Business Briefs – July 1, 2019

OPEC Weighs Extension of Output Cuts Amid Slackening Demand

VIENNA (AP) – OPEC is extending its deal to cut production for another nine months in a bid to keep oil prices from sagging as the oil cartel faces a weakening outlook for demand. The decision among the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at a meeting Monday at OPEC’s headquarters in Vienna was widely expected. The cuts are aimed to put upward pressure on the price of oil and reduce oversupply.

Why Wealth Gap Has Grown Despite Record-Long Economic Growth

WASHINGTON (AP) – As it enters its 11th year, America’s economic expansion is now the longest on record — a streak that has shrunk unemployment, swelled household wealth, revived the housing market and helped fuel an explosive rise in the stock market. Yet even after a full decade of uninterrupted economic growth, the richest Americans now hold a greater share of the nation’s wealth than they did before the Great Recession began in 2007.

Chief Says Shorthanded TSA Will Handle July 4 Travel Surge

Travelers should prepare for a little more time getting through security checkpoints over the July 4 weekend. The head of the Transportation Security Administration says, however, there is no evidence that the deployment of about 350 screeners to the U.S.-Mexico border is making airport lines longer. David Pekoske says he still wants money to hire another 700 screeners, but low pay makes it hard to hire and retain officers in many cities.

Japan Resumes Commercial Whaling Despite Low Demand

TOKYO (AP) – Japanese whalers returned to port Monday with their first catch after resuming commercial whaling for the first time in 31 years, achieving the long-cherished goal of traditionalists that is seen as largely a lost cause amid slowing demand for the meat and changing views on conservation.

A fleet of five boats left the northern Japanese port of Kushiro earlier Monday and brought back two minke whales. A crane lifted them and slowly placed them on the back of a truck to be taken to a portside factory for processing. Workers in blue plastic overalls poured sake from paper cups onto the first whale to express thanks and celebrate the first catch.

It was the first commercial hunt since 1988, when Japan switched to what it called research whaling after commercial whaling was banned by the International Whaling Commission. Japan gave six months’ notice that it was withdrawing from the IWC, a move that took effect Sunday.

Principal Closes Deal to Buy Wells Fargo Retirement Business

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Principal Financial Group says it has closed its purchase of the Wells Fargo’s Institutional Retirement & Trust business.

Principal said Monday it is beginning the integration of the Wells Fargo’s 401k, pension, executive deferred compensation, employee stock ownership plans and asset advice business.

Principal Chairman Dan Houston says Principal broadens offerings in retirement and asset management, doubling the size of its U.S. retirement business with the deal.