Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Business Briefs for Dec. 5

by Associated Press

Russian oil price cap, EU ban aim to limit Kremlin war chest

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Oil prices have risen as the first strong measures to limit Russia’s oil profits over the war in Ukraine took effect. The new sanctions bring with them uncertainty about how much crude could be lost to the global economy through Russian retaliation or evasion. International benchmark Brent crude rose 2% Monday to $87.30 per barrel. That’s after the OPEC+ alliance of oil producers, including Russia, made no changes to supply plans because the impact of the new sanctions on Russian oil aren’t yet clear. Starting Monday are a European Union embargo on most Russian oil and a price cap of $60 per barrel on Russian exports to other countries.

Stocks open lower on Wall Street, crude oil prices climb

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street, with the exception of energy companies, which rose along with the price of oil. Crude prices were up almost 3% early Monday after a group of world leaders agreed to a boycott of most Russian oil and China loosened some COVID restrictions. The S&P 500 fell 0.6% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 0.5%. The Dow Jones Indsutrial Average of 30 major blue chip companies was down 0.5%. Treasury yields rose. V.F. Corp., which makes Vans shoes and The North Face outdoor gear, sank after cutting its revenue forecast and announcing the departure of its CEO.

India signals it will continue to buy oil from Russia

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s foreign minister has signaled that his country will continue to buy oil from Russia, even as Western governments press Moscow with a price cap on its oil exports. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar says it isn’t right for European countries to prioritize their energy needs but ask India to do something else. India, a major buyer of Russian oil, has so far not committed to the European Union’s price cap of $60 per barrel on Russian oil. The move is aimed at limiting the fossil fuel earnings that support Moscow’s military. Jaishankar was speaking to reporters in New Delhi after holding talks with his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, in which they discussed bilateral relations and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Supreme Court taking up clash of religion and gay rights

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is hearing the case of a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for gay couples. The case is the latest clash of religion and gay rights to land at the highest court. Colorado designer Lorie Smith and her supporters say ruling against her would force artists including painters, photographers, writers and musicians to do work that is against their faith. Smith’s opponents say if she wins, a range of businesses will be able to discriminate, refusing to serve Black customers, Jewish or Muslim people, interracial or interfaith couples or immigrants, among others.

German governor quits Twitter, Scholz still mulling options

BERLIN (AP) — The governor of Germany’s state of Lower Saxony says he is quitting Twitter because the microblogging site is increasingly being used to spread “hatred and incitement.” Governor Stephan Weil said Monday his Twitter account would be deleted the following day. Experts have warned of a rise in anti-semitic vitriol if Twitter’s new CEO Elon Musk grants “amnesty” to suspended accounts. A top European Union official urged Musk last week to step up the site’s policing of illegal content or risk being banned in the 27-nation bloc. While some ordinary users have already quit Twitter, officials have hesitated to do so because the site plays a prominent role in the political conversation in many countries.

As Musk is learning, content moderation is a messy job

As Elon Musk is finding out, running a global social media platform requires more than a few good algorithms. It also presents tough decisions about what kind of content to allow, and how to handle users who break the rules. Since Musk purchased Twitter, however, the rules have become unclear and enforcement inconsistent. The platform announced it was ending its COVID-19 misinformation policy, only to say no policies had changed. Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, was banished from Twitter for posting antisemitic content, even as the platform reinstated the account belonging to a neo-Nazi leader. Social media experts say the lack of clear and enforceable content rules could hurt Twitter if users start to lose trust.

Turkish inflation eases for 1st time in more than a year

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Annual inflation in Turkey has eased slightly in November for the first time in more than a year, but remains close to 24-year highs. Consumer prices rose by 84.39% for the year in November, down from 85.51% recorded in October, the Turkish Statistical Institute announced Monday. It was the first time that annual inflation has eased since May 2021. While the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have stoked inflation around the world, economists believe that inflation in Turkey was additionally fueled by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s belief that high borrowing costs lead to higher prices. Turkey’s central bank has slashed interest rates by 5 percentage points since August, down to 9%, despite high inflation that has deepened a cost-of-living crisis in the country.

No OPEC+ oil shakeup as Russian price cap stirs uncertainty

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The OPEC oil cartel and allied producers including Russia aren’t changing their targets for shipping oil to the global economy. The decision Sunday comes amid uncertainty about the impact of new Western sanctions against Russia that could take significant amounts of oil off the market. Starting Monday, a European Union boycott of most Russian oil and a price cap of $60 per barrel on Russian exports by the EU and the Group of Seven democracies take effect. On the other side, oil has been trading at lower prices on fears a slowing economy will reduce demand. OPEC said in October that’s why it was a slashing production by 2 million barrels per day starting in November, which remains in effect.

California lawmakers to meet, eye big oil’s high gas prices

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers are preparing to return to work for a special session on gas prices. State lawmakers are scheduled to convene on Monday to swear in new members and elect leaders for the 2023 legislative session. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has also called lawmakers into a special session on that same day to begin work on a proposed penalty for oil companies when their profits surpass a certain threshold. The proposal likely won’t be debated until January. More than a quarter of the Legislature’s 120 lawmakers could be new members following the November elections, depending on the outcome of some close races.

Vatican vendettas: Alleged witness manipulation jolts trial

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Revelations that a key prosecution witness may have been manipulated into changing his story and cooperating with prosecutors has jolted a Vatican trial over a money-losing investment in a London property. The information was contained in text messages that a prosecutor entered into evidence last week. Defense lawyers called for the trial to be suspended, but the judge rejected their motions. The prosecutor has opened a separate investigation into possible false testimony and other potential crimes. Regardless of how it turns out, the developments confirmed that a trial meant to showcase Pope Francis’ financial reforms has revealed vendettas and scheming in the Holy See.

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