April 28, 2023
A key inflation gauge tracked by Fed remained high in March
WASHINGTON (AP) — A key index of underlying inflation that is closely followed by the Federal Reserve remained elevated last month, keeping the Fed on track to raise interest rates next week for the 10th time since March of last year. The index, which excludes volatile food and energy costs to capture “core” prices, rose 0.3% from February to March and 4.6% from a year earlier — still far above the Fed’s 2% target rate. Some Fed officials are concerned that core inflation hasn’t declined much since reaching 4.7% in July.
Fed’s review of role in Silicon Valley Bank collapse due out
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is scheduled Friday to release a highly-anticipated review of its supervision of Silicon Valley Bank, the go-to bank for venture capital firms and technology start-ups that failed spectacularly in March, setting off a crisis of confidence for the banking industry. The review, due to be released at 11 a.m. eastern, is expected to examine how regulators may have missed warning signs in Silicon Valley Bank’s business and whether they could have been addressed before the bank failed. Further the report is expected to look at what regulators could do better to prevent a similar bank failure in the future.
Europe’s economy barely grows as inflation pinches consumers
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European economy has scraped out meager growth in the first three months of the year. That’s barely momentum as stubborn inflation is hiking the price of groceries and eroding people’s willingness to spend paychecks that are failing to keep pace. Friday’s less-than-stellar increase of 0.1% from the previous quarter follows disappointing growth estimates from the U.S., which kept alive fears of a looming recession in the world’s largest economy. The 20 countries that use the euro currency picked up speed from January through March after zero growth in the last three months of 2022. Industrial activity has picked up, but inflation is holding back consumer spending.
Foreign companies in China face growing scrutiny, pressure
BEIJING (AP) — Foreign companies are under growing pressure in China from anti-corruption, security and other investigations as President Xi Jinping’s government tightens control over business. That is clashing with efforts to lure back investors after the end of anti-virus controls. This week, Bain & Co. said police questioned staff in its Shanghai office but gave no details of what they were looking for. Last month, the corporate due diligence firm Mintz Group said its Beijing office was raided by police who detained five employees. Also last month, an employee of a Japanese drug maker was detained on spying charges and the government announced a security review of memory chip maker Micron Inc.
Stock market today: US futures slip ahead of inflation data
Wall Street pointed toward small declines ahead of the release of closely-watched inflation data that could influence what the Federal Reserve does at its policy meeting next week. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 each slipped 0.4% before the bell on Friday. Coming later is the Commerce Department’s consumer spending report, which contains a measure of inflation that’s closely watched by the Fed, which has aggressively tried to turn back inflation by raising its key lending rate nine straight times. More corporate earnings are also on tap for Friday, though fewer than the mid-week deluge.
Exxon ups production to counter falling prices in record Q1
Exxon Mobil’s profit more than doubled in the first quarter as the oil and natural gas company overcame declining prices by producing more oil. Exxon Mobil Corp. earned $11.43 billion, or $2.79 per share, for the three months ended March 31. A year earlier it earned $5.48 billion, or $1.28 per share. Stripping out certain items, earnings were $2.83 per share. The results beat Wall Street expectations, but Exxon does not adjust its reported results based on one-time events such as asset sales. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were looking for earnings of $2.65 per share.
Japan to restore preferred trade status for South Korea
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s trade ministry says it has begun procedures to restore preferential trade status for South Korea, days after Seoul took a similar step for Tokyo and requested reciprocity, and more than three years after the countries downgraded each other during a bitter historical dispute. The step would end a trade dispute that began when Japan removed South Korea from its list of countries given fast-track approvals in trade, in apparent retaliation for South Korean court rulings that ordered Japanese companies to compensate Korean workers for forced labor during World War II. Seoul and Tokyo have been working to repair their ties as they deepen three-way security cooperation with Washington in response to growing regional threats from North Korea and China.
PGE announces major clean energy storage project in Portland
Portland General Electric, the utility that serves Portland, Oregon, plans to announce Friday it is putting in the second-largest battery storage installation in the United States, 400 MW of power. Large batteries diminish the need for power plants that worsen climate change. The only larger standalone project in the country is Vistra Moss Landing in California, currently at 400 MW but it will soon add an additional 350 MW. The Portland project will generate enough electricity for around 260,000 homes, roughly the size of the city, for four hours at full power.
Berlin sees 10th day of road blockades by climate activists
BERLIN (AP) — Climate activists are staging a 10th straight day of protests in Berlin. They blocked key roads during rush hour and brought parts of the German capital to a standstill on Friday. Members of the Last Generation group glued themselves to the road and caused long traffic jams for commuters driving into the city. The group is trying to draw attention to the threat of global warming and the need for governments to step up measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Last Generation has acknowledged that its protests are provocative but argues that creating friction can encourage debate about climate change. Some German politicians have called for tougher police measures and sentences against the activists.
Prince’s Trust gala draws plenty of celebrities, donations
NEW YORK (AP) — The star-studded Prince’s Trust Global Gala raised more than $1.7 million Thursday night at Casa Cipriani in New York City, as a wide range of grantees — past and present — explained how King Charles III’s charity has improved their lives. “Luther” star Idris Elba revealed that without a grant from The Prince’s Trust when he was 17, he would not have been able to join the National Youth Music Theatre, which launched his career. The Prince’s Trust hopes to offer that kind of support in the United States, where it plans to further expand this year.