Business Briefs – March 24, 2019

Potential Recession Signal: A Key ‘Yield Curve’ Has Inverted

NEW YORK (AP) – One of the most closely watched predictors of a potential recession just yelped even louder. The signal lies within the bond market, where investors show how confident they are about the economy by how much interest they’re demanding from U.S. government bonds. It’s called the “yield curve,” and a significant part of it flipped Friday for the first time since before the Great Recession.

Treasury Grants Further Relief On IRS Withholding Penalties

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Treasury Department is expanding again the relief it grants taxpayers who had too little in income taxes withheld from their paychecks in the first year of a sweeping tax overhaul. Treasury says that taxpayers will be able to avoid penalties for paying too little in taxes as long as they paid at least 80 percent of what they owed the government.

Italy, China Deepen Ties Under Wary Gaze of U.S., EU

MILAN (AP) – Italy’s head of state has told visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping that a new investment and trade deal with China must be a “two-way street.” The Italian president was addressing concerns among Western allies that the so-called “Belt and Road” project is meant merely to amplify Beijing’s global influence. During Xi’s two-day official state visit, Italy is expected to become the first major democracy to sign up to the “Belt and Road” initiative.

Trump Slams European Automakers, Threatens U.S. Tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump criticized European auto makers Friday, suggesting he could impose tariffs on imports from companies such as BMW and Mercedes unless they build more plants in the United States. In an interview on Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria, Mr. Trump said that he has rejected proposals from the European Union that would bring auto tariffs on both sides to zero.

Trump Says He’s Bucking Treasury, Reversing NKorea Sanctions

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that he has reversed his administration’s decision to slap new sanctions on North Korea, with his press secretary explaining that the president “likes” leader Kim Jong Un and doesn’t think they’re necessary.

It’s unclear, however, which sanctions the president was referencing in his tweet, which took Treasury officials by surprise.

“It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea,” Trump wrote from his private club in Palm Beach, Florida.

FAA to Look at Boeing’s Fixes For 737 Max This Week

NEW YORK (AP) – Boeing on Saturday confirmed the flight-control software fixes that it plans to make for its grounded 737 Max 8, the plane involved in two fatal accidents within five months.

The company is tweaking the system designed to prevent an aerodynamic stall if sensors detect that the plane’s nose is pointed too high. After the update, the system will rely on data from more than one sensor before it automatically pushes the plane’s nose lower. The system won’t repeatedly push the nose down, and it will reduce the magnitude of the change.

Boeing said it will pay to train airline pilots.

The Federal Aviation Administration expects Boeing’s update this week. The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that regulators tentatively approved Boeing’s changes, subject to flight tests, citing government documents and people familiar with the details. FAA declined to comment.