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US financial news | Summary news 19 August

The US Economy is strong with low unemployment, but a returning increase in inflation and rising interest rates continue to be banes on households.

Headlines: Saturday 19 August 2023

- Consumer Price Index report released with inflation in July revealed to be 3.2%.

- $39 billion of student debt being wiped this week.

Gas prices are up this summer as extreme heat hampers oil refinery operations

- 187,000 jobs added in July, unemployment falls to 3.5%

- 20% of student loan borrowers to pay $500 monthly when payments resume, according to study
How to avoid scams if you want to donate money to the victims of the wildfires in Hawaii

The devastating wildfires in Hawaii have killed more than a hundred people and left thousands homeless, and also razed businesses and historical sites to the ground.

The fires that began on Aug. 8 are considered the deadliest natural disaster in the history of the state, and locals need as much help as they can to recover from the tragedy.

Many people want to help, but unfortunately, there are others who take advantage of the situation by setting up schemes to scam potential donors. Make sure that the assistance that you want to provide goes into the hands of those who are truly in need

The US economy continues to grow as financial experts abandon recession forecasts. The stock market has staged a rebound rally after enduring its most challenging year since the 2008 financial crisis in 2022.

Inflation is falling faster than expected. Home prices have stayed firm against mortgage rates that have topped 7% at times. Consumers are still spending down their pandemic savings.
SNAP: These are the new requirements to receive food stamps in 2024

To receive SNAP benefits, it is necessary to meet certain requirements such as meeting gross and net income limits, resources, among others. Despite being a federal scheme, each state administers its program, and the requirements may vary in different areas.

The Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture establishes certain general criteria, which usually change each year, taking effect each October. Benefit amounts also change annually.

After the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 was signed into law, some requirements to be able to receive SNAP benefits have changed and will go into effect very soon.
Double Social Security payments in September 2023: who will receive them and payment dates

Every month, the Social Security Administration sends money to retired workers and survivors; that is, the children, spouses, widows, widowers, or parents of a deceased beneficiary.

The agency sends disability benefits too. These include the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Because of the way the Supplemental Security Income schedule works, beneficiaries will receive two payments in September.

Estee Lauder sees weak annual profit on slow recovery in Asia, waning US demand

Estee Lauder forecast annual sales and profit below estimates, indicating a slower-than-expected rebound in its travel retail business, mainly in Asia, and waning demand in the United States, sending its shares down about 3%.

Major global companies have taken a cautious stance on their China recovery, as the world's second-largest economy struggles to revive demand and battles rising youth unemployment rates and a high cost of living.
Social Security: What to do if you haven’t received a payment and how to claim it

Payments are often on time and late payments only take place on rare occasions, so if you don’t receive your Social Security check on the scheduled date, SSA recommends contacting your bank or financial institution first.

If the bank hasn't received the money, then you should contact Social Security offices directly to report a missing, late, or stolen payment.

How Social Security works

Every month, the Social Security Administration issues millions of payments to its beneficiaries. Most of them are retired workers or people with some type of disability.

The exact amount received depends on the situation of each person, while the date of payment is linked to the day of birth of the beneficiaries.
Full Gree dehumidifier recall list: how do I know if mine is affected and what happens with the refund?

Brands such as GE and Kenmore are having their products recalled after the company behind their dehumidifiers has been forced to recall them. 1.56 million units are affected by the action.

They were manufactured by Gree USA, the US subsidary of a Chinese company, despite them being sold by different brands. The products have been linked to 23 fires and 688 overheating incidents. In the past Gree has been linked to four potential deaths after numerous recalls in the last decade.

Find out how to sort the recall
What state is giving a minimum rebate of $1,100 for buying an e-bike?

Colorado has been ranked among the healthiest states in the country, and their latest program aims to ensure that this continues to be so.

The Colorado government has launched a state-wide program that will offer qualified residents up to $1,100 in rebates when they purchase an electric bike.

The first round to apply for the program began on Wednesday and will run until Monday, 21 August. You can submit your application at the Colorado Energy Office.

Walmart wins over customers as inflation takes a toll

In Walmart's second quarter earnings release, the giant retailer posted same-store sales that rose 6.30%, more than the 4.04% expected, according to data from Bloomberg.

Foot traffic increased for the store by 2.8%, along with a higher ticket, up 3.4%. Online sales rose 2.3% in the quarter.

"Our customers and members are resilient," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told investors.

"They're looking for value, and they trust us to be there for them. We see people across income cohorts come to us more frequently looking to save money on everyday needs."
How does mortgage interest work? How is your interest rate calculated?

When purchasing a house, you’ll most likely have to take out a loan. Before going to a lender to apply, one of the key elements to keep in mind is the interest you will have to pay on your mortgage.

Several factors go into determining what interest rate you will have to pay on your mortgage. These include the type of loan you apply for, what the market rate is and your creditworthiness to name a few.

Read more

Chocolate makers' prospects dim as cocoa prices soar

Chocolate makers like Hershey and Mondelez face tougher trading conditions over the next year as they attempt to pass on soaring cocoa costs to cash-strapped consumers who are cutting back.

The industry has enjoyed bumper profits over the past couple of years as demand for chocolate held up despite price hikes, but data seen by Reuters shows this trend may be breaking just as prices for cocoa hit 46-year-highs and sugar prices are near their highest in more than a decade.

Consumers in North America and Europe have already seen price increases of about 20% over the past two years and are starting to cut back on the amount of chocolate they buy, data pulled for Reuters by market researchers Nielsen shows.

Consumers are "shopping around more, hoping to find deals," Mondelez CEO Dirk Van de Put said last month.

Cadbury-maker Mondelez expects inflation in cocoa and sugar to continue.
Evergrande bankruptcy: How could China’s real estate giant crisis impact the global economy?

Chinese property company Evergrande has gone one step further from its 2021 default and declared bankruptcy in the US. While protecting its assets as financial solutions are found, huge debts and constant losses are causing a crisis in the Chinese property sector.

Real estate is 30% of China’s entire GDP, making the slow demise of one of the biggest companies a serious concern.

Fed numbers show bank credit, loans drop in latest week

Bank credit at commercial banks shrank in the latest week as commercial banks pulled back on lending to businesses, data published by the Federal Reserve showed on Friday.

Overall bank credit fell to $17.23 trillion in the week ending Aug. 9, down from $17.25 trillion a week earlier and $17.32 trillion a year earlier, its second straight year-over-year drop.

Loans and leases fell to $12.13 trillion, from $12.15 trillion the week prior; commercial and industrial loans slipped to $2.74 trillion, from $2.75 trillion in the week ending Aug. 2. From a year earlier, commercial and industrial loan growth slowed sharply to less than 1%.
Will mortgage rates continue to rise in the US in 2023?

Mortgage rates continue to rise in the United States. On Aug. 8, the average annual percentage rate on 30-year fixed mortgages was 7.4%. Analysts expect mortgage rates to continue in that range for the rest of 2023.

Home sales fell nearly 19 percent compared to a year ago as median home prices are at $410,200 in the country.

As mortgage rates have been trending up, this report details how these rates will evolve, how much they will rise and how far they can go.

Good morning and welcome to AS USA's live financial blog!

We will be brining you the latest on SNAP benefits news as well as Social Security updates.

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