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Japan’s consumer inflation rises for second month in October

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Japan's consumer inflation rises for second month in October
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Shoppers wearing protective face masks, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, are seen inside a souvenir shop along the Kokusai-dori in the prefectural capital Naha, on the southern island of Okinawa, Okinawa prefecture, Japan, Oct

By Daniel Leussink

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s core consumer prices rose for the second straight month in October, reinforcing signs that surging energy and raw material costs are gradually pushing up inflation.

Consumer inflation is expected to pick up in coming months due to higher fuel costs, though any price rises in the country will likely be moderate compared with other advanced economies as weak wage growth keeps firms from hiking them much.

The core consumer price index (CPI), which excludes volatile fresh food prices but includes fuel costs, rose 0.1% year-on-year in October, government data showed on Friday.

That matched the median forecast in a Reuters poll and followed a similar rise in September, which was the first uptick since March last year.

The data will be among factors the Bank of Japan will scrutinise at its last policy meeting of the year, which is scheduled for the middle of next month.

Japan has found itself exposed to soaring global commodity prices, which led to the fastest rise in wholesale inflation in four decades in October. But core CPI has stayed near zero as weak consumption keeps firms from raising prices.

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said this week he expected inflation to accelerate to around 1% in the first half of next year as the economy recovers to pre-coronavirus levels, still far off its 2% target.

The central bank has stuck to massive monetary stimulus in its quest to have inflation reach that illustrious target, despite worries about the side-effects of prolonged low interest rates to banks’ bottom lines.

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Economy

World economic news now by the morning of Dec. 6

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economic news around the world

The FT reported on tanker jams in the Turkish straits due to the Russian oil price ceiling, and NATO analysts assessed the Bank of Russia’s foreign currency reserves seized abroad – these and other world economic news now for the morning of Tuesday, December 6, read more.

Economic news around the world 

A tanker jam has formed near the Turkish Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, through which ships carrying Crude Oil from Russian Black Sea ports pass. Turkish authorities demanded insurers fully insure ships passing through the straits, after the G7 countries, the European Union and Australia imposed a ceiling on oil prices from Russia, said the Financial Times. 

The newspaper’s sources claimed that ships with Western insurance coverage were delayed, while ships with documents from Russian insurers were allowed through Turkish waters. 

The U.S. and European Union countries have managed to seize no more than a third of Russia’s foreign currency reserves blocked abroad. According to the Atlantic Council, this is $80-100 billion out of a total of $300 billion in foreign currency reserves.

India is in discussions with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to locate iPad production in the country and is exploring options for shipping components for them from China, CNBC reported, citing two sources close to the Indian government. Plans have no specifics so far, but if negotiations with Indian authorities are successful, Apple will expand its presence in the country.

A federal court in Australia has asked UC Rusal (MCX:RUAL) for documents on alumina supplies to Queensland Alumina (QAL), the aluminum company’s ties with the Russian government and entrepreneurs under sanctions, Kommersant reported, citing court data. The documents were asked by the court on the claim of Alumina and Bauxite Company, an Australian “subsidiary” of UC Rusal: it owned 20% of QAL; the share went to Rio Tinto (LON:RIO), which had the remaining 80% of the company.

Earlier we reported that the average house prices in the UK fell by 1.4% in November.

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Economy

South Korean exports dropped 14% in November, the highest in 2.5 years

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exports South Korea

South Korea’s exports fell 14 percent year-on-year to $51.91 billion in November, preliminary data from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy showed. The November drop was the biggest in 2.5 years since May 2020 and was caused both by the deteriorating global economy, which even a Google price chart showed, and a truckers’ strike in the country.

South Korea exports 2022 – reasons for the drop

Exports fell for the second month in a row. Analysts on average expected an 11% decline, according to Trading Economics. Respondents to MarketWatch predicted a 10.5% decline.

Shipments of semiconductor products overseas, the country’s top export item, fell 29.8%; petrochemicals fell 26.5% and steel exports fell 10.6%. Meanwhile, exports of automobiles jumped 31% and petroleum products 26%.

Exports to China, South Korea’s largest trading partner, fell by 25.5%, and to Asian countries – by 13.9%. Below, supplies to the USA grew by 8% and to the European Union – by 0.1%.

In January-November exports rose by 7.8% on the same period last year and reached a record $629.1 billion.

South Korean imports rose 2.7% to $59.2 billion in November, marking the 23rd consecutive month of gains, but the current rate of growth is the lowest since November 2020. Experts had predicted an increase of only 0.2%.

South Korea’s trade deficit last month was $7.01 billion, compared with a surplus of $2,973 billion a year earlier.

The negative balance was recorded for the eighth month in a row. As a result, by the end of 2022, the country may record a foreign trade deficit for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008.

Earlier we reported that the UN estimates the cost of humanitarian aid in 2023 at a record $51 billion.

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Economy

The UN estimates humanitarian aid costs in 2023 at a record $51 billion because of an impending humanitarian crisis

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a humanitarian crisis

Joint humanitarian operations will require a record $51.5 billion in 2023 to address urgent problems.

The UN Office for the OCHA estimates that 339 million people will need urgent aid in 2023. At the same time, OCHA called on donor countries to provide funds for assistance in 2023 to the 230 million people most in need, living in 68 countries.

Griffiths explained that aid is needed not only for people experiencing conflicts and disease outbreaks. but also for those suffering the effects of climate change, such as people in peninsular Somalia facing drought and those in Pakistan experiencing severe flooding. For the first time, the growing humanitarian crisis has brought the number of displaced people worldwide to the 100 million mark. Also worsening an already bad situation is the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, which affects the poor. Note that the general economic crisis has begun to negatively affect even the Netflix price chart.

Earlier we reported that house prices in the UK fell by 1.4% in November.

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