In Brief – N.26 – December 6, 2015

SpaceX took a giant leap toward securing its first military contract by submitting the lone bid on launching a next-generation GPS satellite for the US Air Force (USAF).

Mexico’s economy continues to grow at a moderate pace, despite an array of external challenges, including a collapse in oil prices and heightened volatility in international financial markets, the IMF said.

“We stress the need of all stakeholders to work together in order to promote opportunities for low income people and communities to participate in markets as buyers, suppliers and consumers,” said G20 leaders.

“The security problems Europe faces are highly complex. Refugees should not be turned into scapegoats and must not become the secondary victims of these most tragic events,” said Melissa Fleming, UNHCR spokesperson.

Beginning to hike rate is something good, not bad. This is a sign that the economy’s getting healthier, that the Federal Reserve (Fed) is approaching the goals of its double mandate which is sustainable full employment and prices stability, said William Dudley, New York’s Fed President.

The Federal Reserve (Fed) staff continued to project that US real GDP would expand at a somewhat faster pace than potential output from 2016 through 2018, supported primarily by increases in consumer spending.

Greece has struck a deal with its creditors to unlock €12billion to the country, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, President of the group of Eurozone Finance Ministers (Eurogroup), announced.

Turkey shot down a Russian military aircraft which would have violated its airspace. The Sukhoi-24 was flying in Syrian airspace, stressed the Russian government. Such situation could constitute a casus belli.

There is no support among world leaders for the prospect of a US-led army in Iraq and Syria to take back ground from ISIS militants, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

Japan will raise the minimum wage by 3% each year from next fiscal year as part of a package of policies aimed at strengthening consumer spending and stoking economic growth. “We need to ensure continuous economic growth supported by rising wages,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

Russian state giant Gazprom said it had halted gas deliveries to Ukraine after Kiev failed to make upfront payments for more supplies. “The refusal to buy Russian gas will create serious risks for the reliable transit of gas to Europe during the upcoming winter,” said Gazprom chief Alexei Miller.

Applications for US unemployment benefits fell more than forecast last week, as claims moved closer to a 4-decade low that shows a resilient labor market. First-time jobless claims dropped by 12,000 in the week ended November 21, 2015 to 260,000, the fewest in a month, a Labor Department report showed.

US consumer spending barely rose in October 2015 as households took advantage of rising incomes to boost savings to their highest level in nearly 3 years, pointing to moderate economic growth in the Q4 2015.

The summit between the EU and Turkey concluded with a joint statement containing a number of shared commitments and actions in many areas. The activation of the EU-Turkey Action Plan will bring order into refugee flows and stem irregular migration, said the EU.

China’s efforts to make the yuan an international currency on a par with the US dollar is to receive a fillip on November 30, 2015 with the IMF widely expected to add it to a special basket of global currencies, alongside the dollar, the Japanese yen, sterling and the euro.

Effective October 1, 2016 the Chinese Renminbi has been included in the basket of currencies that make up the SDR as a fifth currency. “It is recognition of the progress that the Chinese authorities have made in the past years in reforming China’s monetary and financial systems,” said IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

India’s annual economic growth accelerated to 7.4% in the Q3 2015  from 7.0% in the previous quarter, and higher than China’s which stood at 6.9% during the quarter, India’s government data showed.

“The monthly purchases of €60 billion under the APP are now intended to run until the end of March 2017,” announced ECB President Mario Draghi about the ongoing QE.

Holding the federal funds rate at its current level for too long could also encourage excessive risk-taking and thus undermine financial stability,” reiterated Fed Chair Janet Yellen. “The economy has come a long way toward the FOMC‘s objectives of maximum employment and price stability,” Yellen added.