Asian shares mixed after US inflation report
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are trading mixed after a worrisome report on U.S. inflation that slammed into the bond market and knocked stocks lower on Wall Street.
In Japan, where investors are awaiting an economic stimulus package from newly elected Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the benchmark Nikkei 225 and the Shanghai Composite index rose in morning trading. Indexes fell in Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong.
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On Wall Street, the sharpest inflation since 1990 forced investors to boost bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve will have to raise short-term interest rates more quickly off their record low. The yield on the 10-year Treasury jumped to 1.55%.
China’s leader Xi warns against ‘Cold War’ in Asia-Pacific
WELLINGTON, New Zealand(AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) has warned against letting tensions in the Asian-Pacific region cause a relapse into a Cold War mentality. His remarks on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum came weeks after the U.S., Britain and Australia announced a new security alliance in the region which would see Australia build nuclear submarines.
China has harshly criticized the deal.
Xi spoke in a pre-recorded video to a CEO Summit at APEC, which is being hosted in New Zealand. Xi is scheduled to participate in an online meeting with other Pacific Rim leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday.
In all, APEC members account for nearly 3 billion people and about 60% of the world’s GDP. But deep tensions run through the unlikely group of 21 nations and territories that include the U.S., China, Taiwan, Russia, and Australia.
Many of the countries in Asia endeavor to balance Chinese and U.S. influences on the economic and geopolitical fronts.
China claims vast parts of the South China Sea and other areas and has moved to establish a military presence, building islands in some disputed areas as it asserts its historic claims.
Why US inflation is so high, and when it may ease
WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation is starting to look like that unexpected — and unwanted — houseguest who just won’t leave.
For months, many economists had sounded a reassuring message that a spike in consumer prices, something that had been missing in action in the U.S. for a generation, wouldn’t stay long. It would prove “transitory,’’ in the soothing words of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and White House officials, as the economy shifted from virus-related chaos to something closer to normalcy.
Yet as any American who has bought a carton of milk, a gallon of gas or a used car could tell you, inflation has settled in. And economists are now voicing a more discouraging message: Higher prices will likely last well into next year, if not beyond.
On Wednesday, the government said its consumer price index soared 6.2% from a year ago — the biggest 12-month jump since 1990.
And the sticker shock is hitting where families tend to feel it most. At the breakfast table, for instance: Bacon prices are up 20% over the past year, egg prices nearly 12%. Gasoline has surged 50%. Buying a washing machine or a dryer will set you back 15% more than it would have a year ago. Used cars? 26% more.
Although pay is up sharply for many workers, it isn’t nearly enough to keep up with prices. Last month, average hourly wages in the United States, after accounting for inflation, actually fell 1.2% compared with October 2020.
Real Medicare drug savings in Dems’ bill — but not overnight
WASHINGTON (AP) Medicare enrollees who take expensive medicines could save thousands of dollars a year under the Democrats’ sweeping social agenda bill, but those dividends won’t come overnight. Instead, they’ll build gradually over the decade.
Experts who’ve analyzed the complex moving parts of the bill’s prescription drug compromise say it would also offer people with private insurance some protection from escalating costs.
Savings would be concentrated among patients with serious chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, along with those who take combinations of costly medicines to try to keep health problems under control. The compromise barely survived the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying blitz.
Another UAW official charged with looting union coffers
DETROIT (AP) — Investigators say an official at a suburban Detroit branch of the United Auto Workers took $2 million and spent it on cars, guns, luxury clothing and gambling.
Tim Edmunds was secretary-treasurer of UAW Local 412. He’s charged with embezzlement and other crimes. Edmunds is the latest target in a corruption investigation that has stunned the union and sent more than a dozen people to prison.
UAW said its auditors discovered the improper expenditures and turned their findings over to federal authorities.
UAW Local 412 represents about 2,600 people in the Detroit area who work for Stellantis, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler. Edmunds’ attorney says he’s entitled at this point to a presumption of innocence.
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