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The Week in Numbers: to hike or not to hike

STORY: From yet another rate hike, to fresh wobbles for U.S. banks, this is The Week in Numbers. First up…

4.5% is now the benchmark interest rate in the UK after another quarter-point hike by the Bank of England.

Economists were pretty sure that would be it for increases, but Governor Andrew Bailey hinted he could do more:

“Low and stable inflation is the foundation of a healthy economy, and we have to stay the course to make sure inflation falls all the way back to the 2% target.”

4.9% was the annual rate of inflation in the U.S. last month.

That’s stubbornly high, mainly thanks to rising gasoline prices, and had traders wondering if the Fed could raise rates again.

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But a jump in jobless claims later in the week, and weak wholesale prices, then pointed the other way.

23% was the fresh plunge in shares for PacWest Bancorp on Thursday.

The Los Angeles-based lender fell after saying that customers had pulled out more deposits.

Other regional banks also slid, indicating the sector’s troubles may be far from over.

Just under $7.2 billion was the annual loss at Japanese investment giant SoftBank.

A lot, but actually much less than last year’s deficit.

SoftBank was helped by selling down its stake in Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba.

And a mere $31.9 billion was the latest quarterly profit at Saudi Aramco.

Huge as it is, that number was actually down almost a fifth on this time last year.

The Saudi oil colossus was hit by falling prices for crude.