Hard Numbers: US interest rate hike, jail for likes in Myanmar, Ecuador-China debt deal, Ramaphosa no-show, COVID fraud
75 or 100: Apart from UNGA, the other big meeting this week is at the US Federal Reserve, which will again raise interest rates to tame soaring prices. The question is: by how much? Although a third consecutive 75 basis points hike is more likely, the Fed might also go bigger with a 100 basis points increase after last week's worse-than-expected inflation report.
10: Be careful what you like or share on social media in military-ruled Myanmar. In a country where Facebook = the internet, the junta now says any virtual endorsement of the democratic opposition is an act of “terrorism” punishable with up to 10 years behind bars.
1.4 billion: Ecuador has cut a deal to restructure $1.4 billion worth of debt owed to Chinese banks. This gives President Guillermo Lasso some breathing room to spend on social programs to calm recent cost-of-living protests, while China keeps trying to win friends by offering bailouts to countries at risk of default.
6: South Africa’s embattled President Cyril Ramaphosa is skipping UNGA this week to deal with a national power crisis. Most South Africans are now without electricity for six hours a day, which is crippling economic activity in Africa's most industrialized nation.47: In the largest US pandemic-relief fraud case uncovered to date, the DOJ charged 47 people in Minnesota with sending the federal government a $240 million bill for meals to “feed” fake kids. This is likely just the tip of an iceberg of scams that swiped billions of taxpayer dollars intended to keep businesses alive amid COVID-related disruptions.