Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - Holiday gut punch

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

A gut punch to the US economy looms just in time for the holidays. American railway union members rejected a labor deal brokered by President Joe Biden earlier this year, increasing the threat of a strike by as soon as Dec. 5. The impact would be far reaching: rail remains a key way to move goods and raw materials around the country. A strike would most likely exacerbate high inflation and return the country to the kind of supply chain chaos it recently faced as a result of the pandemic. And a work stoppage right before the holidays could also disrupt travel plans for millions as passenger trains are forced to sit idle on freight-company controlled tracks. Congressional Democrats have been wary of intervening in labor disputes, but the severity of the impact could force lawmakers to bring their formidable powers in this arena to bear. A rail strike hasn’t happened in the US since 1992.

Here are today’s top stories

While private equity has been preoccupied protecting the lucrative carried interest fee structure in Congress, the Biden administration has been quietly undermining the industry’s business model.

Russia is squeezing Europe even harder. Gazprom threatened to cut gas to its pipelines running through Ukraine—the last remaining route bringing Russian gas to western Europe. Meanwhile the European Union watered down its latest sanctions proposal for a price cap on Russia’s oil exports. As winter grips Ukraine and Russia targets more of its energy infrastructure, officials are evacuating citizens in recaptured towns that have no heat

Billions of assets are still missing as bankruptcy proceedings got underway for collapsed crypto exchange FTX. A “substantial amount” of FTX Group’s assets “have either been stolen or are missing,” an attorney representing the firm told a Delaware bankruptcy court Tuesday. The collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire has been swift and chaotic, with potentially millions of claimants. FTX’s top 50 creditors are owed more than $3 billion.

Sam Bankman-Fried Photographer: Ting Shen/Bloomberg

The White House pushed backed the date for student loan payments to restart from Jan. 1 to June 30. The move comes as Biden’s debt forgiveness plan has been stymied by GOP-led lawsuits, leaving some fearing the plan was too good to be true. 

It was a good day for US retailers, with shares rallying ahead of the holidays. A slew of retailers from Best Buy to Abercrombie & Fitch blew past earnings expectations, indicating the US consumer is still ready to spend. Here’s your markets wrap.

After a years-long legal fight, the US Supreme Court cleared the way for a House committee to get six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns. But lame-duck House Democrats have only a few months to do something with them, since the Republicans take over in January. 

On Sunday evening, Bob Iger emailed Disney staff: he was back in as CEO. Bob Chapek was out. The news came like a hammer blow to senior Disney executives at an Elton John concert in Los Angeles (that was being live-streamed on Disney+.) They read the message in disbelief—Chapek was supposed to introduce the musician to the stage. Some Disney staffers even thought the email was a hack. But it wasn’t

Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg

Bloomberg continues to track the global coronavirus pandemic. Click here for daily updates.

 What you’ll need to know tomorrow

  • The death toll from the Indonesian earthquake rose to 268.
  • Diesel fuels the global economy—and the world is running out
  • China is reportedly set to fine Jack Ma’s Ant Group $1 billion.
  • Musk lost $100 billion this year, but he’s still the world’s richest person.
  • Is it a housing cooldown or crash? The hottest market has lessons.
  • Pakistan’s Imran Khan makes his first appearance since being shot.
  • Manchester United parts ways with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Welcome to the Soccer Ball Capital of the World

Sialkot, a city in northeast Pakistan, produces about 70% of the world’s soccer balls, including Adidas’s Al Rihla, the official ball of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. About 60,000 people in the city work in the business, and spend long hours hand stitching the panels of the soccer balls together. 

A soccer ball has a total of 32 panels—​​​​20 hexagons and 12 pentagons— and 90 seams. Each seam has 7 stitches, so it requires 630 stitches to complete a soccer ball.  Photographer: Jun Michael Park


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