US wholesale inflation rose more slowly in July
WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation at the wholesale level jumped 9.8% in July from a year earlier, a slowdown from the June pace yet still a painfully high level suggesting that rampant inflation will persist for months to come. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department also showed that on a month-to-month basis, the producer price index — which measures inflation before it reaches consumers — dropped 0.5% from June to July. That is the first decline since April 2020 and was down from a sharp 1% increase from May to June. Falling gas and energy prices pushed down the monthly figure. Those declines suggest that retail gas prices, which have fallen steadily since mid-June, are likely to keep dropping.
EXPLAINER: Mixed US inflation signs. Where are prices going?
WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers struggling with skyrocketing prices for food, gas, autos and rent got a tantalizing hint of relief last month, when prices didn’t budge at all from June after 25 straight months of increases. With gas prices continuing to fall, inflation is probably slowing further this month. So has the worst bout of inflation in four decades possibly peaked? Economists say it’s way too soon to know for sure. Even if some prices should keep declining, others — housing costs, for example — are almost sure to remain painfully high. And that means there’s likely still a long way to go before inflation will get anywhere close to the 2% annual pace that Americans were long accustomed to.
Gas prices dip just below $4 for the first time in 5 months
U.S. gas prices have dipped under $4 a gallon for the first time in more than five months. AAA says the national average is $3.99 for a gallon of regular. That’s down 15 cents in just the last week, and 68 cents in the last month. Gasoline peaked at around $5.02 a gallon on June 14. Motorists in California and Hawaii are still paying above $5, and other states in the West are paying close to that. The cheapest gas is in Texas and several other states in the South and Midwest. The decline reflects falling prices for crude oil, which have dipped close to $90 a barrel from over $120 a barrel in June.
World shares mostly gain after Wall St hits 3-month highs
BANGKOK (AP) — Shares have mostly advanced in Europe and Asia after Wall Street benchmarks closed at three-month highs. Investors were cheering a report showing inflation cooled more than expected in July. U.S. futures edged higher Thursday and oil prices also advanced. The S&P 500 jumped 2.1% Wednesday on expectations that slower inflation will mean the Federal Reserve won’t hike interest rates as much as feared. It was a welcome respite for technology stocks, cryptocurrencies and other investments that have been among the year’s biggest losers due to aggressive rate hikes meant to tamp down price increases. The government said consumer inflation jumped 8.5% in July from a year earlier. But that was down from June’s four-decade high of 9.1%.
Big Mac is coming back: McDonald’s to reopen in Ukraine
CHICAGO (AP) — McDonald’s will begin reopening some of its restaurants in Ukraine in the coming months. The burger giant closed its Ukrainian restaurants after Russia’s invasion nearly six months ago but has continued to pay its more than 10,000 employees in the country. McDonald’s said Thursday that it plans to gradually begin reopening some restaurants in the capital, Kyiv, and western Ukraine, where other companies are doing business farther from the fighting. McDonald’s has 109 restaurants in Ukraine but didn’t say how many would reopen, when that would happen or which locations would be first. McDonald’s has sold its 850 restaurants in Russia.
Dutchman convicted of role in farmers’ road block protest
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A man has been convicted of dumping straw on a Dutch road last month and sentenced to perform 80 hours of unpaid work. Thursday’s court case was one of the first stemming from widespread protests by farmers against government plans to slash nitrogen emissions. The 42-year-old man’s identity wasn’t released by the court in the eastern city of Arnhem. He was also ordered to pay 3,600 euros (about $3,700) in damages to cover the costs of the cleanup operation. The court ruled that he and about 30 other demonstrators partially blocked a highway by dumping garbage on the road.
Wildfires spread, fish die off amid severe drought in Europe
PARIS (AP) — More than 1,000 firefighters in France are struggling to contain a huge wildfire burning through pine forests. The fires come as Europe is suffering under a severe heat wave and drought. In Poland and Germany, low water levels and possible pollution have produced a mass die-off of fish in the Oder River, which runs between them. In France, which is enduring its worst drought on record, flames raged through pine forests overnight, illuminating the sky with an intense orange light in the Gironde region and neighboring Landes. Water levels along Germany’s Rhine River are at risk of falling so low that it could become difficult to transport goods — including critical energy items like coal and gasoline.
Cancellation of Atlanta festival sparks new fight over guns
ATLANTA (AP) — The cancellation of a major music festival in Atlanta has ignited a new fight over Georgia gun laws. Live Nation has refused to say why it abruptly called off September’s Music Midtown festival last week. But news outlets ascribed the decision to state gun laws that could have prevented organizers from enforcing a ban on firearms. Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and other Democrats have blasted Republican Gov. Brian Kemp for the cancellation, though the gun law cited in news reports preceded his administration. Kemp has accused Democrats of pushing critical narratives of Georgia’s firearms landscape to distract from inflation.
New leader takes helm at Atlantic City casino trade group
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The trade group for Atlantic City’s nine casinos named a veteran casino executive as its new president. Mark Giannantonio has more than 35 years’ experience in the casino industry, and has been president and CEO of Resorts casino since 2012. Before that, he was president and CEO of the Tropicana in Atlantic City. The Casino Association of New Jersey’s role is to advocate for Atlantic City’s casinos, including in interactions with state legislators on issues of interest to the casinos and the resort as a whole. The industry has made a big push to return to pre-pandemic business levels, with millions spent on renovations and new attractions in recent months.
Lower prices offer Americans slight reprieve from inflation
WASHINGTON (AP) — Falling prices for gas, airline tickets and clothes gave Americans a little bit of relief last month, though overall inflation is still running at close to its highest level in four decades. Government data released Wednesday showed that consumer prices jumped 8.5% in July compared with a year earlier. That’s down from a 9.1% year-over-year increase in June. On a monthly basis, prices were unchanged from June to July, the first time that has happened after 25 months of increases. The reprieve offered no certainty that prices would stay on the decline. Inflation has sometimes slowed only to re-accelerate later.