AP Business SummaryBrief at 11:45 p.m. EDT | Business News



Fed ethics inquiry clears Powell and Clarida trades

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve’s inspector general concluded Thursday that financial trades made several years ago by Chair Jerome Powell and Richard Clarida, then the vice chair, did not violate any laws or ethics rules. At the same time, the letter said the investigation of the presidents of two regional Federal Reserve banks who stepped down after their trading activities came to light remains ongoing. The investigation stemmed from revelations last year that several Fed officials had bought and sold stocks, real estate investment funds and other securities during periods of sharp market turmoil in the spring of 2020 after the pandemic had erupted.

Long lines are back at US food banks as inflation hits high

PHOENIX (AP) — Long lines are back at outside food banks around the U.S. as working Americans overwhelmed by inflation increasingly seek handouts to feed their families. Many people are coming for the first time amid the skyrocketing grocery and gas prices. The food banks struggle to help even as federal programs provide less food, grocery store donations wane and cash gifts don’t go nearly as far while U.S. inflation hits a 40-year high. Charitable food distribution has remained far above amounts given away before the coronavirus pandemic, even though demand tapered off somewhat late last year.

Fed board member opens door to 1-point hike if demand rises

WASHINGTON (AP) — Christopher Waller, a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, said Thursday that he would be open to supporting a huge 1 percentage point increase in the Fed’s key short-term interest rate later this month if upcoming economic data points to robust consumer spending. Such an increase would mark a further ramping up of the Fed’s rate hikes as it intensifies its fight against accelerating inflation. Faster rate increases would heighten the risk that the central bank’s anti-inflationary policies would cause a recession.

Dem says Manchin blocking energy, tax provisions in big bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Joe Manchin has told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that he will oppose an economic measure if it includes climate or energy provisions or boosts taxes on the rich or corporations. That’s according to a Democrat briefed on the conversations. Manchin’s demands upend party leaders’ hopes for a more sweeping package and leave the measure’s future unclear. The West Virginia senator derailed his party’s far bigger and wider-ranging social and environment package last December. The official says that now, Manchin has told Schumer he will only support a package limited to curbing pharmaceutical prices and extending federal subsidies for buying health care coverage.

China’s economy shrinks 2.6% during virus shutdowns

BEIJING (AP) — China’s economy contracted in the three months ending in June compared with the previous quarter after Shanghai and other cities were shut down to fight coronavirus outbreaks, but the government said a “stable recovery” is under way. Official data show the economy shrank by 2.6%, compared with the January-March period’s already weak quarter-on-quarter rate of 1.4%. Compared with a year earlier, which can hide recent fluctuations, growth slid to a weak 0.4% from the earlier quarter’s 4.8%. Anti-virus controls shut down Shanghai, site of the world’s busiest port, and other manufacturing centers starting in late March, fueling concerns global trade and manufacturing might be disrupted. Millions of families were confined to their homes, depressing consumer spending.

Amazon offers concessions to head off EU antitrust cases

LONDON (AP) — Amazon has promised to treat third-party merchants on its website fairly as it seeks to resolve two European Union antitrust investigations. The bloc’s competition watchdog said Thursday that the U.S. online retail giant offered to make a number of commitments to ease competition concerns. The European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s top antitrust enforcer, will now seek feedback on those commitments from “interested parties.” The commission launched an investigation four years ago over concerns that Amazon was using data from merchants selling products on its platform to gain an unfair advantage over them. It also opened a separate investigation into whether Amazon favors its own retail business and merchants that use its logistics and delivery system.

IMF reaches preliminary deal with Pakistan on $6B bailout

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The International Monetary Fund says it has reached a preliminary agreement on a $6 billion bailout package for Pakistan. Thursday’s announcement sets the stage for the revival of the 2019 accord with the IMF for this majority Muslim nation. Pakistan has been facing a serious economic crisis since last year. The release of slightly over $1 billion had been held up this year over IMF concerns about Pakistan’s compliance with the conditions of the bailout by the government of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. The parliament ousted him through a no-confidence vote in April.

Officials suggest pipeline company hid problems after spill

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. prosecutors suspect a Wyoming company of potentially concealing problems with a pipeline that broke in 2015 and spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude into the Yellowstone River. The spill fouled the water supply of Glendive, Montana and took months to clean up. Operator Bridger Pipeline told federal officials that the line had been adequately buried. But prosecutors say one survey indicated it was just beneath the surface of the ever-shifting river bottom. That would put it at greater risk of breaking. Bridger rejected the allegations as “conspiracy theories.” Prosecutors are pursuing a parallel case against a related company that spilled 600,000 gallons of crude in North Dakota in 2016.

EXPLAINER: Twitter, Musk and the Delaware Chancery Court

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Twitter Inc.’s lawsuit to force billionaire Elon Musk to make good on his promise to buy the social media giant will be resolved in a small but powerful Delaware court that specializes in high-stakes business disputes. Twitter is seeking an order of “specific performance” directing Musk to follow through with the $44 billion acquisition. Specific performance is among the unique remedies available in Delaware’s 230-year-old Court of Chancery. Chancery typically handles civil cases where a plaintiff is seeking non-monetary relief. Those cases can range from guardianships to disputes over estates, trusts and wills to disagreements involving some of the world’s largest companies.

Wholesale inflation in June surged 11.3% from a year ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation at the wholesale level climbed 11.3% in June compared with a year earlier, the latest painful reminder that inflation is running hot through the American economy. The U.S. producer price index — which measures inflation before it hits consumers — rose at the fastest pace since hitting a record 11.6% in March. The report on wholesale prices came a day after the Labor Department reported that surging prices for gas, food and rent catapulted consumer inflation to a new four-decade peak in June, further pressuring households and likely sealing the case for another large interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

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