Economic and Other News
Meteorological Department warns of 5% deficit in rainfall, predicts 60% chance of El Nino this year
The weather office has forecast a 5% deficit in the June- September southwest monsoon this year but signaled the disruptive El Nino phenomenon could make things much worse for India’s largely rain-fed farms, raising the risk of higher inflation and likely making the task of the new government difficult as it seeks to get the economy moving again. “The monsoon rainfall is likely to be 95% of long period average for the period June to September,” the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. Average rainfall over India for June to September would be 89 cm.
U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Climb Further Off Recent Lows
First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by more than expected in the week ended April 19th, with initial jobless claims climbing further off their recent lows. The initial jobless claims rose to 329,000, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 305,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 313,000 from the 304,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Japan CPI +1.6% On Year In March
Nationwide consumer prices in Japan were up 1.6% in March, in line with expectations and up from 1.5% in February. Core CPI, which strips out the volatile costs of food, added an annual 1.3% unchanged from the previous month but shy of forecasts for 1.4%. Overall inflation for the Tokyo region, considered a leading indicator for the nationwide trend, spiked 2.9% in April below expectations for 3.0% but up sharply from 1.3% in March.