India’s inflation data

NEW DELHI: Higher food prices pushed India’s retail inflation to an eight-month high in June, government data showed on Monday, dampening hopes of an interest rate cut by the central bank in the near future. Retail prices rose to 5.4 per cent year-on-year in June, higher than the 5.01 per cent print in May and the 5.1 per cent annual rise predicted by analysts in a Reuters poll. Food prices were up 5.48 per cent from 4.8 per cent in May. “The surprising factor for CPI to go up was that it was food driven ... we expect the RBI (central bank) to be on hold for now,” said Sonal Varma, India economist at Nomura.

Border trade zone

BEIJING: China and North Korea will open a border trade zone, Chinese state media said on Monday, the latest effort to boost economic ties despite tension between the countries. The Guomenwan trade zone in the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong, in Liaoning province, is expected to open in October, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing city trade officials who said the plan had been approved. ‘Residents living within 20 km of the border will be able to exchange commodities’ with people from North Korea on a duty-free basis, of up to 8,000 yuan ($1,288) a day, Xinhua said.

REIT ‘death cross’

TOKYO: A ‘death cross’ has formed over Japanese real estate investment trusts (REITs) for the first time in Shinzo Abe’s two-and-a-half year reign as prime minister, fuelling speculation a bear market is imminent and equities are about to get hit. The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s REIT index plunged to an eight-month low last week, causing its 20-day moving average to fall below the 200-day moving average and creating the so-called death cross on technical charts. Large sell orders, most likely from Japanese investors, were the main culprit behind the fall, a trader said.

MPLX to expand

NEW YORK: MPLX LP, the pipeline unit of Marathon Petroleum, said Monday it was buying natural gas processor MarkWest Energy Partners for $15.8 billion in cash and shares. MPLX, a partnership which operates about 2,900 miles (4,670 km) of pipeline across the US Midwest, said the deal would give it control of the country’s second-largest natural gas processor.