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Online Prices Continue to Drop, Yen Falls After BOJ Announcement, Biden Visits Belfast Amid Political Uncertainty

Shemesh Shahar
Latest News
April 11 2023 04:52AM

Online Prices Continue to Drop

Online prices for discretionary items such as home goods, appliances, and electronics continued to drop in March, marking the seventh consecutive month of decline. The Adobe digital price index reported a year-on-year decrease of 1.7%, but prices remained flat compared to the previous month. Grocery prices increased at a slower pace of 10.4% year-on-year, but food inflation persists. Personal care products rose 4.4% from a year ago but were down 1.5% from February.

Yen Falls After BOJ Announcement

The yen fell on Monday after the new Bank of Japan governor, Kazuo Ueda, announced that he would maintain the ultra-loose monetary policy adopted by his predecessor. Ueda emphasized that negative interest rates and yield curve control remained appropriate under current economic conditions.

Biden Visits Belfast Amid Political Uncertainty

US President Joe Biden is scheduled to arrive in Belfast to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. London urged Northern Ireland’s biggest unionist party to end its boycott of the region’s political institutions. Biden’s trip comes after a year of political uncertainty in Northern Ireland caused by the post-Brexit trade regime, and police have warned of potential violence during Easter Monday marches.

Pentagon Scrambles Over Leak

The Pentagon is scrambling to contain the fallout from a leak of classified intelligence documents about the war in Ukraine and other sensitive information from Asia and the Middle East. The Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into the leak, and US officials are working to determine the source of the breach and its ramifications.

Fox News Settles Defamation Case

Fox News has settled a defamation case brought by a Venezuelan businessman who accused the network of falsely accusing him of helping to rig the 2020 US presidential election. The network faces another defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems, seeking $1.6bn in damages, with jury selection due to begin on Thursday.

War in Ukraine to Slow Global Trade

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has projected that global trade growth will be restrained this year due to the war in Ukraine and stubborn inflation around the world, which is expected to slow the pace of economic recovery even as the world emerges from the height of the pandemic. The volume of world merchandise trade is expected to expand 1.7% this year, well below the average annual growth rate of 2.6% since a trade slump after the 2008 financial crisis. WTO economists forecast global economic growth will slow to 2.4% this year from 3.0% in 2022 and 5.9% in 2021.

Dalai Lama Apologizes Over Video Controversy

The Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism’s top spiritual leader, has issued an apology after a video circulated on social media showing him kissing a young boy on the lips and asking the boy to suck his tongue at a public event in India. The apology reads that the Dalai Lama “wishes to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends across the world for the hurt his words may have caused,” according to a statement posted on his Twitter account.

Iraq Plans to Increase Wheat Output

Iraq plans to increase its wheat production by almost 60% this year, aiming to produce 3.5 million tons of wheat, up from about 2.2 million tons last year. Haider Nouri, director general of Iraq’s grain board, said the nation will also seek to buy at least 50,000 tons this month via tender. However, the country will still continue to rely on imports to meet domestic demand.

New Power Plants in Texas May Cost $18 Billion

Lawmakers are trying to improve the state of Texas’s electric grid after its deadly failure in 2021. A fleet of new natural gas-fired power plants is being proposed at a potential cost of $18 billion, much more than an earlier estimate. The new plants would only be used in emergency situations and would be built in two phases over a decade given permitting and supply chain constraints, according to slides of a new study shared by the Lower Colorado River Authority. However, the high potential cost risks derailing Republicans’ plans to overhaul a grid increasingly reliant on renewable energy with fossil fuel plants.