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US inflation hits new 40-year high

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WASHINGTON: US inflation surged to a fresh peak of 9.1 per cent in June, further squeezing American families and heaping pressure on President Joe Biden, whose approval ratings have taken a battering from the relentless rise in prices.

Government data released on Wednesday showed a sharp, faster-than-expected increase in the consumer price index compared to May driven by significant increases in gasoline prices. The 9.1pc CPI spike over the past 12 months to June was the fastest increase since November 1981, the Labour Department reported.

Energy contributed half of the monthly increase, as gasoline jumped 11.2pc last month and a staggering 59.9pc over the past year. Overall energy prices posted their biggest annual increase since April 1980.

While acknowledging the inflation rate was “unacceptably high,” Biden argued that it was also “out of date” as it did not reflect a clear drop in energy prices since mid-June. The recent price drop had provided “important breathing room for American families. And, other commodities like wheat have fallen sharply since this report,” the president said in a statement.

Insisting that tackling inflation was the top priority, Biden admitted his administration needed “to make more progress, more quickly, in getting price increases under control.”

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2022

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