Business Briefs – August 15, 2018

Uber Narrows 2Q Loss As Company Polishes Tarnished Image

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Uber is still struggling to make money while the ride-hailing service’s CEO deals with the headaches left behind by his predecessor.

The second-quarter results released Wednesday show Uber’s pioneering service continues to reel in more passengers and revenue, despite a variety of debacles that have tarnished its reputation.

That has further complicated one of Uber’s biggest challenges — proving it can mature into a profitable business nearly a decade into its existence.

Fed Rate Policy Unintentionally Pressures Emerging Economies

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is blaming the United States for Turkey’s financial crisis, ignoring homegrown problems like high debts, raging inflation and his own erratic policies.

Yet one of the threats facing Turkey and other emerging-market countries really is made-in-America: By ratcheting up U.S. interest rates, the Federal Reserve has — unintentionally — led investors to pull money out of emerging markets like Turkey, strengthened the dollar’s value and made it harder for foreign companies to repay their dollar-denominated debts.

The resulting flight of capital into safer and higher-yielding U.S. investments has sent many emerging-market currencies tumbling. The MSCI Emerging Markets Currency Index has sunk nearly 8 percent since early March.

A Rising Concern? After Straws, Balloons Get More Scrutiny

NEW YORK (AP) – Now that plastic straws may be headed for extinction, could Americans’ love of balloons be deflated?

The joyous celebration of releasing balloons into the air has long bothered environmentalists, who say the pieces that fall back to earth can be deadly to seabirds and turtles that eat them. So as companies vow to banish plastic straws, there are signs balloons will be among the products to get more scrutiny, even though they’re a very small part of environmental pollution.

In Virginia, a campaign that urges alternatives to balloon releases at weddings is expanding. And a town in Rhode Island outright banned the sale of all balloons earlier this year, citing the harm to marine life.

Nuke Talks Uncertain, U.S. Hits Shippers With NKorea Sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) – With little apparent progress in denuclearization talks with North Korea, the Trump administration on Wednesday stepped up pressure on the isolated nation by punishing three foreign companies accused of helping the North evade international sanctions.

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the companies, which are based in China, Russia and Singapore, as well as the head of the Russian firm, that block any assets they may have in U.S. jurisdictions and bar Americans from doing business with them.

The move came as the administration continues to press for full compliance with international sanctions against North Korea even as it seeks movement from Pyongyang on the denuclearization commitment North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave to President Donald Trump at their June summit in Singapore.

U.S. factory Output Rose Solid 0.3 Percent In July

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing output rose a solid 0.3 percent last month, led by increased production of cars, electronics, and appliances.

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that overall industrial production — which includes output at mines and utilities as well as factories — increased 0.1 percent in July after climbing 1 percent in June. Production slid 0.3 percent at mines and 0.5 percent at utilities.