Here’s what you need to know to navigate the markets today.
• The Biden administration on Monday publicly blamed hackers affiliated with China’s Ministry of State Security, its main intelligence service, for a cyberattack on
email software this year, The Wall Street Journal reported. “The United States and countries around the world are holding the People’s Republic of China (PRC) accountable for its pattern of irresponsible, disruptive, and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace, which poses a major threat to our economic and national security,” Secretary of State
said. The U.K. and the European Union joined the U.S. in blaming the MSS for the Microsoft email hack, which left hundreds of thousands of mostly small businesses and organizations vulnerable to cyber intrusion. Monday’s announcement did not include sanctions, expulsions or other punitive measures. The Justice Department on Monday released a grand jury indictment from May that charged four Chinese nationals and residents working with the Ministry of State Security of engaging in a hacking campaign from 2011 to 2018. The attack was aimed at stealing intellectual property and business information about Ebola virus research and other topics to benefit the Chinese government and Chinese companies.
• Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is gathering the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets on Monday to discuss stablecoins, a type of digital currency pegged to national currencies like the U.S. dollar, MarketWatch reported. “Bringing together regulators will enable us to assess the potential benefits of stablecoins while mitigating risks they could pose to users, markets, or the financial system,” Secretary Yellen said in a statement. “In light of the rapid growth in digital assets, it is important for the agencies to collaborate on the regulation of this sector and the development of any recommendations for new authorities.” Federal Reserve Chairman
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman
and Commodity Futures Trade Commission Acting Chairman
will also attend. Powell told a congressional hearing on Wednesday that regulators need to apply rules to stablecoins similar to those that govern bank deposits and money market mutual funds.
• An alternate on the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team tested positive for Covid-19 in an Olympic training camp in Japan on Sunday. Olympic champion Simone Biles was not affected, nor were the other favorites to win the team gold, but another alternate was placed into isolation because of contact tracing, USA Gymnastics said Monday, the AP reported. “On Monday, the Olympic athletes moved to separate lodging accommodations and a separate training facility, as originally planned, and will continue their preparation for the Games,” USA Gymnastics said Monday. “The entire delegation continues to be vigilant and will maintain strict protocols while they are in Tokyo.” The U.S. team brought four women for the team event, two more gymnasts who are competing individually, and four replacement athletes, and they had traveled together for at least part of their trip from the United States to the same Japanese city to stay at the same hotel. Biles and the other members of the regular team have been vaccinated. Tokyo is under a state of emergency, which means that nearly all the venues will be without spectators. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Monday reported 727 new cases, the 30th straight day cases were higher than the previous week.
• The number of travelers passing through U.S. airports notched a new pandemic high of more than 2.2 million on Sunday, according to Transportation Security Administration data. Sunday’s figure is three times the 747,422 who went through airport security checkpoints on July 18, 2020, and nearly 82% of the 2.7 million people who traveled on that date in 2019.
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