Euro slips to lowest against dollar since 2003; China core inflation rises 1.4%; Apple watch moves internet out of the pocket

1 Euro slips to lowest against dollar since 2003 (Straits Times) The euro has slid to a near 12-year low against the US dollar, as the US currency found steady bids on the back of expectations the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates as early as mid-year.

The European Central Bank, in contrast, remains deeply committed to monetary easing. It launched its one trillion euro bond-buying programme on Monday, driving euro zone debt yields lower to weigh on the euro. The euro went as low as $1.0808, down 0.4 per cent, its lowest since September 2003.

2 China core inflation rises 1.4% (BBC) China’s core inflation rate rose 1.4% in February from a year earlier, recovering from a more than five-year low and exceeding most expectations. The consumer price inflation (CPI) data compares with a rise of 0.8% in January, which was the weakest reading since November 2009. China’s new consumer inflation target is about 3%, down from 3.5% in 2014.

The rise in inflation for the period was attributed by officials to China’s Lunar New Year celebrations. The official number could ease some deflation worries for the world’s second-largest economy, although analysts were unconvinced the holiday period was a factor for the year-on-year rise.

The producer price index (PPI), which includes wholesale and factory price inflation, showed worsening deflation, declining 4.8% in February and highlighting persistent weakness in the economy. Expectations were for a fall of 4.3%, in line with January’s data. China has now seen factory price deflation for some three years. Overcapacity at factories is believed to be contributing to deflation, together with a downturn in the property market.

3 Apple watch moves internet out of the pocket (San Francisco Chronicle) Apple wants to move the Internet from your pocket to your wrist. Time will tell if millions of consumers are willing to spend $350 on up — there’s an 18-karat gold version that starts at $10,000 — for a wearable device that still requires a wirelessly connected smartphone to deliver its most powerful features.

But CEO Tim Cook is selling the Apple Watch as the next must-have device, able to serve people’s information needs all day long, like no other tool has quite been able to do. Apple wants this wristwatch — which piggybacks on a nearby smartphone’s Internet connection through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth — to be seen as so revolutionary that it requires its own new lingo.

So while the watch face provides most of the same information as smartphones do, the back of the watch sends “taptic feedback,” tapping the wrist to remind the wearer to get up and burn more calories. he gadget also introduces “digital touch,” a new way of messaging that enables people to draw and send little figures with their fingertips and have them arrive on a friend’s watch face dynamically, in the same way they were drawn.

As expected, the previously announced starting price of $349 is only for the entry-level Sport model. Prices range from $549 to $1,100 for the mid-range watch. That’s not out of line for a high-quality watch, analysts said.


About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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