The Week in Numbers: Inflation in the US Grows

Hurricane Irma was the most intense hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina 12 years ago. It is the 9th named storm, 4th hurricane and 2nd major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. It peaked as a category 5 hurricane reaching wind speeds of 295km per hour. As of 13th September, the hurricane has caused 79 deaths, including 43 in the Caribbean and 36 in the United States.

Back home, Singapore’s labour market saw a slight improvement in the first half of the year. 4,000 more Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) were employed by June compared to the end of last year. Unemployment rate for Singaporeans was at 3.3% in June, an improvement from 3.5% in March. The combined unemployment rates for Singaporeans and PRs was 3.1% in June, down from 3.2% in March. Long-term unemployment also dropped to 0.7%, from 0.8% in March. Total employment was 3,659,000 as of June.

Singapore’s property market continues to falter as SRX Property reported a 0.4% drop in private apartment rents in August on a monthly basis. The total volume also fell by 10.4%. On a yearly basis, rents in August were down 2.5%. The largest hit area was the city centre, which saw rents decline by 3.5%, while city fringe rents dropped 2.5% and the suburbs was down 2.1%.

Meanwhile, Singapore companies amassed S$44.7 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the third quarter of the year. This was 81.4% more than the second quarter, despite a 33.9% drop in the number of announced deals. The total M&A activity hit US$62.5 billion so far this year, a 31.7% increase from the same period last year. Reuters reported that there were 15 M&As valued in excess of US$1 billion this year.

Lastly, the United States consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.4% in August on a monthly basis. It also represented a 1.7% yearly gain. Petrol prices lead the way as it surged 6.3%. Core CPI, also rose 1.7% in the last 12 months. The low inflation, despite a strong labour market, has caused the Fed to delay raising rates until December.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Jeremy Chia doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned.