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Inflation

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Unilever Plc warned on Thursday that surging commodity costs would squeeze its full-year operating margin, overshadowing strong second-quarter sales growth fuelled by the easing of pandemic-related curbs in many of its markets.

Underlying sales for the maker of Dove soap maker rose 5% in the three months ended June 30, above 4.8% forecast by analysts. However, rising prices of everything from crude to palm and soybean oil made the company cut its operating margin outlook to "about flat" from slightly up earlier and flag greater uncertainty surrounding that forecast.


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President Joe Biden expressed pointed frustration Wednesday over the slowing COVID-19 vaccination rate in the U.S. and pleaded that it’s “gigantically important” for Americans to step up and get inoculated against the virus as it surges once again.

Biden, speaking at a televised town hall in Cincinnati, said the public health crisis has turned largely into a plight of the unvaccinated as the spread of the delta variant has led to a surge in infections around the country.


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U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expressed concerns about housing affordability on Thursday and said she expected several more months of high inflation readings, but it remained transitory, adding that the Federal Reserve was doing a good job under Chair Jerome Powell.

Yellen, in an interview with CNBC, said she also was not certain whether Amazon.com would meet the profitability threshold for inclusion in a new global reallocation of taxing rights agreed by 132 countries.


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Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday that inflation, which has been surging as the recovery strengthens, “will likely remain elevated in coming months” before “moderating.”

At the same time, in testimony to the House Financial Services Committee, Powell signaled no imminent change in the Fed’s ultra-low-interest rate policies.


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Official figures show inflation in the U.K. rising to its highest level in nearly three years because of increases in the prices of food and motor fuel.

The Office for National Statistics said Wednesday that the annual rate of inflation rose to 2.5% in June from 2.1% the previous month. June’s rate is the highest August 2018 when inflation hit 2.7%.


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Prices for U.S. consumers jumped in June by the most in 13 years, evidence that a swift rebound in spending has run up against widespread supply shortages that have escalated the costs of many goods and services.

Tuesday’s report from the Labor Department showed that consumer prices in June rose 0.9% from May and 5.4% over the past year — the sharpest 12-month inflation spike since August 2008. Excluding volatile oil and gas prices, so-called core inflation rose 4.5% in the past year, the largest increase since November 1991.


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The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday said further fiscal support in the United States could fuel inflationary pressures and warned that the risk of a sustained rise in prices could require raising interest rates earlier than expected.

Higher U.S. interest rates, in turn, could lead to a sharp tightening of global financial conditions and significant capital outflows from emerging and developing economies, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a blog published Wednesday with the IMF's surveillance note for G20 countries.


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Consumer spending was flat in May while incomes dropped for a second month as the impact of the government’s individual impact payments waned. Inflation, however, posted a sizable gain of 0.4%.

Consumer spending was unchanged in May, a marked slowdown following gains of 0.9% in April and a 5% surge in March that had been fueled by distribution of payments of up to $1,400 per individual from a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, the Commerce Department reported Friday.


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Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday responded to concerns from Republican lawmakers about spiking inflation by reiterating his view that current price increases will likely prove temporary.

Consumer prices jumped 5% in May compared with a year earlier, the largest increase in 13 years. Republican House members have sought to blame higher inflation on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic relief package, approved in March, in an effort to retake the House next year.


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Gas prices have whizzed past $3 per gallon in much of the nation. The cost of used cars and new furniture, airline tickets, department store blouses, ground beef and a Chipotle burrito are on the rise, too.

Many economists say the price increases are fueled by the aftereffects of a global pandemic and probably won’t last. But Republicans are hoping to storm into next year’s midterm elections arguing that steep government spending under President Joe Biden and a Democratic-controlled Congress has triggered inflation that will ultimately hurt everyday Americans.