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Inflation rate in the eurozone is close to a peak – ECB chief economist

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inflation rate in the eurozone

Inflation rates in the eurozone are close to a peak, said Philip Lane, chief economist at the European Central Bank (ECB).

“It is too early to conclude that inflation has peaked, but I can say with confidence that we are close to peaking,” Lane told Italian newspaper Milano Finanza.

“We expect that further interest rate hikes will be needed, but we have already done a lot,” Lane said. – The starting point is different now, given that rates have already been raised by 200 basis points (bps). We will consider the scale of what has already been done.

Euro inflation rate forecast

The ECB raised all three key interest rates by 75 bps at its October meeting. The benchmark lending rate was raised to 2%, the deposit rate to 1.5% and the rate on margin loans to 2.25%. Since July this year, the ECB has raised key rates by 200 bps.

Experts expect that in December the rate on loans will be raised to at least 2% from 1.5%. Today it is worth noting that in the Euro / U.S. Dollar pair the European currency started to strengthen a bit. 

According to preliminary data from the Statistical Office of the European Union, inflation in the Eurozone slowed to 10% y/y in November from 10.6% in October. A decrease in the growth rate of consumer prices was recorded for the first time in 1.5 years. According to Lane, an acceleration in inflation in early 2023 cannot be ruled out.

“After the first few months are over, in the spring or summer, we are likely to see a major slowdown in inflation. However, it will take time for it to slow down to the ECB’s 2% target,” Lane said.

Asked whether inflation could slow to 6-7% in 2023, he said that “initial easing as a result of rate hikes will bring the rate of price growth to about that level,” and the slowdown will continue thereafter.

Earlier we reported that the Eurozone unemployment rate fell to 6.5% in October and the EU unemployment rate fell to 6.0%.


U.S. dollar index moved to decline

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US dollar index

The U.S. dollar index fell on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled to the market that the end of the central bank’s rate hike campaign was near, Reuters wrote.

Investors were upbeat about Fed Chief Jerome Powell’s hint on Wednesday that the world’s biggest economy had begun to deflate, though he signaled that interest rates would continue to rise and that no rate cut was in sight for now.

The dollar index today fell to a new 9-month low of 100.80 following the Fed’s announcement Wednesday after officials agreed to raise rates by 25 basis points at the end of its two-day meeting, the first explicit acknowledgement by the central bank of a slowdown in inflation.

It was last down 0.07% to 100.88, ending a decline of more than 1% on Wednesday. The Australian dollar rose to an eight-month high of $0.7158 in early Asian trading Thursday and last traded at $0.7150 after rising 1.2% in the previous session.

The New Zealand dollar also hit a new eight-month peak of $0.65365 after rising more than 1 percent Wednesday. Against the Japanese yen the dollar fell more than 0.5 percent to a low of 128.17.

Today the European Central Bank and the Bank of England will announce their interest rate decisions. Each rate is expected to rise 50 basis points. The Euro/U.S. Dollar rose to about a 10-month peak of $1.1034 on Thursday and was last up 0.3% to $1.1023, while the pound rose 0.14% to $1.2392.

Inflation in the euro area fell for the third straight month in January, data showed Wednesday. But underlying price growth remained steady despite falling energy prices.

Earlier we reported that Toyota remains the world leader in auto sales

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Toyota remains the world leader in car sales. Toyota Motor Corp stock prices rise

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toyota motor corp stock price

Toyota Motor Corp (TYO:7203). remained the world leader in auto sales in 2022, widening its lead over its nearest competitor, Volkswagen (ETR:VOWG) AG. Toyota’s sales fell 0.1% last year to 10.48 million vehicles, the Japanese company said in a press release issued Monday. Toyota Motor Corp stock prices are rising on the back of positive reports. 

Volkswagen said earlier this month that its 2022 sales fell 7 percent to 8.3 million vehicles, an 11-year low.

Toyota has outpaced Volkswagen in sales for three years in a row, Bloomberg notes. At the same time, both companies, like other global automakers, may face a decline in demand as global economic growth slows.

Toyota hasn’t complained about the drop in demand so far, saying it still can’t cut delivery times for customers who have to wait months or even years for some models. This demonstrates that the Toyota Motor Corporation business model is working. 

The Japanese company aims to sell 10.6 million vehicles in the next fiscal year, which begins in April. At the same time, it warns that deliveries could be 10% lower than expected if shortages of individual components, particularly chips, persist.

S&P Global Mobility experts believe Toyota will continue to widen its sales gap with Volkswagen in 2023, predicting the Japanese automaker’s deliveries of 10.4 million vehicles versus 7.99 million units for Volkswagen.

Volkswagen sales will begin to recover in 2024, S&P Global Mobility predicts. At the same time, sales of passenger cars of Toyota by the end of this decade, according to experts, will reach 11 million per year.

Earlier, we reported that spot prices for LNG in Asia are significantly higher than in the U.S. and Europe.

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Spot LNG prices in Asia are significantly higher than in the U.S. and Europe

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LNG prices today

Spot LNG prices in Asia jumped to record highs in January due to low stocks of this fuel, cold weather, global disruptions in production and delays in shipment. Asian LNG prices today are significantly higher than LNG prices in the U.S. and Europe, which creates arbitrage opportunities for sellers, writes Euractiv.

The winners in this situation are large oil and gas companies that have access to different sources of fuel as opposed to traders and non-integrated producers, experts say.

Shell and TotalEnergies (NYSE:TTE) could divert tankers with U.S., Nigerian and Qatari LNG bound for Europe to Asia.

“Some of our long-term contracts provide for a change of direction. Where possible, we divert LNG shipments to premium markets,” a top executive at a major company told the publication on condition of anonymity.

The difference in regional gas prices, excluding transportation and related costs, is quite significant, Euractiv says. For example, the cost of contracts with delivery in February at the U.S. Henry Hub is $2.6 per million British thermal units (BTU), at the Dutch TTF – about $10 per 1 million BTU, in Asia – about $30 per 1 million BTU.

Most of the LNG in the world is sold under long-term contracts, and only about 10% of all deals are on the spot market. The current price hike has mainly affected the spot segment of the market.

“LNG in the spot market in Asia right now is like rolls of toilet paper in a pandemic – you look at the empty shelves and grab the last one at any price,” says another industry senior executive.

Rising LNG prices could give an impetus to Qatar to rapidly expand its projects in this area, and it also supports many of the U.S. fuel production facilities, experts say.

At the same time, the current situation poses a threat to the formation of a flexible spot LNG market, as it is likely to push many sellers to enter into long-term contracts, Euractiv writes.

Earlier we reported that the dollar index returned to growth.

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