Business Briefs – July 10, 2019

Powell’s Message to Congress: Rate Cut Is Likely Coming Soon

WASHINGTON (AP) – Pointing to a weaker global economy, rising trade tensions and chronically low inflation, Chairman Jerome Powell signaled that the Federal Reserve is likely to cut interest rates late this month for the first time in a decade. Delivering the central bank’s semiannual report to Congress, Powell said that since Fed officials met last month, “uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook.” In addition, inflation has dipped further below the Fed’s annual target level.

China’s Largesse in Tonga Threatens Future of Pacific Nation

NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (AP) – China has been paying bureaucrats from the impoverished South Pacific archipelago of Tonga all-expenses-paid training trips to Beijing each year. China also offered low-interest loans that analysts say could prove Tonga’s undoing. The country of 106,000 people owes some $108 million to China’s Export-Import bank, equivalent to about 25% of GDP. Tonga was considered the sleepy backyard of Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., but now China is increasing its influence, and the West is responding.

Investment Report Finds Many Companies Wanting on Climate

BERLIN (AP) – A report produced for some of the world’s biggest institutional investors finds many companies in high-emission industries aren’t doing enough to respond to climate change. The report published Wednesday by the London-based Transition Pathway Initiative examined 274 publicly listed companies in sectors such as automobiles, mining and steelmaking.

Ivanka Trump’s Women’s Initiative Announces $27m in Grants

WASHINGTON (AP) – A White House initiative spearheaded by Ivanka Trump to help women in developing countries get ahead economically has announced $27 million in grants for 14 projects in 22 countries. The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative launched in February with an initial investment of $50 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development. The goal of the program is to help empower 50 million women in developing countries by 2025.

Senate Committee Approves FAA Nominee Over Dem Objections

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Federal Aviation Administration won approval from a Senate committee Wednesday despite objections from Democrats who questioned the former Delta Air Lines executive’s handling of a case involving a pilot who raised safety issues. The Commerce committee voted 14-12 along party lines to send Stephen Dickson’s nomination to the full Senate, even though Democrats accused him of participating in retaliation against a pilot who reported safety concerns.

Businesses Find Problems, Pitfalls In Making Goods Overseas

NEW YORK (AP) – Small businesses manufacture products overseas for the same reasons as larger companies; labor costs are lower than in the U.S. But there are downsides to making goods overseas and owners have dealt with these issues for years, long before the Trump administration’s trade wars. Businesses struggle as they contend with poor quality, missed production deadlines and legal disputes. And they don’t have the resources and bargaining power larger companies do to make the manufacturing process easier.