Here’s the follow-up to Best of Books 2021: Part I, which recaps some of the highlights that appeared on these pages during the year that expires at the stroke of midnight. Whatever you think of 2021, the calendar year that’s about to pass into history certainly dispatched several captivating reads that are worthy of your time. Here’s five:
The future’s always uncertain and that’s not going to change when attempting to weigh the risks and opportunities for the year ahead. But this much is obvious: inflation will be front and center in 2022 as a catalyst for surprises.
* US coronavirus deaths have been ‘comparitively low’. Will that last?
* Airlines across US continue to cancel flights due to staffing shortages
* Forecasting is always challenging. Covid-19 and inflation is making it worse
* Biden and Putin to speak on phone today amid Ukraine tensions
* US oil output set to rise further in 2022, predicts industry expert Dan Yergin
* Pending home sales in US were unexpectedly weak in November
* US trade deficit in goods fell to a new record in November:
The US stock market is on track to end the year with a red-hot gain and a lot of the credit goes to sizzling performances in energy and real estate shares.
* US 7-day average for reported Covid-19 cases rises to record high
* Covid-19 cases are surging again but hospitalization rate is lower this time
* Omicron is a new risk factor for the economy
* Many states avoiding strict measures to manage Omicron spread
* US and Russia will hold security talks on tension over Ukraine
* Valuations on stocks in China look ‘very, very attractive,’ says UBS analyst
* Richmond Fed Mfg Index strengthened in December
* US home price 1yr-trend growth decelerated again through October:
The year is set to end on a bright note for the upcoming US GDP report for the fourth quarter, based on several nowcasts. The outlook for early 2022 is shaky, thanks to the spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus. But there’s a relatively high degree of confidence that the end of 2021 will at least provide a tailwind as the country moves into the third calendar year of the pandemic.
* US health officials recommend shorter quarantine period for Covid
* Economists cut economic forecasts for early 2022 due to Omicron variant
* Bad weather blamed as a factor that’s lifted inflation
* China expected to add stimulus to stabilize economy in 2022
* UK and Germany consider fourth Covid shot (second booster)
* US stocks (S&P 500) close at record high on Monday
* Texas factory activity continues growing at solid pace in December
* Policy-sensitive 2-year Treasury yield rises to new pandemic high, 0.76%:
Most of the major asset classes posted gains during the holiday-shortened trading week through Thursday, Dec. 23, based on a set of ETFs. But with several risk factors lurking in the final trading days of the year, investors are wondering if last week’s recovery in asset prices will extend to the closing bell for 2021.
* US holiday spending rose at fastest pace in 17 years, credit card data shows
* Rethinking Goldman’s forecast of slower growth based on demise of BBB bill
* Many food manufacturers say they plan to hike prices in 2022
* Flight cancellations continue to mount due to rise in Covid cases
* Jobless claims for US remain near multi-decade low
* New US home sales rose 12.4% in Nov–biggest monthly gain in more than a year
* Durable goods orders for US rose more than forecast in November
* US consumer sentiment revised up slightly for December
* US personal income and spending rose for a second month in November:
2021 has been full of surprises, for good and ill, but the stream of new books this year didn’t disappoint. Before we turn the calendar, let’s roll out a quick recap of highlights from CapitalSpectator.com’s weekly Book Bits column over the past 12 months. Here are ten titles from the archives in 2021 – titles that for one reason or another caught your editor’s eye. Five today, with another five on Jan. 1. Happy reading!