News Roundups

Anadarko CEO ensnared in fraud lawsuit, bipartisan talks may resume after GOP bill fails, and more

Daily stimulus and recovery news headlines from September 10, 2020.

A Worthless Oil Field and the CEO’s $100 Million Windfall

The meeting would mark the beginning of the end of Lea Frye’s career in oil and gas.

It was February 2014. Frye, at the time a senior engineer with Anadarko Petroleum Corp., had the job of calculating how much oil was waiting to be extracted from fields Anadarko owned. She was known to be forthright about her analyses. “She tells the truth no matter the circumstances,” her manager said in a later performance review.

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Fed Needs Fiscal Support to Close Gap Between Markets, Real Economy

The Federal Reserve is trying to plug a hole that fiscal policy was widely expected to be filling by now. For the economy this is less than ideal, but for financial markets it has been pretty great.

The Fed has responded aggressively to the Covid-19 crisis. It cut rates to close to zero, bought trillions of dollars of assets and launched an array of emergency lending programs. Last month, it also made two important changes to its policy framework: It will now accept inflation that runs a bit above its 2% target after periods of below-target inflation, and it won’t raise rates simply because low unemployment is expected to push inflation higher. In effect, these changes amount to pledges that it won’t unwind its rate cuts for a very long time. Yet Fed officials have been vocal in their belief that more fiscal stimulus from Congress and the White House is also needed.

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In ongoing debate over Fed’s Main Street program, lawmakers reach little consensus

Lawmakers on a top banking panel largely agree that the Federal Reserve’s Main Street lending program has fallen short. But they’re debating whether or how to change the rules and allow the Fed to make more, albeit riskier, loans to struggling businesses.

At a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Wednesday, policymakers differed over whether the Main Street program can be strengthened with a new structure and relaxed loan terms, or if more direct aid from Congress is needed to help companies fighting for survival during the pandemic.

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Bipartisan talks may resume after GOP bill fails

The Senate today is expected to reject the pared-back COVID-19 relief measure unveiled by Republicans this week — a vote the chamber's top Democrat said could bode well for resuming stalled negotiations with the Trump administration over an additional round of stimulus.

Senators will take a procedural vote on the $500 billion GOP package that is expected to fall short of the 60 needed. For Republicans, summoning 51 "yes" votes from their 53 members will provide a symbolic boost, given the caucus's struggles to unite behind a proposal in the latest round of relief talks.

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JPMorgan Probing Employees’ Role in Misuse of Relief Funds

JPMorgan Chase & Co. says it’s probing the role of some employees who may have enabled misuse of Covid-relief funds in what it calls potentially illegal activities.

The New York-based bank said it has seen “instances of customers misusing Paycheck Protection Program Loans, unemployment benefits and other government programs” and that some “employees have fallen short, too,” according to a memo to staff from the bank’s senior leaders Tuesday. The firm said the conduct doesn’t meet its principles “and may even be illegal.”

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International Energy Agency calls for green-led recovery

The International Energy Agency wants oil and gas companies to decarbonise their operations and governments to roll out green stimulus packages to accelerate the clean energy transition away from fossil fuels.

"Economic stimulus measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis offer a key opportunity to take urgent action that could boost the economy while supporting clean energy and climate goals," the Paris-based agency finds in its report Energy Technology Perspectives 2020.

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