1) U.S. jobless claims in line with expectations, new-house sales hit 7-month high
U.S. jobless claims for the week ending December 18 came in at 205,000, which was in line with the expectations of economists. Meanwhile, new-home sales in November jumped to a seven-month high at 744,000, an increase from 662,000 in October, but lower than the 770,000 estimated by economists.
2) U.S. bans imports from Xinjiang, citing forced labor
The U.S. President Joe Biden signed a bill on Thursday in a move to ban imports from Xinjiang, China, and impose sanctions on individuals responsible for forced labor in the region. The land is the target of global dispute, mainly the U.S., in accusing China of using forced labor on the Uygur.
3) Global air travel will remain sluggish in near term, expert says
International air travel will likely remain sluggish in the near term as uncertainties over the omicron Covid variant linger, according to Brendan Sobie, independent analyst at Sobie Aviation, in an interview with CNBC.
“The recovery we were hoping we were going to have continuing into the first half of next year, it’s just not going to happen. That’s going to be a setback,” said Sobie. “Because we don’t know too much about this variant and we don’t know what’s around the corner.”
4) Two major American Airlines cancelled flights as Covid-19 hit crews
United Airlines and Delta Air Lines announced a cancellation of dozens of flights on Christmas Eve as the coronavirus hit crews.
“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” wrote United Airlines in a statement. “As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport.”
More than 131 mainline flights of United scheduled for Friday were cancelled, representing about 7% of its schedule. Meanwhile, more than 90 flights of Delta were also cancelled, representing 4% of the schedule on Friday.