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World Today: Topics Worth Watching Today

Japan Raises Official Import Assessment for First Time in Nine Months

The Japanese government has released its monthly economic report, stating that Japan has raised its official import assessment for the first time in nine months. This comes as the yen’s double-digit depreciation from last year has boosted import prices.

Protests Affecting Argentine Grain Shipments End

A group of agricultural exporters revealed that the Argentine Transporters Union has ended the protests that were affecting Argentine grain shipments. Shippers had started a protest at the Rosario Agricultural Port Center, raising concerns about shipments. As a result, exporters had to rely on stockpiles of agricultural products at the port, which led to a decrease in the amount of agricultural products available.

Coinbase Calls for New Rules on Digital Assets

Cryptocurrency trading firm Coinbase Global Inc. has called on the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to impose new rules on digital assets. This comes after Coinbase came into conflict with the SEC and seeks a clearer direction for its operations. Coinbase is looking to work with the SEC to find solutions to the problems they are facing.

China Confirms Respect for Former Soviet Union’s Sovereign Status

China’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement confirming that China respects the former Soviet Union’s status as a sovereign nation. This comes after the European Union (EU) expressed dissatisfaction with earlier comments made by the Chinese ambassador to France. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning held a press conference, stating that the statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry reflects the official position of the Chinese government. The press conference was intended to ease tensions with the EU after the Chinese Ambassador to France, Lu Shaye, raised questions about the sovereignty of nations that were part of the former Soviet Union.

Federal Reserve Officials Enter Blackout Period Ahead of FOMC Meeting

Federal Reserve officials have entered a blackout period ahead of the Fed’s May 2-3 FOMC meeting. Fed regulations prohibit Fed officials from making public comments or giving interviews on monetary policy during the blackout period, which starts the second Saturday before the FOMC meeting and ends the Thursday after the FOMC meeting.

Investors Weigh in on Forecast of Fed Interest Rate Hike

Investors are weighing in on the forecast that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will raise interest rates by 0.25% at its May meeting. The latest CME Group’s FedWatch Tool indicates that investors are putting a 90% probability on the Fed raising interest rates by 0.25% to a range of 5.00-5.25% at its May 2-3 meeting, with only a 10% chance of the Fed maintaining the interest rate at 4.75-5.00%. Despite a slowdown in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI) in the US, both indexes remain above the Fed’s 2% target.

US President Joe Biden to Run for Re-Election in 2024

US politics is becoming more active as the 2024 US presidential election approaches. Sources have stated that US President Joe Biden has decided to run for the Democratic nomination in next year’s US presidential election. A video clip of President Biden’s official announcement will be released on Tuesday, April 25.

Bitcoin Tumbles Amid Regulatory Concerns and Inflation Worries

Bitcoin, the popular cryptocurrency, experienced a significant drop in value on Monday, April 24, falling below $27,000. This decline comes as investors express concerns about tightening digital asset regulatory policies in the United States and Europe, as well as the potential for the Federal Reserve (Fed) to continue raising interest rates to curb inflation.

In addition to regulatory worries, a recent report from Standard Chartered, released by Reuters, has predicted that Bitcoin will reach $100,000 by the end of 2024. Despite existing uncertainties, Jeff Kendrick, the head of digital asset analysis at Standard Chartered, stated in the report that the path to $100,000 for Bitcoin is becoming clearer.

Meanwhile, important economic data was also released on the same day. South Korea unveiled its first quarter 2023 gross domestic product (GDP) figures, while the United States released data on February house prices from S&P/Case-Shiller, April consumer confidence from Conference Board, and new home sales in March. These data points will likely be closely monitored by investors and analysts for insights into the global economic landscape.

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