Business Briefs – September 13, 2018

China Says Washington Asks to Resume Talks on Tariff Fight

BEIJING (AP) – China’s government says Washington has asked to resume negotiations on their worsening tariff dispute. A foreign ministry spokesman said the two sides are working out the details. The announcement followed reports by foreign chambers of commerce in China that companies have been hurt by tariffs imposed by both sides on $50 billion of each other’s goods. The Trump administration is due to decide whether to impose new duties on an additional $200 billion of Chinese products.

Debate on New Tax Cuts Undercut By GOP Election Pressure

WASHINGTON (AP) – House lawmakers are debating a Republican proposal to expand the new tax law by making permanent the individual tax cuts now set to expire in 2026. But the move is undercut by election pressures faced by GOP lawmakers from high-tax states where residents are hurt by the law’s limits on state and local tax deductions. The tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee took up the legislation Thursday.

U.S. Budget Deficit Hits $214.1 Billion in August

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government racked up a $214.1 billion deficit in August, double the red ink from a year ago, although a big part of that increase reflected quirks in the calendar. The Treasury Department says the August deficit pushed the deficit for the first 11 months of the budget year to $898.1 billion, 33 percent higher than the same period a year ago.

Average U.S. Mortgage Rates Climb; 30-Year at 4.60 Percent

WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates this week jumped to their highest level since the start of August, raising costs for would-be homebuyers. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages climbed to 4.60 percent from 4.54 percent last week. The average rate has surged from 3.78 percent a year ago, posting the largest annual gain since May 2014.

Global Oil Production Hits a New Record, Led by U.S. and OPEC

DALLAS (AP) – The world’s supply of oil hit a record 100 million barrels a day, another sign of oil’s dominance in the energy market. The International Energy Agency says OPEC and the U.S. are boosting output, helping offset declines in Iran, which faces new U.S. sanctions that are already hurting its exports, as well as in strife-torn Venezuela.

The Apple Watch Is Inching Toward Becoming a Medical Device

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) – Apple Watch is slowly morphing into a medical device, as Apple tries to turn its smartwatch from a niche gadget into a lifeline to better health. Since the watch came out in 2015, most people haven’t figured out why they need to buy something that largely does the same things are their phones. But that may change now that the Apple Watch is adding ever-more practical features like the ability to detect falls and take high-quality heart readings that usually require a visit to the doctor.

VW to Stop Making Iconic Beetle Next Summer

DETROIT (AP) – Volkswagen says it will stop making its iconic Beetle in July of next year. Volkswagen of America on Thursday announced the end of production of the third-generation Beetle by introducing two final special editions. The Beetle was developed in Germany in 1938 and came to the U.S. 11 years later. It sold for about 30 years before U.S. sales ceased. The company revived it in 1998 and revamped it for the 2012 model year in an effort to help it attract more male buyers.