International News 25/03

March 25, 2024 No. 47

UK inflation has fallen to its lowest level in two and a half years.

The UK inflation rate has dropped unexpectedly, reaching its lowest level in two and a half years. This development suggests that the Bank of England (BOE) will continue on its path to reduce interest rates by the end of 2024. In February, the consumer price index rose by 3.4% on an annual basis, showing a slowdown from the previous month's 4% increase. These figures were even lower than the projections of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and the BOE. BOE Governor, Andrew Bailey, has emphasised the need for further evidence that inflation is sustainably decreasing towards its 2% target before considering a reduction in the benchmark interest rate. Although rate-cut expectations are for later in the year, analysts believe that inflation is moving in the right direction and could fall below the BOE's target by spring.

Thailand will prohibit the import of corn from neighbouring countries due to concerns about pollution.

Thailand plans to prohibit corn imports from neighbouring countries due to farmland burning, which causes air pollution. The ban will not violate Thailand's commitment to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). According to government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke, the ban will be enforced once the Clean Air Act is passed. Thai lawmakers are currently discussing an act that will regulate polluting activities across various sectors, including factories, businesses, agriculture, and transport. The decision to ban corn imports is due to the hazardous air quality levels experienced in northern provinces of Thailand, which share borders with Myanmar and Laos. Chiang Mai, in particular, was recently ranked as the world's most polluted city. Thailand's air pollution is caused by crop burning, industrial pollution, and heavy traffic, resulting in thick smog that covers cities. To improve clarity, I rephrased the sentence to make it more concise and easier to understand. I also ensured that the original meaning was preserved and that the text was grammatically correct. No additional content was added to the text.


Berkshire Hathaway Share Buyback Accelerated by Warren Buffett.

Berkshire Hathaway has increased its share buybacks, indicating that Chairman Warren Buffett believes the stock is undervalued and a good investment for excess cash. According to a proxy filing, the company repurchased approximately 3,808 Class A shares between 6 March, spending an estimated $2.2-2.4 billion. The majority of these buybacks occurred after 12 February. In 2020, Berkshire bought back $2.2 billion worth of shares, and this figure rose to $9.2 billion by the end of the year. In 2021, the highest buyback amount reached $27 billion. Buffett, who has been leading Berkshire since 1965, has the authority to make major capital allocation decisions. These buybacks allow Buffett to use the company's cash and equivalents, which amounted to $167.6 billion at the end of the year. Berkshire intends to continue its share buyback program.