Asian stocks mixed after US inflation report
TOKYO (AP) – Asian stocks are trading mixed after a worrying report on US inflation that hit the bond market and pushes down stocks 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. The indices fell in Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong.
On Wall Street, the highest inflation since 1990 has forced investors to bet that the US Federal Reserve will have to raise short-term interest rates faster from their all-time low. The 10-year Treasury yield jumped to 1.55%.
Chinese leader Xi warns of ‘cold war’ in Asia-Pacific
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) has warned against letting tensions in the Asia-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 United States, Britain and Australia announced a new security alliance in the region that would see Australia build sub -nuclear navies.
China has severely criticized the deal.
Xi spoke in a pre-recorded video at an APEC CEO summit in New Zealand. Xi is expected to participate in an online meeting with other Pacific Rim leaders on Saturday, including US President Joe Biden.
In total, APEC members represent nearly 3 billion people and around 60% of global GDP. But deep tensions run through the unlikely group of 21 nations and territories including the United States, China, Taiwan, Russia and Australia.
Many countries in Asia are struggling to balance Chinese and American influences on the economic and geopolitical fronts.
China claims large parts of the South China Sea and other areas and has decided to establish a military presence, building islands in some disputed areas as it asserts its historic claims.
Why is US inflation so high and when could it ease?
WASHINGTON (AP) – Inflation is starting to look like that unexpected – and unwanted – guest who just doesn’t want to leave.
For months, many economists had been sending out a reassuring message that a surge in consumer prices, something the United States had lacked for a generation, would not last long. It would prove to be “transient,” in the soothing words of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and White House officials, as the economy shifts from chaos linked to the virus to something closer to normal.
Yet, as any American who’s bought a carton of milk, a gallon of gasoline, or a used car might tell you, inflation has set in. And economists are now expressing a more disheartening message: The price hike will likely last next year, if not beyond.
On Wednesday, the government said its consumer price index climbed 6.2% from a year ago – the biggest 12-month jump since 1990.
And the sticker shock hits where families tend to feel it the most. At the breakfast table, for example: Bacon prices are up 20% from last year, egg prices by almost 12%. Gasoline jumped 50%. Buying a washer or dryer will cost you 15% more than a year ago. Used vehicles? 26% more.
Although wages are rising sharply for many workers, they are nowhere near enough to keep up with prices. Last month, the average hourly wage in the United States, after accounting for inflation, actually fell 1.2% from October 2020.
Real Medicare drug savings in Democrats’ bill – but not overnight
WASHINGTON (AP) Medicare registrants who take expensive drugs could save thousands of dollars a year thanks to the Democrats’ massive Social Agenda bill, but those dividends won’t come overnight. Instead, they will grow steadily over the decade.
Experts who analyzed the complex moving parts of the bill’s prescription drug compromise say it would also offer those with private insurance some protection against escalating costs.
The savings would be concentrated among patients with serious chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as those who take expensive drug combinations to try to control their health problems. The compromise barely survived the pharmaceutical industry lobbying blitz.
Another UAW official accused of 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 is accused of embezzlement and other crimes. Edmunds is the latest target in a corruption investigation that stunned the union and sent more than a dozen people to jail.
The UAW said its auditors discovered the inappropriate spending and forwarded their findings to federal authorities.
UAW Local 412 represents approximately 2,600 people in the Detroit area who work for Stellantis, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler. Edmunds’ attorney says he’s entitled to a presumption of innocence at this point.
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