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Michel Euler / AP

The next French president will face a river of red ink, the European Commission warned Monday in its Winter 2017 Economic Forecast. The outlook says that the French deficit would fall above the mandated 3% threshold next year at 3.1%, on rising civil service pay and higher healthcare costs.

Why it matters: Back in January of 2016 EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said that because France has already been given two extensions to get its deficit under control, they will not be granted another. But the EU has never actually penalized a country for breaching the deficit limit before, and won't start with France, the EU's second great power after Germany. Still, the issue will likely raise tensions between European budget hawks (mostly from Germany) and those who see the deficit cap as arbitrary and counterproductive to economic growth.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
59 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.