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Business Highlights: 'Shrinkflation,' Biden pick for Fed

Business Highlights: 'Shrinkflation,' Biden pick for Fed

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No, you’re not imagining it — package sizes are shrinking

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s the inflation you’re not supposed to see. From toilet paper to yogurt to corn chips, manufacturers are quietly shrinking package sizes without lowering prices. It’s dubbed “shrinkflation,” and it’s accelerating worldwide. In the U.S., a small box of Kleenex now has 60 tissues; a few months ago, it had 65. In the U.K., Nestle slimmed down coffee tins from 100 grams to 90 grams. Shrinkflation isn’t new, experts say. But it proliferates in times of high inflation as companies grapple with rising costs for ingredients, packaging, labor and transportation.

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Senate panel backs Michael Barr, Biden pick as Fed regulator

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nomination of Michael Barr, President Joe Biden’s choice to be the top regulator on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, was approved by a congressional committee and sent on the full Senate. Barr, who served as a top Treasury Department official in the Obama administration, is considered likely to be confirmed by the full Senate. A confirmation vote would make him the third of Biden’s nominees to join the Fed’s board and would further solidify Biden’s stamp on the central bank. It would also fill the last of seven seats on the board just as the Fed is grappling with the worst inflation spike in four decades.

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Reports: Twitter to provide Musk with raw daily tweet data

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter plans to offer Elon Musk access to its “firehose” of raw data on hundreds of millions of daily tweets in an effort to push forward the Tesla billionaire’s agreed-to $44 billion acquisition of the social media platform, according to multiple news reports. Twitter declined to comment. Efforts by The Associated Press to confirm those reports were not successful. Musk, who struck a legally binding agreement to buy Twitter in April, contends that the deal can’t proceed unless the company provides more information about the prevalence of fake accounts on its platform.

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Russia, Turkey back plan to export grains; Ukraine doubtful

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Russia and Turkey say they support a safe corridor in the Black Sea to export Ukrainian grain to global markets. Turkey’s foreign minister hosted his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Ankara on Wednesday. A Turkish minister also said that Western sanctions should be lifted against Russia for allowing the grain to be exported. Ukraine was not invited to the talks, and has expressed concern that acceding to Russia’s request to remove mines from its ports could allow Moscow to attack its southern coast. The European Union accused Moscow of “weaponizing” food supplies to gain an advantage in the war.

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Stocks fall as choppy trading persists on Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell broadly on Wall Street Wednesday, erasing most of their gains for the week, as investors were discouraged to see more evidence of inflation’s impact on businesses and another gloomy outlook on the global economy. The S&P 500 lost 1.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8% and the Nasdaq fell 0.7%. Banks and industrial stocks fell broadly, as did some big technology companies. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which helps set interest rates on mortgages, rose to 3.02%. It’s been a bumpy week for major indexes, which have lurched between gains and losses, sometimes by the hour.

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‘Great resignation’ reaches White House with staff turnover

WASHINGTON (AP) — Not even the White House is immune from the economic trend that’s been called the “great resignation” as employers struggle to fill vacancies and workers jump to new jobs at record rates. The Biden administration is undergoing a period of unusually high staff turnover as President Joe Biden nears 18 months in office. Long hours, low morale and relatively low pay are taking a toll on both the ranks of the senior staff and the more numerous junior aides who keep the White House running. It’s not unusual for staff to turn over at this point in a presidency, but the swiftness of the change has been stark at times.

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EU lawmakers endorse ban on combustion-engine cars in 2035

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union lawmakers have approved a proposed ban on selling new cars with combustion engines in 2035 to step up the fight against global warming. The European Parliament voted Wednesday to require automakers to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 100% by the middle of the next decade. The mandate would amount to a prohibition on the sale in the 27-nation bloc of new cars powered by gasoline or diesel. The lawmakers also endorsed a 55% reduction in CO2 from automobiles in 2030 compared with 2021. Environmentalists hailed the parliament’s decisions but the votes were criticized by Germany’s auto industry lobby group. Cars account for 12% of European emissions blamed for climate change.

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OECD slashes global economic outlook on Russia-Ukraine war

LONDON (AP) — The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says Russia’s war in Ukraine and the energy and food crises it worsened will severely drag down global economic growth and push up inflation this year. The Paris-based group on Wednesday said China’s “zero-COVID” policy that has scrambled manufacturing supply chains also is weighing on a world economy that was starting to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s the latest institution to slash its growth forecast, underscoring the dimming economic outlook. The OECD expects the global economy to expand 3% in 2022, down from the 4.5% it predicted in December. Inflation is forecast at nearly 9% for the OECD’s 38 member countries, nearly double the previous estimate.

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The S&P 500 lost 44.91 points, or 1.1%, to 4,115.77. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 269.24 points, or 0.8%, to 32,910.90. The Nasdaq dipped 88.96 points, or 0.7%, to 12,086.27. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies shed 28.56 points, or 1.5%, to 1,891.01.