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Welcome to Wednesday, Europe. Here’s the latest news and analysis from Bloomberg Economics to help you start the day:

  • U.K. businesses are reporting record confidence but struggling to hire staff, with coronavirus self-isolation rules contributing to severe labor shortages
  • With the delta variant posing a growing risk to the U.S. economy, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and his colleagues are likely to emphasize patience on scaling back the central bank’s massive policy support in Wednesday’s decision. Bloomberg Economics anticipates only modest tweaks to the Fed policy statement
  • The European Central Bank should consider keeping some of the flexibility of its emergency bond-buying program when it transitions to other asset purchases after the Covid crisis, said Governing Council member Pablo Hernandez de Cos
  • The European Union has backed off a threat of imminent legal action against the U.K. over breaches of the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit agreement as the two sides try to work through their differences
  • Aluminum is heading for a seismic shift as a long-running supply glut starts to fade, setting the stage for shortages and a price rally that could run for years
  • Bank of Canada officials need to “temper their enthusiasm” that strong inflation readings will be short-lived, a former governor says
  • Global efforts to tackle climate change suffered another setback this week as India failed to attend a key diplomatic gathering in London
  • Australia’s inflation surged last quarter, joining developed-world counterparts in spiking from last year’s lockdown-induced weakness, though a renewed Covid outbreak is set to damp pressures ahead
  • The U.S. trade chief plans to convene a meeting with African ministers before the end of the year to strengthen partnerships and discuss a law that provides duty-free access to the U.S. for thousands of goods from sub-Saharan nations

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