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EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING : Inflation Fears Hold, -2-

10/14/2021 | 04:05am EST

TomTom NV said Thursday that its third quarter net loss narrowed, and that it was lowering its free cashflow guidance for the year due to supply-chain issues.

The Dutch navigational-technologies company said that although it backed its revenue guidance, car-production volumes would be affected due to these issues, and that will have a direct effect on operational revenue and on its cash flow.

Rio Tinto Developing Process to Use Biomass for Making Steel

Rio Tinto PLC said it is developing a way for biomass to replace coking coal in steelmaking as the mining giant seeks to safeguard demand for iron ore, its most lucrative business.

The world's second largest mining company by market value is testing a process at a small-scale pilot plant in Germany, which uses raw biomass with microwave technology to convert iron ore to metallic iron without the need for coal.

Bow-and-Arrow Attack in Norway Leaves at Least Five Dead, Two Injured

At least five people have been killed and two injured in Norway by a man wielding a bow and arrows, police said Wednesday evening.

The attack began after 6 p.m. local time at a supermarket in the town of Kongsberg near the capital Oslo, where the suspect shot arrows at shoppers and passersby, a police spokesman said.


Gas Shortage Forces Power Plants to Switch to Oil, Boosting Demand

Soaring natural-gas and coal prices are forcing power-generation companies and manufacturers to switch to using oil, a move that could add half a million barrels a day to global demand, the International Energy Agency said Thursday.

In its monthly market report, the IEA increased its global oil-demand forecasts for this year and the next by 170,000 and 210,000 barrels a day, respectively, but added that the cumulative effect of the energy crisis could be as large as 500,000 barrels a day from September through next year's first quarter.

Tight Labor Market Keeping Jobless Claims in Check

Unemployment claims are holding near the lowest levels since early 2020, as employers cling to workers in a competitive labor market.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimate jobless claims fell to 318,000 last week from 326,000 a week earlier. Claims, a proxy for layoffs, remain near their lowest levels since the coronavirus pandemic's onset. Initial claims reached a pandemic low of 312,000 in the week ended Sept. 4.

U.S. SPAC Frenzy Inspires a Reboot in Asia

SPACs have lost some luster in America, but stock exchanges in Singapore and Hong Kong are betting the vehicles will boost their allure to global investors and startups in the region.

The two Asian financial hubs have been pushing forward with competing plans to enable listings of special-purpose acquisition companies, which raise money and go public before finding businesses to merge with. Singapore launched its SPAC rules in September, while Hong Kong is seeking public comment on its proposed regulations until the end of this month.

Fed Official Sees Risks of More Persistent Inflation

A Federal Reserve official warned in a speech Wednesday night of growing risks that supply-chain disruptions could keep inflation elevated for longer than forecasters have anticipated.

While monthly inflation readings should decline from high rates observed in the spring, "I still see a material risk that supply-related pricing pressures could last longer than expected," said Fed governor Michelle Bowman in remarks prepared for delivery at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D.

China's Factory-Gate Prices Rise at Record Pace

HONG KONG-Cost pressures on Chinese factories continued to accumulate last month as energy prices soared, dimming hope that global inflation would ease in the near term.

China's producer-price index, a gauge of factory-gate prices, rose by 10.7% in September from a year ago, accelerating from a 9.5% increase in August, and grew at the fastest pace in 25 years, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Singapore Central Bank Surprises With Policy Tightening

Singapore's central bank unexpectedly tightened its currency policy to cushion against inflationary pressures arising from strengthening global demand amid a global supply-chain crunch.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said Thursday that it will "slightly" increase the slope of the Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate policy band from the current slope of zero.

Fed Worried About Inflation Risk as It Firmed Up Tapering Plan

Federal Reserve officials last month worried that disrupted supply chains were raising the risks of more persistent inflation as they firmed up plans to reduce their bond-buying stimulus program next month and conclude it by the middle of next year.

Minutes of their Sept. 21-22 Fed meeting, released Wednesday, revealed a stronger consensus over scaling back the $120 billion in monthly purchases of Treasury and mortgage securities amid signs that higher inflation and strong demand could call for tighter monetary policy next year. The bond purchases have been a key piece of the Fed's effort to stimulate growth since the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the U.S. economy last year.

Biden Administration Seeks to Expand Wind Farms in Coastal Waters

WASHINGTON-The Biden administration is preparing to open up large sections of the U.S. coastline to wind-turbine projects as part of a plan to boost production of clean, renewable energy.

The U.S. is aiming by 2025 to lease up to seven tracts for wind farms in coastal waters between Maine and the Carolinas on the Atlantic Coast, off California and Oregon along the Pacific Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland said.

WHO Creates New Team to Study Covid-19 Origins

The World Health Organization established a new panel of scientists whose mandate will include attempting to revive a stalled inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus that caused a global pandemic.

The 26-member team, drawn from countries including the U.S., China, India, Nigeria and Cambodia, is larger than a 10-member international group of scientists sent earlier this year to Wuhan, the Chinese city that was the site of the first confirmed Covid-19 outbreak in December 2019. The team will also have a broader mandate to lead investigations of future epidemics as well as Covid-19.

Write to paul.larkins@dowjones.com

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This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

10-14-21 0605ET

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