The world this week -- Business
America’s annual inflation rate climbed again in September, to 5.4%, having dipped slightly in August.
In its latest outlook on the world economy the IMF said that rising inflation reflected “pandemic-related supply-demand mismatches and higher commodity prices”, and warned that central banks would need “to walk a fine line” between tackling inflation and supporting post-pandemic economic recovery.
Battling a supply-chain crisis that has caused a backlog of imports, a factor contributing to inflationary pressures, Joe Biden announced that the port of Los Angeles would operate 24 hours a day.
Along with the port of Long Beach (which is already open 24 hours) the complex is the biggest entry point in America for products from China and South-East Asia.
Big retailers and logistics companies, such as Walmart, pledged also to work longer hours to keep goods flowing.
Apple’s share price fell sharply amid speculation that it would have to curtail production of its new iPhone 13 during the coming months because of problems obtaining chips.
Retailers in America and Europe have warned of shortages in a wide range of goods ahead of the Christmas shopping season.
Almost 4.3m Americans left their jobs in August, raising the “quit rate” to 2.9% of total employment.
That was the highest rate since the data started to be measured in 2000.
Most workers who jacked in their jobs were in the retail and restaurant industries, suggesting that they are confident of finding better-paid employment.
America’s unemployment rate fell to 4.8% in September, the lowest since March 2020, when the pandemic struck.
But it was also the weakest month this year for job creation, with employers adding just 194,000 people to the payrolls.
The White House claimed that many organisations that have instigated a requirement that staff be vaccinated against covid-19 have increased their vaccination rates by more than 20 percentage points, to 90%.
After years of negotiations under the auspices of the OECD, 136 countries agreed to introduce a global minimum corporate-tax rate of 15% and bring in new measures to force companies to pay more tax in the countries where they do business.
Ireland, a low-tax haven for firms, overcame its hesitancy and signed up.
Only four of the countries that entered the talks did not.
To ease its passage through the American Congress, the pact imposes a two-year moratorium on new digital taxes, which affect Google and the like.