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EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING: Stocks Slip as PMI -2-

GFG Alliance Wednesday said it has penned a standstill agreement with Credit Suisse on the Australian unit that includes its Whyalla steelworks to complete a refinancing of that business following the collapse of Greensill Capital.

The six-week standstill between GFG and Credit Suisse Asset Management will enable GFG to complete a full refinancing of the unit, Liberty Primary Metals Australia, which also includes mining assets, according to an emailed statement from GFG.

   
 
 

U.S. Seizes Internet Domains Tied to Iran's Government

WASHINGTON-More than 30 web domains linked to the Iranian regime were seized by U.S. agencies on Tuesday, a U.S. government official said.

The U.S. seized sites operated by government-run PressTV as well as social media channels affiliated with Iran-backed militias in Iraq. The seizures come as the Biden administration is in the midst of negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program and follow the election of a new president who has rebuffed calls from Washington to curb its support for proxies fighting across the region.

   
 
 

France's Macron Pushes Controls on Religion to Pressure Mosques

PARIS-President Emmanuel Macron is redrawing the line that separates religion and state, in a battle to force Islamic organizations into the mold of French secularism.

In recent months, his administration has ousted the leadership of a mosque after temporarily closing it and poring over its finances. Another mosque gave up millions in subsidies after the government pressured local officials over the funding. A dozen other mosques have faced orders to close temporarily for safety or fire-code violations.

   
 
 
   
 
 

GLOBAL NEWS

Fed's Powell Plays Down Inflation Threat

WASHINGTON-Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said it's highly unlikely that inflation will rise to levels seen in the 1970s but acknowledged significant uncertainty as the economy reopens.

While the Fed anticipated that the end of the pandemic would temporarily push up inflation this year, Mr. Powell said Tuesday on Capitol Hill that the increases in prices have been larger than central bankers had expected and may prove more persistent. But he underscored his view that shortages-including of used cars, computer chips and workers-will fade over time, bringing inflation closer to the Fed's 2% long-run target.

   
 
 

Derby's Take: New York Fed Boss Isn't Worried About Reverse Repo Surge

A tsunami of cash continues flooding into a once obscure Federal Reserve facility, and the central bank official closest to it isn't concerned in the slightest bit.

Over recent weeks, cash, largely from money-market funds but also from banks and government sponsored entities, has poured into what the Fed calls its reverse repo facility. After years of obscurity and disuse, interest in the facility increased in the spring. Ahead of last week's Federal Open Market Committee meeting, the facility was seeing inflows of half a trillion dollars a day.

   
 
 

Amazon and Other Tech Giants Race to Buy Up Renewable Energy

The race to secure electricity deals for power-hungry data centers has tech companies reshaping the renewable-energy market and grappling with a new challenge: how to ensure their investments actually reduce emissions.

Amazon.com Inc. said it planned Wednesday to announce commitments to buy 1.5 gigawatts of production capacity from 14 new solar and wind plants around the world as part of its push to purchase enough renewable energy to cover all of the company's activities by 2025.

   
 
 

The Bonds That Cried Major Default Risk

The villagers in "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," bored of their shepherd boy's constant false alarms, refuse to come to his aid when a wolf finally does appear. There may be a lesson in the fable for investors in Chinese property giant Evergrande and the country's real-estate market more broadly.

Heavily leveraged Evergrande is in the midst of yet another financial squeeze. The company announced Sunday and Monday that it has recently sold almost $1 billion of holdings in two companies-internet services firm HengTen Networks and smaller real-estate developer China Calxon. Fitch Ratings cut Evergrande's credit rating Tuesday from B+ to B, noting the company's seemingly limited access to capital markets and growing dependence on less stable shadow-banking loans.

   
 
 

China Investigates Bulk Commodity Prices and Supplies

China's top economic planner and market regulator have sent teams to investigate recent price and supply trends of bulk commodities, the latest move by Beijing to rein in the sector's sharp rally this year.

The groups, made up of officials from the National Development and Reform Commission and the State Administration for Market Regulation, will visit various cities and provinces to find out more about spot trading in commodities and the recent upstream supply and price changes, the NDRC said Wednesday.

   
 
 

Bank of Thailand Keeps Rate at Record Low

Thailand's central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low, as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to weigh on the economy.

The Bank of Thailand said Wednesday that its policy committee voted unanimously to maintain its one-day repurchase rate at 0.50%.

   
 
 

Delta Covid-19 Variant Could Be Dominant in U.S. in Two to Three Weeks, Study Says

The highly transmissible Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus is spreading so rapidly in the U.S. that it could become the dominant strain in the next two to three weeks, researchers said, adding urgency to the nationwide vaccination drive.

The Delta strain, which first emerged in India in late 2020 and is also known as B.1.617.2, will probably make up 50% of Covid-19 infections in the U.S. by early to mid-July, said William Lee, vice president of science at population genomics company Helix and an author of the new analysis.

   
 
 

Daly Says It Is Critical for Fed to Understand Risks of Climate Change

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco leader Mary Daly said climate change has the potential to reshape the economy and because of that, the issue is becoming a part of how central bankers need to think about their monetary policy choices.

Climate change is on a path to bring "economic upheaval, boosting innovation, output, and jobs in green sectors, while reducing them in carbon-intensive ones," Ms. Daly said in a virtual appearance.

   
 
 

Fed Officials Stress Bond Buying Isn't Aimed at Boosting Housing Market

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said central bank bond buying is designed to help create widespread easy credit conditions and isn't directly targeted at supporting the housing market.

Mr. Williams, in a Bloomberg television interview Tuesday, was responding to a question about whether the central bank may want to rethink its $40 billion a month of mortgage bond purchases. This buying, which is joined with $80 billion a month in Treasury buying, is coming at a time of strength in the housing market, which has caused some to question whether the central bank should still offer such aid.

   
 
 

North Korea Gives the U.S. the Cold Shoulder on Nuclear Talks

SEOUL-In nuclear diplomacy with the U.S., North Korea is playing hard to get, for now.

The Kim Jong Un regime this year has rebuked the Biden administration's outreach for engagement, without detailing what might woo them back to talks beyond vague demands. As diplomacy stalls, Pyongyang is adding to its nuclear arsenal, which President Biden has called the biggest foreign-policy threat facing the U.S.

   
 
 

Illicit Covid-19 Drugs Bound for Mexico Seized by U.S. Authorities

Federal authorities have seized at U.S. airports unauthorized versions of the Covid-19 treatment remdesivir destined for distribution in Mexico, the latest effort by the government to root out criminal activity related to the pandemic.

Counterfeit or generic versions of remdesivir, an antiviral manufactured by Gilead Sciences Inc., are arriving in the U.S. by plane from Bangladesh and India and being smuggled by individuals to Mexico for patients willing to pay top dollar for the drugs, people familiar with the investigation said.

   
 
 

U.S. Seizes Internet Domains Tied to Iran's Government

WASHINGTON-More than 30 web domains linked to the Iranian regime were seized by U.S. agencies on Tuesday, a U.S. government official said.

The U.S. seized sites operated by government-run PressTV as well as social media channels affiliated with Iran-backed militias in Iraq. The seizures come as the Biden administration is in the midst of negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program and follow the election of a new president who has rebuffed calls from Washington to curb its support for proxies fighting across the region.

   
 
 

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This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today.

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 23, 2021 06:24 ET (10:24 GMT)

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