Secretary Yellen Announces Intention to Appoint Michael J. Hsu as First Deputy Comptroller of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

WASHINGTON – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen today announced her intention to appoint Michael J. Hsu as a Deputy Comptroller and designate him the First Deputy Comptroller of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Mr. Hsu will serve as Acting Comptroller.

“Today, I’m pleased to appoint Michael Hsu to the post of First Deputy Comptroller of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. When Mike takes office on Monday, he will assume the role of Acting Comptroller,” said Secretary Yellen.

“Mike has devoted his career to the stability and supervision of America’s banking system. He is among the most talented and principled regulatory officials that I have had the pleasure of working with, and I am confident he will execute this role with integrity and efficiency.”

The OCC is a bureau within the Department of the Treasury, and the Comptroller of the Currency is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. By statute (12 U.S.C. § 4), the Treasury Secretary is responsible for appointing up to four Deputy Comptrollers of the Currency and designating one as the First Deputy Comptroller. During a vacancy in the position of Comptroller, the First Deputy Comptroller possesses the powers and performs the duties of the office of Comptroller.

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Treasury Announces Additional $21.6 Billion in Emergency Rental Assistance Allocation

Today’s Announcement Includes Strengthened Guidance to Expedite Resources and Prevent Evictions Due to the Affordable Housing Challenges Exacerbated by Covid-19

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in coordination with the White House American Rescue Plan Implementation Team and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced the allocation of an additional $21.6 billion under the American Rescue Plan for Emergency Rental Assistance, which will help prevent evictions and ensure basic housing security for millions of Americans impacted by the affordable housing challenges exacerbated by COVID-19. 

In addition to this financial support, Treasury issued updated, strengthened guidance to expedite funds to renters and target those most severely in need of assistance. For example, the guidance makes clear that the $21.6 billion of emergency rental assistance made available through this program must be offered directly to renters when landlords do not accept direct payment. The guidance also reduces burdensome documentation requirements and wait times that can slow down assistance. 

This infusion of additional support will benefit both renters and landlords and make sure states and localities that have moved quickly to address housing affordability challenges wrought by the public health emergency and its negative economic impacts in their areas will continue to have the resources they need to serve their communities.

These latest resources and guidance represent an all-of-government approach that leverages authorities and agencies across the entire Administration, including the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the White House American Rescue Plan Implementation Team. 

The fact sheet on the additional financial support and guidance is available here

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Peloton Interactive, Inc. Reports Third Quarter Fiscal 2021 Financial Results

NEW YORK, May 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Peloton Interactive, Inc. (Nasdaq: PTON) has announced its financial results for third quarter 2021. Please visit the Peloton investor relations website https://investor.onepeloton.com/financial-information/quarterly-results to view the third quarter 2021 shareholder letter. Today the company will host a live audio webcast of its conference call to discuss the results at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Additional Call Details:

What: Peloton Third Quarter 2021 Earnings Conference Call

When: Thursday, May 6, 2021

Time: 5:00 p.m. ET

Live Call: 1-800-920-4315 (US) or 1-212-231-2934 (international), Conference ID: 21993662

Webcast: https://investor.onepeloton.com/financial-information/quarterly-results

The archived webcast of the conference call will be available following the call.

About Peloton

Peloton is the leading interactive fitness platform in the world with a loyal community of more than 5.4 million Members. The company pioneered connected, technology-enabled fitness, and the streaming of immersive, instructor-led boutique classes for its Members anytime, anywhere. Peloton makes fitness entertaining, approachable, effective, and convenient, while fostering social connections that encourage its Members to be the best versions of themselves. An innovator at the nexus of fitness, technology, and media, Peloton has reinvented the fitness industry by developing a first-of-its-kind subscription platform that seamlessly combines the best equipment, proprietary networked software, and world-class streaming digital fitness and wellness content, creating a product that its Members love. The brand’s immersive content is accessible through the Peloton Bike, Peloton Tread, Peloton Bike+, Peloton Tread+, and Peloton App, which allows access to a full slate of fitness classes across disciplines, on any iOS or Android device, Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku TVs, and Chromecast and Android TV. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in New York City, Peloton has a growing number of retail showrooms across the US, UK, Canada and Germany. For more information, visit www.onepeloton.com.

Investor Relations Contact: Peter Stabler[email protected]

Primary Logo

Source: Peloton Interactive

BRP OPENS THE FIRST CORPORATE VACCINATION CENTRE IN THE EASTERN TOWNSHIPS

Valcourt, Quebec, May 5, 2021 – BRP (TSX: DOO; NASDAQ: DOOO) is opening the first and only corporate vaccination centre in the Eastern Townships, at the Aréna de Valcourt. In collaboration with the CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS, BRP is committing to administer, at its own costs, between 15,000 and 25,000 vaccine doses against COVID-19 from now to August 2021. These vaccines will be available for BRP’s employees and their families, as well as for members of the local community who wish to be vaccinated.

BRP prides itself on its strong involvement in the community, and it was without hesitation that the company answered the call to corporations this past March from the Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé. For the past several weeks, BRP has been preparing the Aréna de Valcourt in order to administer more than 1,000 doses per week as of May 10. BRP is one of 13 corporate vaccination sites to date that will be contributing to the vaccination effort in Quebec.

“We’re very proud to be participating in the fight against COVID-19 and contributing to the health of our community. Health and safety have always been a top priority for us and we’re putting all necessary measures into place to maintain the health of our employees, their families, and our fellow citizens. We’re thrilled to do our part and give back in this way. We’ll eradicate the pandemic by working together,” said Éric Lebel, Vice-President, Human Resources, Product Engineering and Manufacturing Operations at BRP.

“The past year has shown us that solidarity makes it easier to face adversity. Protecting Eastern Townshippers from COVID-19 is everyone’s priority. With the participation of the population and partners like BRP, we will defeat this common enemy that is COVID-19. I am happy to count on the invaluable collaboration of our partner to offer Eastern Townshippers one more place where they can be vaccinated. I congratulate them for the quality of the place they have set up. By stepping up our efforts, we will protect our population more quickly,” said Nancy Desautels, Assistant Director of emergency measures, civil security and organizational issues, CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS.

To make an appointment at the BRP vaccination centre
With the exception of the vaccines themselves, BRP’s vaccination centre is self-managed, self-financed, and conforms to governmental health regulations. Members of the local community can make a vaccination appointment starting the week of May 10 on the Quebec government’s website, www.clicsante.ca. BRP will provide time slots, depending on the vaccine delivery roll-out from the local health authority. For this reason, BRP’s vaccination site will open gradually and offer variable time slots based on available doses.

BRP is looking for volunteers!
Would you like to contribute to the vaccine effort? BRP is looking for volunteers to ensure the smooth operation of its vaccination centre. Please be in touch with Nancy Bossé ([email protected]) to indicate your interest in helping out.

About BRP
We are a global leader in the world of powersports vehicles, propulsion systems and boats, built on over 75 years of ingenuity and intensive consumer focus. Our portfolio of industry-leading and distinctive products includes Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles, Sea-Doo watercraft, Can-Am on- and off-road vehicles, Alumacraft, Manitou, Quintrex, Stacer and Savage boats, Evinrude and Rotax marine propulsion systems as well as Rotax engines for karts, motorcycles and recreational aircraft. We complete our lines of products with a dedicated parts, accessories and apparel business to fully enhance the riding experience. With annual sales of CA$6.0 billion from over 130 countries, our global workforce is made up of approximately 14,500 driven, resourceful people.

www.brp.com
@BRPNews

More than 1.1 million additional Economic Impact Payments disbursed under the American Rescue Plan; payments total approximately 164 million

WASHINGTON — Today, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service announced they are disbursing more than 1.1 million payments in the eighth batch of Economic Impact Payments from the American Rescue Plan.

Today’s announcement brings the total disbursed so far to approximately 164 million payments, with a total value of approximately $386 billion, since these payments began rolling out to Americans in batches as announced on March 12. 

The eighth batch of payments began processing on Friday, April 30, with an official payment date of May 5, with some people receiving direct payments in their accounts earlier as provisional or pending deposits. Here is additional information on this batch of payments:

  • In total, this batch includes more than 1.1 million payments with a value of more than $2 billion.
  • More than 585,000 payments, with a value of over $1.2 billion, went to eligible individuals for whom the IRS previously did not have information to issue an Economic Impact Payment but who recently filed a tax return.
  • This batch also includes additional ongoing supplemental payments for people who earlier this year received payments based on their 2019 tax returns but are eligible for a new or larger payment based on their recently processed 2020 tax returns. This batch included more than 570,000 of these “plus-up” payments, with a value of nearly $1 billion.
  • Overall, this eighth batch of payments contains about 600,000 direct deposit payments (with a total value of $1.1 billion) with the remainder on paper payments.

Additional information is available on the first seven batches of Economic Impact Payments from the American Rescue Plan, which processed weekly on April 23, April 16, April 9, April 2, March 26, March 19 and March 12.

The IRS will continue to make Economic Impact Payments on a weekly basis. Ongoing payments will be sent to eligible individuals for whom the IRS previously did not have information to issue a payment but who recently filed a tax return, as well to people who qualify for “plus-up” payments.

Special reminder for those who don’t normally file a tax return

Although payments are automatic for most people, the IRS continues to urge people who don’t normally file a tax return and haven’t received Economic Impact Payments to file a 2020 tax return to get all the benefits they’re entitled to under the law, including tax credits such as the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.  Filing a 2020 tax return will also assist the IRS in determining whether someone is eligible for an advance payment of the 2021 Child Tax Credit, which will begin to be disbursed this summer.

For example, some federal benefits recipients may need to file a 2020 tax return – even if they don’t usually file – to provide information the IRS needs to send payments for a qualifying dependent. Eligible individuals in this group should file a 2020 tax return as quickly as possible to be considered for an additional payment for their qualifying dependents.

People who don’t normally file a tax return and don’t receive federal benefits may qualify for these Economic Impact Payments. This includes those experiencing homelessness, the rural poor, and others. Individuals who didn’t get a first or second round Economic Impact Payment or got less than the full amounts may be eligible for the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, but they’ll need to file a 2020 tax return. See the special section on IRS.gov: Claiming the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit if you aren’t required to file a tax return.

Free tax return preparation is available for qualifying people.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that the income levels in this third round of Economic Impact Payments have changed. This means that some people won’t be eligible for the third payment even if they received a first or second Economic Impact Payment or claimed a 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit. Payments will begin to be reduced for individuals making $75,000 or above in Adjusted Gross Income ($150,000 for married filing jointly). The payments end at $80,000 for individuals ($160,000 for married filing jointly); people with Adjusted Gross Incomes above these levels are ineligible for a payment.

Individuals can check the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov to see the payment status of these payments. Additional information on Economic Impact Payments is available on IRS.gov.

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Report to the Secretary of the Treasury from the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee

May 4, 2021

Letter to the Secretary

Dear Madam Secretary:

Economic activity rose strongly in the first quarter of 2021, with a 6.4% annualized increase in real GDP. Since the Committee last met, further fiscal support, rapid vaccination that has now reached more than half of American adults, and a recovery in the sectors of the economy most affected by the virus have contributed to an acceleration in economic activity and employment.

The course of the virus and further progress on vaccination will continue to influence the trajectory of the economy. But the economic situation of last April, when GDP had fallen an estimated 15% below the pre-pandemic level and the unemployment rate stood at the highest level since the Great Depression, increasingly feels like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Since the last refunding, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) maintained the target range for the federal funds rate at the effective lower bound of 0%-0.25%. Financial conditions have remained easy overall since the Committee last met. Equity prices rose by roughly 10%, and the trade-weighted dollar declined by roughly 1%. The 2-year Treasury yield rose by 5 basis points and the 10-year Treasury yield rose by 50 basis points.

Consumer spending rose at a 10.7% annualized rate in the first quarter, a sharp acceleration from the 2.3% annualized increase in the fourth quarter of 2020. Durable goods spending increased at a 41.4% annualized rate and nondurable goods spending rose at a 14.4% rate, while services spending increased at a 4.6% rate. The recovery in consumer spending has varied widely by industry.  Overall goods spending was 12.5% above year-ago levels in the first quarter, but services spending remained 3.3% below year-ago levels. The slower recovery in services reflects continued weakness in sectors requiring face-to-face contact such as transportation, recreation, and food services.

Business fixed investment increased at a 9.9% annualized rate in the first quarter and is now 2.7% above year-ago levels. Structures investment declined for the sixth consecutive quarter at a 4.8% rate, equipment investment rose at a 16.7% rate, and investment in intellectual products increased at a 10.1% rate. The change in inventory investment subtracted 2.6 percentage points from GDP growth in the first quarter. Regional and national manufacturing surveys have reported sharp increases in the level of activity through April. The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book also indicated that manufacturing activity continued to recover in almost all Districts.

Residential investment rose at a 10.8% annualized rate after surging at a 36.6% rate in the prior quarter and is now 12.3% above the year-ago level. New and existing home sales, housing starts, and building permits have all surpassed their pre-virus levels in recent months. Surveys continue to show very high levels of optimism among home builders, and mortgage rates remain at low levels and should continue to support the housing sector.

Net exports subtracted 0.9pp from real GDP growth in the first quarter. Real exports declined at a 1.1% annualized rate while real imports increased at a 5.7% annualized rate, following sharp increases in both in the second half of 2020. Federal spending rose at an 13.8% annualized rate in the first quarter, while state and local spending rose at a 1.7% rate.

The labor market improved rapidly in the first quarter. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 916k in March, including a 280k increase in the leisure and hospitality sector. The unemployment rate declined to 6.0%, while the broader U6 underemployment rate fell by 0.4pp to 10.7%. The labor force participation rose 0.1pp to 61.5% in March, and the employment-to-population ratio rose by 0.2pp to 57.8%.

Consumer price inflation has risen in recent months, driven in part by higher energy prices and large price increases in some virus-sensitive sectors. The total personal consumption expenditures price index increased at a 3.5% annualized rate in the first quarter, while the core measure excluding food and energy increased at a 2.3% rate. The core measure rose 1.5% over the last four quarters, well below the Federal Reserve’s 2% target. The rate of change over the last year is likely to jump sharply in the second quarter, reflecting the comparison with large price declines at the outset of the pandemic.  Strong demand and supply chain disruptions, including a shortage of semiconductors, are likely to put upward pressure on inflation this year.

The federal budget deficit was $1.1 trillion in the first quarter of 2021, up from the previous quarter. The deficit is set to remain elevated following passage of the roughly $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act in March.  The White House has since introduced two additional plans, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, that aim to increase spending on infrastructure, manufacturing and R&D incentives, and social benefits as well as increase corporate and individual taxes.

The FOMC kept the funds rate at the effective lower bound at its March and April meetings and has not yet indicated any intention to begin tapering its asset purchases, which continue at a pace of $120 billion per month. At the March meeting, FOMC participants made changes to their interest rate projections. The median participant projected no change in the funds rate through the end of 2023, but seven participants showed at least one rate hike by 2023.

In light of this financial and economic backdrop, the Committee reviewed Treasury’s May 2021 Quarterly Refunding Presentation to the TBAC. Through Q2 of FY 2021, receipts were $1.74 trillion (6%) higher than the same period in 2020. Total outlays over the same period were $3.41 trillion, an increase of 45% relative to the comparable period in 2020, mainly due to recent legislation. Q2 FY21 outlays were 30.6% of GDP, compared to 22.4% of GDP for Q2 FY20. Based on the Quarterly Borrowing Estimate, Treasury’s Office of Fiscal Projections currently projects a net privately-held marketable borrowing1 need of $463 billion for Q3 FY 2021, with an end-of-June cash balance of $800 billion. For Q4 FY 2021, the net privately-held marketable borrowing need is estimated to be $821 billion, with a cash balance of $750 billion at the end of September. Both of these estimates do not include any assumption for additional legislation that may be passed.

The Committee noted Treasury’s cash balance had reduced significantly, dropping below $1 trillion, as Treasury used those balances to meet some of its need for funds over the period. Treasury noted that it is projecting a cash balance of $450 billion at the end of the debt limit suspension on July 31st, based on expected outflows under its cash management policies and consistent with its authorities and obligations, including the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019. The Committee was encouraged that the cash balance in this scenario would remain larger than many market participants had expected, and that it would be in line with Treasury’s normal cash management approach (including holding a balance generally sufficient to cover one week of outflows).  Nonetheless, elevated risks of volatility in money markets remain as this date approaches and Treasury bills outstanding decline. TBAC strongly urges Congress to suspend or raise the debt limit in a timely manner.

The Committee discussed financing strategies to accommodate the higher financing needs from the American Rescue Plan Act and the uncertain fiscal needs from additional fiscal proposals. The Committee noted that prior increases in coupon issuance will continue to result in sizable net funding to Treasury going forward. Maintaining current auction sizes for nominal coupon securities would result in a higher level of net funding than needed in coming years, requiring Treasury to reduce the outstanding stock of Treasury bills to levels below the TBAC’s prior recommended range of 15-20% of outstanding debt. Thus, the Committee anticipates that Treasury may want to reduce nominal coupon sizes beginning late this year or early next year.  Additionally, Committee members recognize that a wide range of funding needs are possible and that information about both fiscal and economic outcomes in coming quarters would affect these decisions.  

Committee members noted that pressure on the 20-year bond observed since the last refunding had made it a somewhat more expensive funding point for Treasury.  Members believe this outcome was partly driven by the earlier increases in auction sizes of the 20-year bond to levels above what TBAC had recommended.  Accordingly, members agree that the supply of 20-year bonds relative to other coupon issues should be reduced modestly.  However, given Treasury’s regular and predictable issuance strategy, expected fiscal needs, and the likelihood of broader coupon reductions late this or early next year, the majority of Committee members feel that any such adjustment should take place at a later time and in the context of broader reductions. Thus, the Committee recommends maintaining the sizes of nominal coupon securities for the current quarter.

The Committee further recommends ongoing moderate increases in TIPS issue sizes. Given the meaningful increases in nominal debt issuance in 2020, TIPS share of outstanding debt has fallen to 7.5% from around 9% in the pre-COVID period. The Committee is supportive of $1 to $2 billion increases in TIPS auction sizes over time, with larger increased in the 5-year sector, to gradually move TIPS share of debt outstanding in the direction of pre-COVID levels, while monitoring market functioning and the relative valuation of TIPS to nominal securities as this adjustment takes place.

Further, the Committee recommends that Treasury issue a 1-year SOFR-based FRN and commit to an inaugural issue in 2021.  Members believe that this FRN will be an effective funding instrument for the Treasury.  In addition, it would benefit the transition of market instruments away from LIBOR and towards SOFR as the benchmark short-term rate. 

Overall, the recommended path of auction sizes for the current and next quarter should allow Treasury to meet its financing needs in an efficient manner while maintaining flexibility to accommodate further meaningful funding needs should they arise. Over a longer horizon, we recommend an issuance path that would lengthen the average maturity of Treasury debt to above its historical range; gradually reduce the share of debt maturing within one, three, and five years; leave the T-bill share of outstanding debt on a general downward trajectory, leveling out within the recommended 15% to 20% range; and gradually increase the share of TIPS in outstanding debt.  Of course, given the considerable uncertainty surrounding current fiscal projections, the economy, and the Fed’s balance sheet policy, Treasury will need to retain flexibility in its approach.

Finally, the Committee reviewed a charge on recent Treasury market liquidity in times of stress. The presenter highlighted four recent episodes – the flash rally in 2014, repo spike in 2019, COVID crisis in 2020, and a few days in February 2021 – during which market functioning came under pressure. Each of these episodes highlights that the Treasury market, which in normal times is the deepest and most liquid securities market in the world, can be vulnerable to stress. The presenter reviewed several proposals to enhance market functioning, including a standing repo facility, adjustments to regulatory capital rules (namely SLR and Tier 1 leverage), mandatory clearing, and enhanced reporting, among others. The discussion focused on two of the proposals that were seen as particularly appealing — the standing repo facility and adjustments to the leverage requirements that could enhance intermediaries’ ability to expand balance sheets in times of stress. The Committee highlighted the tremendous importance of maintaining effective market functioning and sound liquidity conditions in the Treasury market, and it emphasized the importance of considering the impact of any proposals during both normal and stressed market conditions.

 

 

Respectfully,

 

_______________________________

Beth Hammack

Chair, Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee

 

 

_______________________________

Brian Sack

Vice Chair, Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee

 

1It was noted that privately-held net marketable borrowing excludes rollovers of Treasury securities and Treasury Bills held in the Federal Reserve’s System Open Market Account (SOMA). Secondary market purchases of Treasury securities by SOMA do not directly change net privately-held marketable borrowing, but when they mature would increase the amount of cash raised for a given privately-held auction size by increasing the SOMA “add-on” amount.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee May 4, 2021

The Committee convened in a closed session via teleconference at 10:45 a.m.  All members were present.  Fiscal Assistant Secretary David Lebryk, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Federal Finance Brian Smith, Director of the Office of Debt Management Fred Pietrangeli, and Deputy Director of the Office of Debt Management Nick Steele welcomed the Committee.  Other members of Treasury staff present were Bobby Bishop, Chris Cameron, Dave Chung, David Copenhaver, Tammy Didier, Joshua Frost, Christine Graffunder, Timothy Gribben, Tom Katzenbach, Michael Kiley, Chris Kubeluis, Kyle Lee, Nellie Liang, Justin Reber, Jessie Smith, Brett Solimine, Renee Tang, Brandon Taylor, Gregory Till, and Tom Vannoy.  Federal Reserve Bank of New York staff members Ellen Correia Golay, Matthew Lieber, Susan McLaughlin, Rania Perry, Monica Scheid, and Nathaniel Wuerffel were also present.

Fiscal Assistant Secretary Lebryk opened the meeting by emphasizing the importance of the Committee’s work in providing advice to the Treasury on debt management.

Director Pietrangeli then provided brief highlights of changes in receipts and outlays fiscal-year-to-date.  Receipts increased by $102 billion (6%) compared to the same period last year.  Outlays increased by $1.06 trillion (45%), driven by payments related to the CARES Act of 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.   

Over the next two quarters, Pietrangeli noted that Treasury’s Office of Fiscal Projections estimates privately-held net marketable borrowing of $463 billion and $821 billion, respectively, assuming a cash balance of $800 billion for the end of June and $750 billion for the end of September.  Pietrangeli noted that the September cash balance estimate assumes that Congress has taken actions to resolve the debt limit.

Pietrangeli also highlighted the May 3 financing estimates announcement, which notes that Treasury is assuming a cash balance of approximately $450 billion at the expiration of the debt limit suspension on July 31.  This cash balance assumption is based on expected outflows under Treasury’s cash management policies, is subject to variation based on changes to those outflows, and is consistent with Treasury’s authorities and obligations, including the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019.

Pietrangeli then turned to the primary dealer estimates, which show a median expected privately-held net marketable borrowing requirement in FY2021 of $2.6 trillion.  This estimate is significantly below the median expected deficit for FY2021 of $3.3 trillion, largely due to assumptions about the use of cash as a source of financing.  Despite these net marketable borrowing needs, primary dealers anticipate Treasury will be overfinanced in upcoming fiscal years and may need to consider coupon cuts either later this year or early next year.  Primary dealers added that potential legislation associated with the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan introduced uncertainty to their financing outlooks.  The dealers noted that the ultimate size of this spending was still unknown, and it was expected to be spread over a decade and offset by proposed higher tax revenues.  They suggested Treasury should continue to evaluate the fiscal outlook before considering adjustments to coupon auction sizes. 

Next, Debt Manager Lee described more details regarding primary dealers’ expectations for Treasury issuance.  Given the increases in coupon auction sizes over the past year, dealers expected Treasury to keep nominal coupon auction sizes unchanged for this quarter.  As for Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), they expected Treasury to continue to gradually increase auction sizes over the calendar year and suggested that Treasury consider the higher-end of the previously announced $10-20 billion range of increases in TIPS gross issuance for CY2020 if demand remains robust.  Dealers argued that for FY2022 and beyond, reductions in nominal coupon auction sizes could help avoid a significant decline in bill supply and were expected across the curve.  In addition, some primary dealers suggested that Treasury could consider greater auction size reductions in tenors that appeared to have relatively less demand at auction or that were increased relatively more over the last year.

Deputy Director Steele then summarized responses from the primary dealers regarding the performance of the 20-year bond since its reintroduction in May 2020.  Dealers broadly noted that issuance of the 20-year has been well received, but that relative liquidity in the secondary market has been challenged at times, particularly during periods of broader market volatility.  Some attributed this to larger issuance sizes than had been expected for the security, while recognizing that the security provided substantial long-term financing capacity for the federal government to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Primary dealers were split on whether Treasury should maintain the current sizes of 20-year bond auctions in the near-term or introduce slight reductions in future quarters.  Among the primary dealers that supported maintaining the current size of the issue, many noted that liquidity in the tenor is continuing to build over time, and would be bolstered by increased corporate issuance benchmarked to the 20-year bond yield and a potential shift toward higher Federal Reserve System Open Market Account (SOMA) purchases in the sector.  Most who supported near-term reductions in the 20-year bond size still suggested making cuts in conjunction with other coupons based on structural financing needs.  On the timing of the monthly auctions, a large majority of dealers noted that no change should be made, while a few argued that moving the calendar placement of the 20-year bond auction to later in the month could be beneficial.

Next, Debt Manager Katzenbach reviewed primary dealer views on how the expiration of the debt limit suspension could affect short-term financial markets, as well as their expectations for Treasury bill supply over the next three months.  Primary dealers broadly anticipated continued reductions in T-bill supply during between May and July 2021, which several respondents argued could exacerbate any shortage in cash-like investment options.  As a result, Treasury bill yields might trade at very low levels in the secondary market.  Several primary dealers expected that Treasury could make use of ad-hoc cash management bills around the debt limit reinstatement date as needed.

The Committee then turned to its financing recommendation for the upcoming quarters and recommended that Treasury maintain nominal coupon auction sizes at current levels.  The Committee noted that the historically large issuance sizes in recent quarters had generated sufficient financing capacity at this time, and that coupon sizes could likely be reduced later this year or early next year.  The Committee debated whether it would be beneficial to make near-term cuts for specific maturity points, such as the 20-year bond, or to hold off on recommending any cuts until it becomes clearer that Treasury should begin more broad-based cuts.  After a discussion, the Committee recommended that Treasury maintain current nominal coupon issuance sizes and continue to evaluate borrowing needs over the coming quarters.  The Committee also recommended that Treasury continue to increase TIPS auction sizes at a pace consistent with the $10-20 billion increase in gross issuance for CY2021 that was announced at the November 2020 quarterly refunding, and suggested considering the high-end of the range by increasing the size of 5-year TIPS auctions by slightly more than the increases in other TIPS securities based on relatively high demand.

The Committee then reviewed a presentation on lessons learned from recent episodes of market volatility and stressed liquidity conditions in the Treasury market, examining market structure, dynamics in the non-bank financial sector, and potential ways to improve market functioning during periods of heightened uncertainty.  The presenting member began by discussing a few episodes of stress in the Treasury market in recent years.  Liquidity across Treasury securities can vary during episodes of stress, and such events do not have easily anticipated drivers, complicating the design of potential policy responses. Given this, the presenting member suggested potential solutions designed to assist Treasury market participants in navigating periods of heightened volatility, rather than attempting to prevent these episodes.

The presenting member concluded by noting that when considering proposed solutions, it is critical to consider the impact in both normal and stressed market environments.  The presenting member argued that introducing countercyclical tools could benefit the market in times of stress without material disadvantage to the normal market environment.  The presenting member stated that most promising policy proposals were the adjustments to the leverage ratio and the standing repo facility.  The Committee discussed the presentation and agreed that several of the solutions were worth further study to improve the resilience of the Treasury market.

The Committee adjourned at 2:00 p.m.

The Committee reconvened at 5:00 p.m.  The Chair summarized key elements of the Committee report for Secretary Yellen and followed with a brief discussion of recent market developments.

The Committee adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

_____________________________

Brian Smith

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Federal Finance

United States Department of the Treasury

May 4, 2021

Certified by:

_________________________________

Beth Hammack, Chair

Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee

May 4, 2021

 

 

 

TREASURY BORROWING ADVISORY COMMITTEE QUARTERLY MEETING

COMMITTEE CHARGE – May 4, 2021

Fiscal Outlook

Taking into consideration Treasury’s short, intermediate, and long-term financing requirements, as well as the variability in financing needs from quarter to quarter, what changes, if any, do you recommend to Treasury issuance?  Please also provide perspectives regarding market expectations for Treasury issuance, the effects of SOMA investments, the evolution of Treasury holdings by different types of investors, as well as auction calendar construction.

Treasury Market Functioning

Treasury market liquidity has, at times, been strained during recent episodes of broader market stress. What lessons have been learned in recent years regarding Treasury market structure and vulnerabilities in the non-bank financial sector, and what efforts should be considered to improve market functioning and reduce the need for public sector interventions during future episodes of heightened uncertainty?

Financing this Quarter

We would like the Committee’s advice on the following:

  • The composition of Treasury notes and bonds to refund approximately $47.7 billion of privately-held notes and bonds maturing on May 15, 2021.
  • The composition of Treasury marketable financing for the remainder of the April-June 2021 quarter.
  • The composition of Treasury marketable financing for the July-September 2021 quarter.

 

Economy Statement by Catherine Wolfram, Acting Assistant Secretary for Economy Policy, for the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee

WASHINGTON – Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis confirmed that the U.S. economy has now expanded for three consecutive quarters, after the pandemic caused GDP to plummet 19.2 percent at an annual rate in the first half of 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, economic growth was bolstered by two additional rounds of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs), extensive vaccination of the population, the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, and continuing progress reopening the economy. Indeed, significant progress has been made in revitalizing many sectors, and the economy has proven its resilience in the face of multiple headwinds. Nonetheless, a full recovery continues to depend upon vaccinating enough of the population for effective herd immunity and ensuring individuals and businesses can thrive, despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic.

The first quarter GDP report, as well as recent monthly data on employment and personal income, show rapid improvements in production and employment—largely due to vaccine distribution and unprecedented fiscal support. Nevertheless, the effects of the pandemic on economic activity remain highly uneven. While GDP looks likely to reach pre-pandemic levels in the current quarter, employment remains well below pre-pandemic levels, particularly in lower-wage, labor-intensive sectors like leisure and hospitality. Disruptions to these and other pandemic-sensitive sectors have disproportionately impacted women and minorities and have distorted aggregate measures of wage growth, productivity growth, and average hours worked. That is, drastic changes in the composition of the labor force have made aggregate indicators a less reliable measure of the health of the labor market.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP), along with prior relief efforts, have helped bridge many households through the pandemic. As vaccinations proceed and cases fall, we expect some of the hardest-hit industries to recover, benefiting women and minorities. The ARP, through programs like Emergency Rental Assistance and targeted grants to businesses, can fill the gap for households that were not able to receive unemployment insurance benefits or stimulus payments. Bringing the pandemic under control, reopening schools, and fostering a tight labor market will bring about inclusive growth for communities impacted the most by the pandemic.

GDP Growth

According to the advance estimate released last week, real GDP advanced 6.4 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter of 2021, following annualized growth of 4.3 percent in the final quarter of 2020. The advance estimate is based on incomplete source data and will be revised in coming months.

Three major components of GDP – private consumption, private business fixed investment, and residential investment – grew at, or close to, a double-digit pace. Growth of private domestic final purchases – the sum of personal consumption, business fixed investment, and residential investment – nearly doubled in the first quarter, to 10.6 percent at an annual rate. This measure attests to a significant acceleration in the underlying upward momentum in private demand during the first quarter.

Real personal consumer expenditures (PCE), which accounts for about two-thirds of overall GDP, grew 10.7 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter, accelerating smartly from the 2.3 percent pace of the previous quarter. Purchases of durable goods – a category that includes motor vehicles, household equipment and furnishings, among other items – soared 41.4 percent in the first quarter, boosted by two rounds of Federal Economic Impact Payments. Purchases of durable goods declined 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter. Spending on nondurable goods – such as food and beverages purchased for off-premises consumption, gasoline and other energy goods, clothing, footwear, and other goods – jumped 14.4 percent in the first quarter, following a decline of 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter. Household expenditures on services – the component of PCE most severely affected by the pandemic and related measures – grew 4.6 percent in the first quarter, picking up a bit from the 4.3 percent pace registered in the fourth quarter. As of the first quarter, the level of PCE overall stood at well over 99 percent of its level at the end of 2019. However, services account for roughly two-thirds of economic activity in the U.S., so more telling for the economy’s progress is the fact that as of the first quarter, PCE of services had only recouped about 62 percent of the spending lost during the first half of 2020. Real PCE contributed just over 7 percentage points to the rise in total GDP in Q1.

Business fixed investment (BFI) rose 10.1 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter, reflecting gains in equipment investment and intellectual property products (IPP). The first-quarter double-digit gain followed jumps of 31.3 percent and 18.6 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2020, respectively. Equipment investment rose 16.7 percent in the first quarter, slowing from outsized advances in the previous two quarters. Investment in IPP grew 10.1 percent, similar to the fourth quarter’s 10.5 percent advance. Investment in structures declined for the sixth consecutive quarter, falling 4.8 percent, after a 6.2 percent decline in the fourth quarter. The ongoing pull-back in this type of BFI has been linked to a variety of factors, including less oil exploration (particularly when oil prices were low last year), perceptions of less oil demand in the future and less need for commercial buildings with the continued use of telework, and an ongoing shift in spending patterns towards online, rather than on-site, retailing. During the first quarter, however, investment in mining structures increased (high and rising energy prices prompted more spending on oil and gas wells) and the decline mainly reflected lower business construction of office space, commercial buildings, and lodging. Overall, the contribution of total BFI to growth was relatively stable, adding 1.3 percentage points to real GDP growth in the first quarter, after contributing 1.7 percentage points in the fourth quarter. Moreover, as of the first quarter, total BFI was 0.9 percent higher than its pre-pandemic level.

The private inventory component of real GDP registered a considerable drawdown in the first quarter, after returning to a more normal pace of accumulation in last year’s final quarter. The inventory drawdown may reflect supply chain constraints and bottlenecks as demand for consumer goods has risen well above pre-pandemic levels. Of course, depletion of inventories in one quarter can mean a significant restocking by businesses in the following quarter – hence the volatility of this component, and the need to strip it out of measures designed to look at the underlying pace of the economy’s growth. In the first quarter, the change in private inventories subtracted 2.6 percentage points from economic growth, after contributing 1.4 percentage points to the expansion in the fourth quarter.

In four of the past five quarters, residential investment has grown at double-digit paces. After surging by 63.0 percent in the third quarter – its largest advance since 1983 – residential investment increased 36.6 percent in the fourth quarter and grew 10.8 percent in the first quarter. This component added 0.5 percentage points to growth, after contributing 1.4 percentage points in the fourth quarter and 2.2 percentage points in the third quarter. As of the first quarter, residential investment was 17.3 percent above its pre-pandemic level. Taking a broader view, this sector has contributed to growth in six of the last eight quarters. While there has been some retracement from the record low mortgage rates seen earlier this year and the record highs in builder confidence posted late last year, relatively low mortgage rates and very positive views among builders continue to support the sector. But, builders have yet to increase supply by enough to meet demand, and the imbalance continues to feed a strong acceleration in home price growth. The upside of higher home prices is an attendant increase in housing wealth for homeowners, but limited supply and diminishing affordability could ultimately weigh on demand.

Data on specific aspects of activity in the housing market have been generally positive over the past several months, notwithstanding a weather-related lull in February. Single-family housing starts and permits grew strongly between May and December last year, then retreated early this year due to weather. In March, however, single-family starts jumped by 15.3 percent and single-family permits rose 4.7 percent; both measures are now about 20 percent above pre-pandemic levels as well. Existing home sales, which account for 90 percent of all home sales, rose to a 14-year high in October 2020, but in each of the last two months, have declined. Still, existing home sales were 12.3 percent higher over the year through March and 5.4 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels. New single-family home sales, although fluctuating in recent months, reached a 14-year high in March, and were 42.6 percent above their pre-pandemic level. In November 2020, the National Association of Home Builder’s confidence index rose to a record high of 90. Despite moderating to 83 by April, the index remains at a historically high level – well above the average level of 66 in 2019 – and continues to signal an unequivocally positive outlook about market conditions in the housing sector. In early January 2021, average rates for 30-year mortgages fell to a record low of 2.65 percent, or 2¼ percentage points below the most recent peak in November 2018. Since January, mortgage rates have trended higher, holding around 3 percent as of the end of April.

Overall, government spending increased 6.3 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter, after declining 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter. Federal spending surged 13.9 percent, following two consecutive quarters of declines, while state and local spending increased 1.7 percent, after three consecutive quarterly declines. The surge in Federal spending reflects one-time items: lender fees from a second round of PPP loans and purchases of Covid-19 vaccines. Given balanced budget requirements for states and localities, the increase in spending at this level attests to an improving fiscal picture, after three quarters of rising health care costs, cuts in employment, and lower revenues. Total government spending added 1.1 percentage points to GDP growth in the first quarter, including a 0.9 percentage point contribution at the federal level and a 0.2 percentage point addition from state and local governments.

The net export deficit widened to a lesser degree in the first quarter, increasing $53.5 billion at an annual rate to $1.18 trillion, as an outright decline in exports combined with a moderate increase in imports. These movements followed double-digit increases in exports and imports during the previous two quarters. Total exports of goods and services declined 1.1 percent, while imports advanced 5.7 percent. The widening of the trade deficit pared 0.9 percentage points from first quarter GDP growth, posing a relatively modest drag compared with subtractions of 1.5 percentage points in the fourth quarter and 3.2 percentage points in the third quarter of last year. Imports are well above pre-pandemic levels while exports lag, reflecting the relatively faster recovery in the US and the effects of larger fiscal support.

Labor Markets and Wages

Although measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus triggered the loss of 22.4 million jobs over March and April 2020, including 21.4 million in the private sector, the economy has since made significant strides in restoring payrolls. As of March 2021, 14 million jobs had been added, or 62 percent of the total lost, including more than 66 percent of the jobs lost in the private sector. However, payroll employment is still 8.4 million below the level in February 2020.

The headline unemployment rate declined to 6.0 percent in March 2021, or nearly nine percentage points below the 14.8 percent, post-World War II high reached in April 2020. The broadest measure of labor market slack, the U-6 unemployment rate, has also declined noticeably over the past several months yet remains above pre-pandemic levels. By March, the U-6 had been cut to 10.7 percent, less than half the 22.9 percent high reached in April 2020. This measure is now within 4 percentage points of the pre-pandemic low of 6.8 percent observed in December 2019. Moreover, long-term unemployment continues to rise: the share of the labor force who were unemployed 27 weeks or more reached 2.63 percent in March, or nearly four times the 0.68 percent rate seen in February 2020.

The headline labor force participation rate (LFPR) – as well as prime-age (ages 25-54) LFPR – have begun to recover from the lows seen in April 2020. The headline rate has plateaued over the past six months, and as of March 2021, stood at 61.5 percent, or almost 2 percentage points below the six-year high seen in January 2020. The prime-age LFPR was 81.3 percent in March, or 1.7 percentage points below the eleven-year high seen in January 2020.

At the beginning of this year, weekly initial unemployment claims were still running about four times the average levels seen prior to the pandemic’s onset, but these filings have trended lower during the first quarter. In each of the last three weeks, weekly claims have been running about double the pre-pandemic average level. The extent of this improvement bodes well for the employment report for April, which will be released this Friday, May 7.

Twelve-month growth rates of nominal average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers have averaged 5.2 percent over the past thirteen months of the pandemic, considerably higher than the 3.5 percent average over the previous thirteen months. Job losses among lower-wage workers tended to push average wages much higher for a few months last year, but more recently, wage gains have remained elevated despite the rehiring of many of these workers. Even before the pandemic there were shortages of skilled labor, and now, there may be additional constraints on labor supply due to changed worker circumstances during the pandemic, which would keep upward pressure on wages. Nominal average hourly earnings for production and non-supervisory workers rose 4.4 percent over the year through March 2021. As labor force participation rises and the composition of the labor force returns to normal, these outsized gains in nominal wages are expected to recede. A much slower pace of inflation contributed to stronger gains in real wages: twelve-month growth rates of real wages have averaged 3.9 percent over the past thirteen months, compared with an average of 1.7 percent over the preceding thirteen months. However, rising inflation over the past three months has contributed to a decline in real wages in each of the last three months; over the year through March 2021, average hourly earnings grew 1.4 percent in real terms, the slowest twelve-month pace since just before the onset of the pandemic.

Likewise, growth in wages and salaries for private industry workers, as measured by the Employment Cost Index, has slowed modestly over the year. This measure advanced 3.0 percent over the four quarters ending in March 2021, decelerating from the 3.3 percent gain over the four quarters through March 2020. Aside from some volatility associated with the pandemic in 2020, year-over-year growth in the Employment Cost index held around 3 percent since mid-2018. This measure of labor cost has fewer issues adjusting for compositional changes of the labor force than do other measures.

Prices

Inflationary pressures have been building in very recent months due to a recovery in energy prices, non-energy base effects – that is the mechanical increase in measures of year-over-year inflation due to the sharp drop in prices for many goods and services at the onset of the pandemic – and strengthening demand as the economy reopens and personal income increases.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all items accelerated to 0.6 percent in March, largely due to a 5.0 percent jump in energy prices. Over the 12 months through March, CPI inflation stepped up to 2.6 percent, rising above its year-earlier reading by more than a full percentage point. Energy prices were 13.2 percent higher than a year ago, reversing sharply from the 5.7 percent decline a year ago when low global oil demand and high supply – particularly due to a production dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia – pushed down oil prices to historic lows. On a twelve-month basis, food price inflation has remained in the range of 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent since April 2020 – as the pandemic induced more cooking at home – but has begun to taper in recent months. Meanwhile, core CPI inflation has accelerated, but to a lesser degree than headline inflation. In March, the core CPI rose 0.3 percent. Over the past twelve months, core inflation was 1.6 percent, well below the 2.1 percent pace over the year through March 2020.

The headline Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index (the preferred measure for the FOMC’s inflation target) had shown a more restrained pace of inflation until very recently, when it moved above year-ago levels. The 12-month headline PCE inflation rate was 2.3 percent through March 2021, a full percentage point above the 1.3 percent pace over the previous year. Core PCE inflation was 1.8 percent over the year through March 2021, edging up from the 1.7 percent, year-earlier rate. The acceleration in the headline PCE inflation rate is notable because it rose in March above the FOMC’s 2 percent inflation target for the first time since November 2018. However, the gain was largely due to rising energy prices and base effects from the decline in the price level at the start of the pandemic. In addition, the FOMC has indicated that it seeks an average of 2 percent inflation over time.

Risks to the Outlook

Despite strong economic reports recently, downside risks remain to the economic outlook: 8.4 million workers are still unemployed and a substantial portion of the services sector – which alone accounted for 43 percent of U.S. economy activity in 2019 – has yet to recover fully. Conversely, labor markets could be tighter than estimated as some workers may have permanently exited the labor force. Although current inflationary pressures are likely transitory, such tightness could create wage pressures for inflation and cause stronger inflation to persist beyond the next few months if labor force participation fails to recover.

There are also downside risks to the public-health outlook, which in turn poses risks to the economic outlook. In the United States, significant numbers of people are hesitant to receive – or have chosen not to receive – the vaccine, and there continues to be concern about the efficacy of existing vaccines in the face of mutated forms of the virus. Globally, testing and vaccinations have diverged by country, leading to the risk of an uneven global recovery and the chance for new vaccine-resistant mutations. Addressing these global inequalities would help expedite a return to normal.

Conclusion

Nonetheless, there appears to be momentum building in the economy. After three consecutive quarters of growth, real GDP has nearly returned to the level of activity achieved just before the onset of the global pandemic. Underlying domestic demand by consumers, businesses, and builders – buttressed by fiscal policy– has proved resilient in the face of multiple headwinds. Moreover, at this time, inflation expectations appear well-anchored, with many in the private sector forecasting a return to pre-pandemic price trends later this year or early next, as base and reopening effects wear off.

The near-term health outlook for the United States is also favorable: in April, the number of new COVID-19 cases fell to its lowest level since October 2020 and over 104 million Americans (31.6 percent of the population) were fully vaccinated as of May 2. These developments have all contributed to forecasts of robust growth this year. In early April, prior to the release of the advance estimate for Q1 GDP, private forecasters projected growth in real GDP of 8.7 percent in the second quarter of this year and of 6.6 percent on a Q4/Q4 basis at the end of 2021.

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Statement by Charles Moravec, Temporary Alternate Governor for the United States 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, Business Session

On behalf of Secretary Yellen and Acting U.S. Governor Baukol, I am pleased to represent the United States of America at the virtual 54th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The past year was tremendously challenging for ADB and the Asia Pacific region – arguably the most demanding year that ADB has ever had. In the face of this adversity, we are proud that ADB has risen to the occasion in assisting Developing Member Countries (DMCs).

We welcome the successful finalization of the Asian Development Fund’s Twelfth Replenishment (ADF-13) and the approval of the new concessional assistance policy. The U.S. pledge underscores continued strong support for the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the region. During this difficult time and with debt sustainability under pressure, it is more important than ever to have high-quality sources of development finance, particularly grants. ADF-13 will be critical for financing the pandemic response in the region.

Yet, the work has only just begun. The pandemic has taken a tragic human toll and triggered a social and economic shock, ravaging lives and livelihoods. Our immediate priority must be to address the health crisis and pave the way for an inclusive and sustainable recovery. There is hope, as many countries have begun inoculating front-line healthcare workers and the most vulnerable with safe and effective vaccines, with ADB support in several cases. Yet, we are likely nearer the end of the beginning than the beginning of the end.

The pandemic has hit the entire region hard, and the outlook for recovery varies by country depending on factors including infection rates and containment measures, policy responses, reliance on contact-intensive activities, and external demand. Notably, Pacific Island countries have mostly avoided COVID-19 outbreaks, but tourism-dependent economies in the region have suffered severe economic contractions, while pandemic-related expenses and decreases in revenue have resulted in increased public debt in a region already susceptible to increased natural disaster risks. Across Asia and the Pacific, output is expected to remain below pre-pandemic trends over the medium term and macro support continues to be key to economic stability. More recently, countries throughout the region face new COVID-19 surges, reinforcing the fact that the crisis is not over.

COVID-19 Response

In addition to the tragic loss of life, ADB estimates that as a result of the pandemic, there are 78 million more people living in extreme poverty in Asia and the Pacific. This impact has disproportionately fallen on groups and individuals that were already disadvantaged and vulnerable and is a serious setback to the admirable progress in poverty reduction that countries in the region have made and the efforts countries still need to make to foster more inclusive, sustainable development. ADB has mounted a determined effort to provide rapid, substantial, and flexible assistance, including policy advice and technical assistance, to complement government responses. The resilience and commitment of ADB staff to the Bank’s mission has never been more apparent as they have delivered in the face of significant disruptions and adverse circumstances.

The United States recognizes the importance of expanding access to vaccines. We are dedicated to working with the international community to ensure that Asia and the Pacific are not left behind. The Biden-Harris Administration has committed $4 billion to COVAX, and we urge others to increase their support for this initiative. ADB has a significant role to play in supporting vaccine campaigns. To that end, we were pleased to support the launch of the
$9 billion APVAX initiative. We will continue to work with partners to find solutions for increasing vaccine supply, explore sharing excess vaccines, and make sure financing does not become an obstacle for global vaccination.

Climate

As Secretary Yellen has said, climate change is an existential threat. A global problem requires multilateral cooperation and action. Two weeks ago, President Biden hosted a Leaders’ Summit to collectively boost ambition and accelerate our global efforts to address the climate crisis. Asia and the Pacific are home to 60 percent of the world’s population, and ADB’s members—not least those in the Pacific—will be among the most impacted by increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, and more frequent and unpredictable weather-related disasters.

We expect ADB to be a leader in scaling up transformative green finance, supporting innovative approaches to bolster adaptation, and crowding in private investment to help DMCs unlock the financing needed to transition to low emissions development pathways. ADB should work at the policy and regulatory level to assist DMCs with their nationally determined contributions and long-term low emission strategies under the Paris Agreement. Similarly, the ADB plays a critical role in identifying and reducing regulatory, policy, legal, and technical barriers that can inhibit private sector climate finance investments. Efforts should be expanded to integrate private sector climate finance mobilization across the Bank. Furthermore, ADB must expedite its own efforts to achieve Paris Agreement alignment. We urge Management to announce a target date for initial alignment as soon as possible.

Energy Policy

ADB’s energy policy must evolve to reflect the immense changes in the global energy landscape in recent years. We reject the notion that there is a tradeoff between satisfying energy needs in developing countries and meeting critical climate and environment objectives. On the contrary, climate-friendly energy investments, quality infrastructure, and good jobs go hand-in-hand. The greater risk for DMCs is an overreliance on fossil fuels and stranded assets.

President Biden has directed the U.S. Government to end international public financing of carbon-intensive fossil fuels and transition our economy toward net zero emissions by midcentury. These two policy directives will shape our international engagement.

At the project level, we urge ADB to bring its energy policy in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement by prohibiting coal and almost all oil investments, and only supporting natural gas projects in a limited set of circumstances and countries. The on-going efforts to bring all MDB processes into alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement naturally bend in this direction. Finite development resources should support DMCs’ embarking on a strong economic growth path to a sustainable and resilient future.

Financial Sustainability

We continue to be concerned that the ADB’s lending path is unsustainable and may require a capital injection within the next ten years. While elevated lending levels were critical to respond to the crisis, higher lending levels and faster disbursement will further constrain ADB’s ability to respond in the future, including resources for the ADF. We urge Management to assess the capital adequacy trajectory and provide options, including increasing loan pricing, to bring the ADB in line with other MDBs and place lending on a sustainable path.

Graduation

Effective stewardship of scarce resources to boost recovery efforts and support sustainable growth demands that the AsDB focuses its financing on lower income countries and provide higher income countries with a clear pathway to graduation. We welcome the new Graduation Policy Implementation Guidelines and urge Management to make rapid progress applying the Guidelines and graduating countries with incomes above the threshold and robust access to other sources of finance. The new graduation criteria assessments could be a useful tool if staff carefully apply their results to tailor Country Partnership Strategies for countries above the graduation discussion income threshold to focus on addressing the identified constraints to graduation.

Safeguard Policy Statement

The ADB is also a critical leader on environmental and social safeguards in the region. We urge ADB to adopt a strong safeguards policy, building on the best practices at other MDBs. This will require a greater focus on social issues, as well as stronger implementation and capacity building. We also urge ADB to consider where it can be a leader in developing new approaches, for instance in relation to climate change.

Debt Management, Transparency, and Sustainability

Governments have appropriately responded to the economic crisis with robust spending measures. But with entire sectors frozen and many people unable to work, fiscal deficits have widened, and borrowing has accelerated. This has exposed existing debt vulnerabilities and, in many cases, amplified the deterioration in debt dynamics. ADB is both a reliable source of high-quality development finance for the region’s poorest countries, often on concessional terms, and a key provider of policy advice and technical assistance to build debt management capacity, increase debt transparency, and promote long-term debt sustainability.
The United States has strongly supported the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which has provided liquidity relief to help low-income economies during the crisis. For countries that may need deeper debt treatment, the United States urges countries to quickly move beyond the DSSI to the G20 Common Framework. The Common Framework provides a venue for countries to address prolonged liquidity problems and debt sustainability. Common Framework treatment is connected to a full-fledged IMF program, which will help guide credible policy reforms—and enables fair burden-sharing from official bilateral and private creditors through the comparability of treatment principle.

Gender Diversity on the Board of Directors

Lastly, we are delighted that the Board of Directors has submitted, for the first time ever, a Report to the Board of Governors on Gender Diversity at the ADB Board of Directors. We applaud this important initiative and fully support the proposed multi-pronged work plan. We look forward to reports on progress on this initiative and broader efforts to expand diversity and inclusion across the institution and its operations in the future.

Can-Am Calls on Women Everywhere to “Just Ride!” On International Female Ride Day

Can-Am joins the global celebration of amazing women riders on International Female Ride Day, taking place on Saturday, May 1st, 2021. © BRP 2021

Valcourt, Quebec, April 30, 2021 — BRP wants it known that riding is for everyone. That is why its Can-Am brand, On-Road and Off-Road, is calling on female riders everywhere to “Just Ride!” in celebration of the International Female Ride Day© (IFRD). The annual event kicks off Saturday, May 1, and Can-Am will follow that with a continued virtual celebration of its incredible female riders.

IFRD has been recognized for more than half a decade. The day aims to celebrate women in powersports by spotlighting the positive impact they have on their communities and the industry at large. The IFRD rallying cry “JUST RIDE!” encourages women everywhere to discover the joy and freedom of riding and the powerful role they play in building a more diverse and inclusive community of riders; a mission that Can-Am has long stood behind.

Female Can-Am riders are a diverse group. Whether they are cruising city streets on their Ryker, trekking cross-country on a Spyder, or hitting the trails in a Can-Am Commander, they can’t be put into one category. That is what makes the Can-Am community of riders like no other. To celebrate this, Can-Am is calling on women everywhere to wave their “wind sister” flag. Starting May 1, women can hashtag two photos or videos of themselves using #WindSisterWarrior to showcase the unique and diverse lives of women riders when they’re not out riding. From owning the boardroom, dominating the court, caring for patients or simply being an everyday Supermom, Can-Am will highlight the real women who ride through a tribute video and rider spotlights across its many channels. They are the women who fight tooth and nail to keep ‘me time’ with their ride as a non-negotiable item on their to-do lists. This is one way Can-Am will celebrate them.

It’s Not All Talk!

Can-Am On-Road is all-in on getting more females riding. And it has some serious momentum:

  • The Can-Am Women of On-Road community has more than 8,000 members, generating over 700 posts and 15,000 comments per month
  • The percentage of female Can-Am Ryker owners has grown to 36% in 2020, while the motorcycle industry remains at ~20% female riders
  • Women have accounted for more than 50% of registrations for the acclaimed Can-Am Rider Education Program

 

“Can-Am On-Road is proud to support and celebrate International Female Ride Day for a second year in a row by giving these inspiring women the spotlight they deserve. But it doesn’t stop there. Every day is a chance for us to make the world of riding a more inclusive place. That is why we’re committed to uplifting women in riding through our Giving back to our community initiative, which invests in women’s riding groups and individuals’ dream projects, in addition to providing them a platform via our social channels and our growing ambassador program,” said Evelyne Plante, Marketing Specialist at Can-Am On-Road.

On the other side of the business, Can-Am Off-Road is also putting more of a spotlight on some incredible female owners through various projects, including its Livin’ the Land series, which celebrates both female and male owners who are setting an example for the next generation. We invite you to check out two recent female-focused videos, one on 5 Marys Farm, which gives a look behind the scenes at Mary Heffernan, her husband, and their four daughters working their family ranch. The second video is focused on Alex Templeton, an amazing young cattle rancher in northwest Missouri, who is working to modernize her family’s business.

“The IFRD call to action is “JUST RIDE!”. It is all about getting out there, taking to the road, joining other women the world over while embracing the joy and freedom which accompanies the riding experience. This unified synchronized action has been the fuel of IFRD since its introduction. And with like-minded supporters like Can-Am who share IFRD’s goals we continue to build a community of riders centered around unity and inclusion”, adds Vicki Gray, Founder of IFRD.

To learn more about Can-Am’s plans for International Female Ride Day©, visit can-am.brp.com and follow Can-Am on social at @canamonroad and @canamoffroad. For women interested in discovering riding events and groups in their city, visit the Women of On-Road group on Facebook or check out our new hashtag #WindSisterWarrior.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

 Amélie Forcier
Global Consumer Public Relations Specialist
Tel: 514.799.7011
[email protected]
[email protected]