NEW DELHI, Oct 12 (Reuters)India’s finance minister on Monday announced steps to stimulate consumer demand including advance payment of a part of the wages of federal government employees for spending during the festival season, part of efforts to bolster the pandemic-hit economy.

The government will also allow its employees to spend travel allowances that are an income-tax-exempt part of their salaries on goods and services, Nirmala Sitharaman told a news briefing.

“This is expected to create a consumer demand of about 280 billion rupees ($3.83 billion),” she said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which imposed a tough lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus in March, is pushing ahead with a full opening to try to boost the economy ahead of the usually high-spending festival season.

($1 = 73.1541 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Manoj Kumar; Editing by Catherine Evans)

((manoj.kumar@thomsonreuters.com; +91 11 4954 8029; Reuters Messaging: manoj.kumar.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) reports its Q3 ’20 financial results on Tuesday morning, October 13th, 2020, followed up by Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) on Wednesday. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) also reports Wednesday morning, while Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) reports Thursday morning before the opening bell.

All in, I have 15-20 banks and financial names reporting this week, which should give bank investors a good look at credit losses, net interest margin compression, and (possibly) the first look at the guidance for 2021, although without stock buybacks, there may be no willingness to give guidance to investors.

For the Schwabs, BlackRocks (NYSE:BLK) and names like Goldman and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), we get to see how further credit market improvements over the third quarter aided bond issuance, and how the robust capital market activity aided the capital-market-sensitive returns for the big banks.

Ed Yardeni (cut and pasted from his blog) starts us off with his view of what’s expected for credit:

“Financials: Reality Check Coming. Financials has been one of the S&P 500’s worst-performing sectors this year, battered by a flat yield curve, surging loan losses, and a regulator that’s prohibiting the payment of dividends and stock buybacks. Next week, as banks’ Q3 earnings start rolling in, we’ll get a better feel for how well banks are reserved for loan losses. Many set aside billions of dollars for losses in Q2 as Covid-19 descended. Given the poor performance of bank stocks, investors may already have priced in banks’ need to continue building reserves in Q3.

The S&P 500 Financials sector’s stock price index has barely rebounded from the market’s March selloff, while the S&P 500 Technology and Consumer Discretionary sectors have hit new highs. Here’s the performance derby for the S&P 500 and its sectors ytd through Tuesday’s close: Information Technology

BANGKOK, Oct 8 (Reuters)Thai consumer confidence dropped in September for the first time in five months on concerns about growing political protests, a slow economic recovery and job losses from the coronavirus pandemic, a university survey showed on Thursday.

The consumer index of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce fell to 50.2 in September from 51.0 in August.

“Various political gatherings made people have no confidence in government stability,” while the surprise exit of the country’s finance minister last month was negative, university president Thanavath Phonvichai told a briefing.

Demonstrators have rallied against the military-backed government in larger numbers in recent months, with some also calling for reforms of the powerful monarchy. The next big protest is set for Oct. 14.

Consumers felt the economic situation remained bad as tourism has yet to recover, Thanavath said.

“If the situation does not improve, there may be more than 500,000 job cuts in the sector in the fourth quarter,” he said.

Thailand has recorded no foreign tourists since April and relatively few infections due to a travel ban designed to keep the coronavirus at bay.

It aims to receive its first visitors later this month as part of an incremental reopening, but only a small fraction of the usual influx.

Recent government stimulus measures are positive, but most consumers felt the economy would recover in the second half of next year, Thanavath said.

The university predicts Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy to contract 7%-9% this year before growing 3%-4% next year, he said.

(Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty)

((orathai.sriring@thomsonreuters.com; +662 0802309; Reuters Messaging: orathai.sriring.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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When house hunting, the price of homeowners insurance probably isn’t top of mind. But homes with hidden risks can make getting coverage difficult, expensive or both. Learning how to identify them could save a homeowner a bundle.

This could be a particularly important concern for first-time homebuyers and those moving from cities to suburban or rural areas who may not be aware of common hazards, says Jennifer Naughton, risk consulting officer for North America for Chubb, an insurance company.

Three out of 10 city dwellers told a Chubb survey in early August that they were considering moving out of the city because of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, the number of first-time homebuyers in the first half of 2020 rose 4% compared to a year earlier as lower interest rates made mortgages more affordable, according to Genworth Mortgage Insurance.

A homeowners insurance premium can depend in part on distance to the nearest fire hydrant and fire station, Naughton says. Homes that are on narrow roads or otherwise difficult for fire trucks to access also could be more expensive to insure.

Three out of 10 city dwellers told a Chubb survey that they were considering moving out of the city because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“If they have to cross over a bridge, it’s not only a consideration of can a car go over that bridge, but also can a fire engine,” she says.

Some homes are at such high risk of wildfires and severe weather — hurricanes, tornadoes, windstorms and hail —that private companies won’t insure them. Without insurance, buyers can’t get a mortgage, so they need to turn to state-run risk pools such as Beach and Windstorm Plans or Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plans, better known as FAIR. These policies typically cost more and cover less than regular

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers cut back on their borrowing in August, with credit card use dropping for a sixth straight month, reflecting caution in the midst of the pandemic-triggered recession.

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that total borrowing fell by $7.2 billion after a gain of $14.7 billion in July. It was the first decline since a $12 billion fall in May when pandemic-driven shutdowns ground the economy to a near standstill.

The weakness in August came from a $9.4 billion fall in the category that covers credit cards, the sixth decline in that area starting with a $25.4 billion drop in March.


The category that covers auto loans and student loans rose by $2.2 billion in August, its fourth gain after a $5.6 billion drop in April.

Consumer borrowing is closely followed for signals it can send about households’ willingness to take on more debt to support their spending, which accounts for 70% of economic activity.

Economists say they expect to see a resumption in credit card growth in coming months but that the gains will likely be limited.

“Softer consumer-spending growth, elevated savings and tight lending standards will limit the upside” potential for credit card gains, said Oren Klachkin, senior economist at Oxford Economics.

Consumer credit does not include mortgages or any other loans backed by real estate such as home equity loans.

The decline in August left consumer credit at a seasonally adjusted $4.14 trillion.

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This story has been updated to correct the headline to read ‘consumer borrowing,’ rather than ‘consumer spending.’

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