China’s pork prices rise at the slowest pace in more than a year - CNBC
The consumer price index rose 1.7% in September from a year ago, China's National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.
BEIJING China's consumer price index rose slightly in September as food prices climbed, even with a drastic slowdown in the increase in pork prices. The consumer price index rose 1.7% last month from a year ago, China's National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. That figure was slightly below the 1.8% rise predicted by analysts in a Reuters poll, and below the 2.4% increase in August. Overall food prices remained elevated, up 7.9% in September from a year ago, with fresh vegetable prices climbing 17.2%. Pork prices climbed 25.5%, but at a slower rate than increases of over 100% seen for much of the last 12 months. Pork prices rose 52.6% year-on-year in August. September's print marked the slowest pace of growth since June 2019, according to statistics bureau data. African swine fever has decimated swaths of China's pig herds, leading to a shortage in the key meat staple for the country of 1.4 billion people. For the first three quarters of the year, China's imports of pork more than doubled from a year ago, the national customs agency disclosed Tuesday. Imports of beef rose 38.8% during that time. China's imports of U.S. agricultural products over the same time period climbed 44.4% from a year ago. The producer price index fell 2.1% in September from a year ago, greater than the 1.8% decline forecast by a Reuters poll. CNBC's Yen Nee Lee contributed to this story.
Here's everything Apple just announced at its iPhone 12 event - CNBC
Apple unveiled its new iPhone lineup, which includes the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. It also introduced a cheaper HomePod speaker, the HomePod Mini.
Here's how Apple priced its new iPhone lineup As of Tuesday, Apple's iPhone lineup will be very broad, with several models spanning a wide range of price points. Wireless carriers will offer their own deals, payment plans and discounts if you trade in your old phone, but that will vary by carrier. Prices will also go up if you choose a model with higher storage. Here's starting price for each iPhone model in Apple's new lineup:
- iPhone SE starts at $399
- iPhone XR starts at $499
- iPhone 11 starts at $599
- iPhone 12Mini starts at $699
- iPhone 12 starts at $799
- iPhone 12 Pro starts at $999
- iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at $1,099
U.S., UK and other countries warn tech firms that encryption creates 'severe risks' to public safety - CNBC
Lawmakers from countries within the Five Eyes alliance have urged tech firms to develop backdoors that allows them to access encrypted messages.
LONDON Lawmakers from countries within the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance have warned tech firms that unbreakable encryption technology "creates severe risks to public safety." Ministers from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand published a statement Sunday calling on the tech industry to develop a solution that enabled law enforcement to access tightly encrypted messages. "We urge industry to address our serious concerns where encryption is applied in a way that wholly precludes any legal access to content," the statement, which was signed by U.S. Attorney General William Barr and U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel, said. The statement, published on the website of the U.S. Department of Justice, was also signed by India and Japan, which are not part of the Five Eyes alliance. Technology companies like Apple and Facebook encrypt user's communications "end-to-end," meaning that only users can access their own messages. It applies to written messages, as well as audio and video communications. While citizens benefit from additional privacy, law enforcement agencies see end-to-end encryption as a barrier to their investigations and have been calling on tech companies to introduce backdoors that would give law enforcement agencies access. "We call on technology companies to work with governments on reasonable, technically feasible solutions," the governments said. They added that end-to-end encryption poses a "significant challenges to public safety, including to highly vulnerable members of our societies like sexually exploited children." Although the nations did concede that some forms of encryption "play a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security." Ultimately, they said they wanted to develop a solution with the tech firms that enabled users to continue communicating privately and securely, but also allow law enforcement and tech firms to monitor criminal activity. Last year, a group of companies including Apple, Microsoft and WhatsApp opposed a proposal by British spy agency GCHQ that would enable spooks to access people's encrypted messages. Under the proposal, GCHQ suggested adding "ghost" recipients to suspicious message threads that the sender and the receiver would be oblivious to. In an open letter published last May, tech firms and privacy groups said such a feature would "threaten fundamental human rights."
Intermittent fasting doesn't help you lose weight, UCSF study suggests - CNBC
A new UCSF study has found that time-restricted eating, a health fad with many adherents in Silicon Valley and Hollywood, doesn't seem to help people lose weight.
For seven years, Dr. Ethan Weiss, a cardiologist at The University of California, San Francisco, has experimented with intermittent fasting. The health fad, which restricts eating to specific periods of time, hit the mainstream after a series of promising studies in mice suggested that it might be an effective weight loss strategy in humans. So Weiss decided to give it a try himself by restricting his own eating to eight hours per day. After seeing that he shed some pounds, many of his patients asked him whether it might work for them. In 2018, he and a group of researchers kicked off a clinical trial to study it. The results, published on Monday, surprised him. The study found "no evidence" that time-restricted eating works as a weight loss strategy. People who were assigned to eat at random times within a strict eight-hour window each day, skipping food in the morning, lost an average of around 2 pounds over a 12 week-period. Subjects who ate at normal meal times, with snacks permitted, lost 1.5 pounds. The difference was not "statistically significant," according to the research team at UCSF. "I went into this hoping to demonstrate that this thing I've been doing for years works," he said by phone. "But as soon as I saw the data, I stopped." Intermittent fasting, once a trend among self-styled "biohackers," who use diet and lifestyle tweaks to try and improve their health, has become increasingly mainstream over the last decade. Instagram influencers regularly weigh in on the trend, and super-fit celebrities like Hugh Jackman have said it helps them get in shape for movie roles. In Silicon Valley, entrepreneur Kevin Rose launched an app called Rise to help people monitor their fasts, noting that the scientific data "starts to get pretty exciting." Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and the actress Jennifer Aniston also rank among the famous fans. With so many stars touting its benefits, in 2019, intermittent fasting was the top-trending diet search in Google, according to Google Trends data. But scientific evidence in humans is still thin. So the UCSF study, dubbed TREAT, led by Weiss and graduate student Derek Lowe, aimed to fill some of the gaps in research with a randomized controlled trial. Starting in 2018, they recruited 116 people who were overweight or obese. All the participants received a Bluetooth-connected scale, and were asked to exercise as they normally would. Weiss suggests that the placebo effect might have caused both groups to lose weight: Many people will pay closer attention to what they eat when enrolled in a nutrition study, meaning they're more likely to make healthier food choices. So going forward, he says, consumers should be increasingly skeptical about any nutrition study claiming weight loss benefits that doesn't involve a control group. There may also be a potential downside to intermittent fasting. A smaller percentage of participants were asked by the researchers to come on-site for more advanced testing, including changes in fat mass, lean mass, fasting glucose, fasting insulin and so on. Through those measurements, researchers discovered people who engaged in time-restricted eating seemed to lose more muscle mass than the control group. Weiss says the outcome wasn't definitive, but he is hoping to conduct further studies down the line. There's also a need for further studies to show whether intermittent fasting is safe for people over 60, or those with chronic ailments like diabetes and on medications. Still, Weiss isn't yet ready to write off intermittent fasting entirely -- there may be benefits around fasts during different times of day. Weiss' study had participants skip food in the morning. He didn't study the effects when it came to missing meals at night. But for now, he won't be recommending it to his patients. "Just losing weight alone doesn't mean good things are happening for your health," he explained.
Weekly jobless claims rise unexpectedly, total 870,000 - CNBC
Initial jobless claims were slightly higher than expected as the labor market continues its sluggish recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of first-time filers for unemployment benefits were slightly higher than expected last week as the labor market continues its sluggish recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 19 came in at 870,000, adjusted for seasonal fluctuations. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected first-time claims at 850,000, down slightly from the previous week's 860,000. Without the adjustment, about 825,000 people filed last week, up from the previous week's 796,000. More than 6 million people a week filed during the peak of the layoffs in the spring, when Congress approved $600 a week in supplemental benefits. The supplemental benefits expired this summer. "Bottom line, we have a mix of people going back to work because they are now greater incentivized to do so without the extra $600 per week and those that are still challenged in finding a job that matches their skills in this unfortunate pandemic landscape," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. New York and Georgia saw the biggest week-over-week increases in initial claims, the department said. Claims in New York jumped by more than 9,000 last week and first-time filers in Georgia rose by more than 6,000. Thursday's data comes as U.S. lawmakers struggle to move forward with a new fiscal stimulus package, something economists and the Federal Reserve argue is needed for the economic recovery to continue. On Wednesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell called for more fiscal support, telling lawmakers: "We've come a long way pretty quickly, and that's great. But there's a long way to go. So I just would say we need to stay with it, all of us. The recovery will go faster if there's support coming both from Congress and from the Fed." U.S. stock futures extended their earlier losses after the data release. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 175 points lower, or 0.7%. "Claims, arguably the most important high frequency data point currently, missed expectations and moved up," Evercore ISI analyst Dennis DeBusschere said in a note. "Net net, with the Fed diminishing its own credibility by continually emphasizing the ineffectiveness of monetary policy and begging for fiscal support, weaker data will have a big impact on risk assets." Continuing claims, which include those receiving unemployment benefits for at least two straight weeks, decreased by 167,000 to 12.58 million during the week ending Sept. 12. Continuing claims data is delayed by one week.
Bank of Ireland chief says the economy is showing positive signs, but banks will feel the brunt - CNBC
The chief executive of Bank of Ireland said she is "cautiously optimistic" about the economic recovery in Ireland, but that banks are still facing a severe hit.
The chief executive of Bank of Ireland said she is "cautiously optimistic" about the economic recovery in Ireland, but that banks are still facing a severe hit. Francesca McDonagh told CNBC that while Ireland's economy contracted a record 6.1% in the second quarter of 2020, it was "less than expected". She said that there were positive signs emerging as people begun spending again and customers exited payment breaks that were implemented earlier in the pandemic. "Consumer spending is at the same level as it was in early March. We're seeing house prices be resilient and we're seeing some parts of society and sectors re-open as restrictions change," she said. Any progress is at risk of being curtailed, though, as Ireland has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases of late with Dublin expected to be placed under new restrictions on Friday evening. "My cautious optimism is about the green shoots of re-opening the economy. The actual severe impact of the impairment cost to banks can't be overstated," McDonagh told CNBC. In its half-year report, Bank of Ireland announced a 669 million euro ($790 million) loss before tax, after it took an impairment charge of 937 million euros ($1.1 billion) to cover loan losses during the pandemic. At the start of lockdown, Bank of Ireland and other major banks agreed to payment breaks for some customers. McDonagh said around 10% of Bank of Ireland's customers had taken a payment break since lockdown in March. "Many of those customers have come off and resumed normal credit and interest repayment, but our focus in the latter part of this year as people come off their final payment break is to work with our customers," she said. "We had the lowest non-performing exposure ratio of any Irish bank before Covid, of working with customers to find sustainable solutions, and that's where our focus will be." There is still uncertainty on any future outlook, she added, with Brexit presenting "additional uncertainty" that may create further challenges ahead. Cost cutting Bank of Ireland recently revamped its charges and now charges a flat fee of six euros per month for current account customers, regardless of how much they have with the bank. At the same time, it is doing away with a bunch of other charges like contactless fees and ATM fees. It also remains in the midst of an investment strategy in technology to improve its digital services. "The focus on technology was already there before Covid, but the trends and changes amongst our customers are only going to accelerate that," McDonagh said. This investment aside, Bank of Ireland is continuing to look at cutting costs elsewhere. When announcing its half-year results, the bank said it plans to cut 1,400 jobs from its workforce. It is the latest in a line of Irish banks to embark on cost cutting measures. On Thursday, The Irish Times reported that NatWest was considering closing down Ulster Bank's operations in Ireland, just a week after the bank said it intended to let 266 workers go. Natwest declined to comment when contact by CNBC Friday. KBC, meanwhile, said that it was shutting four of its 16 branches around the country. Consolidation in the sector Should Ulster Bank exit the Irish market, it would narrow the field in Ireland's banking sector to just a few players. Speaking on the merger of CaixaBank and Bankia in Spain on Friday, McDonagh said "we are seeing an increased focus on domestic consolidation". "In Ireland, it's a much more consolidated market already, so they'll be four or five large banks. We do bolt-on acquisitions where it makes sense, but I think M&A always has to follow strategy and until there is more of a banking union across Europe or a common deposit insurance scheme, cross border consolidation is less likely." As banks face increasing revenue challenges, there will be more opportunities for consolidation in some markets but that is "not where our focus is in Ireland," she said. "Our focus is on supporting our customers through Covid and the uncertainties of Brexit and completing the transformation of our technology in our business model."
Coronavirus live updates: WHO says 172 countries in on global vaccine plan; Chinese e-commerce giants see a boost - CNBC
The coronavirus has infected more than 23.4 million people across the world as of Monday, killing at least 809,300 people.
Scientists are expressing some doubts about the Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma as a treatment for Covid-19 patients. In a Sunday news briefing, President Donald Trump touted the treatment as a "breakthrough." Former FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC that while there was enough data to justify the authorization, the treatment is not a "home run." The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:
- Global cases: More than 23.4 million
- Global deaths: At least 809,300
- U.S. cases: More than 5.7 million
- U.S. deaths: At least 176,800
SpaceX and NASA plan to launch first full length astronaut mission in late October - CNBC
NASA and SpaceX plan to launch the company's first full mission with astronauts on Oct. 23.
NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 crew members seated in the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft during training. From left to right: NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Oliver and Mike Hopkins, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi. NASA and SpaceX plan to launch the company's first full mission with astronauts no earlier than Oct. 23, the agency announced on Friday. Known as Crew-1, the mission will see three U.S. astronauts and one Japanese astronaut launch in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station. There they will spend six months at the space station, conducting research and performing tasks. The Crew Dragon capsule will carry NASA's Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and JAXA's Soichi Noguchi. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will lift the capsule arrived in Florida in July, to prepare for the Crew-1 launch. NASA and SpaceX had previously planned to launch Crew-1 in late September. The one month delay is due to "spacecraft traffic," NASA said, as a Russian Soyuz spacecraft is set to launch to the ISS in October. The agency also said that pushing back the Crew-1 launch will allow "for a crew handover" on board the space station. The six month timeline for Crew-1 means that capsule will be docked until late April, overlapping with the SpaceX Crew-2 mission set to launch in spring 2021. SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft splashes down in the Gulf of Mexico with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley onboard on August 2, 2020. The announcement comes about two weeks after the successful completion of the SpaceX Demo-2 test flight, which carried a pair of NASA astronauts in the company's first ever crewed mission. The two organizations are currently reviewing data from the Demo-2 mission. Assuming no major issues are found, NASA will then certify SpaceX's rocket and capsule system to regulrly fly astronauts to the ISS. Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.
UK enters recession after GDP plunged by a record 20.4% in the second quarter - CNBC
The U.K. economy contracted by 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020 as coronavirus-induced lockdowns hammered activity.
The U.K. economy contracted by 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the previous three months, as coronavirus-induced lockdowns hammered activity, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday. GDP (gross domestic product) expanded by 8.7% in June as government lockdown measures eased, having shown a meek 1.8% recovery in May following April's 20.4% contraction. The second-quarter plunge is the worst on record and follows a 2.2% contraction in the first quarter. Analysts had expected a fall of 20.5%, according to a Reuters poll. Two consecutive periods of contraction mean the British economy is now in a technical recession. Services, construction and production all saw record quarterly falls, particularly in the sectors most exposed to government restrictions, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). "The economy began to bounce back in June with shops reopening, factories beginning to ramp up production and housebuilding continuing to recover," ONS Deputy National Statistical for Economic Statistics Jonathan Athow said. "Despite this, GDP in June still remains a sixth below its level in February, before the virus struck." In level terms, real GDP was last lower in the second quarter of 2003, while compared with the second quarter of 2019, the U.K. economy tumbled by 21.7%. The ONS noted that its estimates are subject to greater uncertainty than usual, owing to the difficulties faced in data gathering due to public health restrictions.
SpaceX is manufacturing 120 Starlink internet satellites per month - CNBC
SpaceX is manufacturing its Starlink satellites at an unprecedented rate for the space industry.
A stack of Starlink internet satellites just before a launch. SpaceX is manufacturing its Starlink satellites at an unprecedented rate for the space industry, analysts say, as the company dives headlong into building a space-based global internet service. Elon Musk's company told the Federal Communications Commission in a presentation last month that its Starlink unit is "now building 120 satellites per month" and has "invested over $70 million developing and producing thousands of consumer user terminals per month." "Invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Starlink to date," the SpaceX presentation added. A slide from SpaceX's July 2020 presentation to the FCC. Starlink is SpaceX's ambitious plan to build an interconnected network of about 12,000 small satellites, to beam high-speed internet from orbit to anywhere in the world. The company has so far launched nearly 600 Starlink satellites and is currently building a system of ground stations and user terminals, to connect consumers directly to its network. It's difficult to contextualize what SpaceX's satellite production rate means given the difference in size and complexity of spacecraft built by other companies. But Quilty Analytics founder Chris Quilty told CNBC that Starlink manufacturing is happening at a speed never before seen in the satellite sector. Quilty's boutique research and investment firm focuses on the satellite communications sector, which he founded after leading Raymond James' coverage of the space industry for 20 years. "To put it in perspective, Iridium, which previously held the record for the largest commercial satellite constellation, was manufacturing satellites at the rate of about six satellites per month at the peak of production," Quilty said. Iridium's NEXT satellites are nearly three times the mass of a Starlink satellite, at about 670 kilograms versus an estimated 260 kilograms. But, even with the caveat that each Starlink is smaller than an Iridium satellite, SpaceX is building its spacecraft 20 times as fast. Notably, Quilty pointed out that Iridium's satellites were built by European aerospace conglomerate Thales Alenia Space. Additionally, rival satellite internet startup OneWeb was building satellites at a rate of about 30 per month before it went bankrupt and Quilty highlighted that OneWeb's production line was designed and built in collaboration with Airbus, another European aerospace giant. That makes Starlink the only of the three with satellites built solely by a U.S. firm, as well as the most productive. "American ingenuity wins again," Quilty said. On the customer side, SpaceX last week told the FCC that is already seeing "extraordinary demand" from people interested in Starlink's internet service. The company said "nearly 700,000 individuals" across the United States said they were interested in the service, causing SpaceX to request that the FCC increase the number of authorized user terminals to 5 million from 1 million. Right now it seems the primary bottleneck for Starlink's service lies in how quickly SpaceX can launch the satellites, according to industry analytics firm Bryce Space and Technology. The company has been launching Starlink missions about once per month with its Falcon 9 rocket fleet. "At 60 satellites per Falcon 9, SpaceX is also driven to bring its Starship launch vehicle online as soon as it can, as the company says each will be able to carry 400 Starlink satellites at a time," Bryce senior space analyst Phil Smith told CNBC. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying 60 Starlink satellites on November 11, 2019 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Starlink constellation will eventually consist of thousands of satellites designed to provide world wide high-speed internet service. Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.