How is this going? (December 11-17)
Criminal charges against Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is expected to appear before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday — one of many efforts to investigate the exchange’s collapse. But the day before, he had been arrested in the Bahamas after U.S. prosecutors filed criminal charges. He faces eight counts, including multiple charges of fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States and violate campaign finance laws. Separately, the SEC filed a civil lawsuit accusing Bankman-Fried of misleading investors by committing approximately $2 billion to FTX, among other charges. Not long ago, the chatty cryptocurrency mogul was speaking to reporters in The New York Times and elsewhere about his role in FTX’s downfall.
Musk and Twitter
It started with private jets. Last week, Elon Musk suspended 25 Twitter accounts dedicated to keeping tabs on the planes of government agencies, billionaires and other high-profile figures, including Trump. Musk. (The @ElonJet account tracked his flight using public data.) Shortly after completing the purchase of Twitter in October, Mr. Musk said he would allow the account to remain on the platform, viewing the move as a model for free speech. But Wednesday, sir. Not only did Musk suspend @ElonJet, but two dozen similar accounts. Shortly after, he suspended the accounts of six journalists who had written articles about the suspension of private jet trackers or had published articles critical of Mr. Trump. Musk’s ownership of Twitter. But earlier Saturday, he said he was restoring the accounts of several journalists.
Inflation eases, but Fed holds steady
November’s inflation data brought good news to Fed policymakers, but it wasn’t enough to change the central bank’s plans to continue raising interest rates. The consumer price index fell to 7.1 percent last month from 7.7 in October and is also well below its latest peak of 9.1 percent in June. Still, the day after the data was released, the Fed made it clear that it intends to continue cooling an overheated economy. Officials did slow the pace of rate hikes — raising rates by half a percentage point instead of three-quarters, the pace of four hikes in a row in the past — but they said rates would continue to rise in the new year. The Fed still intends to achieve its 2% inflation target, with Fed Chairman Jerome H. Powell saying that plan includes “potentially higher interest rates, possibly for longer.”
what’s next (18-24 December)
Happy Holidays with great discounts
Inflation may be starting to slow, but the inflationary mindset remains. For holiday shoppers, that could mean continuing to pay more attention to spending, as recent data on November retail sales seemed to suggest. U.S. retail sales were down 0.6% from October, even during the Thanksgiving peak, when nearly 200 million Americans shopped over the five-day period that includes Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some analysts say customers are now likely to spend more on travel, entertainment and other in-person experiences and less on traditionally popular gift categories such as apparel and sporting goods. For example, some gifts under the tree could be replaced with gift cards or event tickets. Many consumers may continue to seek deep discounts when shopping for loved ones, as their budgets are tighter than in recent years.