AP Business SummaryBrief at 8:35 p.m. EDT

US inflation surges again in June, raising risks for economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. inflation surged to a new four-decade high in June because of rising prices for gas, food and rent, squeezing household budgets and pressuring the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates aggressively — trends that raise the risk of a recession. The government’s consumer price index soared 9.1% over the past year, the biggest yearly increase since 1981, with nearly half of...

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US inflation surges again in June, raising risks for economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. inflation surged to a new four-decade high in June because of rising prices for gas, food and rent, squeezing household budgets and pressuring the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates aggressively — trends that raise the risk of a recession. The government’s consumer price index soared 9.1% over the past year, the biggest yearly increase since 1981, with nearly half of the increase due to higher energy costs. Lower-income and Black and Hispanic American have been hit especially hard, since a disproportionate share of their income goes toward essentials such as transportation, housing and food. But with the cost of many goods and services rising faster than average incomes, a vast majority of Americans are feeling the pinch in their daily routines.

EXPLAINER: Why US inflation is so high, and when it may ease

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation’s relentless surge didn’t merely persist in June. It accelerated. For the 12 months ending in June, the government’s consumer price index rocketed 9.1%, the fastest year-over-year jump since 1981. And that was nothing next to what energy prices did: Fueled by heavy demand and by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, energy costs shot up nearly 42% in the past 12 months, the largest such jump since 1980. Even if you toss out food and energy prices — which are notoriously volatile and have driven much of the price spike — so-called core inflation soared 5.9% over the past year.

EXPLAINER: What’s the impact of euro parity with the dollar?

The euro is hovering close to parity with the dollar, falling to its lowest level in 20 years and even briefly touching a one-to-one exchange rate with the U.S. currency this week. That’s the market’s verdict on Europe’s economic prospects. The euro is falling as fears of a recession grow due to Russia restricting natural gas supplies. European officials say it’s retaliation for the bloc’s support for Ukraine amid Russia’s war. Moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve are strengthening the dollar with higher interest rates. U.S. tourists may get a break on some of their travel bills, but Europeans will pay more for imported oil because it’s priced in dollars.

Dems stress national security as computer chips bill stalls

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration and Democrats are warning of dire consequences if Congress fails to act on computer chips legislation. They say Congress needs to pass a bill by the end of July that’s designed to boost semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. Advocates say the plan is important for the economy and national security. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo says computer chipmakers are being offered lucrative incentives from other countries such as South Korea, Japan, France, Germany and Singapore to locate plants there. Raimondo says “there are very real, very devastating consequences if Congress doesn’t do its job in the month of July.”

US approves American Airlines flights to more cities in Cuba

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The U.S. government is giving American Airlines permission to resume flights to five cities in Cuba outside the capital of Havana. The Transportation Department announced the approval on Wednesday. It follows President Joe Biden’s move to restore some links between the U.S. and Cuba that were dropped by the Trump administration. American will be allowed to fly from Miami to the Cuban cities of Santa Clara, Varadero, Holguin, Camaguey and Santiago de Cuba. American will have 90 days starting in early November to launch the flights.

Pharmacies can’t discriminate on reproductive health scripts

The Biden administration is warning pharmacies not to discriminate against women who may seek reproductive health prescriptions, including some that might be involved in ending a pregnancy. The Department of Health and Human Services says pharmacies receiving federal money from programs such as Medicare and Medicaid cannot discriminate in how they supply medications or advise patients on prescriptions. The agency notes that discrimination against people based on their pregnancy or related conditions would be a form of sex discrimination.  Wednesday’s announcement comes after last month’s Supreme Court’s decision that ended a constitutional right to abortion.

EXPLAINER: What happens next in the Musk-Twitter saga?

Twitter has sued Tesla CEO Elon Musk in an attempt force him to complete his $44 billion takeover of the social media company by accusing him of “outlandish” and “bad faith” actions that have caused the platform irreparable harm and “wreaked havoc” on its stock price. Legal experts say Twitter has a strong case, but the coming court battle is still likely to be long, contentious and the outcome, uncertain. The court could force Musk to complete the acquisition or the two sides could settle in the end. Other, less likely outcomes are also on the table in this tumultuous saga.

Netflix to rely on Microsoft for its ad-backed video service

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix has picked Microsoft to help deliver the commercials in a cheaper version of its video streaming service expected to launch later this year with a pledge to minimize the intrusions into personal privacy that often accompany digital ads. The alliance announced Wednesday marks a major step toward Netflix’s first foray into advertising after staying commercial-free for 15 years.  Netflix announced it would create an ad-supported option three months ago after disclosing it had lost 200,000 subscribers during the first three months of the year amid stiffer competition and rising inflation. Netflix still hasn’t disclosed the price of its ad-backed service.

Senate approves Michael Barr to Federal Reserve post

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate easily approved Michael Barr to be the Federal Reserve’s top banking regulator in a bipartisan vote Wednesday. Barr, a former top Treasury official under President Barack Obama, is the last of President Joe Biden’s three nominees to the Fed’s board of governors to win Senate confirmation. All seven seats on the Fed’s board are now filled, for the first time in roughly a decade, as the central bank tackles the worst inflation in 40 years.

UN sees progress in talks to free up Ukraine grain exports

ISTANBUL (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says Russian and Ukrainian officials meeting in Istanbul have taken a “critical step forward” to ensure the export of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to help ease the global food crisis. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar says agreements will be signed at a meeting of the parties next week. Military officials from Russia, Ukraine and Turkey and U.N. envoys met Wednesday  in Istanbul for talks on a plan to export Ukrainian grain to world markets through the Black Sea. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil.

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