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[Daily Outlook] Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index hits record high, driven by tight supply and other factors


Johnson wins no-confidence vote, retains role as Prime Minister and head of ruling party.

Boris Johnson has won a no-confidence vote initiated by his party's opponents and will remain as head of the Conservative Party and British Prime Minister. In a secret ballot in Parliament on Monday night, 211 Conservative MPs voted for Johnson and 148 voted against him. A total of 359 Conservatives were eligible to vote. Johnson has been under pressure for weeks over "partygate," for which the 57-year-old prime minister has been fined by police. Despite his victory in the vote, Johnson's leadership position may remain precarious. Regardless of the final result, the vote itself was always a blow to Johnson, as 15 percent of Conservative lawmakers submitted a letter of no confidence in him. Under current rules, Conservative MPs are not allowed to initiate another no-confidence vote against Johnson for a year. However, it is also possible that the UK could change the rules to allow another vote to be held earlier. 


Summers and other economists: U.S. inflation closer to 1980 peak than expected.

The latest analysis of historical price data shows that today's U.S. inflation rate is closer to its 1980 peak, suggesting that the Fed will have no more difficulty pulling inflation back into its target range than former Fed Chairman Volcker had. A group of economists, including former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, have recalculated historical readings of the CPI and applied them to modern spending patterns, particularly housing spending. In their report, economists Marijn A. Bolhuis, Judd NL Cramer and Summers said that after adjustment, the data showed an estimated core inflation rate of 9.1 percent in June 1980, below the peak level of 13.6 percent already reported. This means that the aggressive monetary tightening implemented by Volcker in the early 1980s pushed core inflation down by 5 percentage points, not the 11 percentage points officially counted. This in turn shows that the Fed's job today is closer to the difficulty of Volcker's year. At the time, Volcker's policies sent the U.S. economy into a severe recession. 


Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index hits record high, driven by tight supply and other factors.

Commodity spot prices soared to record highs as energy and food supplies continued to be hit by the Russia-Ukraine war and China eased its embargo policy to curb market demand. The Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index, which tracks the prices of 23 raw materials, rose 1.9 percent to an all-time high Monday, driven by higher natural gas and wheat futures. The index has gained 36 percent this year and is on track for its biggest single-year gain in more than a decade. Commodities' gains this year have been driven by a combination of higher prices for oil, natural gas and transportation fuels at a time of tight supply. The Bloomberg Energy Spot Index has surged more than 92 percent this year, the biggest gain since at least 1992. An index tracking agricultural commodities rose 24 percent over the same period. 


U.S. Trade Representative: Hold off on tariff cuts, seek Indo-Pacific economic framework meeting this summer.

U.S. Trade Representative David Deitch said he is seeking to convene a formal meeting of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework member countries by summer. We'll continue to work over the next two or three weeks to answer questions and add more detail to our vision," Dyche said. A very, very important part of that is listening to our partners. I hope that by the summer we will have a more formal meeting involving all the countries involved in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. Dyche made the remarks Monday at an event hosted by the International Trade Association in Washington. The Biden administration launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework in May to counterbalance Chinese influence. So far, 14 countries have joined the U.S.-led framework to improve resilience, fairness and competitiveness, but the plan does not include any tariff cuts. "At this point we've ruled out the tariff reduction thing, so we'll see what other tools are available," Dyche said. 


Biden moves to stop tariffs, boost production in executive bid to break stagnation in domestic solar projects.

President Joe Biden on Monday took executive action to boost the U.S. solar industry, seeking to revive clean energy projects stalled by the trade dispute and strengthen domestic solar manufacturing in a bid to make U.S. climate efforts less dependent on foreign suppliers. Biden will freeze new tariffs on solar products from four Southeast Asian countries for two years, eliminating the threat of retroactive tariffs that have slowed construction of renewable energy projects across the country. At the same time, he invoked his authority under the Defense Production Act to support U.S.-made solar panels and other domestic clean energy manufacturing. These initiatives are designed to promote two often contradictory political priorities: fighting climate change and fostering domestic solar manufacturing that is experiencing competition from cheap imports. Biden's actions could kill two birds with one stone. 


Apple Takes Another Step in Finance with "Postpaid" Service at Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple unveiled a series of new software features and services at its Worldwide Developers Conference, including an updated version of the iPhone lock screen and a pay-as-you-go option that pushes the tech giant a step further into the financial space. The much-anticipated new payment feature, called Apple Pay Later, is an upgrade to its Wallet app. Bloomberg previously reported that the service is coming soon as part of Apple's expansion in the financial space, which includes internalizing more of its financial infrastructure. Apple's announcement Monday dealt a blow to shares of Affirm Holdings Inc. which offers a similar postpaid service. Monday's event previewed key features for Apple developers as part of a weeklong campaign.

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