Saudi Arabia’s Inflation Rate Surged to 6.1% in July on VAT Hike

Hitachi Seeks to Revive U.K. Nuclear Plant Plans, FT Reports

Hitachi Ltd. subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power has been holding detailed conversations with U.K. government officials in recent weeks to revive plans for a proposed nuclear power plant in north Wales, the Financial Timesreported.

Horizon has been trying to convince ministers that plans for the Wylfa Newydd plant on Anglesey could be quickly restarted if they can produce a new financing model for large nuclear power stations in the U.K., Chief Executive Officer Duncan Hawthorne told the Financial Times.

Hitachisuspended the project in early 2019 after failing to reach a financing agreement, saying it posed too great of a commercial challenge. The Japanese company, however, kept a small staff at Horizon and continued to push for planning permission after the government began reviewing a “regulated asset base” funding model, which curbs construction risk for developers by having consumers pay upfront for a new plant through their energy bills.

A decision on the plant’s planning application is expected by the end of next month, according to the report.

China’s Inflation Accelerates; PPI Falls At Slower Pace

China’s consumer price inflation accelerated in July on higher food costs as regional flooding disrupted transportation, and the decline in factory gate prices slowed further reflecting the recovery in economic activity, official data showed Monday.

Inflation rose to 2.7 percent in July from 2.5 percent in June, the National Bureau of Statistics reported. The rate was marginally above economists’ forecast of 2.6 percent.

Food prices advanced 13.2 percent annually as pork prices surged 85.7 percent amid supply disruptions. Food price inflation increased from 11.1 percent in June.

Meanwhile, non-food prices remained flat versus June’s 0.3 percent rise.

Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, slowed to 0.5 percent from 0.9 percent in June.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices climbed 0.6 percent, offsetting a 0.1 percent drop in June. Economists had forecast a monthly increase of 0.4 percent.

Amid higher commodity prices, producer prices declined at a slower pace of 2.4 percent annually in July, after posting a 3 percent decrease in June, another report from NBS showed. Prices were expected to fall 2.5 percent.

Month-on-month, producer prices were down 2.4 percent in July.

Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics, said factory gate deflation continued to ease in July, reflecting the ongoing recovery in economic activity.

China’s Banking Watchdog Warns Fed Easing Risks Financial Crisis

The Federal Reserve’s unparalleled stimulus risks plunging the world into financial crisis, according to the chairman of China’s banking watchdog, who also warned that bad debts at Chinese financial institutions could balloon significantly this year due to the impact of Covid-19.

“In an international monetary system dominated by the U.S. dollar, the unprecedented, unlimited quantitative easing policy of the U.S. actually consumes the creditworthiness of the dollar and erodes the foundation of global financial stability, said China Banking Regulatory Commission Chairman Guo Shuqing.

“The world may once again be pushed to the verge of a global financial crisis,” he wrote in an article published in the Communist Party’sQiushi magazine on Sunday.

For China’s financial sector, “after the Black Swan of the virus pandemic, asset quality will inevitably deteriorate,” Guo said.

The article comes on the heels of a similar warning from Guo in an interview with Xinhua, where hecautioned that easy access to funding could spark a reemergence of financial irregularities, and that China should make preparations to deal with a rise in non-performing assets.

— With assistance by Yuan Gao, and Sharon Chen

Belarus ambassador declares solidarity with protesters

MINSK (Reuters) – The Belarus ambassador to Slovakia declared solidarity with protesters in Belarus, in an undated video posted by Nasha Niva media on Saturday, following a disputed election in his homeland.

“I stand in solidarity with those who came out on the streets of Belarusian cities with peaceful marches so that their voice could be heard. The Belarusians have achieved this right through suffering,” Igor Leshchenya, the envoy, said in the video.

Indonesia reports 2,081 new coronavirus infections, 79 deaths

JAKARTA (REUTERS) – Indonesia on Sunday (Aug 16) reported 2,081 cases of the new coronavirus and 79 Covid-19 deaths, according to data from Indonesia’s Covid-19 governmental task force.

The data takes the total number of infections in the world’s fourth-most populous country at least to 139,549 cases.

Saudi Arabia’s Inflation Rate Surged to 6.1% in July on VAT Hike

Saudi Arabia’s inflation quickened at the fastest pace since at least 2012 after the kingdom tripled its value-added tax.

Consumer prices rose an annual 6.1% in July from 0.5% in June, data released by the General Authority for Statistics showed on Sunday.

The increase was driven mainly by an acceleration in the cost of food and beverages — which rose more than 14% compared with last year — and transport, which rose 7.3%. Reductions in fuel and gasoline prices offset the broader inflation pickup.

Saudi Arabia increased its value-added tax from 5% to 15% on July 1, part of the government’s measures to compensate for lower oil prices as the coronavirus pandemic and crude market turmoil cut deeply into state revenue.