The United States imposed sanctions on two more Chinese officials and one Chinese regime entity over human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslim minorities in the far-western region of Xinjiang. The Trump administration on July 31 announced sanctions on current and former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials heading the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a regional paramilitary force under the Party, as well as the XPCC itself. The latest move builds upon sanctions issued earlier this month against four CCP officials—including a member of the CCP’s powerful Politburo Chen Quanguo—for their roles in overseeing the suppression in Xinjiang. The United Nations estimates that more than a million Uyghur Muslims have been detained in internment camps in the Xinjiang region. Survivors of the internment camps said they experienced torture, rape, and political indoctrination while…
Near-real-time economic models at the Federal Reserve banks in New York and Atlanta predict America’s economy will experience surging, double-digit growth in the third quarter of this year, following a record-shattering collapse of minus 32.9 percent in the second quarter, when business activity ground to a halt due to the pandemic.
Called “nowcasts,” the predictions are model-based, running estimates of real GDP growth based on various data points and are neither an official forecast of the Atlanta Fed nor of the New York Fed. But the Atlanta Fed model’s latest estimate, called GDPNow and released on July 31, is for the economy to rebound by a seasonally-adjusted, annualized 11.9 percent in the third quarter.
America’s economy suffered a historic contraction in the second quarter of this year, with the Commerce Department’s Thursday announcement showing that GDP plumbed depths more than three times lower the previous all-time drop of 10 percent in the second quarter of 1958.
“Markets were pretty much expecting a disastrous number, and they got it. The recovery is going to take time,” said Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuho Securities USA.
Most of the drop in GDP took place in April, when business activity was put into deep freeze by lockdowns meant to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.
Many businesses resumed operations in May, fueling hopes for a quick rebound. But a resurgence of cases, especially in the densely populated South and West, along with weak job numbers, are tempering hopes for quick economic recovery.
The lackluster jobless claims report, released July 30, showed that initial weekly unemployment filings rose for the second straight week after steadily falling from its March peak of almost 7 million. For the week ending July 25, the number of Americans filing jobless claims was 1,434,000, Labor Department figures show (pdf). By comparison, the pre-pandemic peak in new weekly jobless claims in America was 695,000, dating back to 1982.
A relative bright spot in the jobless numbers is the figure for continuing claims, which reflect people who earlier filed an initial claim and now continue to receive unemployment benefits. While the number of workers continuing to collect unemployment spiked by 867,000 during the week ending July 18, about a million workers went off unemployment the week before, so the net number of workers on continuing claims is lower over a two-week period.
Also, the total number of people collecting benefits in all unemployment programs for the week ending July 11 dropped by 1.6 million compared to the previous week.
“We all know that shutting down the economy was going to lead to a very, very sharp contraction in GDP. But there’s also evidence of a sharp rebound as well,” Ricchiuto noted.
Other data points released Friday paint a mixed picture. American consumers increased their spending by 5.6 percent in June while personal income fell by 1.1 percent, suggesting the U.S. economy may struggling to sustain recovery momentum, especially in places that have seen a surge in CCP virus infections.
“All we can say today is that there is evidence in high-frequency data and surveys…It looks like we are seeing a slowdown,” Powell said in a press conference. “It might be short-lived, it might not. The timing seems related to the spike in cases” that began in June, he added.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Focus News: New York Fed ‘Nowcast’ Predicts GDP to Surge 16.8 Percent in Third Quarter
An American former professor was sentenced for concealing his participation in a Chinese state-run recruitment program, while a Chinese researcher pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets from her employer in order to benefit China. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced details of two separate cases on July 30. Dr. James Patrick Lewis, a former West Virginia University (WVU) professor, was sentenced to three months in prison for federal program fraud, while Chen Li pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Research Institute in Ohio, for the benefit of herself and the Chinese communist regime. According to the DOJ, she applied to multiple Chinese state-run talent plans. For years, China’s central authorities and regional governments have rolled out talent recruitment programs, targeting promising overseas Chinese and…