Europe

UK Sees Record Jump in Annual Inflation

Inflation in the United Kingdom rose to 3.2 percent in the past 12 months through August, a Wednesday report from the Office for National Statistics said, The Hill reported. This figure is up from 2 percent in July, marking the largest increase seen since the Consumer Prices Index began measuring inflation in 1997, the report said. The report added that "this is likely to be a temporary change" amid the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The current level is well above the 2 percent target "to keep inflation low and stable," according to the Bank of England.
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British businesses have reported a sharp rise in recruitment difficulties within the space of just a few weeks - partly as a result of a continued lack of European Union workers, official figures showed on Thursday, Reuters reported. Some 41% of companies with 10 or more staff reported greater than usual recruitment challenges in the two weeks to Sept. 5, up from 32% in early August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
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The Swiss government lowered its outlook for economic growth this year, citing headwinds such as the global logistics logjam and the slow resumption of intercontinental travel, Bloomberg News reported. Gross domestic product is forecast to expand 3.4% this year, down from a previous forecast of 3.8%, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said on Thursday. The inflation rate is set to remain low, averaging just 0.5% in 2021.
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Italy is making Covid-19 health passes mandatory for all workers in the private and public sectors, in one of the toughest vaccine-promoting measures adopted by any major Western country, the Wall Street Journal reported. Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government passed a decree Thursday requiring workers, including those who are self-employed, to have a digital certificate known as a green pass. This shows a person has been fully vaccinated, has recently recovered from Covid-19 or has freshly tested negative for the virus.
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British inflation hit a more than nine-year high last month after the biggest monthly jump in the annual rate in at least 24 years, largely due to a one-off boost reflecting the "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme that pushed down restaurant meal prices last year, Reuters reported. Consumer prices rose by 3.2% in annual terms last month after a 2.0% rise in July, the highest rate since March 2012, the Office for National Statistics said. The 1.2 percentage point rise in the annual rate of inflation in the space of a month marked the sharpest such increase since detailed records started in 1997.
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Job vacancies in Britain climbed to a record in August, rising above one million for the first time, as the labor market continued its uneven recovery, according to data released Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics, the New York Times reported. As Britain emerged from lockdowns, the demand for workers has soared. Every sector is seeking more workers, with restaurants, bars, hotels and other accommodation and food businesses trying to hire the most over the summer.
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The European Union returned to the bond market on Tuesday for a seven-year debt sale, pulling in another huge orderbook, Bloomberg News reported. The nation racked up more than 85 billion euros ($100 billion) of orders for a 9 billion-euro offering of bonds maturing in 2028 via banks, with pricing set at 14 basis points below swaps. Analysts had expected a rush of orders from investors because the bonds are relatively scarce and the central bank is able to buy up to 50% of the EU’s issuance, providing a guaranteed backstop.
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A Danish power trading company has filed for bankruptcy as the unprecedented rally in energy prices across Europe claimed yet another victim. Nordstrom Invest A/S filed a request on Sept. 7 to the Bankruptcy Court in Aarhus, according to the Government Gazette of Denmark, Bloomberg News reported. It comes just days after several energy suppliers in the U.K. ceased trading.
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Berlin’s tenants are trying to evict large landlords. On Sept. 26, voters in Germany’s capital will decide whether to expropriate any landlord that owns more than 3,000 properties in the city, the Wall Street Journal reported. A clause in the German constitution allows for the move, but it hasn’t been tested before. It would affect real-estate investment trusts including Deutsche Wohnen DWNI 0.04% —which owns 116,000 properties in Berlin and is currently the target of an €18 billion takeover bid, equivalent to roughly $21 billion at current exchange rates—and its suitor Vonovia.
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Empty beer taps in pubs, supermarkets low on Diet Coke, milkshakes missing at McDonald’s: It seems each new day in Britain brings a new notice of scarce products and services as businesses are waylaid by the country’s shortage of truck drivers and other workers, the New York Times reported. The problem extends beyond the most visible parts of the economy. Job vacancies in Britain are about 20 percent higher than their prepandemic levels, and the need for workers has gripped nearly every occupation, including computer programmers, health care assistants and farmworkers.
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