Markets down…CPI due…Ethanol rule suspension
UNDATED (AP) – Global stock markets are lower as investors wait for U.S. inflation data amid unease about higher interest rates, Chinese efforts to contain coronavirus outbreaks and Russia’s war on Ukraine. London, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Seoul fell. Shanghai and Hong Kong advanced after authorities in Shanghai said they would ease a shutdown of China’s business capital. Markets are uneasy about plans by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to try to cool inflation by rolling back ultra-low interest rates.
WASHINGTON (AP) – With ever-rising costs for food, gasoline, housing and other necessities squeezing consumers and threatening the economy, inflation in the United States likely set yet another four-decade high in March. The government’s consumer price index being released today is expected to show that prices shot up 8.4% from 12 months earlier, according to economists surveyed by the data firm FactSet.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden is visiting corn-rich Iowa to announce he’ll suspend a federal rule preventing the sale of higher ethanol blend gasoline in the summer. Biden’s administration is intensifying its efforts to tamp down prices at the pump that have spiked during Russia’s war with Ukraine. Most gasoline sold in the U.S. is blended with 10% ethanol. The Environmental Protection Agency will issue an emergency waiver to allow widespread sale of 15% ethanol blend that’s usually prohibited between June 1 and Sept. 15 because of concerns it adds to smog in high temperatures.
BEIJING (AP) – The U.S. has ordered all non-emergency government staff to leave Shanghai, which is under a tight lockdown to contain a COVID-19 surge. Many residents in the city of 26 million have been confined to their homes for up to three weeks as China maintains its “zero-COVID” strategy of handling outbreaks with strict isolation and mass testing.
KIAMBU COUNTY, Kenya (AP) – Russia’s war in Ukraine has pushed up fertilizer prices that were already high, made scarce supplies even harder to find and pinched farmers, especially those in the developing world. Higher fertilizer prices are making the world’s food supply more expensive and less abundant, as farmers skimp on nutrients for their crops and get lower yields. The fertilizer crunch threatens to further limit worldwide food supplies, already constrained by the disruption of crucial grain shipments from Russia and Ukraine.