China inflation hits highest level in 15 months

The consumer price index hit 2.7 percent in May, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said. (AFP)
Updated 12 June 2019
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China inflation hits highest level in 15 months

  • The consumer price index hit 2.7 percent in May compared with 2.5 percent a month earlier
  • The rise was ‘largely the result of renewed acceleration in food price inflation’

BEIJING: Inflation in China rose to its highest level in more than a year in May driven by surges in prices due to the African swine fever epidemic and bad weather, official data showed Wednesday.
But while prices are increasing, demand remains weak because of the trade war with the United States and economic uncertainty.
The consumer price index (CPI) — a key gauge of retail inflation — hit 2.7 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said, compared with 2.5 percent in April and the highest since February 2018.
The data was in line with a forecast of analysts polled by Bloomberg News.
The rise was “largely the result of renewed acceleration in food price inflation,” and supply disruptions caused by African swine fever, Capital Economics said in a note.
Beijing’s official statistics say around one million pigs have been killed since the first outbreak in August — but that is widely considered to be an underestimate.
The producer price index (PPI), an important indicator of domestic demand, hit 0.6 percent in May, from 0.9 percent the previous month.
Economic “growth could slow further on escalating US-China trade tensions,” Nomura International said in a note.
“We expect Beijing to undertake further easing/stimulus measures to bolster confidence and to stabilize growth.”
US President Donald Trump is expected to meet China’s Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Japan this month to discuss the long-running trade row, but US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has warned that it will not be a stage for a “definitive agreement.”


Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank forced to close by US sanctions

Updated 19 September 2019

Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank forced to close by US sanctions

  • Jammal Trust Bank is accused of helping to fund the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon
  • The bank has 25 branches in Lebanon and representative offices in Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Britain

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank has been forced to wind itself down after being hit last month by US sanctions for allegedly helping to fund the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, the bank said on Thursday.
The central bank said the value of the bank’s assets, and its share of the national deposit guarantee body, were “in principle enough to pay all deposits and commitments.”
Jammal Trust Bank denied the US allegations in August after the bank and its subsidiaries were hit with sanctions, accused of helping to fund the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.
“Despite its sound financial situation ... and its full compliance with banking regulations, the (bank) was forced to take the decision to liquidate itself in full coordination with the central bank,” Jammal Trust said in a statement.
The bank has 25 branches in Lebanon and representative offices in Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Britain, its website says.
It is a relatively small lender, with net assets of 1,600 billion Lebanese pounds ($1 billion) at the end of 2017, according to the annual report on the latest year for which data is available.
Washington has sought to choke off Hezbollah’s funding worldwide, with sanctions among a slew of steps against Tehran since US President Donald Trump withdrew last year from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran.