Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - Inflation’s slowing demise

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

US inflation is still slowing, but it isn’t going away as quickly as many may have hoped. Consumer prices rose 0.5% in January, the most in three months, with the annual inflation rate coming in at 6.4%, higher than expected and only slightly less than a year ago. Federal Reserve officials led by Chair Jerome Powell have continued to beat the drum on their aggressive inflation fight, saying the central bank will keep hiking interest rates until it’s under control. A bumpy road may be ahead for markets, but it is consumers who will be paying the price—and for longer. Here’s your markets wrap.

Here are today’s top stories

Aliens? More balloons? Nope. The Biden administration said it suspects that three unidentified objects downed since last Friday served commercial purposes, not espionage, a judgment that may help ease anxiety over the alleged Chinese spy balloon that traversed the US before being shot down. 

US sailors recovering the Chinese balloon shot down earlier this month off the South Carolina coast. Photographer: Ryan Seelbach/Getty Images

The global energy crisis spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine is turning out to be very profitable for one Russian industry. Russian nuclear fuel and technology sales abroad rose more than 20% in 2022. So who are the buyers? China, India—and Europe.  

A new car is becoming a luxury many American families can’t afford. That’s because of a sea change in the way autos are made and sold: Where once factories cranked out new cars for dealers to sell at deep discounts, now inventories are kept lean and prices high.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has pledged to deepen ties with Iran after meeting President Ebrahim Raisi in Beijing. This coming just weeks after the US said it would increase pressure on China to stop buying Iranian oil (Beijing is Tehran’s biggest customer). Raisi’s trip was the first by an Iranian president since 2018 and followed complaints from Iran’s other leaders that economic and political ties between the authoritarian governments had weakened.

Ebrahim Raisi, left, meets Xi Jinping in Beijing on Feb. 14. Source: Office of the Iranian Presidency

Already expensive neighborhoods in Florida and Texas continue to become pricier as super-wealthy executives depart states with higher taxes and bring their businesses with them. Now the merely wealthy are following.

For more than 125 years, the descendants of Swiss entrepreneur Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche have remained in control of Roche Holding AG, harnessing the power of sticking together. Then one of them did the unthinkable: sell. 

Louis Vuitton named music producer Pharrell Williams as its new menswear designer, filling a role previously held by the late Virgil Abloh. Williams will take the helm immediately and unveil his debut collection at the Paris menswear fashion week in June.

Pharrell Williams Photographer: Paras Griffin/Getty Images North America

Bloomberg continues to track the global coronavirus pandemic. Click here for daily updates.

 What you’ll need to know tomorrow

How Ben & Jerry’s Ended Up in a Civil War

Ben & Jerry’s built its brand identity on unabashedly progressive social causes. Then the ice cream maker made the decision to pull out of the Occupied Territories, citing Palestinian human rights concerns. The company was quickly attacked by Israeli politicians and some state officials in America. It also set off a legal battle with its owner, Unilever.

Photographer: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

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