Business highlights: Climate bills, gas prices


Big climate bill: major new spending to boost green energy

WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress is set to pass a transformative climate change-fighting bill. Friday’s vote will be the first major climate package in the US and will involve spending of about $375 billion. Most of the bill aims to provide cash, subsidies and tax exemptions to make green energy ultimately so cheap, it’s almost irresistible. It would reduce US carbon emissions by about 40%. The settlement bill comes 34 years after Congress was warned that climate change was a serious threat. Since then there have been 308 weather disasters, each worth $1 billion.


Gas prices fall just below $4 for the first time in 5 months

DALLAS (AP) – US gas prices have dropped below $4 a gallon for the first time in more than five months. AAA says the national average for a regular gallon is $3.99. It is 15 cents lower in the last week and 68 cents lower in the previous month. Gasoline peaked at about $5.02 a gallon on June 14. Motorists in California and Hawaii are still paying upwards of $5, and other states in the West are paying close to it. The cheapest gas is in Texas and many other states in the South and Midwest. The decline reflects falling crude oil prices, which have fallen to close to $90 a barrel from $120 a barrel in June.


US wholesale inflation fell for the first time in two years in July

WASHINGTON (AP) – Wholesale prices fell from June to July, the first month-on-month decline in more than two years and a sign that some inflationary pressures on the US economy cooled last month. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that the producer price index – which measures inflation before it reaches consumers – fell 0.5% in July. This was the first monthly drop since April 2020 and was below the sharp 1% increase from May to June. The moderation in wholesale inflation suggests that consumers may get some respite from persistent inflation in the coming months.

See also  Godrej Consumer Revenue meets Street expectations but lower volumes impact margins


Shares closed mixed after fresh signs of moderation in inflation

NEW YORK (AP) – An afternoon pullback on Wall Street mixed left stock indexes wiped out most of their morning gains after yet another encouraging report about inflation. The S&P 500 closed down 0.1% on Thursday. The Nasdaq also fell, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose slightly. Investors weighed in on new data showing inflation at the wholesale level to be slower than economists expected in July. This raises hopes that inflation may be nearing peak and the Federal Reserve will be less aggressive about raising interest rates out of fear. Shares trimmed their gains after the Treasury yield climbed. The Walt Disney Company rallied after reporting stronger-than-expected quarterly results.


US 30-year mortgage rate over 5%, now up 5.22%

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average long-term US mortgage rates rose this week in a relentlessly volatile market as the key 30-year loan rate bounced back more than 5%. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year rate rose to 5.22% from 4.99% last week. Popular among those looking to refinance their homes, the average rate on a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose from 4.26% to 4.59%. Last week the 30-year rate fell below 5% for the first time in four months. Experts see some stability returning to the housing market as the decline in homebuyer demand has eased, although supply remains tight.


The FTC is looking at rules governing tech firms’ data collection

WASHINGTON (AP) — Whether it’s a fitness tracker on your wrist, “smart” home devices in your home or the latest kids’ craze going viral in online videos, they all create an archive of personal data for big tech companies . How that data is being used and protected is raising public concern and the outrage of officials. Now federal regulators are considering drafting rules for what they call harmful commercial surveillance and easing data protection. The Federal Trade Commission announced the initiative Thursday, seeking public comment on the harmful effects of companies’ data collection and the potential benefits of new rules to protect consumers’ privacy.

See also  Blinken worried over detention of Congolese opposition figure, raised issue


Big Mac is coming back: McDonald’s to reopen in Ukraine

CHICAGO (AP) – McDonald’s will begin reopening some of its restaurants in Ukraine in the coming months. The burger giant closed its Ukrainian restaurants after Russia’s invasion about six months ago, but continues to pay its 10,000-plus employees in the country. McDonald’s on Thursday said it plans to begin gradually reopening some restaurants in the capital Kyiv and western Ukraine, where other companies are doing business ahead of the fight. McDonald’s has 109 restaurants in Ukraine, but did not say how many would reopen, when or which locations would be first. McDonald’s has sold 850 of its restaurants in Russia.


Mexico raises prime interest rate to 8.5%, highest in 16 years

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico’s central bank has raised its interbank interest rate by 0.75% to 8.5% – the highest level in at least 16 years. The Bank of Mexico cited continuing inflationary pressures, and predicted inflation to hit 8.5% in the third quarter. Officials did not rule out future rate hikes, and Intercam Bank says in an analysis report that interest rates could reach 10% or more, depending on inflation. Mexico’s annual inflation rate hit 8.15% in July, the highest in more than two decades. The Mexican peso gained ground against the dollar ahead of a widely expected move to raise rates.


The S&P 500 slipped 2.97 points, or 0.1%, to 4,207.27. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 27.16 points, or 0.1%, to 33,336.67. The Nasdaq closed 74.89 points, or 0.6%, down at 12,779.91. The Russell 2000 Index of Small Companies rose 6.01 points, or 0.3%, to 1,975.26.

See also  The busiest economic week of summer is over: Here's what we learned