Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 |
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G20 finance meetings in Bali overshadowed by war in Ukraine
Financial leaders of the Group of 20 richest and biggest economies agreed on the need to jointly tackle global ills such as inflation and food crises, but failed to bridge differences over the war in Ukraine. As host, Indonesia has sought to bridge divisions between G-20 members over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The finance ministers and central bank chiefs appeared to concur on the urgency of global economic challenges, including decades-high inflation and food insecurity worsened by the war. They also pledged to adjust policy to try to bring prices under control. But enmity over the conflict in Ukraine was evident.
Diesel lacking for Cuba drivers as fuel used for electricity
Some drivers have been lining up for days — occasionally even more than a week — to fill up with diesel in Cuba. Officials there apparently have been sending scarce fuel to power generation plants rather than fuel stations for vehicles. Drivers have organized themselves into lines with lists and WhatsApp groups while waiting for the arrival of fuel tankers. The shortage largely affects diesel used by heavy vehicles, as well as the classic cars whose original engines were long ago swapped out, often with Eastern European truck engines. Experts say lessened imports from allied Venezuela have partly caused the problem.
Fed ethics inquiry clears Powell and Clarida trades
The Federal Reserve’s inspector general concluded Thursday that financial trades made several years ago by Chair Jerome Powell and Richard Clarida, then the vice chair, did not violate any laws or ethics rules. At the same time, the letter said the investigation of the presidents of two regional Federal Reserve banks who stepped down after their trading activities came to light remains ongoing. The investigation stemmed from revelations last year that several Fed officials had bought and sold stocks, real estate investment funds and other securities during periods of sharp market turmoil in the spring of 2020 after the pandemic had erupted.
Reports: Musk demands months for trial prep in Twitter suit
Elon Musk fired back Friday at Twitter’s lawsuit seeking to force him to complete his $44 billion acquisition of the platform, according to multiple news reports. Musk’s lawyers accused the company of withholding information about fake accounts — a longtime preoccupation of Musk’s — and of creating delays and providing evasive responses and technical obstacles. Back in April, Musk pledged to pay $54.20 a share for Twitter, which agreed to those terms after reversing its initial opposition to the deal. But the two sides have been bracing for a legal fight since the billionaire said a week ago that he was backing away from his agreement to buy the company.
Average car payments hit a record high
Tight supplies of new cars, high prices and rising interest rates are making automobiles increasingly unaffordable for many Americans. In June, the average transaction price of a new car topped $48,000 for the first time, an increase of almost 13% from a year earlier, Kelley Blue Book reported this week. And because the interest rate on cars is influenced by the benchmark rate set by the Federal Reserve, car payments are ballooning as the Fed raises rates to fight inflation. Most new car purchases are financed, and the average monthly new car payment now hovers around $700, a record high, according to recent industry reports.
Crytopmining capacity in US rivals energy use of Houston, findings show
Seven of the largest bitcoin mining companies in the United States are set up to use nearly as much electricity as the homes in Houston, according to data disclosed Friday as part of an investigation by congressional Democrats who say miners should be required to report their energy use. The United States has seen an influx of cryptocurrency miners, who use powerful, energy-intensive computers to create and track the virtual currencies, after China cracked down on the practice last year. Democrats led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are also calling for the companies to report their emissions of carbon dioxide.
US electric car sales climb sharply despite shortages
Americans are buying electric vehicles at a record pace, undeterred by rising prices and long waits for delivery, a further indication that the twilight of the internal combustion engine is on the horizon. Vehicles that run on batteries accounted for 5.6% of new-car sales from April through June, still a small slice of the market but twice the share of a year ago, according to Cox Automotive, an industry consulting firm. Companies could have delivered more electric cars if they had been able to build them faster. They struggled with shortages of semiconductors, while prices soared for lithium and other raw materials needed for batteries.
Janet Yellen Pushes Russian Oil Price Cap
On the eve of a meeting of finance chiefs from the world’s major economies, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen continued to push for a price cap on Russian oil, calling it “one of our most powerful tools” to alleviate the painful leaps in energy and food prices. Yellen said Thursday that imposing a price limit on Russian oil would not only reduce President Vladimir Putin’s ability to continue waging a war in Ukraine and shrink the Russian economy but also lower global oil prices. Russia could still export oil at a profitable price if there were a cap, she said.
By wire sources
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