North America

Mexico's headline inflation accelerated and exceeded expectations in early January, data from the national statistics agency showed on Tuesday, marking the first monthly pickup since September as markets brace for fresh interest rate hikes ahead, Reuters reported. Annual headline inflation in the first half of the month reached 7.94%, beating both the 7.77% recorded in the month of December and economists' forecasts of 7.86%, though still below the two-decade high of 8.70% registered in August and September.
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Canadian consumers remained resilient in December, even in the face of elevated inflation and rising interest rates, Bloomberg News reported. Receipts for retailers jumped 0.5% last month, according to an advance estimate released Friday by Statistics Canada. That follows a 0.1% drop in November, which was led by lower sales of food and beverages, as well as building material and garden supplies. The increase in December more than offsets the lower-than-expected losses in November and adds to a 1.3% gain in October, ending last year with relatively strong retail sales.
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El Salvador’s Bitcoin-touting government is poised to deliver on a $604 million bond maturing this week, in a turn of events that leaves investors in distressed emerging-market debt with only one more big maturity to worry about this year, Bloomberg News reported. The Central American nation is widely expected to repay creditors on Tuesday after receiving a last-minute loan and undertaking two bond buybacks. The maturing note, which now hovers at about a penny below par, has soared by a whopping 34 cents from an all-time low in July.
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U.S. authorities designated cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato Ltd. as a primary money-laundering concern and charged its founder for allegedly facilitating money laundering for criminals, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Treasury Department designated Bitzlato under a section of the USA Patriot Act, a law used to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, for allegedly laundering illicit funds for ransomware actors based in Russia. This type of action, a rarely used so-called death-knell sanction that cuts off the entity from the U.S.
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Canada's annual inflation rate eased more than expected in December as gas prices came down but core measures remained little changed from the previous month, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday, making another interest rate hike this month likely, Reuters reported. Inflation slowed to 6.3% in December from 6.8% in November, a notch lower than the 6.4% median forecast of analysts. Prices fell 0.6% from the previous month, again showing price pressures easing more than analysts' forecast for a 0.5% decline.
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Scandinavian airline SAS said on Friday that it had agreed with another two of its aircraft lessors to amend the terms of existing lease contracts as part of its cost cutting efforts, Reuters reported. Crisis-hit SAS, which has been under chapter 11 protection in the U.S. since last year, said in a statement it had now amended contracts with in total 15 lessors representing 59 aircraft. "With these agreements, SAS concludes its lessor negotiations as part of the chapter 11 process," it said.
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Japan’s financial watchdog expects the local unit of Sam Bankman-Fried’s failed crypto empire FTX will repay funds to customers starting next month, according to a senior official, Bloomberg News reported. “We have been in close communication with FTX Japan,” said Mamoru Yanase, deputy director-general of the Financial Services Agency’s Strategy Development and Management Bureau. A mid-February timeline for withdrawals announced last month by the firm is likely a product of such communication so “we are expecting that they will properly take steps based on that,” he said.
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Canada’s banking industry regulator will consider limiting how much firms are able to lend to riskier homebuyers as part of a review intended to safeguard the financial system from a housing slump, Bloomberg News reported. The regulator is proposing restrictions on the volume of mortgages made available to those who are seeking to borrow amounts that are far in excess on their incomes. It’s part of a regular consultation on residential mortgage underwriting standards, which started Thursday.
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Mexican industrial output was unchanged in November from October but rose 3.2% year-over-year, the national statistics agency said on Wednesday, as economists expect an economic slowdown in the United States to affect the sector ahead, Reuters reported. Statistics agency INEGI said in a statement that higher construction and utilities output boosted industrial production in the month, but ended up offset by a drop in mining and manufacturing.
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