Investors are expecting another rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve as it and other central banks battle inflation that has been hovering at 40-year highs.
A rally in technology stocks pushed Wall Street’s major indexes higher on Monday, with the S&P 500 closing 0.6% higher and the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.3%.
Australian central bank hikes rate for 1st time in 11 years
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s central bank has lifted its benchmark interest rate for the first time in more than 11 years.
The cash rate rose to 0.35% from 0.1% in a move potentially damaging to a government that will seek reelection on May 21.
Today’s decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia was widely expected after official data released last week showed that Australia’s inflation rose to 5.1% in the year through March. That was the highest annual rate since 2001.
The RBA adjusts interest rates to keep inflation within a 2%-3% target band. The cash rate had been at a record low 0.1% since November 2020.
Heat wave sparks blackouts, questions on India’s coal usage
NEW DELHI (AP) — An unusually early and brutal heat wave is scorching parts of India, where acute power shortages are affecting millions as demand for electricity surges to record levels.
Supplies of coal at many thermal power plants are running perilously low, spawning daily power outages in several states. The shortages are sparking scrutiny of India’s long reliance on coal, which produces 70% of the country’s electricity.
Experts say the situation highlights India’s pressing need to diversify its energy sources, as demand for electricity is expected to increase more than anywhere else in the world over the next 20 years as the densely populated country develops.
Energy chief Granholm touts $3B plan to boost EV batteries
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has announced $3.1 billion in funding to U.S. companies that make and recycle lithium-ion batteries.
It’s part of the administration’s push to dramatically boost sales of electric vehicles.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says the plan will offer grants to companies that process or recycle battery components to increase domestic supplies of a market now dominated by China and other countries. Biden has set a goal to have electric vehicles make up half of all vehicles sales in America by 2030.
The grant program is separate from an executive order President Joe Biden issued this spring, invoking the Defense Production Act to boost production of lithium and other critical minerals needed for batteries.
Georgia sets $1.5B in aid for electric vehicle maker Rivian
ATLANTA (AP) — The state of Georgia and local governments will give Rivian Automotive $1.5 billion of incentives to build a 7,500-job, $5 billion electric vehicle plant. That’s according to documents the company and state signed Monday.
That’s by far the largest incentive package Georgia has ever offered to a company. Georgia Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson says the size of the package is “appropriate” for the largest single industrial announcement in Georgia history.
Rivian hopes to break ground as early as this summer and begin production in Georgia in 2024. The plant has been beset by opposition from residents east of Atlanta who say Rivian will spoil their rural quality of life.
1,000 CNH Industrial workers strike in Iowa, Wisconsin
UNDATED (AP) — More than 1,000 workers at CNH Industrial plants in Wisconsin and Iowa have walked out on strike in search of a better deal with the company that makes agriculture and construction equipment.
The United Auto Workers union said the strike began at noon Monday.
The action follows a spate of strikes in the past year, including a high-profile monthlong walkout at Deere & Co. that resulted in 10% raises and improved benefits for 10,000 UAW workers. The company said in a statement that it is disappointed it couldn’t reach an agreement with the union, and it remains committed to the bargaining process.
RIGHT WHALE PROTECTIONS
New whale rules take effect, but enforcement still to come
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — New lobster fishing rules intended to protect a rare species of whale are now in effect, but enforcement has yet to begin.
The rules are designed to protect the North Atlantic right whale, which numbers less than 340 in the world and is vulnerable to lethal entanglement in fishing gear.
The rules took effect Sunday and require lobstermen in some parts of the ocean to start using weakened rope or special inserts to weaken existing rope. However, the federal government has acknowledged fishermen’s complaints that supply chain issues have prevented many harvesters from acquiring the gear yet.