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The Bank of England raised interest rates by half a percentage point on Thursday, the largest jump since 1995, as policymakers strengthened their efforts to tackle inflation even as they warned Britain was heading into a long recession later this year, the New York Times reported. The bank raised rates to 1.75 percent, the highest since 2008, from 1.25 percent as it forecast the annual rate of inflation would climb above 13 percent when household energy bills jump higher in October. That would be the highest level of inflation in 42 years.
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Italy plans to approve on Thursday a new aid package worth around 14.3 billion euros ($14.5 billion) to help shield firms and families from surging energy costs and consumer prices, government officials said, Reuters reported. The scheme, one of the last major acts of outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi before a national election next month, comes on top of some 33 billion euros budgeted since January to soften the impact of sky-high electricity, gas and petrol costs.
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Real household income across industrialised nations, including Ireland, fell in the first quarter of 2022 as soaring prices reduced the buying power of consumers, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Economists fear a sharp decline in consumption by cash-strapped households will trigger a recession in the euro zone, the Irish Times reported. The OECD said that real household income per capita declined by 1.1 per cent during the first three months of the year but remained nearly 3 per cent higher than before the pandemic.
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The European Central Bank faces a toxic mix of surging inflation expectations, the prospect of a shrinking economy and a worsening labor market, according to the citizens it serves, Bloomberg News reported. That’s the thrust of a new monthly poll of euro-zone households, the Consumer Expectations Survey, which is intended to gauge on-the-ground views to support policy makers in their decision making. It highlights the challenge as they weigh how fast to raise interest rates.
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China invited Zambia's private creditors to discuss the nation's debt later this month after official creditors agreed to a restructuring of its debt, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Du Xiaohui said on Thursday, Reuters reported. Zambia's creditors have pledged to negotiate a restructuring of the country's debts in a move welcomed by International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva as "clearing the way" for a $1.4 billion fund programme.
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Australia's "Big Four" banks raised their home loan variable interest rates on Thursday, after the country's central bank hiked rates earlier this week, Reuters reported. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp increased their mortgage rates to match the hike announced by the central bank. The new rates for CBA and ANZ customers will take effect from Aug. 12, while Westpac's rates will apply from Aug. 18. The banks also raised rates on some of their products for customers with savings accounts and deposits.
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Argentina’s new Economy Minister Sergio Massa pledged to stop printing money that helps fuel runaway inflation, outlining his strategy to turn around the country’s deepening crisis, Bloomberg News reported. Massa rolled out his economic roadmap Wednesday night after being sworn in by President Alberto Fernandez as the third such minister in a month. Massa’s measures also focused on boosting exports, reducing the country’s fiscal deficit and increasing the central bank’s dwindling reserves.
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South Africa's Remgro Ltd said on Thursday it will buy hospital chain operator Mediclinic International in a consortium with Switzerland's MSC Mediterranean Shipping for 3.7 billion pounds ($4.49 billion), Reuters reported. The offer, which was the consortium's fourth after the earlier ones were rejected by Mediclinic's board, values the company at 6.1 billion pounds ($7.41 billion), Remgro and Mediclinic said in a joint statement. Mediclinic is South Africa's third biggest operator of hospitals and billionaire tycoon Johann Rupert's Remgro already owns up to 45% of the company.
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Saudi Arabia raised oil prices for buyers in Asia to record levels, a sign the world’s largest exporter sees the region’s market remaining tight, Bloomberg News reported. Despite indications that slowing economies are starting to hit global demand for crude, state producer Saudi Aramco increased its Arab Light grade for next month’s shipments to Asian refineries to $9.80 a barrel above the Middle Eastern benchmark. That’s 50 cents more than in August. Still, traders and refiners had expected a bigger jump of $1.50, according to a Bloomberg survey in late July.
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Egyptians are finding some consumer goods increasingly hard to come by, as attempts to buffer the currency ripple across the $400 billion economy that’s running short on dollars, Bloomberg News reported. Although basic commodities are freely available, shortages in more luxurious products -- ranging from summer clothes to imported cars -- are becoming common. Choices for customers have dwindled at fast fashion groups like Mango, Zara and H&M.
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