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Interest rate likely to hike again in US

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Interest rate

The Federal Reserve has seen delivering another huge interest-rate hike in 3 weeks’ time and ultimately increasing rates to 4.75pc-5pc by prior next year, if not further after a government report showed inflation remained stubbornly hot last month.

Traders of U.S. interest-rate futures piled into fresh bets on a more aggressive Fed, even pricing in a one-in-three chance that the Fed drives the policy rate above 5% next year, after a Labor Department report showed the consumer price index jumped 0.4pc in September from August. From a year prior, prices rose 8.2pc, far above the Fed’s 2pc target.

“Our policies have not really bitten as much as they need to for us to get to a better place,” Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic told the news media on Wednesday, 12 October, before the report.

The Fed has raised interest rates faster this year than any time since the early 1980s when inflation was even higher and so entrenched in day-to-day American life that it took pushing short-term borrowing costs — and the unemployment rate — into double digits before price pressures finally receded.

Policymakers hope to avoid anything like that this time around. But analysts say chances of skirting a rate-hike-induced recession are fading fast, particularly because of price pressures in categories such as shelter that tend be sticky, and ongoing labor market tightness that is feeding wage pressures.

Shortages in labor and in housing, wrote Jefferies’ economist Aneta Markowska, to put a “floor” for underlying inflation at around 4pc, “and we think breaking that floor will require substantial labor market weakness, which makes a recession unavoidable.”

Before the report, traders had all but priced in a fourth straight 75-basis-point hike at the close of the Fed’s Nov. 1-2 meeting. That is still the dominant view, though futures prices now also reflect about a one-in-10 chance of a full percentage-point rate hike next month. The Fed’s policy rate is currently 3pc-3.25pc.

By year-end, traders now expect the rate to reach 4.5pc-4.75p — the level Fed policymakers had just three weeks ago seen taking until next year to reach — and topping out around 4.85pc by March of next year.

Futures prices also reflect about a 35pc chance of rates rising above 5pc, validating the long-held view of some analysts who have argued the Fed will at least that puncture price pressures, and that unemployment, now 3.5pc, will likely shoot up as well.

“Broadly speaking, we see this as supporting our call for a terminal rate of 5pc to 5.25pc,” wrote LH Meyer economists, higher than Fed policymakers had themselves signaled just 3 weeks ago, “higher than markets have been pricing, and higher than markets are pricing even after this report.”

Fed policymakers have raised interest rates sharply this year, from near-zero just seven months ago. Most global central banks are also raising rates fast, and stock prices around the world have fallen as investors and economists expect growth to slow in response.

Despite those concerns, most policymakers are so far more worried about raising rates too little than doing too much and are intent on pushing rates higher until they see progress on inflation, which is eroding Americans’ purchasing power at a faster pace than at any time in 40 years.

The result, analysts fear, will be a Fed that goes too far, forcing it to reverse course late next year to offset what by then could be a full-blown recession.

“With the (Fed’s) backward-looking reaction function intensifying overtightening risks, we now expect the Fed to cut the funds rate by 75 (basis points) in the final three meetings of 2023,” Barclays economists wrote on Thursday.

Traders are pricing a smaller 30 basis point rate cut toward the end of 2023, rate-futures contracts traded at CME Group show.

 

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Fire in Mangaf Workers’ Accommodation Claims 41 Lives

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mangaf kuwait fire

A devastating fire broke out early Wednesday in a building housing workers in Mangaf, southern Kuwait, resulting in the deaths of at least 41 people, according to Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Fahad Yusuf Saud Al-Sabah.

During his visit to the site, Sheikh Fahad, who also oversees the interior and defense ministries, criticized real estate owners for their violations and greed, attributing these factors to the tragic incident.

“Unfortunately, the greed of real estate owners is what leads to these matters,” Sheikh Fahad stated.

The blaze was reported to authorities at 6:00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT), according to Major General Eid Rashed Hamad.

“The building was used to house a large number of workers. Dozens were rescued, but sadly, many succumbed to smoke inhalation,” a senior police commander informed state television.

He further emphasized the longstanding warnings against overcrowding in worker accommodations, though he did not specify the workers’ occupations or nationalities.

The fire has been contained, and authorities are currently investigating its cause, officials said.

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Baltimore shipping lane fully reopens after bridge collapse

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The Baltimore shipping lane blocked for more than two months after a cargo ship collided with a major bridge in
March, sending it crashing into the water, fully reopened on Monday, authorities said.

The US Army Corps of Engineers, along with Navy salvage divers, restored the channel to its original dimensions by removing about 50,000 tons of debris from the Patapsco River, a statement from the Key Bridge Response Unified Command said.

The riverbed was certified as safe for transit on Monday.

“We are proud of the unified efforts that fully reopened the Federal Channel to port operations,” said Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers.

“The partnerships that endured through this response made this pivotal mission successful.”

On March 26, the Singapore-flagged M/V Dali lost power and plowed into a support column of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing it to collapse and killing six road workers who had been filling potholes overnight.

The 106,000-ton ship had been headed for Sri Lanka at the time of the accident.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is investigating the incident along with the FBI, has said the ship had two electricity blackouts in the moments before the disaster.

The Dali was refloated last month and towed back into port.

The port of Baltimore is one of America’s busiest ports and a key hub for the auto industry, handling almost 850,000 autos and light trucks last year — more than any other US port, according to state figures.

The full reopening of the shipping channel will allow for two-way traffic, Monday’s statement said.

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PM Sheikh Hasina and Modi Exchange Pleasantries at Swearing-In

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and her Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, exchanged pleasantries following Modi’s swearing-in ceremony this evening.

Foreign leaders, including the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, took turns approaching the podium to congratulate Modi on taking his oath as the Indian Premier for a third consecutive term.

Clad in light purple, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stepped forward to greet Modi, who extended his hand to her. They exchanged a warm handshake and brief pleasantries, inquiring about each other’s well-being.

Modi then escorted Prime Minister Hasina to the banquet hall, guiding her to the dinner hosted by President Smt. Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Prime Minister Hasina, accompanied by her daughter Saima Wazed, entered the Rashtrapati Bhavan as the third foreign leader to attend the oath-taking ceremony.

Top leaders from Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, Mauritius, and Seychelles were also present at the swearing-in event, which saw a record attendance of over 8,000 dignitaries.

Prime Minister Hasina arrived in New Delhi on Saturday to participate in the ceremony. She is scheduled to depart for Dhaka tomorrow afternoon.

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