AP Business SummaryBrief at 11:07 p.m. EDT

Fed attacks inflation with another big hike and expects more

WASHINGTON (AP) — Intensifying its fight against high inflation, the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by a substantial three-quarters of a point for a third straight time and signaled more large rate hikes to come — an aggressive pace that will heighten the risk of an eventual recession. The Fed’s move boosted its benchmark short-term rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, to a range of 3% to 3.25%, the highest level since early 2008. The officials also forecast that they will further raise their benchmark rate to roughly 4.4% by year’s end, a full percentage point higher than they had forecast as recently as June.

How steep Fed rate hikes affect your finances

NEW YORK (AP) — Mortgage rates have jumped, home sales have slumped and credit cards and auto loans have gotten pricier. Savings rates are slightly juicier, though. Many economists say they fear that a recession is inevitable in the coming months. With it could come job losses that could cause hardship for households already hit worst by inflation. Wednesday, the Federal Reserve acted again to sharply raise its key short-term rate, as its previous rate hikes are already being felt by households across the economy.

EXPLAINER: How do we know when a recession has begun?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve sent a sobering message after it announced its latest big interest rate hike: It plans to keep raising rates as long as it takes to conquer the worst inflation bout in decades — even at the risk of causing a recession in the process. Its aggressive pace of rate hikes will increasingly make borrowing and spending costly for consumers and businesses. Job cuts and rising unemployment could follow. And eventually, as the job market steadily weakens along with the economy, a recession could follow. Given the strength of the job market, most economists say a recession seems months away, at least. But most of them nevertheless think an economic downturn is inevitable.

Asia stocks follow Wall St down as Fed fights inflation

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets have followed Wall Street lower after the Federal Reserve delivered another big interest rate hike to cool galloping inflation and raised its outlook for more. Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney declined. Oil prices gained. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell to its lowest level in two months after the Fed raised its benchmark lending rate by three times its usual margin. The Fed said it expects that rate to be a full percentage point higher by the end of the year than it did three months ago. Traders worry aggressive rate hikes to cool inflation might derail global economic growth.

US gas prices tick up, ending 99-day streak of lower costs

After 99 consecutive days of declining gasoline prices, the cost for a gallon has edged a penny higher. National-average prices soared above $5 per gallon over the summer adding to financial pressure on families and a potential threat for the Biden administration. While the White House has no role in determining what you pay at the pump, gas prices are always a political issue. According to the AAA, the average price for gasoline Wednesday rose a penny to about $3.68 per gallon, but prices have been in steady decline. Wednesday’s average is lower than the week-ago average of $3.70 per gallon, and well below last month’s average of $3.90 per gallon.

Senate ratifies international climate deal on refrigerants

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has taken major action to address climate change by ratifying an international agreement that compels the United States and other countries to limit use of hydrofluorocarbons. Those highly potent greenhouse gases are commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning and are more powerful than carbon dioxide. The international agreement would phase down production and use of hydrofluorocarbons by 85% over the next 14 years as part of a global phaseout intended to slow climate change. The Senate on Wednesday approved the treaty by a 69-27 vote. That’s more than the two-thirds margin required for ratification.

US has sent $8.28 billion in pandemic funds to local lenders

WASHINGTON (AP) — On the same day the Federal Reserve gave a sobering report on the U.S. economy’s trajectory, administration officials highlighted how they have kept some of the nation’s smallest businesses afloat through the pandemic. Roughly $8.28 billion has been disbursed to 162 community financial institutions across the country, through Treasury’s Emergency Capitol Investment Program, officials said Wednesday. Vice President Kamala Harris said that “There is almost $9 billion on the ground right now” for community banks and lenders. She was referring to pandemic relief funds dedicated to loans for minority-owned businesses and low-income individuals who generally have a hard time getting access to capital.

Bank CEOs warn that US economy faces ‘daunting’ challenges

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CEOs of the nation’s biggest banks have appeared in front of Congress and given a dim view of the U.S. economy, reflecting the financial and economic distress many Americans are facing. JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, Citigroup’s Jane Fraser and other chief executives said the U.S. consumer is currently in good shape but faces threats from high inflation and rising interest rates. The hearing happened on the same day the Federal Reserve announced a 3/4-point hike to its benchmark interest rate as it tries to contain inflation. While billed as a hearing on everyday finances, the CEOs also faced difficult political questions with Washington in the midst of an election year.

Front line farming: Bombs disrupt critical Ukraine industry

NOVOMYKOLAIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian farms near the front lines are facing constant shelling that is damaging fields, equipment and buildings and making it difficult to plant and harvest crops. At one farm, a worker says returning to growing grain “will be difficult.” Agriculture is a critical part of Ukraine’s economy, accounting for about 20% of its gross national product and 40% of its export revenue before the war. The country is often described as the breadbasket of Europe and millions rely on its affordable supplies of grain and sunflower oil in parts of the world where many already face hunger. Russia’s invasion has dealt a heavy blow to the industry, severely hampering transport and exports on top of damage at farms.

Home Depot workers petition to form 1st store-wide union

NEW YORK (AP) — Home Depot workers in Philadelphia have filed a petition with the federal labor board to form what could be the first store-wide union at the world’s largest home improvement retailer. The petition, filed with the National Labor Relations Board, seeks to form a collective bargaining unit for 274 employees who work in merchandising, specialty and operations. Home Depot spokesperson Sara Gorman said the company will work through the process and talk to employees about their concerns but does “not believe unionization is the best solution for our associates.” Discontent with working conditions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has kicked off labor movements at several major U.S. companies, including Amazon and Starbucks.

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