Business | The Economist
Annual inflation in the euro zone it fell in November, to 10%. Energy prices also eased slightly, as Europe’s mild autumn curbed demand for heating, reducing the wholesale market for natural gas. These prices have started to rise again, as cooler weather settles in. The average inflation figure masked regional variations. The inflation in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is higher than 21%. In Germany it is 11.3%, although that is also down on October. In Finland inflation jumped, to 9%.
The bigger-than-expected fall in inflation sparked speculation about the European Central Bank’s next move interest rates. Before the latest data came out, Christine Lagarde, the ECBThe state president said the bank is “not ready” to raise rates. It meets on December 15.
In America Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, giving a hawkish speech on the fight against inflation, but he also suggested that the central bank would measure the pace of rate hikes when it meets next, on December 14. Stock markets soared.
China the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell again in November, to 48, suggesting a deeper contraction in factory activity (above 50 indicates growth). Factory output has been curtailed by lockouts and related protests. The workers’ revolution at the Fox A plant in Zhengzhou, which assembles the iPhone and other devices, could have a positive impact on Apple’s earnings, breaking a streak of 14 consecutive quarters where sales have grow, year after year.
JD.com is reportedly cutting the salaries of 2,000 workers as it moves into a period of slower growth. The Chinese e-commerce giant wants to improve conditions for its lowest-paid workers, following rumors from the government about tech companies not doing enough to tackle inequality.
Lady Luck finally smiled on operators Macau’s big casinos, when the Chinese regional government agreed to extend its licenses to operate for ten years. Hit by covid restrictions and the Chinese government’s increasing opposition to gambling, the casinos, some of which are run by American companies, such as Sands, are betting that the new licenses will bring stability to investors. Their share prices jumped after the news.
Flying gray class
Rolls-Royce conducted the world’s first ground test of an aircraft engine modified to run on it green hydrogen created by wind and tide power. Hydrogen-powered planes can help the airline industry cut its emissions, although passenger jets are still years away from entering service. Airbus, which has been aiming to introduce a hydrogen plane by 2035, warned this week that a lack of green hydrogen and related infrastructure could delay its project.
EasyJet published results, and said the summer months had been the “highest rebound” since the covid era. The European airline reported that bookings for holidays this winter were back to normal, and they expected to increase seat capacity from April to September next year.
The fall of FTX it followed back around the cryptocurrency world. BlockFiplatform that offers a range of crypto services, filed for bankruptcy protection announces its “big exposure” FTX through bilateral loans and credit agreements. Genesiscryptocurrency brokerage, reportedly trying to avoid bankruptcy.
HSBC agreed to sell their business in Canada to Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest lender, for C$13.5bn ($10bn). This is the largest banking deal ever in Canada. HSBC under pressure from Ping An, a Chinese insurer and its largest shareholder, to focus entirely on its Asian business to boost its stock. It is also closing a quarter of its branches in Britain, its home country.
Nearly 197m Americans shopped over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation, more than even pre-pandemic levels. More people shopped online than in-store, although visits to bricks-and-mortar outlets grew by 17% year-on-year, a sign that consumers are settling back into pre-covid behavior . Retailers pray that the rest of the Christmas season will be as merry, and that shoppers haven’t just pushed their spending forward.
Vive les misérables
A French court has ruled that a councilor who was sacked for not being “fun” and avoiding work events he was wrongly dismissed. “Mr T”, as he is named in documents, had the right to “freedom of expression” by not participating in social activities, the court said. Mr T said he felt humiliated by his colleagues’ antics, including excessive drinking and “sex jokes”. The decision is good news for office workers dreading the start of the Christmas party season.