The Week in Numbers: A Population Larger than China?

In Japan, the consumer prices index (CPI), excluding the cost of fresh food, rose 0.4% year-on-year last month. It marked the fifth consecutive monthly increase. Even though inflation rose in May, it was still below the 2% inflation target set by the Bank of Japan. That might help stop deflation that has been plaguing the country for as long as anyone can remember. CPI measures the changes in the price levels of a basket of consumer goods and services purchased by households. It is used to reflect the amount of inflation in a country.

Staying in the east, China saw its manufacturing activity accelerate more than expected this month. The manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 51.7 in June, increasing from 51.2 seen in May. In the services sector, the non-manufacturing PMI for June rose to 54.9, up from May’s 54.5. Any figure above 50 indicates economic expansion.

On our shores, last month’s bank lending went up for the eighth successive month, coming in at S$633.2 billion. This is a 6.8% year-on-year increase, and both business and consumer loans picked up in May, as compared to a year ago.

And finally, social media website, Facebook, revealed that it has over 2 billion monthly active users. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder, proudly announced on his Facebook status on Tuesday:

“As of this morning, the Facebook community is now officially 2 billion people! We’re making progress connecting the world, and now let’s bring the world closer together. It’s an honour to be on this journey with you.”

It is notable that the user base is more than 40% bigger than the world’s most populated country, China. That’s some statistic!

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