Slovakia’s annual inflation rate climbed to an all-time high of 10.4% last month from 9% in February, beating market expectations of 10.3%, figures from the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic showed on Thursday. Prices rose sharply for housing & utilities amid rising energy prices, food & non-alcoholic beverages on account of higher prices of oils and fats.
Business inventories shot up by 1.5% in February following an upwardly revised 1.3% jump in January, a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday showed. The figure was 12.4% higher on a yearly comparison basis. The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments in the period under review was estimated at $1.804 trillion, rising 1% from the prior month and by 18.8% compared to February 2021.
The European Central Bank on Thursday kept its monetary policy unchanged. ECB President Christine Lagarde confirmed that asset purchases would end in the third quarter, but avoided saying exactly when the bank would raise interest rates. “In the current conditions of high uncertainty, we will maintain optionality, gradualism and flexibility in the conduct of monetary policy” Lagarde said in her introductory statement to the post-decision press conference.
The International Monetary Fund will cut its global growth estimates for 2022 and 2023 due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva predicted 143 economies will see their GDP downgraded, which accounts for 86% of the global GDP.