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China inflation hits highest level in 15 months

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Inflation in China rose to its highest level in more than a year in May driven by surges in pork and fruit prices caused by the African swine fever epidemic and bad weather, official data showed Wednesday.

But while prices are increasing, demand remains weak because of the trade war with the United States and economic uncertainty.

The consumer price index (CPI) — a key gauge of retail inflation — hit 2.7 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said, compared with 2.5 percent in April and the highest since February 2018.

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The data was in line with a forecast of analysts polled by Bloomberg News.

The rise was “largely the result of renewed acceleration in food price inflation”, and pork supply disruptions caused by African swine fever, Capital Economics said in a note.

Millions of pigs have been culled recently as the disease cuts through China and beyond, devastating global food chains and impacting pork prices from the food markets of Hong Kong to US dinner tables.

The price of pork soared 18.2 percent in May, China’s NBS said. The price of fresh fruit on-year was up 26.7 percent as bad weather hammered supplies.

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Beijing’s official statistics say around one million pigs have been killed since the first outbreak in August — but that is widely considered to be an underestimate.

The producer price index (PPI), an important indicator of domestic demand, hit 0.6 percent in May, from 0.9 percent the previous month.

Economic “growth could slow further on escalating US-China trade tensions”, Nomura International said in a note.

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“We expect Beijing to undertake further easing/stimulus measures to bolster confidence and to stabilise growth.”

US President Donald Trump is expected to meet China’s Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Japan this month to discuss the long-running trade row, but US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has warned that it will not be a stage for a “definitive agreement”.

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Ex-Pompeo adviser agrees to testify to impeachment investigators after resigning: report

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On Monday, Politico's Andrew Desiderio reported that Michael McKinley, a former ambassador to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has agreed to testify behind closed doors to House Democrats leading the impeachment investigation against President Donald Trump:

NEWS: Former Pompeo adviser Michael McKinley, who resigned last week, will testify in closed session on Wednesday before House impeachment investigators, according to an official working on the inquiry.

— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) October 14, 2019

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Here’s why Rudy Giuliani can not legitimately claim to be Donald Trump’s lawyer

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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani bills himself as President Donald Trump's attorney. But one former prosecutor explained why that is not an accurate description during a Monday appearance on MSNBC.

"Meet the Press Daily" anchor Katy Tur interviewed former Southern District of New York Assistant U.S. Attorney Mimi Rocah, who is a distinguished fellow in criminal justice at Pace Law School.

"So this news that the SDNY is looking into what Rudy Giuliani was doing overseas in Ukraine, explain what they’re doing. Also, very weird since Giuliani used to run the office," Tur noted.

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Rudy Giuliani’s bank records part of investigation by federal prosecutors: report

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On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani is having his banking records scrutinized as part of the federal criminal investigation into his dealings in the Ukraine.

The report says that prosecutors are also looking into his work for a city mayor in the country.

Giuliani has been a central figure in Trump's apparent scheme to extort the Ukrainian president into helping him dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, holding military aid appropriated by Congress hostage until the country investigates "corruption."

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