Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Business Briefs

by Associated Press

US consumer confidence falls in November for 2nd month

U.S. consumer confidence fell for the second straight month in November amid ongoing high inflation, rising interest rates, and layoff announcements by several large tech companies. The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to 100.2 this month, down from 102.2 in October.

China ready for ‘closer partnership’ with Russia in energy

BEIJING (AP) — President Xi Jinping says China is ready to “forge closer partnership” with Russia in energy. A state news agency says Xi made the comment in a letter to a China-Russia business forum. That might expand ties that irk Washington by helping the Kremlin resist sanctions over its war on Ukraine. The announcement gave no details. China’s energy-hungry economy is one of the biggest customers for Russian oil and gas. Purchases more than doubled over a year ago in October to $10.2 billion as Chinese importers took advantage of discounts offered by Moscow. Washington, Europe and Japan cut purchases of Russian energy and expelled the country from the global banking system in retaliation for President Vladimir Putin’s Feb. 24 attack on Ukraine.

Biden to visit Michigan computer chip factory, push agenda

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s visit to a computer chip factory in Bay City, Michigan, continues his push for his economic agenda. The South Korean company, SK Siltron, is planning a $300 million expansion that could quadruple its production in the coming years. A White House official says the Democratic president’s remarks in Michigan on Tuesday will also emphasize falling gas prices and efforts to protect abortion access. Biden will appear with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who just won reelection in a closely watched race. Whitmer’s victory over Republican 2020 election denier Tudor Dixon has burnished her standing within the Democratic Party.

German inflation dips slightly in November to 10%

BERLIN (AP) — Official figures show that Germany’s inflation rate slipped back slightly to 10% in November. But galloping prices remain a major headache for Europe’s biggest economy. The Federal Statistical Office said Tuesday that the annual inflation rate was off its peak of 10.4%, reached in October, as the increase in energy prices over a year ago slowed to 38.4% from 43% a month earlier. But there was no let-up in the increase of food prices, which ticked up to 21% from 20.3%. The German economy grew 0.4% in the July-September period compared with the previous quarter thanks to consumer spending. But it’s still expected to shrink in the last three months of the year and first quarter of next year.

US stocks edge higher in unsteady trading, oil prices rise

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged mostly higher in unsteady trading on Wall Street as some concerns dissipate over protests in China against that country’s severe COVID restrictions. The S&P 500 was bobbing between small gains and losses early Tuesday, as was the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Small-company stocks were mostly higher. Energy stocks rose as crude oil prices climbed about 2.5%. Several big health care and technology stocks slipped and checked gains within the broader market. Hong Kong’s benchmark index jumped overnight and other Asian markets also rose. U.S. Treasury yields were higher. A business group reported that consumer confidence remained strong in November.

Ex-mayor, elected at age 23, loses corruption case appeal

BOSTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the extortion and fraud convictions of a once-celebrated young Massachusetts mayor who was found guilty of extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana businesses. In a ruling published Monday, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a series of challenges to former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Corriea’s 2021 trial, concluding that the 30-year-old was “fairly tried and lawfully convicted by an impartial jury.” Lawyers for Correia declined to comment on Tuesday. In their appeal, they accused prosecutors of carrying out an “unfair smear campaign in the courtroom” and called the evidence against their client “remarkably shallow.”

Cyber Monday deals lure in consumers amid high inflation

NEW YORK (AP) — Days after flocking to stores on Black Friday, consumers are turning online for Cyber Monday to score more discounts on gifts and other items that have ballooned in price because of high inflation. Adobe Analytics, which tracks transactions for top online retailers, forecasts Cyber Monday will remain the year’s biggest online shopping day and rake in up to $11.6 billion in sales. Some analysts expect the amount of items consumers purchase could remain unchanged – or even fall – compared to prior years. And profit margins are expected to be tight for retailers offering deeper discounts to attract budget-conscious consumers and clear out their bloated inventories.

2 Fed officials favor keeping key rate at peak through 2023

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Federal Reserve officials said they favor raising the Fed’s key rate to roughly 5% or more and keeping it at its peak through next year — longer than many on Wall Street have expected. John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said that the central bank has “more work to do” to reduce inflation closer to its 2% target. And James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Fed, suggested that financial markets are underestimating the likelihood the Fed will have to be more aggressive in its fight against the worst inflation bout in four decades.

South Korea orders striking cement truckers back to work

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s government has ordered some of the thousands of truck drivers who have been on strike to return to work, insisting that their nationwide walkout over freight fare issues is hurting an already weak economy. Despite facing the threat of delicensing or even prison terms, the strike’s organizers say they will defy the order and accused President Yoon Suk Yeol’s conservative government of suppressing their labor rights and ignoring what they described as worsening work conditions and financial strain caused by rising fuel costs and interest rates. The order targets the drivers of cement trucks among a broader group of truckers participating in the walkout.

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