help. But as stated earlier, some payday lenders take advantage of their borrowers by charging high-interest rates. Fintech companies are slowly making changes in this industry by introducing a new model of accessing funds.
Rather than borrowing a loan and repaying it in two weeks or so, this new financial technology model allows you to access part of your earnings early. In most cases, you can withdraw up to 50% of your wages, which will be automatically deducted from your monthly salary. So, if your monthly salary is at least CAD$1,000, you can use up to CAD$500 of your future earnings for a small fee. It’s worth noting that companies may have different policies regarding this, and some may allow you to access your paycheck in full before payday.
If your employer has already partnered with a fintech company, you might enjoy these benefits at no cost. In fact, some models have been designed to allow employees to access their earnings as soon as they earn them. For instance, if you’re paid on an hourly basis, whatever you earn today can be transferred to your bank within a few days upon your request.
Despite their benefits, traditional payday lending facilities have their fair share of drawbacks. Among the main disadvantages of using these loan options is the fact that most of them charge high-interest rates.
Fintech is slowly taking center stage in the payday lending industry, and it has already proven to be helpful to many people. Today, one can access payday loans at a relatively low cost, thanks to financial technology. You can also access a portion or all of your future earnings through a new innovative feature. With fintech, you no longer have to deal with high-interest payday loans.
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