Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - Biden goes around

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

In a move to get around a ruling by the US Supreme Court’s Republican-appointed supermajority, President Joe Biden’s Department of Education plans to forgive $39 billion in student debt by updating a technical requirement under a long-existing program. The change will help more than 804,000 borrowers, significantly less than the tens of millions who would have benefited from the $400 billion program struck down by the court. The administration had already discharged $72 billion in targeted loans, such as those for students whose for-profit schools closed or qualified public servants. On Friday, Biden touted those efforts while criticizing Republican lawmakers who object to debt relief. Representative Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican who chairs the Education and the Workforce Committee and opposes forgiveness, called the change “illegal” and “shameful.” 

Here are today’s top stories

US military officials have warned that China may have the capability to invade Taiwan by 2027, while other US officials have called such timelines guesswork and Beijing denies there’s a timeline at all. In Taipei, however, government officials aren’t waiting around, as the island democracy goes on a crash course to ramp up in preparation for any China contingency. All the talk of conflict, however, is doing damage to both economies.

Drills have increased along with preparation by Taiwan’s military in recent years. Above, an anti-tank Humvee during a live-fire military exercise in Pingtung County earlier this month.  Photographer: I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg

The world’s biggest bond market saw a day of reversals, with Treasuries paring their weekly rally as strong economic data reinforced the view that it may be too early for the Federal Reserve to claim victory over inflation. At the end of a week marked by optimism that the Fed would be closer to ending its interest-rate hikes, a report showed consumer sentiment soared to an almost two-year high—while short-term price expectations rose. Bonds reacted immediately. “This doesn’t look like ‘mission accomplished’ yet,” said Don Rissmiller, one of the founding partners of Strategas. “The most important variable for consumer spending remains employment, which is still solid. But the tight US labor market also is key for long-run inflation considerations.”

Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, declared a state of emergency as surging food prices cause widespread hardship. The move will trigger a range of measures, including clearing forests for farmland to increase agricultural output and ease food inflation. The crisis follows the government’s removal of fuel subsidies and exchange-rate reform, which has seen the naira fall by 40% after its peg to the dollar was removed last month.

Customers line up at a grain and seed stall in Lagos. Even before the government cut subsidies, consumer-price growth in Nigeria had accelerated to an almost 18-year high of 22.4% in May. Photographer: Damilola Onafuwa/Bloomberg

More bad news for star investor Cathie Wood. Her fans, after years of steadfastness, have gone missing, with her suite of exchange-traded funds seeing outflows in recent months despite posting impressive rallies.

Two Sigma Investments, the quant hedge-fund giant known for using computer-driven algorithms to make money, is for the first time exploring ways to add traders who rely on their human judgment to make money as the $60 billion investing firm looks to diversify its strategies.

As Donald Trump tries to forestall possible state and federal charges over the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, an alleged nationwide conspiracy to block the incoming administration and his purported role in both, new documents reveal just how far his followers may be willing to go. His two pending indictments in New York and Miami sparked a barrage of threats from his extremist supporters, including bomb threats and other forms of violence. 

Water levels on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers are falling for a second straight year, raising the prospect of shipping problems along the all-important US freight routes. In Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio joins the Mississippi, the levels have dropped more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) in the last week and are forecast to fall more than 4 feet further by the end of July, pushing the Ohio River into its so-called low stage—when barges can run aground and shipping lanes are forced to narrow. When water levels fall, it threatens to choke waterways. Last year, that contributed to about $20 billion in economic losses.

Low water levels on the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tennessee, in late 2022. Photographer: Houston Cofield/Bloomberg

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

Where the Rich Actually Prefer Less Service

Carnegie Hill on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is one of the most storied, super-wealthy enclaves in the world. Stretching from Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile along Central Park into tranquil tree-lined blocks, it’s home to luminaries such as JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon and private equity titan Ken Chenault. Swept sidewalks adorned with flower beds front graceful, excruciatingly expensive condo buildings. But the phone service—well, that’s another matter. The neighborhood’s denizens are fighting city plans for curbside 5G towers, calling them “garish” and unnecessary.

In New York City’s Upper East Side, residents are protesting against 5G towers while other neighborhoods are welcoming them. Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

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