Your Evening Briefing: Powell Says Bigger Hikes May Come Back

Your Evening Briefing: Powell Says Bigger Hikes May Come Back
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Jerome Powell, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, speaks during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing in Washington Tuesday.

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The Fed is responding to all that recent data about a stout US job market and sticky inflation. Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank is likely to lift interest rates higher and potentially faster than previously anticipated, a turnabout given last month’s step down in the pace of hikes. “Economic data have come in stronger than expected, which suggests that the ultimate level of interest rates is likely to be higher than previously anticipated,” Powell told the Senate Banking Committee. Wall Street  and stocks plummeted. Here’s your markets wrap

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Billionaire Ken Griffin argues the groundwork for a recession has been laid, given the Fed’s need to raise rates further and Americans having suffered “traumatic” levels of inflation. But the founder of Citadel said the Fed is limited in how much it can fight rising prices with rate increases, likening the tool to “having surgery with a dull knife

US regulators have been sent to the headquarters of Silvergate Capital as the troubled crypto-friendly bank looks for a way to stay in business. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. officials are said to be discussing with management ways to avoid a shutdown

As China’s officials convene in Beijing, the message to America is one of , stretching from the Taiwan Strait to Ukraine and all across the global economy. China’s new foreign minister gravely warned that soaring US-China tensions risk blowing past any guardrails in the relationship. “The US claims that it seeks to outcompete China but does not seek conflict,” Foreign Minister Qin Gang said at his first news briefing since taking office. “Yet in reality, its so-called competition aims to contain and suppress China in all respects and get the two countries locked in a zero-sum game.” Just months ago, a meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping seemed the beginning of a reset. But ever since an alleged Chinese spy balloon crossed over the US, things have really headed downhill

Qin Gang, China’s foreign minister, during a news conference in Beijing on March 7.

More are warning that Republican threats to block an effort to raise the debt limit could lead to a re-do of the 2008 financial crisis. On Tuesday, Biden laid down a marker in his game of chicken with the GOP-controlled House. His new budget will propose hiking payroll taxes on Americans making over $400,000 per year and give the government new power to negotiate drug prices as part of an effort the White House says will extend the solvency of a key Medicare program for another quarter century. Though likely dead-on-arrival with Republicans given the levy on the rich, the Medicare component alludes to now-disowned GOP proposals to sunset that safety net along with Social Security. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, in a letter to Biden dated Monday, urged him to stand firm against GOP demands for tax breaks and reduced spending, citing a Moody’s Analytics estimate that massive cuts threaten to trigger a recession and cost 2.6 million jobs. 

Ukraine has been fighting to keep control of the besieged eastern city of Bakhmut for months as Russian soldiers and mercenaries level the area. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowed to send reinforcements to the city on Monday, signaling he will continue its defense even at the risk of tying down many of his most able soldiers. But in doing so, Kyiv is also tying down Russia’s forces while killing more and more of its troops. This is why the stakes for Bakhmut keep rising

Amazon defeated an attempt by employees to sue as a group as they tried to recoup internet expenses they have incurred while working from home because of the pandemic.

Walgreens, under attack for its decision to not sell mifepristone to women in 20 Republican-controlled states, was struggling for a message after California Governor Gavin Newsom condemned the chain and said his state would cut off any business with it. Newsom said Monday that California would not work with “any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk.” In Texas, a group of women with high-risk pregnancies have sued over the state’s sweeping abortion ban—triggered by last year’s ruling by the Supreme Court’s GOP-appointed majority overturning Roe v. Wade. The plaintiffs allege Texas is denying them potentially life-saving medical care

A Walgreens store in San Francisco
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

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Norfolk Southern Ignored Safety Rules: Union 

More than six months before February’s toxic train derailment, a union representing Norfolk Southern employees in Ohio warned federal regulators that the railroad repeatedly disregarded its own safety rules for screening trains. The union alleged the railroad had disregarded internal company rules requiring trains hauling hazardous materials be stopped and inspected in certain cases where track-side sensors, known as defect detectors, aren’t working properly. Those same sensors are a  in the investigation into the Feb. 3 wreck. 

The Norfolk Southern train disaster’s aftermath in East Palestine, Ohio
Source: US Environmental Protection Agency

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