Business Briefs – December 31, 2017

Trump Administration Aims to Trim Rules on Offshore Drilling

DALLAS (AP) – The Interior Department is proposing to reverse offshore-drilling safety rules imposed after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The Trump administration calls them an unnecessary burden on the oil and gas industry. The Obama administration imposed tougher rules after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers and triggered a massive oil spill.

Trump Criticizes Post Office, Amazon Over Shipping Rates

PALM BEACH, Fla.& (AP) – President Donald Trump criticized the U.S. Postal Service because the agency is losing money and “charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages.”

Trump tweeted Friday, “Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging much more!”

The Postal Service has lost money for 11 consecutive years, mostly because of pension and health-care costs. While online shopping has led to growth in its package-delivery business, that hasn’t offset declines in first-class mail.

Shares of Amazon surpassed $1,000 each for the first time in April, and have continued to rise.

Officials: Nearly Half of Puerto Rico Clients Still Without Power

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Puerto Rico authorities say nearly half of power customers in the U.S. territory still lack electricity more than three months after Hurricane Maria. Officials say that just 55 percent of the nearly 1.5 million customers have power.

Goldman Sachs Expects $5 Billion Hit From Tax Overhaul in 4Q

NEW YORK (AP) – Goldman Sachs expects to take a $5 billion hit to profits for the fourth quarter and year because of the tax overhaul signed into law last week. The New York bank said on Friday that two thirds of the $5 billion are due to changes in repatriation taxes, when funds are returned from overseas. But eventually Goldman, and other banks, will benefit from the changes to the tax code.

China Offers Tax Break to Keep Investors After U.S. Changes

BEIJING (AP) – China is offering foreign companies a break on their taxes in a bid to retain investment in response to changes in tax laws by the United States and other governments. The Finance Ministry says those who re-invest in industries specified by Beijing will be exempt from withholding taxes on profits.

Chinese Manufacturing Growth Slows Slightly in December

BEIJING (AP) – Manufacturing in China grew at a slightly slower pace in December than the previous month, a Chinese government survey showed on Sunday, following government controls on bank lending.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported that the country’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to 51.6 from 51.8 in November.

The index is based on a 100-point index on which the 50 mark divides expansion from contraction.

The survey found production and new orders were only slightly lower than in November but at 54 and 53.4 showed steady growth.

Zhao Qinghe, a senior statistician with the National Bureau of Statistics, said the data showed a continued improvement in the economic environment at home and abroad.

The PMI is a widely watched indicator of essential parts of China’s economy, which expanded at a still-robust 6.8 percent annual pace in the third quarter.