China blocks some Taiwan imports but avoids chip disruptions
BEIJING (AP) — China has blocked imports of citrus, fish and other foods from Taiwan in retaliation for a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi but avoided disrupting one of the world’s most important technology and manufacturing relationships. Sanctions on Taiwanese processor chips for Chinese assemblers of smartphones and other electronics could send shockwaves through the global economy. Beijing has announced military exercises including artillery...
China blocks some Taiwan imports but avoids chip disruptions
BEIJING (AP) — China has blocked imports of citrus, fish and other foods from Taiwan in retaliation for a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi but avoided disrupting one of the world’s most important technology and manufacturing relationships. Sanctions on Taiwanese processor chips for Chinese assemblers of smartphones and other electronics could send shockwaves through the global economy. Beijing has announced military exercises including artillery fire in waters near Taiwan following Pelosi’s arrival in Taipei. That might delay or disrupt shipping. The potential disruption to trade and manufacturing adds to concerns that global economic growth might be weakening. Asian stock markets rose after there was no immediate sign of Chinese military action.
Inflation weighs on back-to-school buying for many families
NEW YORK (AP) — This back-to-school shopping season, parents are focusing on the basics while also trading down to cheaper stores as surging inflation takes a toll on their household budgets. That is particularly true for parents in the low to middle income bracket. Last week, Walmart noted higher prices on gas and food are forcing shoppers to make fewer purchases of discretionary items, particularly clothing. Best Buy, the nation’s largest consumer electronics chain, cited that inflation has dampened consumer spending on gadgets. Such financial struggles amid the industry’s second-most important shopping season behind the winter holidays mark a big difference from a year ago when many low-income shoppers, flush with government stimulus and buoyed by wage increases, spent freely.
OPEC+ boosts oil output by slower pace than previous months
The OPEC oil cartel and its allies have decided to boost production in September by a much slower pace than in previous months. The move Wednesday comes amid high gasoline prices and unstable energy supplies exacerbated by the war Russia is waging on Ukraine. OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, and its allies, led by Russia, say they will increase output to 100,000 barrels a day next month after raising it by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August. It comes after U.S. President Joe Biden visited Saudi Arabia last month, aiming to improve relations and encourage more oil production from OPEC to draw down high prices at the pump.
US proposes to increase refund protections for air travelers
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government is proposing tougher rules for when airlines must give passengers refunds for changing their travel plans. The Transportation Department issued a proposal Wednesday that would require refunds if the airline changes a passenger’s arrival or departure by several hours, or adds another stop on their itinerary. The proposal comes after the department was flooded with complaints by passengers whose flights were canceled or changed — or who were afraid to fly during the early months of the pandemic. The proposal faces a public-comment period and likely opposition by airlines.
Asian shares rise on optimism on economic data, earnings
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are mostly higher as investors welcome encouraging economic data and quarterly earnings reports from big companies. Benchmarks rose Thursday across the region, including Japan, China, Australia and South Korea. The gains followed a strong rally on Wall Street. Jitters eased over the visit of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan after she left for South Korea and then later Japan, firm U.S. allies for decades. But analysts said some geopolitical risks remain, with China conducting military exercises near the self-ruled island that it claims as its own territory. Investors are also watching U.S. nonfarm payrolls for indications on hiring.
GOP targets for Dem bill: Inflation, taxes, Manchin, Sinema
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans see inflation, taxes and immigration as Democratic weak spots worth attacking in the upcoming battle over an economic package the Democrats want to push through the Senate. They’re also targeting two Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The measure embodies some of the top environment, health care and tax policy aspirations that President Joe Biden and party leaders want to enact as voters start tuning in to this fall’s congressional elections. The GOP would like to derail or weaken the measure or, at the very least force Democrats to take votes that would be painful to defend in reelection campaigns.
New crypto oversight legislation arrives as industry shakes
WASHINGTON (AP) — After 13 years, at least three crashes, dozens of scams and Ponzi schemes and hundreds of billions of dollars made and evaporated, cryptocurrencies finally have the full attention of Congress. Lawmakers and lobbyists have papered Capitol Hill with proposals on how to regulate the industry. A proposal Wednesday from Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Republican Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas would hand the regulatory authority over Bitcoin and Ether to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. Bills proposed by other members of Congress and consumer advocates have suggested giving the authority to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
German leader says gas pipeline part is ready for Russia
BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has inspected a turbine at the center of a natural gas dispute and declared Wednesday that “there are no problems” blocking the part’s return to Russia besides missing information from Russia’s state-controlled gas company. The Kremlin insisted on Wednesday that more assurances are needed. Russian energy giant Gazprom last week halved the amount of natural gas flowing through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20% of capacity, the latest of several reductions that it blamed on delays to the turbine’s delivery after sanctions were imposed on Russia over its war in Ukraine.
Machinists at 3 Boeing defense plants ratify new contract
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Workers in three Boeing factories in the Midwest have a new contract, and Boeing is averting the threat of a strike. Nearly 2,500 workers at the plants make military planes and other defense products. They voted Wednesday to ratify a contract that will boost pay an average of 14% over three years and improve retirement benefits. Less than two weeks ago, the same workers overwhelmingly rejected a Boeing contract offer and threatened to go on strike. A spokesman for Boeing says the company is pleased with the outcome. The new contract covers workers at Boeing plants in Missouri and Illinois.
Inspectors OK 1st Ukraine grain ship but no sign yet of more
ISTANBUL (AP) — The first grain ship to leave Ukraine under a Black Sea wartime deal has passed inspection in Istanbul and is heading on to Lebanon. Ukraine says 17 other vessels at its ports are loaded with grain and waiting permission to leave. There was no word yet, however, on when they could depart. Authorities said a joint civilian inspection team spent three hours Wednesday checking the cargo and crew on the ship Razoni. The wartime deal aimed to ease food security around the globe by creating a safe corridor across the Black Sea.