Week InReview
Friday | Apr 16, 2021
Happiness 101.
Illustration: Andrea Chronopoulos
It may seem simple, but it bears repeating:
sleep, gratitude, and helping other people.

— The New York Times
let's recap...
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines at the April 14 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
Top lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee issued warnings about China’s rise, Russian hacking and the administration's plans to withdraw forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 as the nation’s top spy chiefs testified publicly for the first time in more than two years. (Bloomberg Cybersecurity | Apr 14)

The U.S. Senate cleared Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, allowing Wall Street’s top sheriff to take over the regulator as it faces myriad market threats. The SEC's agenda is expected to include trading apps, crypto, SPACs, and Archegos. (Bloomberg Politics | Apr 14)

The Federal Reserve will likely scale back its bond purchases before considering raising interest rates, Chair Jerome Powell said, hardening expectations on the sequence of its eventual exit from aggressive policy support. (Bloomberg Economics | Apr 14)

Market participants this week staked out their positions on how to fix systemic risks in the $4.9 trillion U.S. money market fund industry, in what is shaping up to be the first big fight for the new administration’s financial regulators. (Reuters | Apr 13) see also U.S. money markets face challenges as debt limit draws near (Bloomberg Markets | Apr 13)

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren cited three financial stability risks that could build up with the strong recovery. He said money market mutual funds, corporate bond funds, and Treasury clearing and settlement are areas that regulators should take a careful look at. (Bloomberg Law | Apr 12)
Five takeaways from Fed chair's comments
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell
(Apr 14) — Here are the takeaways from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s interview at an Economic Club of Washington event.
  • Powell said the preconditions the Fed has set out for interest-rate hikes are unlikely to be met before 2022, let alone this year. He pointed to projections issued in March showing most Fed officials don’t anticipate any rate hikes will be appropriate before 2024.
  • The Fed chair also reiterated that the economy appears to be at “an inflection point,” poised for stronger growth and hiring from here on out as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. But he said a further spread of Covid cases remains the big risk and urged the public to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing “at least for a while longer.”
  • When it comes to the Fed’s bond-buying program, Powell said he expects the central bank would begin tapering it before starting to raise rates, the same way it did last time around, coming out of the Great Recession. He also said he doesn’t expect the Fed would actually ever sell any bonds into the marketplace — also like last time.
  • Powell offered his usual takes on various other topics, like cryptocurrencies (more a speculative vehicle than a viable means of payment), the national debt and deficits (unsustainable longer term but not appropriate to address now) and cybersecurity (one of the biggest risks the Fed and other systemically-important institutions are grappling with).
  • Overall, markets didn’t hear much they didn’t already know from Powell and didn’t move much as a result.

Source: Bloomberg Government
the cyber cafe
NSA, CISA, FBI lists SolarWinds vulnerabilities
The National Security Agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation jointly released a Cybersecurity Advisory, “Russian SVR Targets U.S. and Allied Networks,” Thursday to expose ongoing Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) exploitation of five publicly known vulnerabilities.

China is "unparalleled priority" among world threats, top U.S. intelligence officials say
Top officials from the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities told a Senate panel on Wednesday that a "shifting landscape" of quick-moving and interconnected global threats – ranging from climate change to cyberattacks – would mean agencies will need to reframe some of their approach to issues of national security. 
— CBS News

NATO prepares for the worst
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is running its annual Locked Shields exercise this week, including scenarios that explore how widespread attacks on a fictional nation’s infrastructure might strike at activities critical to keeping the global financial system going. 
binge reading disorder
As of December 2020, The Journal had 2.46 million digital-only subscriptions. It aims to double that number by June 2024.
Photo: Devin Oktar Yalkin/NYT
Inside the fight for the future of The Wall Street Journal
A special team led by a high-level manager says Rupert Murdoch’s paper must evolve to survive. But a rivalry between editor and publisher stands in the way.

‘FOMO’ will drive workers back into the office
FOMO – fear of missing out – is what will drive you to suit up and get back to your old desk, at least for a couple days a week.

For the rich, living in Asia is costlier than anywhere else
If you’re wealthy, Asia Pacific is the most expensive place to live, with Shanghai overtaking Hong Kong as the priciest city in the world. By contrast, the Americas was the most affordable because of the slumps in the U.S. and Canadian dollars and sharp devaluations of Latin American currencies.
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