Technology companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Intel, have announced layoffs in the first month of the new year, with many more expected in the coming months. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has announced that it will lay off around 12,000 employees, while Microsoft will lay off around 10,000 workers, or around 4.5% of its workforce. Crypto company Coinbase, meanwhile, has announced that it will lay off 20%, or about 950 of its staff. These layoffs are expected to continue throughout the year as companies realign their business strategies to adapt to a potential recession in 2023.
Gold prices have reached an 8-month high and analysts believe that the trend is likely to continue in the coming months. Economic uncertainty, covid-19 fears, growing inflation expectations, and a weakening of the US dollar has made gold more attractive. Furthermore, the increasing adoption of cryptocurrency has also led to a higher demand for gold as investors look for ways to diversify or hedge against their crypto holdings. However, some experts warn that gold’s rally may not be sustainable in the long-term, as the economic recovery and the potential for a successful rollout of COVID-19 vaccines may lead to a decline in demand for safe-haven assets.
The US Treasury has announced that it will tap into retirement funds to help finance the government’s spending. The move is part of an effort to avoid a debt limit crisis, which would occur if the government is unable to borrow money to pay its bills. The Treasury has said that it will suspend contributions to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund while they wait for the debt limit to be increased; afterwhich, participants in said funds will be “made whole” and remain unaffected. Watchers predict that the Treasury has about US$350 billion in headroom, which will give them time until July-August before running out of cash.