Business Briefs – April 17, 2019

Europe Car Sales Sink for 7th Straight Month

MILAN (AP) – New car sales in Europe are continuing to fall for the seventh straight month, dropping by 4 percent in March.

The European carmakers’ association ACEA, based in Brussels, said 1.72 million new cars were sold last month, down from 1.79 million in March 2018. Italy led all five top markets in decline, with a double-digit drop.

The Volkswagen group gained market share, capturing 23.2 percent of sales with a mild 1-percent drop. Shares of its luxury brands were mixed, with Audi up by 1.7 percent and Porsche plummeting 19 percent.

French carmaker Renault was alone among mass carmakers in increasing sales, up 2 percent, on the strength of its lower-priced Dacia marquee.

German luxury carmaker Daimler’s sales slipped by 13.3 percent. BMW sales were down by 2.2 percent.

Shared Electric Scooters Surge, Overtaking Docked Bikes

NEW YORK (AP) – Love them or hate them, electric scooters are everywhere — zipping along city streets and littered on sidewalks, to the dismay of pedestrians and drivers who must share the road.

And now they have overtaken station-based bicycles as the most popular form of shared transportation outside transit and cars in the U.S.

According to a new report released Wednesday by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, riders took 38.5 million trips on shared electric scooters in 2018, eclipsing the 36.5 million trips on shared, docked bicycles.

China’s Economic Growth Steady Amid Tariff Fight With U.S,

SHANGHAI (AP) – China’s economic growth held steady in the latest quarter despite a tariff war with Washington as Beijing’s efforts to reverse a slowdown started to gain traction.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.4% over a year before in the three months ending in March, the government reported Wednesday. That matched the previous quarter for the weakest growth since 2009.

A revival in Chinese growth and demand for imports could help to shore up weakening global economic activity. China is the biggest export customer for its Asian neighbors and a top market for autos, mobile phones and other consumer goods, food and industrial technology.

Some of Samsung’s New Folding Phones Are Already Breaking

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Some of Samsung’s new, almost $2,000 folding phones appear to be breaking after just a couple of days.

Journalists who received the phones to review before the public launch said the Galaxy Fold screen started flickering and turning black before completely fizzling out. Two journalists said they removed a thin, protective layer from the screens that they thought was supposed to come off, but was meant to stay.

Fed Sees Moderate Growth But Problems in Trade And Floods

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve said Wednesday the economy was expanding at a moderate pace in March and early April, despite uncertainty caused by trade tensions and severe flooding in the Midwest.

In its latest report on economic conditions around the country, the Fed said that some districts reported a slight strengthening following a slowdown this winter. But weakness remained, especially in sluggish consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of economic activity.

The Fed report, known as the beige book, said that tariffs imposed on imports, higher shipping costs and rising wages had all contributed to some increase in input costs.

EU Threatens to Tax $20 Billion Of U.S. Goods Over Boeing Aid

BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union has drawn up a list of $20 billion worth of U.S. products it could tax in an escalating feud over plane industry subsidies, the EU’s executive commission said Wednesday.

The commission said the EU could tax the products, which range from aircraft parts to frozen fish, from early next year in retaliation for U.S. financial support to Boeing that it says hurt Europe’s Airbus.

The extent of the EU punitive duties will depend on a ruling by the World Trade Organization. Earlier in this dispute, the EU sought permission to target $12 billion worth of U.S. products. Businesses and stakeholders have through May to give feedback on the proposed EU tariffs.