Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - The ‘moron premium’

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

Regardless of whether the third time in as many months is the charm, the next UK government faces a landscape of smoking economic ruin that the City and Wall Street would prefer cleaned up sooner rather than later. Many Conservatives are calling for a more stable, businesslike figure than Liz Truss’s self-styled “disruptor-in-chief,” an approach that imploded in historic and indeed global fashion. Still, the prize awaiting the Tory who wins the latest contest for 10 Downing Street isn’t a pleasant one by any stretch. There are growing fears among the faithful about their chances in the next general election, with surveys giving Keir Starmer’s Labour Party a yawning advantage. As for hopes that a steadier hand will guide the next government to calmer financial waters, there’s a sizable storm that’s unlikely to dissipate when Truss leaves: It’s known as the “moron risk premium,” or simply the “moron premium.” 

Here are today’s top stories

US Treasuries tumbled Friday, driving most benchmark yields to the highest levels since 2007. “The global inflation bogeyman continues to scare the bond markets,” said strategists at Societe Generale. “Central banks have additional big moves to make.”

Elon Musk may be the richest person in the world, but he’s arguably a lot less popular than a few years ago when Tesla fanboys hung on every tweet and the quirky South Africa-born billionaire could do no wrong. Recently, he’s found himself accused of carrying water for Vladimir Putin, repeating peace terms proposed by the Kremlin. Then he threatened to cut off Ukrainian access to a SpaceX satellite network critical to its war effort against Russia. At home, the company that made him famous isn’t looking all that great of late as Musk moves to (finally) buy Twitter, where he says he’ll fire 75% of the employees once he gets his hands on it. And in Washington, the combination of Ukraine, SpaceX and Putin with America’s wealthiest citizen has triggered something perhaps even worse for the voluble Musk: a potential national security review of his companies.

Musk has tried to back out of the Twitter deal, so it may be advisable to take what he says about it with a grain of salt. Musk could feasibly still be saved from the buyout given the latest turn of events, Liam Denning writes in Bloomberg Opinion. Viewing him as a little too Kremlin friendly, the White House may consider any of his ventures—SpaceX, Twitter and even Tesla—as deserving of federal scrutiny.

Elon Musk Photographer: Carina Johansen/AFP

The US budget deficit fell by a record in the 2022 financial year, a second straight drop that reflects the drying up of pandemic aid spending alongside a surge in revenues propelled by wages and a level of American employment unseen in a half-century. The headline gap between the government’s spending and revenue figures are a perennial hot-button issue in Congress, often wielded as a key metric as Democrats and Republican push competing agendas. President Joe Biden is arguing that, if the GOP takes power in Congress, they will try to leverage the issue of debt to cut Social Security and Medicare.

The Internal Revenue Service is boosting how much Americans can plow into their 401(k) plans next year by a record amount. The contribution limits for the popular tax-deferred retirement savings accounts will rise by $2,000 to a maximum of $22,500. It’s the biggest dollar increase since the cutoff began being indexed to inflation.

As the US escalates its campaign to undermine the Chinese semiconductor industry, Europe is trying—with some success—to avoid becoming collateral damage. And one of China’s most promising chip designers may have already navigated around the Biden administration’s export restrictions.

With the most right-wing government since fascist dictator Benito Mussolini held power and Italy was allied with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, Giorgia Meloni is set to become the nation’s first female prime minister. She does so thanks in part to her coalition partner, Silvio Berlusconi, who recently praised Putin and blamed President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for Russia’s eight-month war on Ukraine. 

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy party, right, speaks on Friday alongside Silvio Berlusconi, left, leader of Forza Italia party. Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

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 What you’ll need to know tomorrow

Dalai Lama Has a Stark Warning for Humanity

Tibetan Buddhism’s spiritual leader issued a stark warning to humanity about the grave threat posed by global warming. In an interview with Emma Barnett on Emma Barnett meets…, the 87-year-old Nobel laureate emphasized the critical importance of facing down the climate crisis for the future of the planet and humankind.

The 14th Dalai Lama. Source: Bloomberg

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