Onion smuggling rackets thrive as staple becomes a luxury in Philippines

Millions of dollars’ worth of onions seized by authorities as inflation crisis sees the cost of other basics soar

Their price soared so rapidly, some likened them to gold. Restaurants stripped them from their menus, officials warned travellers not to import them without special permission and millions of pesos’ worth have reportedly been seized in raids.

Between 500m and 600m pesos ($9m – $11m) worth of onions were impounded by officials last year, according to local media. The vegetable accounted for 30% of smuggled farm products.

Bags have been found in warehouse raids, and hidden among shipments of clothing. Last month, authorities uncovered 17m pesos’ worth of yellow onions inside containers labelled as holding blouses, slippers, and various household items. A few days before that, 20m pesos’ worth of onions, weighing 50,000kg, were found hidden among pastries and bread products.

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New Zealand forecasts recession in 2023 as it delivers largest rate hike in history

New Zealand’s reserve bank says spending levels still need to be reduced with rate rises, in order to tame inflation

New Zealand’s reserve bank has forecast that the country will tip into recession in 2023, and has lifted the official cash rate by an unprecedented 75 basis points, to 4.25%.

The cash rate hike, announced on Wednesday, is the largest in the central bank’s history, and comes as it attempts to rein in New Zealand’s 7.2% inflation rate.

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New Zealand inflation near record high as wisdom of interest rate rises questioned

Latest figures defy widespread predictions inflation would fall, as the central banks readies an ‘outsized’ rate hike

New Zealand’s latest inflation data defied widespread predictions it would fall on Tuesday, as it barely budged from a 30-year high, prompting alarm among economists and raising fresh questions over the effectiveness of interest rate hikes.

Prices rose 2.2% in the last quarter, bringing annual inflation to 7.2% – just under the 7.3% recorded at the end of June.

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EU growth forecast cut as war in Ukraine fuels inflation

European Commission downgrades growth prospects from 4% to 2.7%, while economy slows rapidly in China

The growth prospects for the EU have been revised sharply downwards after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine put paid to hopes of a strong and sustained recovery from Covid-19 over the next two years.

Rocketing energy prices as a result of the conflict have pushed up inflation and increased economic headwinds during a period when they were expected to subside, the European Commission said in its latest forecasts.

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‘How many more months should we suffer?’: Indonesians struggle with pricey cooking oil

Indonesia’s ban on cooking oil exports has failed to address supply shortages and lower prices of the key ingredient

As millions of Indonesians travelled to their hometowns to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, one common struggle was being discussed in most family gatherings: the price of cooking oil.

“I always host Eid al-Fitr celebrations for my big family. I cook everything for around 20 of us. But this year is the first time I had to ask them to chip in because everything is so expensive, especially the oil, and I really can’t handle it on my own,” Ellifa Kartini said.

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Indonesia’s palm oil export ban sparks concern over global food prices

Expert says every country will suffer as world’s biggest palm oil producer bans exports of commodity used in food, cosmetics and cleaning products

The price of edible oils such as soyoil, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil is expected to rise after Indonesia announced a surprise export palm oil ban, experts have warned.

Major edible oils are already in short supply due to adverse weather and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The move by Indonesia to pause exports will place extra strain on cost-sensitive consumers in Asia and Africa hit by higher fuel and food prices.

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New Zealand shoppers order groceries from Australia as inflation soars

Savings are worth the extra time, say some shoppers, though the increased carbon footprint does cause some unease

Tins of spaghetti, soap, pasta shells and raw almonds: purchases more commonly carted into New Zealand homes by shopping trolleys and car boots than jetted on international flights. But as prices hit new highs, shoppers are taking drastic measures – including ordering groceries for delivery from Australia.

“It’s almost like Christmas,” said Belinda*, a Wellington woman who said she now regularly ordered groceries online from across the Tasman to supplement her local shopping. Browsing Australian groceries, she said, she was startled by the range of products and how much cheaper they were than those stocking New Zealand shelves.

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Closer inspection of UK jobs market reveals economic scars of Covid | Larry Elliott

While the pandemic has not led to a jump in unemployment, its impact on the over-50s and public sector staff is particularly troubling

At first glance, the UK jobs market is in rude health. The unemployment rate is back to where it was before the Covid pandemic arrived two years ago and job vacancies are at a record high.

But just as X-rays can pick up health problems not detectable to the naked eye, so a closer inspection of the labour market shows up some hidden damage. The Covid crisis has not led to the sharp increase in joblessness that was feared, but it has still left scars.

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The rise in global inflation – the hit to living standards across the world

Analysis: From Pakistan to the US, Australia to Germany, the cost of living is rising to new highs and causing new hardships

After decades lurking in the shadows, inflation is back. On Amazon, you can find fridge magnets printed with words spoken 40 years ago by Ronald Reagan, before the election that swept him into the White House.

“Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.”

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Japan’s favourite snack falls victim to global inflation with first-ever price hike

Umaibo, a crunchy corn snack that means ‘delicious stick’, increases in price from ¥10 to ¥12 – the first rise in the face of higher import costs

One of Japan’s best-loved snacks is to go up in price – by a whopping 20% – for the first time since its launch more than four decades ago,

But Umaibo – literally “delicious stick” – will still be a steal for schoolchildren at just ¥12 apiece (US10c, not including sales tax), up from the current ¥10, when the change goes into effect in April.

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