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China home price inflation cools to eight-month low in March

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's home price inflation slowed to an eight-month low in March, extending to a third month a loss of momentum in a property market that has been a strong spot in the world's second-largest economy. Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities rose 7.7 percent in March from a year earlier, easing from the previous month's 8.7 percent rise, according to Reuters calculations based on data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Friday.

Inflation climbs to 1.5 per cent as economists look for prices to keep rising

OTTAWA - A big jump in energy costs and cigarette prices helped push up Canada's inflation rate to 1.5 per cent last month, matching the highest level in the annualized consumer price index in almost two years. The increase, while significant, was mostly in line with expectations of analysts, who had calculated that the observed strengthening of oil and natural gas prices last month would play a dominant role in the report Thursday.

ECB hardliner Weidmann comes in from the cold as deflation threatens

By Paul Carrel FRANKFURT (Reuters) - As recently as last November, Jens Weidmann steadfastly opposed any move by the European Central Bank to print money to buy assets and buoy the euro zone economy. No longer. The Bundesbank chief, known for his hardline stances at the ECB and as head of the German central bank, is now ready to support such quantitative easing (QE) if he and his ECB colleagues deem it necessary.

BOJ upholds upbeat regional economic views, but wary of tax hike impact

The Bank of Japan kept intact Thursday its upbeat assessment of the country's nine regional economies, noting their economies are on a "recovery" path on the back of improvement in employment and income circumstances. But all nine regions said their economies have started to be affected by the April 1 consumption tax hike -- the first in 17 years -- the central bank said in its quarterly "Sakura Report" on regional economies released after a meeting of the BOJ's branch managers.

Weak U.S. prices, not inflation, the threat now: Fed's Yellen

By Jonathan Spicer NEW YORK (Reuters) - Persistently low inflation poses a more immediate threat to the U.S. economy than rising prices, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday, stressing that the U.S. central bank would be delivering policy stimulus for some time to come.

BOJ chief says Japan economy recovering moderately

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said Thursday that the Japanese economy is continuing to recover moderately despite being affected by the consumption tax hike in April to 8 percent from 5 percent. Speaking at a quarterly meeting of the central bank's branch managers, Kuroda said, "The economy is expected to continue a moderate recovery as a trend, while being affected by a decline in demand following a front-loaded demand increase prior to the consumption tax hike," according to a BOJ release.

Korea's producer prices dip for 18th month in March

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's producer prices declined for the 18th straight month in March as oil prices declined and the local currency gained against the U.S. dollar, the central bank said Thursday. The producer price index, a barometer of future consumer inflation, slid 0.5 percent in March from a year earlier, compared with a 0.9 percent on-year fall in February, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). On an on-year basis, producer prices have fallen every month since October 2012 when they fell 0.5 percent.

Valls under fire over France cuts programme, benefits freeze

France's new Prime Minister Manuel Valls came under fire Wednesday after unveiling a freeze in state benefits as part of a plan to cut state spending by 50 billion euros ($70 billion). The Socialist government has pledged to make the savings between 2015-17 to finance a package of payroll and income tax cuts designed to bolster demand, make companies more competitive and attract investment. Known as the Responsibility Pact, the plan is the centrepiece of President Francois Hollande strategy for reviving a flagging economy and cutting unemployment.

Fed's Yellen: few risks inflation will go much above 2%

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that inflation is expected to rise slowly from current low levels but not go much beyond the Fed's two percent target. The Fed "is well aware that inflation could also threaten to rise substantially above two percent. At present, I rate the chances of this happening as significantly below the chances of inflation persisting below two percent," she said. pmh/vs

Fed's Yellen: few risks inflation will go much above 2%

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that inflation is expected to rise slowly from current low levels but not go much beyond the Fed's two percent target. Price pressure in the US economy remain subdued, she said, in part because of slowing energy price rises and a fall in import prices. "Longer-run inflation expectations have remained remarkably steady, however," and will slowly push up toward two percent, Yellen said in a speech to The Economic Club of New York.
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