Saturday, April 20, 2024

AP morning business news summary – Aug. 24, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

Hopeful signs of an economic ‘soft landing’ emerge in Jackson Hole as Fed meets with world watching

JACKSON HOLE, Wyoming (AP) — Business these days in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is still good — just not as robust as it was after the U.S. economy roared out of the pandemic recession. As the Federal Reserve prepares to hold its annual economic conference there, its policymakers are trying to guide the nation’s economy toward something akin to what’s happening in Jackson Hole. They have jacked up their key interest rate to a 22-year high to try to slow growth and bring inflation down to their 2% target. Even as they do so, the Fed’s policymakers hope to avoid tipping the economy into a recession — a notoriously difficult achievement that economists call a “soft landing.”

Turkey’s central bank unleashes a big interest rate hike in another sign of an economic shift

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s central bank has raised its key interest rate by an aggressive 7.5 percentage points, in a new sign of a return to more traditional economic policies. The bank hiked its policy rate to 25% on Thursday. The bank is backtracking from a rate-cutting course set by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that’s been blamed for inflaming a cost-of-living crisis. Many households have been left struggling to afford rent and basic goods as inflation has surged. Central banks worldwide have been hiking rates to bring consumer price rises under control, but the Turkish central bank started cutting rates in late 2021 under pressure from Erdogan. He appointed a new economic team after being reelected in May.

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte turns 20, beloved by millions and despised by some

The seasonal drink that made pumpkin spice a star is marking two decades in the world. And unlike the autumn days it celebrates, there seems to be no chill in customer demand. Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte goes on sale Thursday in the U.S. and Canada. It’s the coffee giant’s most popular seasonal beverage, with hundreds of millions sold since its launch in 2003. And it has spawned a huge and growing industry. In the year ending July 29, Nielsen says U.S. sales of pumpkin-flavored products reached $802.5 million. That’s up 42% from the same period in 2019.

Shein and Forever 21 team up in hopes of expanding reach of both fast-fashion retailers

NEW YORK (AP) — Fast fashion retailers Shein and Forever 21 are going into business together. Under a partnership agreement announced Thursday, the Chinese-founded Shein will acquire about one-third interest in Sparc Group, Forever 21’s operator. Sparc will also become a minority shareholder in Shein. The deal is expected to expand Forever 21’s distribution on Shein’s global e-commerce platform, which has attracted 150 million online users. In turn, the partnership “also offers the opportunity to test” Shein product sales and returns in physical Forever 21 stores across the U.S., the companies said.

New gas pipeline rules floated following 2018 blasts in Massachusetts

BOSTON (AP) — Federal regulators are proposing a series of rules changes aimed at toughening safety requirements for millions of miles of gas distribution pipelines nationwide following a string of gas explosions in Massachusetts in 2018. The proposed changes are recommended by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. They aim to improve safety and ease risk through the improvement of emergency response plans, integrity management plans, operation manuals and other steps. This proposal follows a series of blasts in the Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts that left a teenager dead, about two dozen injured and destroyed or damaged more than 130 properties.

Fall books: Britney and Barbra’s memoirs are among major releases, but political books are fewer

NEW YORK (AP) — Joe Biden and Donald Trump are the most likely nominees for the 2024 presidential election, but you won’t see many new books about either this fall. A Barnes & Noble official says there’s “an exhaustion of interest” in political titles right now, even in books about Trump, Biden’s immediate predecessor in the White House. But there will be plenty of topical books, among them two first-hand takes on two of the business world’s most contentious figures: Walter Isaacson’s “Elon Musk” and Michael Lewis’ “Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon,” about the disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

Support grows for sustainable development, a ‘bioeconomy,’ in the Amazon

BELEM, Brazil (AP) — The Brazilian Amazon has long been home to small and mid-sized sustainable businesses that use forest nuts, fruits and other products, and it’s an incubator for new ones. Now there is a push to scale these up, and a new term, “bioeconomy,” was a buzzword at the Amazon Summit in Belem in early August. One state in the northeast, Para, now has an entire bioeconomy plan and another is developing one. To a greater degree than in the past, policymakers are voicing eagerness to protect the rainforest and provide a livelihood for tens of millions of residents who live in and near it.

California may pay unemployment to striking workers. But the fund to cover it is already insolvent

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Some California lawmakers want to make striking workers eligible for unemployment benefits. The push in the final weeks of the state’s legislative session is in response to multiple strikes. That includes hotel workers in Southern California, and Hollywood actors and writers. California does not have enough money to pay all of the unemployment benefits workers are owed today. The fund is filled by a tax businesses pay on their workers wages. But the tax has not changed since 1984 and is among the lowest in the country. Labor unions say workers should not be punished for businesses not paying enough taxes.

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