Regional Briefs – June 30, 2019

G20 Stops Short of Denouncing Protectionism, Warns of Global Slowdown

OSAKA (Reuters) – Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies warned on Saturday of growing risks to the global economy but stopped short of denouncing protectionism, calling instead for a free, fair trade environment after talks some members described as difficult.

In a communique at the end of a two-day meeting in Japan’s western city of Osaka, the leaders said global growth remained low and risks were tilted to the downside, as trade and geopolitical tensions have grown.

“We strive to realize a free, fair, nondiscriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open,” they said in a second successive summit statement that refrained from urging the need to resist protectionism.

China Promises to Ease Foreign Access to Gas, Call Centers

BEIJING (AP) – China promised Sunday to allow more foreign ownership of gas pipelines, call centers and some other businesses in the latest of a series of market-opening measures.

The Communist Party has announced a series of tariff cuts and market-opening steps over the past 18 months aimed at making its state-dominated economy more productive. The moves come amid trade tension with Washington, though none directly addresses American complaints about Beijing’s technology ambitions and controls on foreign companies.

Study: Retirees Lose by Taking Social Security at Wrong Time

It’s tough to decide when to start taking Social Security benefits and it appears many people are shorting themselves with their choice. A new study finds that only 4% of retirees start claiming their Social Security benefits at the most financially optimal time; overall, households lose an average of $110,000 in net income by choosing to take the retirement benefit at a less than ideal time.

Facebook’s Digital Currency May Flourish Where Banks Don’t

NEW YORK (AP) – Facebook’s new Libra digital currency is aimed at a huge potential market for financial services — the entire developing world, with billions of people in areas such as India and Sub-Saharan Africa, where financial services are often less sophisticated and many people don’t use traditional banking accounts. Whether or not these billions will want to make the switch is anyone’s guess.

Secondhand Fashion Site the RealReal Shares Rise in Debut

NEW YORK (AP) – Shares of The RealReal, the secondhand-fashion online retailer, jumped nearly 45% in their debut Friday, testing investors’ appetite for the staying power of pre-owned discounted Gucci and other luxury goods. The company was founded in 2011 by CEO Julie Wainwright and is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker “REAL.” On Thursday, the initial public offering of 15 million shares was priced above expectations at $20 apiece. That raised $300 million before expenses.

Report: Apple to Shift Assembly Of Mac Pro From U.S. to China

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A newspaper is reporting that Apple will manufacture its new Mac Pro computer in China, shifting away from a U.S. assembly line it had been using for that product in recent years. The Wall Street Journal reported the plan Friday, citing unidentified people familiar with the move. Apple issued a statement saying the new Mac Pro will be designed and engineered in California, but wouldn’t say where it will be assembled. Apple has been assembling Mac Pros in Austin, Texas, since 2013.

South American Bloc Strikes Long-Sought Europe Trade Deal

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – South America’s Mercosur trade bloc has struck a “strategic association” trade deal with the European Union after two decades of negotiations. The EU says the agreement clinched in the Belgian capital of Brussels is “an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive agreement” that sends a strong positive signal amid global trade tensions.

Honda to Recall 1.6m Vehicles, Finish Takata Recalls Early

DETROIT (AP) – Honda says it’s recalling 1.6 million vehicles in the U.S. to replace potentially deadly Takata air bag inflators, finishing its required recalls six months ahead of schedule. When the latest recall is done, Honda says it will have recalled 22.6 million inflators in about 12.9 million vehicles.

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