Now that September is here, it feels like summer is already in the rearview mirror. It went fast, didn’t? Beginning with the autumnal equinox on the 22nd of the month, we’ll start to see the days grow shorter and the weather get cooler.
Speaking of a change in the weather, we certainly had an abundance of weather-related news in August. Climate change worries continued as we saw historic flooding in South Korea and Pakistan, and record heat and drought in the UK and China. In addition, intense wildfires ravaged France and burned more than 18,000 acres in the Bordeaux region (you might want to stock up on Bordeaux reds, as wine prices and availability will undoubtedly be impacted).
In political headlines, FBI agents conducted a search for classified documents at Donald Trump’s Florida home. Joe Biden signed new legislation with $370 billion of spending and tax cuts intended to combat climate change. And Californians voted to ban the sale of all new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. Meanwhile, the stock market continued its down-then-up-then-down-again roller coaster.
On August 26, Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell suggested the Fed would continue with an aggressive path of raising interest rates and tightening financial conditions to try and combat inflation. Markets reacted adversely to the news, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite Index, and S&P 500 tumbling downward, resulting in the weakest August performance in seven years. The comments by Chairman Powell were nearly a complete reversal of his June comments, where he hinted at interest rate hikes possibly ending in the near future. This time around, Chairman Powell stated that they plan to keep. rates higher for longer, and that the Fed will continue to use its tools forcefully to bring down inflation.
There was a bit of good news in August, thankfully. We saw a sharp drop in gas prices, as the national average dropped below $4.00 a gallon for the first time in over a month. Similarly, airline fees and hotel fares plunged -7.8% and -3.2%, respectively, making travel more affordable for most folks.
The changing seasons mean kids are back in school, and the holidays are just around the corner. We hope you had a memorable summer, and we’re grateful to count you as a client. if there’s anything you need, please schedule some time with our office.