April 4, 2023
US chip controls threaten China’s technology ambitions
BEIJING (AP) — China’s leaders are seething at U.S. efforts to cut off access to technology to make advanced computer chips. They appear to be struggling to figure out how to retaliate without hurting their own ambitions in telecoms, artificial intelligence and other industries. President Xi Jinping’s government sees the chips that are used in everything from phones to kitchen appliances to fighter jets as critical assets in its rivalry with Washington and efforts to gain wealth and global influence. China has its own chip foundries, but they can supply only low-end processors used in autos and appliances. The U.S. government, Japan and the Netherlands have cut off access to chipmaking tools they say might be used to make weapons.
Credit Suisse investors slam failures as chairman apologizes
ZURICH (AP) — Shareholders of Credit Suisse have upbraided its leadership for years of mismanagement, scandal and obfuscation that sent its stock price into the gutter. Executives at the annual shareholder meeting Tuesday apologized and insisted the only way forward was a government-engineered takeover by rival UBS. A largely polite but sometimes boisterous, emotional and angry mood pervaded at what’s likely the last annual meeting in the bank’s 167-year history. One shareholder wore a red tie “to represent the fact that I and plenty of others today are seeing red.” Credit Suisse Chairman Axel Lehmann acknowledged the shock and anger people felt and said “the bank could not be saved.”
Feb job openings slip to 9.9M; a win in inflation fight?
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. job openings slipped to 9.9 million in February, fewest since May 2021 and a sign that the job market may be starting to cool, which would be welcome news for the inflation fighters at the Federal Reserve. The Labor Department said that vacancies were down from 10.6 million in January.The American job market has proven resilient in the face of sharply higher interest rates. Over the past year, the Fed has raised its benchmark rate nine times in a drive to corral inflation that last year hit a four-decade high. The surge in consumer prices has eased since mid-2022 but remains well over the central bank’s 2% year-over-year target.
US sanctions Lebanese brothers who sold ‘compromised fuel’
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department is sanctioning two Lebanese brothers accused of selling “dangerously compromised fuel” to Lebanon’s state utility company. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control blocked Raymond Zina Rahme and Teddy Zina Rahme from accessing U.S. bank accounts and the larger U.S. financial system. The brothers allegedly used their role as government subcontractors to import tainted fuel that caused “significant harm to Lebanese power plants.” Since late 2019, Lebanon has fallen into the worst economic crisis in its modern history.
TikTok fined $15.9M by UK watchdog over misuse of kids’ data
LONDON (AP) — Britain’s privacy watchdog has hit TikTok with a multimillion-dollar penalty for misusing children’s data and violating other protections for users’ personal information. The Information Commissioner’s Office said Tuesday that it issued a $15.9 million fine to the short-video sharing app, which is wildly popular with young people. The watchdog says TikTok allowed as many as 1.4 million children in the U.K. under 13 to use the app despite the platform’s own rules prohibiting children that young from setting up accounts. The company says it works to keep the platform safe and off-limits to kids under 13. TikTok and its Chinese parent ByteDance are facing tightening scrutiny in the West over concerns about data privacy and cybersecurity risks.
Dimon: Bank rules should change after Silicon Valley Bank
NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon told investors Tuesday that government and banks should work to adjust industry regulations following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank last month. The chairman and CEO said the financial system needs to be adjusted so that one bank’s failure does not “cause undue panic and financial harm.” The comments, made in Dimon’s annual letter to JPMorgan Chase shareholders, were his first since the two banks failed. Dimon is a veteran of the 2008 financial crisis, and one of the last senior executives remaining at a Wall Street firm since the industry nearly collapsed 15 years ago.
Virgin Orbit seeks bankruptcy protection after mission fail
Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after a failed mission and increasing difficulty in raising funding for future operations. The company laid off most of its staff on Friday and in and told the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in a filing Monday that it was looking to sell its assets. Virgin Orbit said in a statement that it has secured $31.6 million in debtor-in-possession financing from Branson’s Virgin Investments Ltd.
Wall Street drifts lower following weaker reports on economy
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are drifting lower on Wall Street after two reports on the economy came in weaker than expected. The S&P 500 was 0.2% lower in Tuesday morning trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq composite were also down slightly. The pair of weaker-than-expected reports may have bolstered calls for a recession to hit the economy. But they also had a potential upside for markets. They could give the Federal Reserve reason to hold rates steady at its next meeting in May, instead of hiking them as it has for the last year. Treasury yields fell following the reports.
A ship for windpower takes shape in Louisiana oil country
HOUMA, La. (AP) — In Louisiana bayou country a major builder of supply and service vessels for deep water oil drillers is building a new kind of vessel — one that will serve the offshore wind industry. Louisiana shipbuilding giant Edison Chouest Offshore is building the Eco Edison for Orsted, a Danish firm that builds and operates wind farms worldwide, and Eversource, a New England energy provider. The ship will serve as a floating hotel for U.S. offshore wind technicians and a warehouse for their tools as they operate and maintain wind farms.
Biden offers $450M for clean energy projects at coal mines
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is making $450 million available for solar farms and other clean energy projects at the site of current or former coal mines. The money is part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to combat climate change. Up to five projects nationwide will be funded through the 2021 infrastructure law, at least two set aside for solar farms. The White House said Tuesday it’ll allow developers of clean energy projects to take advantage of billions of dollars in new bonuses. The bonuses are being offered in addition to investment and production tax credits available through the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.