Business Briefs – September 16, 2019

Oil Prices Jump as Attack on Saudi Plant Jolts Supply

NEW YORK (AP) – Global energy prices spiked Monday by 14% after a weekend attack on key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia caused the worst disruption to world supplies on record. The attack on the country’s largest oil processing plant halted more than half of its daily exports, resulting in the loss of 5% of world crude oil output.

Purdue Pharma Files for Bankruptcy As Part of Settlement

NEW YORK (AP) – Purdue Pharma, the company that made billions selling the prescription painkiller OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy in White Plains, New York, days after reaching a tentative settlement with many of the state and local governments suing it over the toll of opioids.

The filing was anticipated before and after the tentative deal, which could be worth up to $12 billion over time, was struck.

“This settlement framework avoids wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and years on protracted litigation,” Steve Miller, chairman of Purdue’s board of directors, said in a statement, “and instead will provide billions of dollars and critical resources to communities across the country trying to cope with the opioid crisis. We will continue to work with state attorneys general and other plaintiff representatives to finalize and implement this agreement as quickly as possible.”

Manufacturers, Retailers Less Optimistic, Survey Says

NEW YORK (AP) – Small manufacturers and retailers are losing confidence in the national economy yet remain upbeat about their own prospects. That’s the finding of a third quarter survey of 1,000 companies released last week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife. Sixty-three percent of manufacturing companies surveyed were optimistic about the economy, down from 69% in a second quarter survey. Fifty-three percent of retailers were optimistic, down from 59%.

With Trump Trade War a Threat, Fed Is Set to Cut Rates Again

WASHINGTON (AP) – For a second straight time, the Federal Reserve is set to cut interest rates this week to try to protect the economy from the consequences of a global slowdown and President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. After that, no one — not even the Fed itself — seems sure what it will do. The economic landscape looks too hazy.

Big Global Climate Protests on Friday Get Union Support

BERLIN (AP) – Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to join worldwide demonstrations this week ahead of a U.N. climate summit in New York, as unions and some businesses lend their support for faster action to fight climate change.

Organizers said Monday that more than 800 events were planned in the United States for Friday’s “global climate strike,” while in Germany over 400 rallies have been registered. Campaigners are also staging protests in most other European countries, Australia, Japan, India, South Africa, Canada and dozens of other locations. It follows a similar coordinated protest in March that drew many tens of thousands around the world.

Dairy Industry Pushes Back Against New Manure Storage Rules

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Wisconsin dairy industry raised a stink Monday over potential new restrictions on manure storage, insisting the regulations would make life harder on struggling farmers and force them to relocate.

State agriculture officials have been working for nearly three years on new farm siting standards. If the governor and Legislature approve the standards local governments could impose them as local ordinances or ignore them.

Volkswagen to Pay Up to $87 Million in Australia for Scandal

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Volkswagen has agreed to pay up to 127 million Australian dollars ($87 million) to settle an Australian class action stemming from the 2015 diesel emissions scandal, the German automaker and a lawyer said Monday.

The settlement was announced in the Federal Court in Sydney by law firm Maurice Blackburn and has yet to be approved by a judge.

Volkswagen will pay between AU$87 million and AU$127 million, depending on how many owners of the affected 100,000 Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda diesel vehicles sold in Australia join the class action, the firm’s principal lawyer Julian Schimmel said.