Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : UK Inflation Back to 2% Target for 1st Time Since 2021

FILE PHOTO: Prices of food are displayed at the Borough Market as the UK inflation rates fall by less than expected in London, Britain May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Prices of food are displayed at the Borough Market as the UK inflation rates fall by less than expected in London, Britain May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska/File Photo
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UK Inflation Back to 2% Target for 1st Time Since 2021

FILE PHOTO: Prices of food are displayed at the Borough Market as the UK inflation rates fall by less than expected in London, Britain May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Prices of food are displayed at the Borough Market as the UK inflation rates fall by less than expected in London, Britain May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska/File Photo

British inflation returned to its 2% target in May for the first time in nearly three years, data showed on Wednesday, but underlying price pressures remained strong, meaning the Bank of England is likely to wait longer before cutting interest rates.
While the fall in headline inflation in May will be welcomed by both Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the BoE, it is likely to have come too late either to turn around Sunak's fortunes at next month's election or to prompt a BoE rate cut on Thursday.
The Office for National Statistics data showed services price inflation, which the BoE thinks gives a better picture of medium-term inflation risks, was 5.7%, Reuters reported. That was down from 5.9% in April but not as big a drop as the 5.5% economists had forecast in a Reuters poll.
Sterling rose modestly against the US dollar and the euro after the data.
"(BoE) Governor (Andrew) Bailey is likely to be the happiest man in the Square Mile this morning," said Michael Brown, senior research strategist at currency brokers Pepperstone, but added the BoE was likely to wait until August before cutting rates.

The drop in annual consumer price inflation from April's 2.3% reading - in line with economists' expectations - took it to its lowest since July 2021 and marks a sharp decline from the 41-year high of 11.1% in October 2022.

The fall has been sharper than in the euro zone or the United States, where consumer price inflation in May was 2.6% and 3.3% respectively, belying concerns a year ago that British inflation was proving unusually sticky.
Inflation first began to pick up in most Western economies in the second half of 2021 due to bottlenecks from the COVID-19 pandemic, then surged after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 caused natural gas prices to soar.

Consumer prices in Britain are up around 20% over the past three years, squeezing living standards and contributing to the unpopularity of Sunak's Conservatives, who are around 20 points behind the opposition Labour Party in opinion polls.

Sunak said in a video clip that the drop in inflation since he took over from his Conservative predecessor Liz Truss - whose fiscal policy triggered a surge in government borrowing costs - was evidence that his economic policies were working.

"Let's not put all that progress at risk with Labour," he said.

Rachel Reeves, the Labour lawmaker who looks set to be Britain's next finance minister after the July 4 election, said the Conservatives would bring "five more years of chaos".



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Saudi Energy and Economy Ministries Launch Carbon Capture, Utilization Challenge with UpLink

The Saudi flag. Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt
The Saudi flag. Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt
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Saudi Energy and Economy Ministries Launch Carbon Capture, Utilization Challenge with UpLink

The Saudi flag. Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt
The Saudi flag. Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Economy and Planning (MEP) and Ministry of Energy (MoEnergy), in collaboration with UpLink, have launched the Carbon Capture and Utilization Challenge which seeks innovative solutions that accelerate the circular carbon economy.

The challenge was launched during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in a main session titled ‘SDG 13 and Interlinkages with Other SDGs – Climate Action’ held on July 10.

The challenge encourages startups to submit distinct solutions that drive carbon reductions through sustainable systems transformation, including carbon capture technologies, novel carbon utilization applications, and industrial integration.

The initiative emphasizes the importance of carbon capture and utilization (CCU), highlighting the crucial role innovation plays in driving a sustainable and economically prosperous future and the important role of carbon removal in reaching net-zero goals by mid-century.

“The climate change issue and sustainability is a global issue,” Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said. “It cannot be attended to in regional scopes or as a smaller territorial thing. It has to be global.”

He stated that the Kingdom seeks to enhance its efforts to achieve its ambitious goal of reaching net zero by 2060 through the Circular Carbon Economy Framework, which not only reduces the impact of carbon emissions, but also values carbon as a resource with real economic value, rather than pollutant.

He also indicated that the Kingdom, in line with this vision, and in order to exploit the economic value of carbon worldwide, has launched, in partnership with leading organizations, a global carbon capture and utilization challenge.

The Minister stressed that Saudi Arabia, by adopting such challenge, is leading influential changes in efforts to confront climate change, as this challenge represents an opportunity for individuals and organizations to transform tomorrow’s challenges into today’s solutions, through joint efforts and pioneering innovations.

Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Alibrahim said: “The Kingdom is keen on a just, orderly, and pragmatic energy transition and is working towards the advancement of the circular carbon economy framework.”

“Through this challenge, related to innovation inside the circular carbon economy, we look forward to seeing new solutions that would help push innovation forward,” he said.

He encouraged all innovators and companies to come up with “out-of-the-box solutions.”

Submissions will be evaluated on factors such as scalability, commercial viability, technological readiness, and fundraising success.

Winners will be recognized as top innovators and form part of the UpLink Innovation Ecosystem, a curated program for founders, CEOs, executive directors, and other leaders. They will also share a cash award of up to CHF 300,000 and receive technical, business, and operational support to scale their ideas.