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Japan’s core Consumer Price Index rose 0.9% in January



Shoppers and tourists walk through a shopping street in front of the Sensoji temple in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013.

Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shoppers and tourists walk through a shopping street in front of the Sensoji temple in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013.

Japan’s core consumer prices rose 0.9 percent in January from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday.

The core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, compared with economists’ median estimate for a 0.8 percent annual gain.

Stripping away the effect of fresh food and energy, consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in January from a year ago.

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Biden vows to keep pressing Russia to release American prisoners



Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was detained and accused of espionage, holds a sign as he stands inside a defendants’ cage during his verdict hearing in Moscow, Russia June 15, 2020.

Maxim Shemetov | Reuters

President Joe Biden said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the fate of U.S. citizens detained in Russia during the leaders’ summit Wednesday in Geneva.

“To the family of the detained Americans, we discussed it and we are going to follow through with that discussion. I am not going to walk away on that,” Biden said at the conclusion of a press conference.

During his press conference after the meeting, Putin gave no details about the potential prisoner swap but said that the discussions would continue.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said that potential prisoner swaps would be on the table for the Putin-Biden discussion. Blinken and other top officials joined Biden for meetings with their Russian counterparts.

In May, Blinken called on Moscow to release former U.S. Marines Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed, who are serving 16-year and 9-year prison sentences, respectively, according to a State Department readout of a conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Reed is a former U.S. Marine who was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison last year after he was convicted of assaulting a police officer during a night out in Moscow. Whelan, also a former Marine, was arrested in 2018 on charges of acting as a spy for the United States. At the time he was arrested, Whelan was visiting Russia to attend a wedding, according to his brother David Whelan. 

Both Whelan and Reed deny the charges against them.

Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who was detained in 2019 and accused of assaulting police officers, stands inside a defendants’ cage during a court hearing in Moscow, Russia March 11, 2020.

Tatyana Makeyeva | Reuters

The U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, called the evidence against Reed “flimsy.” If this case had been brought in a U.S. court, not only would it have been thrown out, but the prosecutors would be investigated for bringing it forward in the first place,” Sullivan told NBC News. 

In the days leading up to the summit, Reed’s parents publicly appealed to Biden to seek their son’s release. 

They’ve also said they wouldn’t object to a prisoner swap between Moscow and Washington if it meant the return of their son. “We don’t care how he comes home, if they want to exchange Trevor for some criminals that you know are low-level criminals or whatever,” Trevor’s father, Joey Reed, said on NBC’s “TODAY” show on Monday.

“We’re fine with that. We want our son home,” said Trevor’s mother, Paula Reed. David Whelan, however, has expressed concerns about the idea of a prisoner swap.

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“He is innocent, he was wrongly accused. We would rather see the door come open and him come out rather than some sort of negotiated release of Russian convicts,” Whelan said Monday on “TODAY.”

Putin, who was first to address the press after the bilateral meeting, said that talks with Biden were “very productive” and “there has been no hostility” between the two.

In a separate press conference, Biden described the talks as “good, positive” and reiterated that he was hopeful the two leaders could work together on common interests.

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Adidas CEO Rorsted says consumers will force fashion to be sustainable



Kasper Rorsted, chief executive officer of Adidas AG, gestures while speaking during a Bloomberg Television interview in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Social media has made it easier for consumers to hold companies and CEOs accountable for their actions, and that’s a good thing, Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted told CNBC’s Sara Eisen at the CNBC Evolve Global Summit.

“I think that the scrutiny on companies and CEOs are much greater today. I think that part of the reason is social media is bringing a transparency and also a news flow out that was never there before,” Rorsted said. “It drives change, it drives responsibility, and it drives transparency.”

The scrutiny will force the fashion industry, which produces 8% to 10% of global carbon emissions, to become environmentally friendly, Rorsted said.

“This is only the beginning, but the impact plastic has on our global environment is so negative. And as a company that stands for something positive … we really want to make sure that that problem is tackled,” Rorsted said. “It’s so fundamental for companies to really help innovate and find solutions that address the environment, not to be disrupted for the future.”

Adidas has made strides to create sustainable products, including using ocean plastics in its shoes and vowing to make nine out of every 10 products sustainable by 2025.

“I don’t mean this disrespectfully, but European companies — maybe due to regulation — have tended to be ahead,” Rorsted said. “We see ourselves as a leader in sustainability, but we actually welcome everybody who has taken a step forward.”

The company partnered with Allbirds to create shoes with a low carbon footprint, largely due to the rival shoemaker’s success with creating sustainable products at a low cost, which has been a challenge for Adidas. Allbirds uses materials such as merino wool, recycled bottles and cardboard and castor bean oil to manufacture its shoes.

“They’ve done, been doing a great job on certain elements of innovation. We can bring the footwear expertise into it, which they probably had to a lesser extent,” Rorsted said. “Succeeding in sustainability is more important than, you know, competing with each other.”

Later this summer, Adidas will be releasing its classic Stan Smith shoe using a leather derived from mycelium, the fibrous root structure of mushrooms. The company anticipates it will be very popular.

“We have done a recent survey; 70% of our consumers prefer to buy sustainable products. So I think there’s going to be a great demand for this product,” Rorsted said.

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Fed holds rates steady, but raises inflation expectations sharply and makes no mention of taper



The Federal Reserve on Wednesday sharply raised its expectations for inflation this year and brought forward the time frame on when it will next raise interest rates.

However, the central bank gave no indication as to when it will begin cutting back on its aggressive bond-buying program, leaving investors to watch for Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference on clues about when tapering will begin.

As expected, the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee unanimously left its benchmark short-term borrowing rate anchored near zero. But officials indicated that rate hikes could come as soon as 2023, after saying in March that it saw no increases until at least 2024. The so-called dot plot of individual member expectations pointed to two hikes in 2023.

Though the Fed raised its headline inflation expectation to 3.4%, a full percentage point higher than the March projection, the post-meeting statement continued to say that inflation pressures are “transitory.”

“This is not what the market expected,” said James McCann, deputh chiefl economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “The Fed is now signaling that rates will need to rise sooner and faster, with their forecast suggesting two hikes in 2023. This change in stance jars a little with the Fed’s recent claims that the recent spike in inflation is temporary.

Even with the raised forecast for this year, the committee still sees inflation trending to its 2% goal over the long run.

Officials raised their GDP expectations for this year to 7% from 6.5% previously. The unemployment estimate remained unchanged at 4.5%.

The statement tempered some of the language of previous statements since the Covid-19 crisis. Since last year, the FOMC had said the pandemic was “causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world.”

Wednesday’s statement instead noted the progress vaccinations had made against the disease, noting that “indicators of economic activity and employment have strengthened. The sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic remain weak but have shown improvement.”

Investors were watching the meeting closely for statements about how Fed officials see an economy undergoing rapid expansion since the depths of the pandemic crisis in 2020.

Recent indicators show that in some respects the U.S. is expanding at the fastest rate since World War II. But that growth also has come with inflation, and the central bank has faced pressure from various sources to at least start curtailing the at least $120 billion in bond purchases it is making each month.

The post-meeting statement did not address the issue. Powell is certain to be asked about the matter at his news conference, which begins at 2:30 pm ET.

Markets had been looking for the possibility that the committee would address its open-market operations where it provides short-term funding for financial institutions. The so-called overnight repo operations, where banks exchange high-end collateral for reserves, have been seeing record demand lately as institutions look for any yield above the negative rates they are seeing in some markets.

The committee did raise the interest it pays on excess reserves by 5 basis points to 0.15%.

In a separate matter, the FOMC announced that it would extend dollar-swap lines with global central banks through the end of the year. The currency program is one of the last remaining Covid-era initiatives the Fed took to keep global markets flowing.

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