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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Mario Draghi's penultimate policy meeting as European Central Bank president was a bit like watching a past-his-prime boxer struggling through the late rounds of a fight. "Dovish" Draghi still has the moves, but it's obvious the game has passed him by and a new era has begun.
Driving the news: Draghi not only cut the ECB's already negative deposit rate to -0.5%, he also announced additional stimulus of 20 billion euros a month to continue indefinitely and lowered the central bank's inflation and growth forecasts.
What they're saying: "Lower rates and QE are unlikely to have much effect on the eurozone economy. Draghi knows that," Joseph Trevisani, senior analyst at FXStreet, tells Axios in an email. "By placing the onus for inaction on governments he distracts (as much as possible) from the probable failure of the ECB stimulus."
The big picture: Draghi's "whatever it takes" mantra has been credited with saving the eurozone, Europe and the euro currency, as the central bank has taken unprecedented steps to bring the economy back to life during his 8 years as its head.
Be smart: "Central banks are loath to ever admit to reaching the limits of monetary policy, but that is more or less where we think the ECB is," Deutsche Bank chief U.K. economist Mark Wall and senior U.K. economist Peter Sidorov said in a note to clients.
Where it stands: Draghi also tried to placate the heads of Europe's consumer banks by instituting a tiered deposit system that would spare some banks from having to pay the central bank to park their reserves.
The bottom line: The measures will provide some relief for the banking system, Kathy Jones, chief fixed income strategist for the Schwab Center for Financial Research, tells Axios.
The big question: Will it actually be a sustainable solution for the underlying problems?
Thursday's U.S. core CPI reading, which measures inflation excluding volatile food and energy items, rose 0.3% in August from July and 2.4% from a year earlier. That was the fastest year-over-year increase since October 2008, according to data from the St. Louis Fed's FRED system.
Why it matters: The costs of the U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports clearly made an impact on the reading, but wages also picked up notably last month as seen in the government's jobs report. The reading may indicate that inflation is making a sustained comeback.
The big picture: While it's not the Fed's preferred measure of inflation (the central bank is partial to the personal consumption expenditures index), the reading breaking above trend will likely motivate the central bank's hawks to dig in their heels in opposing rate cuts this month.
There are growing worries about a global recession or a U.S. recession, but individual states are also at risk. While states generally move in concert with the country, not every state started and ended its last recession in line with the broader U.S. recession of 2007–2009.
Case in point: There have been 5 states where recessions have occurred between that recession and now. The most recent is Alaska, which was in recession from Q2 2016–Q2 2017, Lending Tree chief economist Tendayi Kapfidze notes in a recent post.
What it means: Kapfidze created a model to evaluate each state's current recession risk, specifically the likelihood that a state will have weak economic fundamentals as determined by the growth rate of that its coincident index.
Threat level: Michigan, Hawaii and Montana all show a high risk for recession.
The big picture: Overall, most states appear to be in good shape, Kapfidze says.
Walmart is unveiling a grocery delivery subscription service this fall, AP reports. The big box store is hoping to boost its constituency of time-starved shoppers looking for convenience, and attempting to move strongly into one of the fastest growing e-commerce sectors.
Why it matters: Walmart's stock gained nearly 1% on Thursday, having recently touched a record high, as investors have gotten more bullish on the largest U.S. retailer in recent weeks.
Axios' Caitlin Owens writes: At the same time Juul is facing a regulatory crackdown and damaging headlines in America, it's also entering the Chinese market — the world's largest market of smokers, per Reuters.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the recently announced Trump administration plan to ban all e-cigarette flavors would have "a chilling effect" on the entire vaping industry and "severely dent" Juul's sales.