Financial News

Friday, August 12th
August 12, 2022
Saturday, August 13th
August 12, 2022
Financial News

 

Why gas prices are falling

Gas prices hit record highs just two months ago, but now they’re sinking below $4 a gallon. The auto club and insurer AAA said Thursday that the nationwide average price was $3.99 a gallon. There are several factors behind the dramatic drop, and the biggest is a sharp pullback in oil prices. The price of benchmark U.S. crude is down about one-fourth from its peak. Investors bidding down the price of oil are worried that the global economy is shaky, and that demand for energy will get weaker.

 

South Korea to pardon Samsung’s Lee, other corporate giants

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung’s de-facto leader has secured a pardon of his conviction for bribing a former president in a corruption scandal that toppled a previous South Korean government. The act of leniency underscored the tech company’s huge influence in the nation. Lee Jae-yong’s pardon is partially symbolic since he was released on parole a year ago after serving 18 months of a prison term that would have ended in July. Critics say the billionaire has remained in control of Samsung even while behind bars. Still, the pardon will allow the heir to the electronics juggernaut to fully resume his management duties and could make it easier for the company to pursue investments and mergers. The Justice Ministry said Friday that Lee and other top business leaders will be pardoned Monday.

 

Beirut bank standoff exposes desperation of economic crisis

BEIRUT (AP) — A judge has ordered a gunman who took up to 10 hostages at a Beirut bank to force the release of his trapped savings to stay behind bars. It’s apparently a bid to prevent copycats as desperation deepens over Lebanon’s economic meltdown. Relatives said Friday that keeping him in custody breaches an agreement that had him surrender after a seven-hour standoff in return for $35,000 and promises that he would be questioned then set free. It was the latest reminder of the pain created by Lebanon’s nearly three-year economic and financial crisis, described by the World Bank as one of the world’s worst since the 1850s.

 

Wall Street builds on gains, heads for 4-week winning streak

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rising again at the start of trading on Wall Street, putting the S&P 500 on track for its first four-week winning streak since November. The benchmark index is 0.5% higher in early Friday trading, and other indexes are up similar amounts. Stocks spurted this week after reports showed inflation cooled more than expected last month. That raised hopes a peak in inflation may be near and the Federal Reserve may be less aggressive in raising rates than feared. The next influential report comes later Friday morning, which will show how much inflation households are girding for in coming years.

 

UK economy shrinks in 2nd quarter, sharpening recession fear

LONDON (AP) — The United Kingdom’s economy shrank in the three months to June. It’s a smaller-than-expected contraction but adds to jitters about the rocky months ahead. The Office for National Statistics said Friday that Britain’s gross domestic product fell by 0.1% between April and June, down from 0.8% growth in the previous quarter. Health spending was the biggest contributor to the fall, as the government scaled down coronavirus testing, contact tracing and vaccination programs. Analysts say the decline didn’t necessarily mean the start of a recession, often defined as two quarters of economic contraction but not an official designation. The Bank of England, however, says a recession is likely later this year as a cost-of-living crisis fueled by inflation worsens.

 

Amsterdam’s Schiphol compensating air travelers hit by chaos

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport has launched a compensation program for travelers who missed their flights because of lengthy delays that have plagued the busy European hub for months. Schiphol’s announcement Thursday night heads off a possible mass claim for compensation by passengers who saw their holiday plans evaporate amid hourslong delays for security screening. The Dutch airport was one of several across Europe that was plunged into chaos by staff shortages and soaring demand as air travel rebounded strongly from two years of COVID-19 restrictions. Airlines and airports slashed jobs during the pandemic, making it difficult to quickly ramp back up to serve the new burst of travelers.

 

Portugal: EU eyes Iberia-Italy pipeline to get gas to Europe

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s prime minister says European authorities are considering a liquefied natural gas pipeline from Spain to Italy. That option would get around France’s opposition to a gas link-up across the Pyrenees between the Iberian peninsula and central Europe. Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa said Friday that his country and Spain could send a lot of the liquefied natural gas, or LNG, they receive from around the world to other European Union countries. EU countries have struggled to find ways of weaning the bloc off its reliance on Russian natural gas. Russia has weaponized gas exports to pressure the bloc into reducing its sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

 

FTC looking at rules to corral tech firms’ data collection

WASHINGTON (AP) — Whether it’s the fitness tracker on your wrist, the “smart” home appliances in your house or the latest kids’ fad going viral in online videos, they all produce a trove of personal data for big tech companies. How that data is being used and protected has led to growing public concern and officials’ outrage. Now federal regulators are looking at drafting rules to crack down on what they call harmful commercial surveillance and lax data security. The Federal Trade Commission announced the initiative Thursday, seeking public comment on the harmful effects of companies’ data collection and the potential benefit of new rules to protect consumers’ privacy.

 

Ship heads to Ukraine to get grain for food-starved Africa

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A ship is approaching Ukraine to pick up wheat for hungry people in Ethiopia. That will be the first food delivery to Africa under a U.N.-brokered plan to unblock grain trapped by Russia’s war and bring relief to some of the millions worldwide on the brink of starvation. For months, fighting and a Russian blockade meant grain produced in Ukraine, known as the world’s breadbasket, piled up in silos. In recent days, several ships carrying grain have left Ukrainian ports under the new deal — but most of the shipments were of animal feed and went to Turkey or Western Europe. On Friday, European Council President Charles Michel announced that the first shipment by the U.N.’s World Food Program of humanitarian aid for Africa would soon load and then depart.

 

European drought dries up rivers, kills fish, shrivels crops

LUX, France (AP) — An unprecedented drought is afflicting nearly half of Europe. It is damaging farm economies, forcing water restrictions, causing wildfires and threatening aquatic species. Water levels are falling in major rivers such as the Danube, the Rhine and the Po, endangering shipping. There hasn’t been significant rainfall for almost two months in Western, Central and Southern Europe. Britain on Friday officially declared a drought across southern and central England amid one of the driest summers on record. Human-caused global warming is exacerbating conditions as hotter temperatures speed up evaporation and reduced snowfall limits supplies of fresh water for irrigation. One French farmer has already started using his stores of winter fodder to feed his dairy cows as the grass turns brown.