Driven by consumers, US inflation grows more persistent
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. inflation is showing signs of entering a more stubborn phase that will likely require drastic action by the Federal Reserve, a shift that has panicked financial markets and heightens the risks of a recession. Some of the longtime drivers of higher inflation — spiking gas prices, supply chain snarls, soaring used-car prices — are fading. Yet underlying measures of inflation are actually worsening. And the ongoing evolution of the forces behind an inflation rate that’s near a four-decade high has made it harder for the Fed to wrestle it under control.
US wholesale inflation declines in August to still-high 8.7%
WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation at the wholesale level jumped 8.7% in August from a year earlier, a slowdown from July yet still a painfully high level that suggests prices will keep spiking for months to come. The government also said that on a month-to-month basis, the producer price index — which measures inflation before it reaches consumers — declined 0.1% from July to August, the second straight monthly decline. Yet the better readings mostly reflect plunging gas prices and don’t necessarily point to a broader slowdown in inflation. On Tuesday, the government reported that consumer inflation was rampant across much of the economy in August.
One union rejects deal days ahead of rail strike deadline
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Members of one union are rejecting a tentative deal with the largest U.S. freight railroads while three other unions remained at the bargaining table just days ahead of a national strike deadline. A strike would intensify snarls in the nation’s supply chain that have contributed to rising prices. But the IAM agreed to delay any strike by its members until Sept. 29 to allow more time for negotiations and to allow other unions to vote. About 4,900 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 19 voted to reject the tentative agreement Wednesday.
California sues Amazon, alleging antitrust law violations
NEW YORK (AP) — California is suing Amazon, accusing the company of violating the state’s antitrust laws by stifling competition and engaging in practices that push sellers to maintain higher prices on products on other sites. In an 84-page lawsuit filed Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court, the California Attorney General’s office said Amazon had effectively barred sellers from offering lower prices for products elsewhere through contract provisions that harm the ability of other retailers to compete. The lawsuit mirrors another complaint filed last year by the District of Columbia, which was dismissed by a district judge earlier this year. That decision is being appealed.
Gov’t OKs nearly $190M in bids from offshore oil lease sale
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. government has accepted nearly $190 million in bids from an offshore oil and gas lease sale that was held nearly a year ago but rejected by a federal judge. Wednesday’s action by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management meets a deadline set in the climate bill signed in August. That law also requires the bureau to schedule three sales that had been put on hold by the Biden administration, with the first held by Dec. 31. An American Petroleum Institute official says he’s pleased that the sale has gone through but disappointed “that it took 19 months and an act of Congress.”
EU court largely upholds $4B Google Android antitrust fine
LONDON (AP) — One of the European Union’s highest courts has largely upheld a huge fine issued to Google by the bloc’s antitrust enforcers in 2018 over its Android mobile operating system. The European Court of Justice’s General Court on Wednesday mostly confirmed a European Commission decision to slap Google with a fine of more than 4 billion euros for stifling competition through the dominance of Android. The court said it was appropriate to give Google a fine of 4.125 billion euros, slightly lower than the original 4.34 billion euro penalty.
‘Car guy’ Biden touts electric vehicles at Detroit auto show
DETROIT (AP) — President Joe Biden spent a good portion of his day Wednesday showcasing his administration’s efforts to promote electric vehicles at the Detroit auto show. Biden is a self-proclaimed “car guy” who owns a 1967 Corvette Stingray. He got behind the wheel of a snazzy new Corvette at the show amid jokes that he might drive it back to Washington. But he journeyed to the auto show mostly to highlight the new climate, tax and health care law that offers tax incentives for buying electric vehicles. He announced approval of the first $900 million in infrastructure money to build EV chargers across 53,000 miles of the national highway system and 35 states.
A less-glitzy Detroit auto show returns after 3-year absence
DETROIT (AP) — When it came time to showcase its electric Chevrolet Equinox SUV to the public this year, General Motors decided against doing so at the big Detroit auto show, as it typically would have done in the past. Instead, it unveiled the Equinox six days earlier. GM’s decision symbolized just how much smaller this year’s auto show will be, with few new model debuts, less-glitzy displays, fewer journalists and possibly lower attendance. Though the pandemic is partly to blame, larger forces are at play, too: Automakers have figured out that new models can make a bigger splash when they’re unveiled to a digital audience on a day where they don’t have to share the spotlight with their rivals.
Energy crisis: EU chief wants to tap excess producer profits
BRUSSELS (AP) — European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants to cap the revenue of electricity producers that are making extraordinary profits because of the effects of the war in Ukraine and climate change. She said Wednesday that the proposal could raise $140 billion to help people in the European Union hit by spiraling energy prices. Von der Leyen says “it is wrong to receive extraordinary record revenues and profits benefiting from war and on the back of consumers.” She also says the bloc’s electricity market must be reformed to reduce how much natural gas influences electricity prices. All the proposals would need approval by the 27 EU countries.
Stocks turn mixed on Wall Street after painful sell-off
Stocks indexes are mixed on Wall Street following the market’s worst day in two years on fears about higher interest rates and the recession they could create. The S&P 500 slipped 0.1% in afternoon trading Wednesday. The benchmark index is coming off its biggest drop since June 2020, which ended a four-day winning streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed an early gain, while the Nasdaq edged higher. A report on inflation at the wholesale level showed prices are still rising rapidly. It echoed a report on inflation at the consumer level Tuesday, which raised expectations for interest-rate hikes and triggered a rout for markets.