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London (CNN Business)As global lockdowns start to lift, consumers are faced with a difficult choice: do they go out and spend the money they accrued during months cooped up inside, or stash it away as uncertainty looms?
The answer to that question has huge ramifications for the nascent economic recovery now underway.
“If businesses and households hold back too much, they could trigger a fresh wave of credit problems,” Kallum Pickering, senior economist at Berenberg Bank, said in a recent note to clients.
There are some early signs that the pickup in consumer spending could be stronger than anticipated. Macy’s and Kohl’s (KSS) said at an industry conference this week that reopened stores are performing better than expected.
Sales at Macy’s (M) stores are down by about 50%, but the company had expected sales to drop by as much as 85%, according to CEO Jeffrey Gennette.
“We’re encouraged with the signs, but I will tell you, it’s still a very fluid environment,” Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass said.
There are also indications that conservative savings patterns could persist, however. Goldman Sachs will stop accepting new applications for its Marcus savings accounts in the United Kingdom on Wednesday following a surge in deposits. The investment bank has brought in about £4 billion ($5.1 billion) since the country’s lockdown began.
Capital Economics thinks the household savings rate in the United Kingdom has jumped to as high as 30% of disposable income from about 5% at the end of 2019. It’s expected to decline in the months to come but should remain elevated.
“The desire to hold more savings post-lockdown combined with lower incomes will weigh on consumption over the next few years, prolonging the recovery,” UK economist Thomas Pugh told clients Wednesday.
On the radar: This question will be a key one for the Federal Reserve, which is due to announce its latest policy decision. The central bank is expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but Chair Jerome Powell will be asked to outline how he intends to support the recovery. Attention will also focus on the Fed’s latest economic projections.
Recent forecasts for the global economy have been dire, with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicting the worst peacetime recession in a century.
The Paris-based agency said Wednesday it expects the global economy to contract 6% this year before rebounding in 2021, among the gloomiest outlooks offered by multilateral financial institutions. The World Bank forecast earlier this week that global output would shrink 5.2% in 2020, while the International Monetary Fund estimated a 3% contraction in April.
George Floyd protests shake up Corporate America
Protests sparked by the death of George Floyd are forcing companies to take a hard look at their own policies.
In recent days, employees have put pressure on Corporate America to square public displays of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and racial justice with their internal practices, triggering some changes.
The latest: Adidas (ADDDF) announced Tuesday that it will fill at least 30% of new US positions with black or Latinx people.
The announcement comes after hundreds of Adidas employees walked out of the company’s North American headquarters in Portland, Oregon, asking Adidas to better support black employees.
“The events of the past two weeks have caused all of us to reflect on what we can do to confront the cultural and systemic forces that sustain racism,” CEO Kasper Rorsted said Tuesday.
This, too: Twitter (TWTR) and Square (SQ) are making Juneteenth — a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States — a corporate holiday.
“A day for celebration, education, and connection,” CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted.
Meanwhile, CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman resigned Tuesday following inflammatory remarks he made over the weekend about Floyd.
Gym owners and brand partners like Reebok distanced themselves from CrossFit after Glassman criticized a statement from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation calling racism a public health issue.
Investors are snapping up new stocks
Online used car seller Vroom is the latest startup to benefit from investors’ appetite for new stocks.
Vroom shares debuted on Wall Street Tuesday and quickly more than doubled from their offering price, my CNN Business colleague Paul R. La Monica reports.
The details: Vroom, which competes with traditional used car sellers such as AutoNation (AN) and CarMax (KMX) as well as internet car dealer Carvana (CVNA), priced its stock sale at $22 a share — above its expected range. The stock wound up soaring 118% to finish the day at $47.90.
The surge follows healthy gains for several other initial public offerings in recent weeks, including record label Warner Music Group, business data software company ZoomInfo and biotech company Pliant Therapeutics.
And more buzzy IPOs could be on the way. Bloomberg reports that Unity Technologies, which develops software to design video games, is getting ready for a US listing later this year. The business was last valued at $6.3 billion, according to PitchBook.
US inflation data for May posts at 8:30 a.m. ET.
- The latest data on US crude inventories arrives at 10:30 a.m. ET.
- The Federal Reserve’s policy announcement goes live at 2 p.m. ET and will be followed by a press conference.
Coming tomorrow: Initial US unemployment claims for last week are expected to continue declining as the labor market shows signs of life.
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