The world this week--Business
America’s annual rate of inflation, measured by the consumer-price index, dropped to 8.5% in July, from 9.1% in June.
Petrol prices explained the dip.
The average price of a gallon of car fuel is now just under $4; in mid-June it was around $5.
The economy is also cooling, shrinking by 0.9% at an annual rate in the second quarter after a contraction of 1.6% in the first.
The labour market is still red hot, however.
Employers created 528,000 jobs in July, many more than had been expected.
The deputy governor of the Bank of England, Sir Dave Ramsden, said that interest rates would probably have to go up again to tame inflation.
The bank recently lifted its benchmark rate by half a percentage point, to 1.75%, the biggest rise since 1995.
The move was criticised by some for increasing the possibility of recession, but the bank faces a tricky balancing act.
Not all inflation is within its control.
One forecast reckons the average annual energy bill will jump to over ￡4,400 ($5,320) early next year.
The plunging value of investments at its two tech-focused Vision Funds pushed SoftBank to a ￥3.2trn ($23bn) quarterly net loss, a record for the Japanese conglomerate.
The rout in tech shares was not all to blame.
The weakened yen led to a ￥820bn foreign-exchange loss.
“The world is in great confusion,” said Son Masayoshi, SoftBank’s boss.
SoftBank later said it would reduce its stake in Alibaba, which it has held for 22 years, from 23.7% to 14.6%, which should raise around $34bn.
Berkshire Hathaway reported a net loss of $43.8bn for the second quarter, reflecting this year’s broad decline in stockmarkets.
However, operating income, which excludes the effects of market vicissitudes on Berkshire’s share portfolio, surged to $9.3bn.
Inflation hasn’t put people off visiting Disney’s theme parks, which notched up their best-ever quarter in sales.
Customers are also signing up to Disney+ in droves.
The streaming service added 14.4m users over the past three months, bringing the total to 152.1m.
The share price of Novavax plummeted after it forecast a slowdown in revenue because of falling demand for its covid-19 vaccine.
Moderna recently wrote off $500m-worth of vaccines that have gone unused.