The world this week
America’s annual inflation rate soared to 4.2% in April, higher than expected and fuelling concerns that rising consumer prices may become a problem for the American economy. Inflation hawks blame the huge amounts of stimulus injected into the economy and a boom in consumer demand (prices for used cars were up by a fifth, year on year). Global supply bottlenecks are also pushing up costs for manufacturers. The Biden administration, however, thinks inflationary pressures are temporary and will ease later this year.
Commodity prices are also going up, with the prices of iron ore and copper reaching record highs, in part because China’s factories are sucking up supplies. Oil prices are on the ascent again, approaching $70 for a barrel of Brent crude.
The FBI launched an investigation into a cyber-attack that forced the closure of the Colonial Pipeline, which stretches from Texas to New Jersey, providing half the transport fuel for America’s east coast. A criminal gang called DarkSide claimed responsibility. It describes itself as apolitical. There was some panic-buying of petrol (gas) as pump prices soared.
With the outlook for inflation uncertain, stockmarkets bounced around as investors pondered whether the Federal Reserve would change direction and raise interest rates. The share prices of high-growth big tech companies have fallen in recent weeks because higher bond yields lower the value of their forecast earnings.
Markets were also rattled by weak data on the American jobs market. Employers added 266,000 people to their payrolls in April, well below the numbers for February and March. And job vacancies hit 8.1m at the end of March, the most since records were first compiled in 2000. That led to a lot of head-scratching by economists trying to explain a lack of hiring when the economy is taking off.
The British economy shrank by 1.5% in the first quarter compared with the previous three months. The post-Christmas lockdown hit output hard in January, but by March it was expanding again as businesses adapted to the restrictions. GDP was still 6% smaller than before the start of the pandemic in February 2020.
与前三个月相比，英国经济第一季度萎缩了1.5%。圣诞节后的封锁令严重影响了今年1月的产量，但到了3月份，随着企业适应了这些限制措施，产量再次扩大 。国内生产总值仍比2020年2月疫情开始前低6% 。
1. in part 部分地；少量的
Her success was due in part to luck.
2. a lack of 缺乏
She suffers from a lack of confidence.
3. at the end of 在...尽头；在...结束时
The stadium emptied at the end of the first day of games.
4. compared with 与...相比
He's a pygmy when compared with great musicians.