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Surging gas prices likely drove US inflation to 40-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. inflation likely reached a new 40-year high in June, driven up by a spike in gas costs, more expensive food and rent, and pricier cars and hotel rooms. A government report Wednesday is expected to show that consumer prices soared 8.8% in June compared with a year earlier, according to data provide FactSet. That would be an increase from 8.6% in May and the biggest yearly rise since December 1981. Inflation at that level would make it highly likely the Federal Reserve will implement another large interest rate increase at its next meeting in two weeks. Higher rates are intended to cool consumer and business spending and slow the economy and inflation.

Twitter sues to force Musk to complete his $44B acquisition

Twitter sued Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday to force him to complete the $44 billion acquisition of the social media company. Musk and Twitter have been bracing for a legal fight since the billionaire said Friday he was backing off of his April agreement to buy the company. In a fiery filing, Twitter accuses Musk of violating the merger agreement “because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests.” Twitter filed its lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery, which frequently handles business disputes among the many corporations, including Twitter, that are incorporated there.

US, allies aim to cap Russian oil prices to hinder invasion

WASHINGTON (AP) — Leaders of the Group of Seven industrial nations have tentatively agreed to back a cap on the price of Russian oil, the main pillar of the Kremlin’s financial revenue. Participants in the price cap plan would agree to purchase the oil at a lower than market price. The idea is to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine to a halt while possibly lowering energy costs. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is touring Indo-Pacific countries to lobby for the price cap proposal. In Japan on Tuesday, U.S. and Japanese officials agreed to explore the feasibility of price caps.

EXPLAINER: What’s happened and what’s next in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s president, who had announced he would resign Wednesday, has fled the country after months of turmoil culminated in protesters converging on the presidential palace. The prime minister also said he will quit after a new government is installed. He earlier warned the debt-laden economy has “collapsed.” Short of cash to pay for imports of food and fuel and defaulting on its debt, it is seeking help from neighboring India and China and from the International Monetary Fund. Sri Lankans are skipping meals as they endure shortages, lining up for hours to try to buy necessities. It’s a harsh reality for a country whose economy had been growing quickly, with a growing and comfortable middle class, until the latest crisis deepened.

China trade surplus surges to record as exports accelerate

BEIJING (AP) — China’s monthly trade surplus soared to a record $97.9 billion in June as exports picked up after the easing of anti-virus controls that shut down Shanghai and disrupted trade. Customs data showed exports rose 17.9% to $331.2 billion, up from May’s 16.9% growth. Imports edged up 1% to $233.3 billion in a sign of weak domestic demand. With almost no growth in imports, China’s global trade surplus swelled by 90% compared with a year ago. Exports to the United States surged 19.3% over a year ago despite lingering tariff hikes in a trade war over Beijing’s technology ambitions. China’s trade surplus with the United States widened by 26% from a year earlier.

Asian markets rise ahead of US inflation data

BEIJING (AP) — European stocks opened lower after gains in Asia ahead of U.S. inflation data that some investors worry might lead to more interest rate hikes. Wall Street futures were lower. Oil prices rose $1 per barrel, rebounding from Tuesday’s plunge. Investors were waiting for U.S. data on June consumer prices amid concern global central bank action to cool surging inflation might derail economic growth. Central banks in South Korea and New Zealand announced rate hikes. Investors also are watching for quarterly results that big U.S. companies are due to report in coming weeks. Analysts are forecasting 5.1% growth for companies across the S&P 500, which would be the weakest since the end of 2020, according to FactSet.

Cost-of-living crisis to hit women hardest, report says

GENEVA (AP) — The World Economic Forum reports that a cost-of-living crisis sparked in part by higher fuel and food prices is expected to hit women the hardest. The think tank behind the annual gathering of elites in the Swiss Alpine town of Davos says a hoped-for recovery from a ballooning gender gap hasn’t materialized as expected as the COVID-19 crisis has eased. The forum defines the goal of “gender parity” around four main factors: salaries and economic opportunity, education, health and political empowerment. Iceland, Nordic countries, New Zealand, Rwanda and Nicaragua got top marks in the forum’s ranking of gender parity.

UK economy shows unexpectedly strong growth in May

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s economy showed unexpectedly strong growth in May, with the three major components of production— manufacturing, construction and services — all posting gains. The Office for National Statistics said Wednesday that gross domestic product expanded 0.5% in the month, compared with economic forecasts of about 0.1%. GDP declined 0.2% in April. But the Confederation of British Industries cautioned that the figures can be volatile. The May data was skewed by the celebrations marking Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne, including an extra public holiday. Britain’s sluggish economic growth has become a central issue in the contest to become the country’s next prime minister.

Russian, Ukrainian militaries set to discuss grain exports

ISTANBUL (AP) — Military officials from Russia and Ukraine are set to hold their governments’ first face-to-face talks in months. They are meeting in Istanbul to discuss a United Nations plan to export blocked Ukrainian grain to world markets through the Black Sea. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil. Russia’s invasion and war disrupted production and halted shipments, endangering food supplies in many developing countries and contributing to higher prices. Turkish military officials and U.N. representatives also plan to participate in Wednesday’s discussion focused on finding a way to get millions of tons of grain sitting in silos amid the war in Ukraine shipped out of the country’s ports.

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