Business Briefs – September 15, 2016

U.S. Regulators: Official Recall Of 1M Samsung Note 7 Phones

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) – U.S. regulators issued an official recall of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phone on Thursday because of a risk of fire.

Samsung already has voluntary recalled the devices after a few dozen devices exploded or caught fire. That was out of about 2.5 million phones sold.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is stepping in on a formal recall. Its chairman, Elliot Kaye, blasted Samsung for trying to do the recall on its own, saying that anyone who believes that to be adequate “needs to have more than their phone checked.”

U.S. Average 30-Year Mortgage Rate Jumps to 3.50 Percent

WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan reaching its highest level since June.

Rates remain at historically low levels, however.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped to 3.50 percent from 3.44 percent last week. It was the highest level since June, when it averaged over 3.60 percent. Still, the average 30-year rate is down from 3.91 percent a year ago, and is close to its all-time low of 3.31 percent in November 2012.

The 15-year fixed mortgage rate edged up to 2.77 percent from 2.76 percent.

Truckers Warn Speed Caps Will Cause Crashes, Jam Highways

DETROIT (AP) – Truckers are warning that a government plan to electronically limit the speed of tractor-trailers will lead to highway traffic jams and possibly an increase in deadly run-ins with cars.

The government has proposed requiring electronic speed limiters on all trucks and buses over 26,000 pounds manufactured after the regulation goes into effect. Speeds could be limited to 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour when the rule is finalized after a comment period that ends Nov. 7.

Regulators and others favoring speed limiters say the rule is supported by simple physics: If trucks travel slower, the impact of a crash will be less severe and fewer people will be injured or killed. But truckers say the government is actually creating conditions for more collisions by focusing on the severity of the crash while ignoring the dynamic of trucks and cars traveling at different speeds.

A Flurry of Tepid Economic Data Could Lead Fed to Delay Hike

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. factory output fell, consumers cut back at retailers and wholesale prices went nowhere in August, the latest evidence of a less-than-robust economy. The weak numbers could give the Federal Reserve further reason to hold off on raising interest rates when it meets next week.

The Fed reported Thursday that factory production fell 0.4 percent last month. Overall industrial production — which combines manufacturing, mines and utilities — dropped by an identical amount.

A second report Thursday suggested that the factory weakness may be extending into September. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that manufacturing in New York shrank in September for a second straight month. New orders and shipments fell sharply.

FCA Recalling 1.9 Million Vehicles for Air Bag Defect

DETROIT (AP) – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Thursday it’s recalling more than 1.9 million vehicles worldwide because their air bags might not deploy in a crash.

The recall affects certain Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Lancia vehicles from the 2010-2014 model years. Most are in the U.S., but 224,860 were sold in Canada and Mexico and 284,051 were sold outside North America.

FCA says an air-bag and seat-belt control module with a certain wiring design may not deploy the air bags or tighten the seat belts if the vehicle is involved in a frontal crash. That could increase the risk of injury.

FCA says it’s aware of three deaths and five injuries that may be related to the issue.

Tesla’s Autopilot System Under Scrutiny in Fatal China Crash

BEIJING (AP) – Tesla faces new scrutiny in China about its vehicle Autopilot system after state media broadcast allegations that a man killed in a crash had activated the driver-assist feature of his car.

The state broadcaster CCTV aired a report Wednesday about a January crash that killed 23-year-old Gao Yaning. The report included apparent dash cam footage of the car slamming into a slow-moving orange truck.

An official interviewed in the report said the car’s Autopilot feature was active at the time of the crash. CCTV reported Gao’s family has sued Tesla in a Beijing court, though the lawsuit was not available in online court records. Officials at the court did not answer the phone on Thursday, a Chinese holiday.