Archive December 2021

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Week InReview: December 31, 2021

New Year's Eve cocktails worth staying up for.
IT'S A TRADITION to count down to New Year's with a drink in your hand. Whether you're a champagne, tequila, vodka, whiskey, or wine drinker, there's something here for for you. And for the non-drinkers, and designated drivers, there are some mocktails, too.
— Delish

Week InAdvance: December 27, 2021

The world continues to closely monitor the spread of the omicron variant of Covid-19, especially during the New Year celebrations. Although early studies indicate a lower risk of serious outcomes from omicron, the new strain’s highly contagious nature could offset that, researchers said.
Governments, private companies, sports and religious organizations are reassessing how to hold events over the next few weeks. Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles are among cities that have suspended in-person New Year’s Eve celebrations. New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams canceled his 3,000-person inauguration initially set for Jan. 1. 
President Joe Biden has three positions left to fill on the seven-member Federal Reserve board, including the pivotal slot of vice chair for supervision previously held by Randal Quarles. An announcement could come any day. He’s under pressure from progressives, who were disappointed by his renomination of Jerome Powell as Fed chair.

Week InReview: December 24, 2021

A pilgrimage to comfort.
The 1946 classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was set in a fictional town — so why do so many Americans make an annual pilgrimage to find it? Photo: Alamy
BEDFORD FALLS is fictional, the all-American town where Frank Capra set his Christmas classic 'It’s a Wonderful Life.' Yet Seneca Falls, five hours north of New York City in the Finger Lakes, lays claim to being the “real” Bedford Falls.  
For five days every December, the signs that mark the border of the upstate New York town of Seneca Falls are quietly overlaid with new lettering. Workers at the post office dust off stamps reserved for use just once a year and emblazon outbound mail with the name of a town that cannot be found on any map. Shopkeepers and bar owners hang new placards in their windows, becoming “Nick’s”, “Ma Bailey’s” and “Martini’s”.
The ending [of the film] may be happy, but the subject matter is dark for a Christmas film — as well as suicide, it deals with financial crises, loss and the agony of life not turning out as we had hoped.  
It is the film’s darkness, Capra’s message that the beauty of life cannot exist without the bedfellows of pain and disappointment, that has cemented the movie into the hearts of so many fans, and draws thousands to Bedford Falls each December. And if the original film brought comfort to difficult postwar days, perhaps this year’s festival feels especially needed after the pandemic.  
— Financial Times

Week InAdvance: December 20, 2021

Mon Dec 20 EU Environment Council. | Tue Dec 21 Winter solstice in Northern Hemisphere. | Wed Dec 22 EU green investment rules for nuclear & gas. | Thu Dec 23 Putin annual news conference. | Fri Dec 24 U.S. markets are closed. European markets close earlier.

Week InReview: December 17, 2021

The SEC was busy this week.
The SEC under Chair Gary Gensler plans to offer changes to make the most-vulnerable subset of money-market funds less susceptible to investor runs. Photo: Justin T. Gellerson for The Wall Street Journal
AND HERE are their new rule proposals about 10b5-1 plans, stock buybacks, money market funds and security-based swaps.
According to The Wall Street Journal, some of the SEC's proposals surprised Wall Street executives with their scope, and indicate that Chair Gary Gensler is moving quickly to enact a policy agenda that observers have called the agency's most ambitious in decades. That stands in contrast to other financial regulators, for which President Biden has yet to fill key positions, and saw a nominee withdraw amid Senate skepticism during confirmation.

Week InAdvance: December 13, 2021

Mon Dec 13 G7 FinMins discuss inflation as prices soar. | Tue Dec 14 Stablecoins on Senate Banking agenda. | Wed Dec 15 SEC will release its plan for scrutinizing complex stock derivatives transactions. FOMC rate decision. | Thu Dec 16 EU leader summit. BOE, ECB rate decisions, Lagarde briefing. | Fri Dec 17 FSOC meets in open and closed sessions. “Quadruple witching” day in the U.S. market.

Week InReview: December 10, 2021

Travel in the time of Covid.
Travel experts say the rapid reaction of various governments to the Omicron variant increases the risk of getting stuck in another country. A family waits to travel to the U.S. from Toronto. Photo: Nathan Denette/Associated Press
THERE'S A NEW variant affecting travel: Rapid government restrictions resulting from news of any new emerging health scare. It’s a change travelers are going to have to get used to.
Uncertainty always depresses international travel, and many travelers are likely to postpone trips, choose domestic destinations or just find other activities or ways to conduct business. The emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 prompted quick changes to requirements for entry into countries and even border closures in some cases.
Some travel experts say this represents a watershed moment for travel. Going forward, travel is seen as a spreader of disease, one that must be curtailed at the first sign of trouble.
That creates the possibility of serious disruption for travelers, perhaps akin to hurricanes or even terrorism attacks that lock down flights, strand travelers and prompt people to stay home.
That’s a risk we will all have to take into account when we travel in the future.
— The Wall Street Journal

Week InAdvance: December 6, 2021

Mon Dec 6 WEF event in Detroit. OECD AI roundtable. | Tue Dec 7 Basel events on resolution regimes and criminal finances. | Wed Dec 8 ESRB annual conference. OECD explores the new geography of work. | Thu Dec 9 The Summit for Democracy at the U.S. State Department. | Fri Dec 10 U.S. CPI.

Week InReview: December 3, 2021

The great pandemic closet purge.
Illustration: The Wall Street Journal
THE PANDEMIC closet purge isn’t merely an exercise in swapping formal clothes for casual ones, stylists say. The purge feeds a desire to simplify during complicated, uncertain times. And it’s an acknowledgment that looks created in the before times often seem false or irrelevant now.
— The Wall Street Journal