Business Briefs – January 13, 2016

China Turmoil Batters Faith In Beijing’s Management Skills

BEIJING (AP) – Stock market and currency turmoil has battered Chinese leaders’ reputation as shrewd economic managers and fed doubts about their willingness to push through more wrenching reforms.

Recent stock market control measures have backfired and fueled steeper falls. And in currency markets, Beijing has struggled to squelch expectations it plans to devalue the yuan. That has forced the government to spend tens of billions of dollars to defend the exchange rate.

Such volatility is common in developing countries, but China’s status as the world’s second-largest economy and biggest trader mean missteps cause global shockwaves.

Russia Warns Cuts Needed to Avoid Repeat of ‘98 Crash

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s leaders are warning the government will need to make more cutbacks if the nation is to avoid a repeat of the 1998 financial crash, the country’s biggest post-Soviet economic trauma.

The economy, which is heavily reliant on its massive oil and gas industry, is getting hammered by the plunge in global energy prices. State revenues are running dry and the cost of living is soaring for Russians as the currency drops.

Faced with the prospect of the economy languishing in recession in an election year, the government sought Wednesday to manage expectations.

GoPro Cutting About 100 Jobs After Weak 4Q Sales

NEW YORK (AP) — Wearable camera maker GoPro says it will eliminate about 100 jobs, 7 percent of its workforce, after its fourth-quarter sales fell far short of its expectations.

GoPro says fourth-quarter revenue was $435 million instead of the $500 million to $550 million it forecast. The company lowered the price of its new Hero4 Session camera after saying it made the product too expensive. That reduced its fourth-quarter revenue by $21 million.

FDA Gives OK for Company’s Genetically Engineered Potato

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A potato genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine is as safe as any other potato on the market, the Food and Drug Administration says.

In a letter Tuesday to Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co., the FDA said the potato isn’t substantially different in composition or safety from other products already on the market, and it doesn’t raise any issues that would require the agency to do more stringent premarket vetting.

Before the potato is marketed to consumers, it must be cleared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.