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Weekly News Summary for May 14 to 20, 2021

Friday, May 14, 2021: US Retail Sales Virtually Unchanged in April

US retail sales were essentially unchanged in April as the support from the $1,400 stimulus checks weakened, but improvement is expected in the coming months amid record savings and the economy resuming operations.

The Commerce Department stated on Friday that the unchanged reading in overall retail purchases last month followed an upwardly revised 10.7% increase in March that was the second-highest in records dating back to 1992.

 

Monday, May 17, 2021: Musk’s Tweet Triggers Cryptocurrency Sell-off

The cryptocurrency market had a sharp sell-off on Monday after Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk raised on Twitter the possibility of his electric vehicle (EV) giant selling some of all of its Bitcoin holdings.

While Musk followed that with another tweet that said Tesla had not sold any Bitcoins and it doesn’t plan to, it did little to support most cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin losing 7.3% to $45,389 after reaching a three-month low earlier, while Dogecoin dropped 4.3% to stand just over $0.50.

 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021: US Dollar Hits Three-Month Low as Commodities Rise

The US dollar hit a three-month low on Tuesday, with the decline prompted by Federal Reserve Vice-chair Richard Clarida’s statement about forecast-beating inflation figures in April being not a reason to start tightening the central bank’s asset purchases.

The dollar index fell 0.4% to $89.775 against a basket of six major currencies on Tuesday, marking its largest losses against higher-yielding currencies like the New Zealand dollar and the British pound, while its weakness pushed prices of London coffee futures, US corn, soybeans, and wheat higher.

 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021: Oil Prices Down on Possible Iran Nuclear Deal

Oil prices took a sharp dive on Wednesday as the general risk-off tone markets strengthened by news that huge progress has been made to arrange a deal between Iran and the US to reinstate the 2015 nuclear deal, which would increase crude supply.

Brent crude futures slipped 1.1% to $68.71 per barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures shed 1.2% to $65.49, with the losses easing after Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN) and source of the report, said negotiators needed more time to settle a deal.

 

Thursday, May 20, 2021: Zhang Yiming to Step Down as ByteDance’s CEO

ByteDance Ltd. announced on Thursday that its founder Zhang Yiming would step down as chief executive and hand the reigns over to its co-founder and human resource chief, Liang Rubo.

Zhang, who will remain a board member of TikTok’s parent company, stated in an internal letter to employees that he is making the transition to focus more on “long-term strategy, corporate culture, and social responsibility.”

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