Economics in the News – April 20-26
Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week in economic news.
- Oil Futures for contracts of barrels of oil to be delivered in May traded negatively for a brief period. Storage facilities are near capacity and crude producers are paying companies to take oil so they can store what is produced. Global containment measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus have severely reduced the demand for crude oil. It was the first time it has ever happened. [The New York Times]
- An estimated 4.4 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week. More than 26 million have sought claims over the last five weeks because containment measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 have forced many businesses to close or cut back. [Wall Street Journal]
- European Union leaders agreed to overhaul the long-term, seven-year budget. In addition, leaders will setup a recovery fund to assist the economic recovery efforts of the 27 countries that comprise the EU. [New York Times]
- The inflation rate in the United Kingdom dropped from 1.7% to 1.5% in March due to a fall in fuel and retail prices. Prices are expected to fall further since the data for March only included the first two weeks. Since then the demand for most items has decreased and fuel prices are 75% lower than the beginning of the year. Economists predict the CPI will shrink to 0.5%. [BBC]
- Some states – such as Georgia and Oklahoma – have disregarded the advice of health officials and begun to reopen select services and businesses that were shutdown due to the coronavirus. [CNN]