Business Briefs – June 1, 2016

Ahead of Meeting, OPEC Seems Close to Riding Out Price Slump

VIENNA (AP) – OPEC is not yet in safe harbor. But ahead of a top-level meeting, the 13-nation oil cartel appears close to weathering the storm of slumping crude prices that threatened to bankrupt some members and called into question its relevance.

After touching a 13-year low early this year, the price of oil has moved steadily upward to its present level of around $50 a barrel.

While that’s still only half of what crude fetched as late as two years ago, it’s a gain of almost 90 percent since January.

World Economy Risks Getting Caught In ‘Low-Growth Trap’

PARIS (AP) – The world economy risks getting caught in a “low-growth trap” if governments don’t spend more on investments, open up to trade, and make reforms, a top economic forum warned Wednesday.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said in a wide-ranging report that it is increasingly pessimistic about the global outlook and cut its growth forecasts.

Among the risks identified by the Paris-based economic agency, which represents the world’s most developed economies, was a potential British exit from the European Union, volatility in financial markets, and Europe’s inability to find a common response to its refugee flows.

U.S. Bank Earnings Dip 2 Percent In 1Q Amid Low Oil Prices

WASHINGTON (AP) – The impact of low oil prices has continued to hobble the finances of U.S. banks, which posted increased loan losses in the first quarter driven by a huge jump in delinquent energy loans.

U.S. bank earnings dipped 2 percent in the first three months of the year to $39.1 billion from $39.8 billion a year earlier, data issued Wednesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. showed.

Banks posted a major increase in commercial and industrial loans that are past due. A large portion came from the energy sector, where low oil prices made it harder for related companies to repay their loans.