Hubble's Last EVA - Scenes from the STOCC

China opens its doors to foreign visitors, North Korea launches missiles, and more top stories for March 14

China will start issuing visas to tourists and foreigners, a significant move towards opening up the country and lifting restrictions. In a statement, the Chinese embassy in the United States said that visas would be available starting Wednesday, and foreigners from Hong Kong and Macau could enter Guangdong without visas, including those on a cruise ship docked in Shanghai.

Apollo Global Management, Inc., one of the world’s largest alternative asset management firms, has expressed interest in acquiring a loan account for Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a California-based bank that was seized by federal regulators last week. Bloomberg reports that Apollo is among the investors looking to buy some of SVB’s assets.

North Korea fired two short-range missiles into waters off the country’s east coast, threatening the US to turn the Pacific Ocean into a missile test site if the US held joint military drills with South Korea. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that North Korea fired the two missiles between 7:41 a.m. and 7:51 a.m. local time, about 100 kilometers southwest of Pyongyang. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that there have been no reports of damage in Japan from North Korea’s missiles.

US President Joe Biden reiterated on Monday that Americans can have confidence in the banking system after the US authorities issued emergency measures to help those affected by the shutdown of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank (SB).

Shareholders of SVB Financial Group, parent company of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), have joined forces to sue executives for allegedly concealing the disclosure that SVB was at risk of facing client deposit flocks in the case of rising interest rates. Shareholders are suing SVB Chief Executive Officer Greg Becker and SVB Chief Financial Officer Daniel Beck in federal court in San Jose, California.

The US Labor Department will release the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which gauges inflation on consumer spending for February, today (March 14). Analysts expect the CPI to indicate that US inflation has peaked. The US Federal Reserve (Fed) announced the creation of a “Bank Term Funding Program” aimed at protecting financial institutions from the impact of the SVB bankruptcy.

Federal Reserve officials have entered a blackout period ahead of the Fed’s March 21-22 policy meeting. Most investors are weighing in on the forecast that the Fed will raise interest rates by only 0.25% at this meeting amid the financial crisis in the US banking sector. The latest CME Group’s FedWatch Tool indicates that investors are 68.6% weighing in on the Fed raising interest rates by 25 basis points to a range of 4.75-5.00% at its March 21-22 meeting, while giving 31.4% weight that the Fed will keep interest rates at 4.50-4.75%.

Wall Street has adjusted the market trading hours an hour earlier due to the Daylight Saving Time period. However, the market will change the trading hours from 21:30-04:05 Thai time to 20:30-03:05 Thai time. Daylight Saving Time in the United States this year is in effect from March 12-November 5, 2023.

Key economic data to be released today include South Korea’s February import and export prices, Australia’s Westpac March consumer confidence index and business confidence index for March, Singapore’s unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2022, England’s unemployment rate in January, and the United States’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February.

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