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USA finance and payments news summary | 11 May 2022

Update:
US Finance News: live updates

Headlines: 11 May 2022

- Labor Department confirms 8.3% rate of annual inflation in new CPI report

Average price of a gallon of gasoline jumps to a new record high of $4.40 on Wednesday

- Biden gives White House speech outlining "his plan to fight inflation and lower costs for working families"

- Treasury Sec Janet Yellen warns of "potential for continued volatility and unevenness of global growth"

- Bitcoin slumped on further going below $30,000, sparking more concern for crypto markets

- Congressional Democrats push for another Child Tax Credit expansion 

- Department of Education introduces repayment waiver for public servants to help 110,00 borrowers receive student loan forgiveness

- President Biden reportedly considers student loan debt forgiveness for anyone making less than $125,000-a-year

- Congressional action on gas stimulus checks and/or tax rebates stall as crude oil prices begin to spike once again

Helpful information and links

- How much can I expect to get from a Social Security payment?

- Can Social Security recipients claim other benefit programs?

- How much will you need to retire?In what states will your savings go further?

- A guide to EBT cards: how to apply in New York and California

What is the average retirement income for a single person?

What is the average retirement income for a single person?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees a variety of financial support programmes but it is the retirement benefits that are by far the most widely utilised. The programme provides “replacement income for qualified retirees and their families” and is used by more than 50 million Americans every year, with 15 milion more people using other programmes like those for disability benefits.

In terms of how much you are likely to receive in benefits, figures from the SSA state that the current average monthly benefit for a retired worker is $1,615.81.

Read more

SNAP Benefits: how long does it take on average to approve the application?

US NEWS

SNAP Benefits: how long does it take on average to approve the application?

It can take the Social Security Administration (SSA) about six weeks to process a SNAP benefits application. A major factor which affects the turnaround time of applications is making sure your application is correct; mistakes obviously make the process longer.

Read more

How bad has inflation been in 2022?

On Wednesday the Bureau of Labor Statistics updated the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), a broad measure of the average cost of goods and service across the United States. 

The report made clear that inflation is still extremely high in the US with an annualised rate of 8.3% pushing prices higher for consumers. This exceeded the Dow Jones’ estimate of an 8.1% gain, signalling that the market may need to readjust their expectations.

What is a Series I Bond and why consider buying now?

FINANCIAL NEWS

What is a Series I Bond and why consider buying now?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report on inflation of consumer goods and services for April. Prices were 8.3 percent higher than they were in 2021, which surpassed the Dow Jones’ estimate. The silver lining to last month’s data is that it was slightly lower than the 8.5 percent reported in March.

Rising prices are eating into household finances across the nation and making hard to make ends meet, let alone save for the future. However, if you have money to spare there is one financial product whose return on investment has improved due to high inflation,US Treasury Series I Bonds.

Inflation dragging on real wage growth pushing them negative for most workers

Hourly earnings were up 5.5 percent year on year in April but high inflation is eating into the gains, and for workers in all but one industry, reducing real wage growth. Only workers in the leisure and hospitality sector saw their wages outpacing rising prices.

Ford F-150 Lightining EV truck is hitting the road

Ford's F-series has been America's best selling truck for over 40 years, and make up almost six percent of cars on the road today. Now the company's all electric F-150 Lightining is hitting the market.

Michael Wayland, CNBC autos reporter, took one for a test drive to see how it compares. He came away impressed by the power and features that automaker designed specifically for truck customers.

With the basic model priced at just under $40,000, it is below the average new car price in the US which has past $47,000. That is almost a third less than the cheapest version of the Rivian R1T and half the GMC Hummer EV.

Retirement in the USA: how much money do I have to save and which states cost the most?

FINANCIAL NEWS

Retirement in the USA: how much money do I have to save and which states cost the most?

Exactly how much you need to have tucked away in order to retire in comfort is a much-debated issue. There are many formulas, but it comes down to how you want to spend your golden years and what the cost of living is where you choose to retire.

Getting an early start on your retirement fund can save you a last-minute scramble to secure the necessary nest egg that you will need to live on a fixed income. Currently though, around 26 percent of non-retirees have no retirement plan at all.

Here’s a lookat the present financial savings you’ll need.

Stockmarket woes could be a retirement savings opportunity

The stockmarket has taken a beating over the past couple weeks with all three major indexes at their lowest point in over a year or longer. However, some who are saving for retirement may be able to make lemonade out of lemons.

CNBC shares why people might want to consider converting their traditional 401k or IRA reitremnt savings into to a Roth. Due to the downturn in the market, people may be able to save more on tax liabilities related to their savings now and into the future.

Lithium extraction in southern California from geothermal plants could supply US with plentiful EV batteries

The Salton Sea was once referred to as the Western Rivera. The area had been part of the Gulf of Mexico eons ago until silt from the Colorado River filled in the area in between. 

Periodically though the water that would normally flow to the ocean fills up the inland sea only to change course once again leaving the body of water to evaporate. The last episode was a manmade accident which over time has resulted in the worst manmade disaster in California history.  But there may be hope for what has become one of the worst nightmares both environmentally and public health wise.

8000 feet below the Imperial Valley there is enough lithium to supply American’s electric car industry’s need for the valuable metal to make batteries for decades. Geothermal energy plants that once pumped the brine water loaded with the “white gold” back into the earth are now seeking to extract it to supply the car industry with the much-needed material.

The nascent industry will use clean energy to make clean energy. Large car manufacturers have already descended on the area to secure future stocks that will be pulled from the ground without tearing a larger hole in the ground. 

GM has signed a deal to take the first 20,000 tons per year from one such producer in their first stage. Controlled Thermal Resources expects to extract another 1000,000 tons per year in stage two. 

Ideally, the raw material that is home-grown would be turned into batteries stateside as well. However, at the moment it would need to be shipped abroad to be converted into electric car batteries. 

Italvolt, once such producer has announced plans to build a factory in the Imperial Valley that could produce up to 650,000 batteries per year and create 2500 jobs.

What is Upstart Holdings and why has its stock plummeted?

LATEST NEWS

What is Upstart Holdings and why has its stock plummeted?

Shares in the lending company Upstart Holdings Inc. have plummeted this week, losing around 60% from its market value on Tuesday after being forced to redraw its economic forecast for the year.

The company has blamed macroeconomic pressures for a drop in loan volume, which has reduced their revenue expectations for the year from $1.4 billion to $1.25 billion. In recent months the consumer interest rates have risen sharply, and the Upstart's liability has grown substantially after recording $604.4 million worth of loans on the company balance sheet as of 31 March. 

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What is the CPI and the inflation rate today: Labor Department report May 2022

LATEST NEWS

What is the CPI and the inflation rate today: Labor Department report May 2022

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released an update to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), giving a snapshot into the rate of economic growth in the country. The CPI-U is often used a measure for inflation across the country, a major issue in the United States currently. 

The report itself will make worrying reading for President Biden, exceding experts' predictions for the rate of growth and highlighting the need for governmental intervention to cool the overheating economy. 

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“The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 1.2 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.3 percent before seasonal adjustment.”

Labor Department, CPI report

Huge price rises across the board for Americans

This morning the Labor Department released an annual inflation report, covering the 12 months finishing with April 2022. Their findings make mixed reading for President Biden, who was tasked with kick-starting the American economy when he took office last year. 

The economy has grown rapidly in recent months, but this has led to a period of sustained high inflation which has pushed up prices of everything from mortgages to gasoline. As these figures show, oil-based fuels have seen the fastest rate of growth but with inflation at 8.3% it is fair to assume that eveyone is feeling to effects. 

Could lowering tariffs on China be a way to lower inflation in the US?

LATEST NEWS

Could lowering tariffs on China be a way to lower inflation in the US?

President Biden could remove the trade tariffs imposed on China during the Trump administration in a bid to bring down costs for consumers in the United States. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Biden said the move was being evaluated as part of the White House’s plan to tackle inflation, but there is no indication as to the outcome.

When asked by reporters, Biden said: “We’re discussing that right now. We’re looking at what would have the most positive impact.”

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What did Biden say about the high price of gasoline?

Speaking to reporters in Washington yesterday, President Biden outline some of his plan to bring down the high price of fuel in the United States. The average price of both gasoline and diesel have reached a record high today and there is serious concern that it could be pushed higher by the busy summer period when Americans are most likely to plan long car journeys. 

Biden remains tight-lipped on the prospect of removing China tariffs

During his time in the White House, former President Trump introduced a raft of tariffs on Chinese-produced goods designed to make American-made alternatives cheaper and more appealing. The tariffs cover nearly all aspects of China's huge manufacturing industry and have largely remained in place during the first year of the Biden presidency. 

However, speaking to reporters yesterday, the President said that he is considering removing some of the tariffs in a bid to make products cheaper for consumers and to ease the high rate of inflation that is hurting purchasing power. 

Asked by a reporter if he would remove, or at least lower, the tariffs on China, Biden said, "We're discussing that right now. We're looking at what would have the most positive impact."

But he reiterated that the move was not yet definite, saying "I'm telling you we're discussing it and no decision has been made on it."

What are the properties with the highest mortgage rates in the USA?

FINANCIAL NEWS

What are the properties with the highest mortgage rates in the USA?

Your monthly mortgage payments are largely based on the value of your property and the risk that the lender is taking on to provide you with the financing required. Furthermore, if you are investing in property to generate rental income or a vacation home, you can expect to pay more than if you’re buying a primary residence.

The cost of your mortgage payments, and the interest rates levied on them, will be tailored to your unique situation and can make it difficult to compare different offers. Here’s a look at the difference between mortgage rates when buying property.

Read more

Biden will not call on motorists to drive less

The rising cost of gasoline and diesel is one of the main economic concerns for millions of Americans, having a severe effect on household finances and contributing to the continued inflationary pressures. However despite the demand for fuel outpacing the global supply President Biden told reporters in Washington yesterday that he does not need to tell Americans to drive less, saying that they are already well aware of the need to limit trips to the gas station. 

He reiterated the need to upgrade the United States' mass transit infrastructure to ensure that more people have a viable alternative to driving. 

Child Tax Credit 2022: what changes will there be in the new tax season?

TAX NEWS

Child Tax Credit 2022: what changes will there be in the new tax season?

The federal Child Tax Credit was first introduced in 1997 as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act, but underwent a dramatic revamp in the summer of  2021. The American Rescue Plan introduced monthly direct payments for families for the first time, but that program cam to an end in December 2021. 

In the face of complete GOP opposition to President Biden and Democrats’ Build Back Better plan, and lacking the crucial 50th vote from Senator Joe Manchin to pass the legislation in the Senate, a powerful anti-poverty measure and large tax cut for millions of Americans through the enhance Child Tax Credit expired.

But the original program is still in the offing for 2022's tax year, and could be worth thousands of dollars for eligible families. We take a look at what that could mean for you...

Read more

What is the average price of gas in the US?

After a brief dip from the mid-March highs, the price of gasoline soared to $4.404 on Wednesday to break the national record. Figures produced by AAA track the average price of a gallon of gasoline across the country and show that the average cost has risen by 48% compared to the same point last year. This will be a major concern for motorists ahead of the busy summer driving period when Americans are most likely to be planning a long drive. 

"Inflation is too high and is putting a strain on working families. The President’s top economic priority is tackling inflation and reducing costs for American families – so we can sustain this historic economic recovery in a way that benefits all Americans."

The Biden-⁠Harris Inflation Plan, White House statement

"The President understands that the Federal Reserve is the institution that plays a primary role in fighting inflation. The President has nominated highly qualified individuals to lead the Fed, and is urging the Senate to confirm all these individuals without delay."

The Biden-⁠Harris Inflation Plan, White House statement

Will gasoline prices go higher?

It is no secret that the high rate of inflation has caused major headaches for consumers, but few sectors have experienced price increases as much as the fuel industry.

The combination of inflationary pressures, economic sanctions on Russia and some flagrant profiteering from oil companies have pushed the price of gasoline to record levels, but Jeff Currie, Goldman Sachs global head of commodities research, has told CNBC that he believes the price could go even higher. 

Gas prices USA: why is diesel more expensive than gasoline?

US NEWS

Gas prices USA: why is diesel more expensive than gasoline?

The price of gasoline and diesel have reached record levels this week, compounding the pain at the pump for consumers. Howvever there is still a large disparity between the cost of the two fuel types, but why?

As both motor fuels are made from crude oil, some may expect the price of diesel and gasoline to be fairly closely linked. However there are a number of factors, from taxation to manufacturing costs, which actually make diesel more expensive to buy.

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What can Biden do to fix the high inflation rate?

In a White House speech this afternoon, President Biden has pledged to ask wealthy individuals and big businesses to contribute more to ease the current economic pressures on working Americans. He also took aim at the Republican Party ahead of the November midterms, which are expected to see the Democrats lose control of at least one of the Houses of Congress. 

What will Biden's promises mean in real terms? For now, we don't really know as the President has not unveiled any new policies in the course of his speech. However we do know that the issue of inflation and high gasoline costs will likely be a key factor in the midterms and one that both parties will be eager to take control of. 

What are the income limits for student loan forgiveness?

US NEWS

What are the income limits for student loan forgiveness?

While campaigning in 2020, President Biden said he would cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt for Americans, but little concrete change has actually been achieved. His administration has not yet set out the President's proposals, but he has said that he’ll lay out his plan in the coming weeks.

Speaking to the press aboard Air Force One, his press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the president is “taking steps or looking at steps to help people making less than $125,000 a year.” 

But some in Congress argue that this is not enough, and are pushing for more widespread student loan forgiveness.

 

Read more

New figures to show how vehicles pricing has changed

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics will incorporate an new data on vehicle purchases into the next Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is due to be released later today. The data for April will include records of the prices paid during hundreds of thousands of transactions each month obtain from JD Power datasets as opposed to the traditional survey methods and data sources.

The inclusion of the new data in the monthly CPI comes after over a year of comparing the research index with the previous official index, the two datasets on new vehicles were similar but in March 2020, the indexes began to diverge, with the research index showing faster price increases that the official index did not reflect.

The fact that the reseach data reflects actual transactions allowing for shifts in consumer preferrances to be measured more accurately. Whereas previously cars and trucks were given equal weight in the official index the actual purchases are built into the data.

Because the research index dwarfs the official index in the amount of data the BLS will be able to more precisely estimate price changes with a much lower standard error.

Hello and welcome to AS USA

Good morning, 

We'll bring you all the latest financial news for Wednesday, 11 May. Yesterday President Biden gave a White House speech on the economic situation in the United States, including the threat of continued high inflation and soaring gas prices. 

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