Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
The Federal Open Market Committee indicated after its monthly meeting yesterday that although the Federal Reserve will for now maintain its current pace of asset purchases and hold interest rates near zero, the central bank could very well begin its taper in November and start raising interest rates in 2022 as inflationary concerns persist. “While no decisions were made, participants generally view that, so long as the recovery remains on track, a gradual tapering process that concludes around the middle of next year is likely to be appropriate,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said.
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday officially amended the emergency use authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to allow certain populations—those over 65, at “high risk of severe COVID-19,” or who have “frequent institutional or occupational exposure” to COVID-19—to receive a booster shot six months after their second dose. Regulators are expected to consider authorizing Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots as well in the coming weeks.
Days after France recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia in retaliation for their nuclear submarine agreement, President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron had what the White House described as a “friendly” phone call in which the two leaders “agreed that the situation would have benefited from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners.” They plan to meet in-person at the end of October, and France’s ambassador will return to the United States next week.