The United States imposed sanctions on two more Chinese officials and one Chinese regime entity over human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslim minorities in the far-western region of Xinjiang. The Trump administration on July 31 announced sanctions on current and former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials heading the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a regional paramilitary force under the Party, as well as the XPCC itself. The latest move builds upon sanctions issued earlier this month against four CCP officials—including a member of the CCP’s powerful Politburo Chen Quanguo—for their roles in overseeing the suppression in Xinjiang. The United Nations estimates that more than a million Uyghur Muslims have been detained in internment camps in the Xinjiang region. Survivors of the internment camps said they experienced torture, rape, and political indoctrination while…
The latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on July 29 reveals that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has suffered its most significant quarterly fall in the statistics history causing deflation for only the third time on record.
The聽Chief Economist for the ABS, Bruce Hockman noted that the CPI dropped by 1.9 percent, which ABS data indicates is the “largest quarterly fall in the 72-year history of the CPI.”
“Since 1949, this was only the third time annual inflation has been negative,” Hockman said.
“The previous times were in 1962 and 1997-98,” he noted.
Created through the costing of items such as food, clothing, housing, transportation, communication, education and insurance services, the ABS explains that CPI is essentially a measure of the usual quarterly household expenditure in Australia and an聽indication of the rises and falls in inflation when compared quarter to quarter.
Speaking at a聽press conference聽on July 29 Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the numbers were “quite unique,” to this “extraordinary circumstance.”
“Inflation traditionally shows a level of activity in the economy, a leader of positive, in acceptable bounds, of positive tension in the economy,” he told reporters.
“Clearly, the impact of the pandemic聽which has induced the COVID-19聽recession is having a negative聽impact on the economy, and I think聽everyone understands that,” Morrison said.
ChildCare and Fuel A Major Driver of CPI Drop
The largest contributor to the CPI drop in this financial quarter has been the absence of child care costs with cost plunging by 95 percent as the service was offered for free from April 6 聽as part of the government’s pandemic response.
The other two significant draggers were automotive fuel, which fell by 19.3 per cent due to the limited demand from lockdown restriction, and free preschool and primary education (fell 16.2 per cent) in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
“Excluding these three components, the CPI would have risen 0.1 per cent in the June quarter,” Hockman said.
But the ABS did note that the prices for household essentials like cleaning and maintenance products rose by 6.2 percent and non-durable household products, which include toilet paper went up by 4.5 percent.
While the general decrease in prices is a good thing as it gives consumers greater purchasing power, deflation typically reflects economic depression that associates with a dramatic rise in unemployment, or a sharp slump in incomes and aggregate demand.
Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank of Australia has hinted聽inflation would turn negative in June due to market and policy response to the pandemic.
“In terms of inflation, we are also expecting a significant decline in the June quarter,” Governor Philip Lowe predicated in April during his speech on the economic outlook. “The large fall in oil prices, combined with the introduction of free childcare and the deferral or reduction in some price increases mean that it is quite likely that year-ended headline inflation will turn negative in June.”
RBA’s inflation target range is two percent to three per cent.
JPMorgan economist Tom Kennedy said a rebound in inflation is likely in the third quarter, with the childcare-subsidy scheme having ended on July 12.
Focus News: Australia Recorded the First Deflation in 22 Years
An American former professor was sentenced for concealing his participation in a Chinese state-run recruitment program, while a Chinese researcher pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets from her employer in order to benefit China. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced details of two separate cases on July 30. Dr. James Patrick Lewis, a former West Virginia University (WVU) professor, was sentenced to three months in prison for federal program fraud, while Chen Li pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Research Institute in Ohio, for the benefit of herself and the Chinese communist regime. According to the DOJ, she applied to multiple Chinese state-run talent plans. For years, China’s central authorities and regional governments have rolled out talent recruitment programs, targeting promising overseas Chinese and…