Hey! I've neglected to mention that I'm in Washington this week for the IMF-World Bank meetings. This morning is the opening press conference with WB President David Malpass and new IMF head Kristalina Georgieva (pronounced GORE-gee-eva). Let me know what questions you think I should ask.
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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Government leaders and central bankers are spending more time studying digital currencies, but don't look any closer to launching one than they were 6 months or a year ago.
Why it matters: "The status quo is not an option," Libra co-creator David Marcus said Wednesday at the IMF's fall meeting. "Whether it’s Libra or something else, the world is going to change in a profound way,"
Background: It's been a decade since Bitcoin emerged, threatening to replace traditional money with digital tokens that performed the most important functions of cash but did so outside the control of central banks and other governmental authorities.
The big picture: The Fed and central banks around the world are responsible for overseeing and stabilizing the world’s money supply, but most are at risk of being left behind in this new phase.
What's happening: While a future without cash may seem distant in the U.S. — where more people write checks than use digital payments and there is a rising demand for dollars — the rest of the world is going there.
Yet the Fed is being "exceptionally cautious" in its possible development of a U.S. digital currency, Brainard, the Fed's leading financial authority — and a former undersecretary at the Treasury Department — told Axios during Wednesday's event.
The trade war and other geopolitical tensions have had a major negative effect on mergers and acquisitions activity across international borders, data from law firm Baker McKenzie and research firm Oxford Economics shows.
By the numbers: They forecast an $800 billion decline in total global M&A volume in 2020, with transactions falling from an expected $2.9 trillion this year to $2.1 trillion in 2020.
Of note: The report does predict an increase in IPO volume in 2020. However, that's largely because of the slowdown at the end of 2019 and the expected debut of Saudi Aramco on public markets, which is projected to be the largest IPO of all time.
But, but, but: There is good news on the horizon, analysts say.
The United Auto Workers sealed a preliminary labor deal with automaker General Motors, the union announced on Wednesday, Axios' Marisa Fernandez writes.
The big picture: The 49,000-member strike, which has gone on for a month and brought 55 GM factories across the country to a halt, will continue for now as more details are hammered out. The agreement will not be ratified until it is approved by the UAW National GM Council and voted on by UAW-GM membership across the U.S.
The union released a statement Wednesday:
"Today, after five weeks of intense negotiations, the UAW GM National Negotiators and UAW GM Vice President Terry Dittes announced the achievement of a Proposed Tentative Agreement with General Motors. The elected national negotiators voted to recommend the UAW GM National Council accept the Proposed Tentative Agreement as the agreement represents major gains for UAW workers. "
The New York Fed's latest consumer inflation expectations survey shows Americans see inflation rising at the slowest pace in the 6-year history of the survey, with 3-year inflation expectations dropping below 1-year expectations.
U.S. retail sales, which had been the highest-flying piece of American economic data for most of the year, fell in September for the first time in 7 months, raising fears that the U.S. manufacturing recession may be bleeding into the consumer side of the economy.
Of note: Online retail sales turned negative for the first time since December 2018.
The Fed's latest beige book released Wednesday showed U.S. business owners remain largely bullish on the economy but are losing faith in the longer-term outlook.
What's happening: Business activity varied across the country, with the West and South more upbeat than the Midwest and Great Plains parts of the country, which are U.S. manufacturing hubs.