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Britain’s inflation rate hit a new 40-year high of 9.1% in the 12 months to May, figures showed Wednesday, as Russia’s war in Ukraine drove food and fuel prices ever higher, the Associated Press reported. The Office for National Statistics said consumer price inflation rose slightly from 9% in April, itself the highest level since 1982.
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Ongoing inflationary pressure means further monetary policy tightening will likely be needed, Swiss National Bank Chairman Thomas Jordan said on Wednesday, after the central bank last week raised its interest rate for the first time in 15 years, Reuters reported. "We published a new inflation forecast. If you interpret it correctly, you see that there's a certain need probably to tighten further," Jordan told a conference in Zurich. "We don't exactly know when and how much, but this inflationary pressure is not yet combated completely," Jordan added.
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The Czech central bank delivered what may be the last in its series of massive interest-rate increases, but mounting inflation risks pose a dilemma for newcomers who will take control of the policy board next month, Bloomberg News reported. Policy makers lifted the key rate by 125 basis points to 7% on Wednesday, in line with most analyst forecasts and bringing cumulative tightening to 6.75 percentage points over the past year. Still, the koruna weakened because the decision was smaller than market bets for a hike of as much as 150 basis points.
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Russian officials are considering ways to keep the ruble on a tight leash without abandoning inflation targeting as they hunt for tools to tame the currency’s surge after sanctions ended the central bank’s ability to intervene directly, Bloomberg News reported. Rather than removing a commitment to target price growth, officials would need a new mechanism as long as sanctions on the central bank are in place, according to people familiar with the matter.
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Katie Price has seemingly swerved bankruptcy proceedings for a third time this year, with her court case reportedly being moved to February 2023, the Daily Mirror reported. The 43-year-old former glamour model was due to face a judge over the £3.2million bankruptcy debts she has but the hearing, which was reportedly meant to have taken place at London’s Royal Courts of Justice on June 7, has now been pushed back into next year.
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Britain's payment systems regulator (PSR) will conduct two market reviews of card fees charged by Visa and Mastercard, the U.S. companies that account for 99% of debit and credit card payments in the UK, Reuters reported. The PSR's announcement yesterday follows heavy pressure from lawmakers to launch full market reviews to tackle card fees paid by retailers, which are typically passed on to consumers. "We want to understand whether card payments are working well and to make sure that merchants, and ultimately consumers, get a good deal," said Natalie Timan, the PSR's head of strategy.
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Google's local subsidiary in Russia filed for bankruptcy because Moscow's measures against the U.S. firm have made it impossible to do business, the firm said Friday, Politico reported. "Google Russia has filed for bankruptcy," a Google spokesperson said in a statement, adding that "the Russian authorities’ seizure of Google Russia’s bank account has made it untenable for our Russia office to function, including employing and paying Russia-based employees, paying suppliers and vendors, and meeting other financial obligations.
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Ukraine is expected to start selling electricity to Slovakia and Hungary this month, a move that could boost revenues for power generators in the country, sources told Reuters. The expansion of power trade with Europe, which is currently curtailed to limited amounts sold to Poland and Moldova, could increase cashflow to Ukrainian utilities hit by a drop in domestic electricity since the Russian invasion, while providing more energy to the 27-country European Union as it grapples with reduced gas supplies from Russia.
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Central banks across Europe raised interest rates on Thursday, some by amounts that shocked markets, and hinted at even higher borrowing costs to come to tame soaring inflation that is eroding savings and squeezing corporate profits, Reuters reported. Fuelled initially by soaring oil prices in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, inflation has broadened out to everything from food to services with double digit readings in parts of the continent. Such levels have not been seen in some places since the aftermath of the oil crisis of the 1970s.
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The European Central Bank poised to raise interest rates for the first time in 11 years vowed Wednesday to create an unspecified market backstop that could buffer member countries against financial turmoil like that seen during a debt crisis more than a decade ago, the Associated Press reported. Pressed by a government bond selloff, the bank’s governing council called an unscheduled meeting to address worrisome market shifts following the bank’s decision to hike rates in July and September.
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