Biden tries to beat inflation by keeping L.A. port open 24/7
WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden has announced an agreement to expand operations at the port of Los Angeles to end a deadlock waiting for ships to land. This is part of his effort to reassure the US that it can overcome high inflation. Supply chain disruptions have pushed up prices and delayed deliveries, threatening the US economy and holiday shopping. Prices are jumping in large part as container ships are stranded at ports and waiting for trucks to unload. The White House has finalized an agreement for the Port of Los Angeles to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Social Security checks getting a big boost as inflation rises
WASHINGTON: Millions of retirees on Social Security will see a 5.9% increase in benefits for 2022. The biggest cost adjustment in 39 years follows an explosion in inflation as the economy struggles to overcome the stretch of the coronavirus pandemic. According to estimates released Wednesday by the Social Security Administration, benefits rise to $92 a month for the average retired worker. This increase affects the household budget for 1 in 5 Americans, about 70 million people, including Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees. Policymakers say this is a safeguard to protect benefits against loss of purchasing power, not a pay increase for retirees.
As inflation hits home, winter heating bills skyrocket
NEW YORK: With prices rising around the world for heating oil, natural gas and other fuels, the US government said Wednesday it expects homes to increase their heating bills by 54% compared to last winter. . Nearly half of homes in the US use natural gas to heat, and they could pay an average of $746 this winter, 30% more than a year ago. This may be the most expensive winter for natural gas heated homes since 2008-2009. Cold weather forecasts mean people will burn more fuel to keep warm, paying more for every bit of it.
IMF chief vows renewed effort to protect data integrity
WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund is making renewed efforts to strengthen data integrity, while focusing on the core task of helping beleaguered countries recover from the devastating global pandemic. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva successfully fought to keep her job after the data-manipulation scandal. He said on Wednesday that he was delighted that the 24-member IMF Executive Board had expressed confidence in his ability to lead the 190-nation IMF. The board had looked into allegations that Georgieva, while at the World Bank, pressured staff to boost China and other countries’ rankings in an influential business climate report in 2018.
Inflation rises to 5.4 percent from a year ago, at a 13-year high
WASHINGTON: Consumer prices rose 0.4% last month, slightly higher than in August and pushed annual inflation to the highest increase in 13 years. The consumer price index rose 5.4% in September from a year ago, up slightly from August’s gain of 5.3% and similar increases in June and July. Excluding volatile food and energy categories, core inflation rose 0.2% in September and 4% from a year ago. Key prices rose to a three-decade high of 4.5% in June.
Fed official: Bond purchases could end by mid-2022
WASHINGTON: Federal Reserve officials agreed at their last meeting that if the economy continues to recover, they may begin reducing their monthly bond purchases as early as next month and eliminate them by mid- 2022. . The discussion was revealed in the minutes of the Fed’s September 21-22 meeting released on Wednesday. Last December, the Fed said it would purchase $120 billion a month in bonds until the economy made sufficient progress toward its goals of maximum employment and inflation, which averaged 2% over time. The purpose of bond purchases is to borrow and spend more while keeping long-term interest rates low.
Facebook expands harassment policy to protect public figures
Menlo Park, Calif.: Facebook has expanded its online harassment policies to do more to prevent abuse as well as abusive attacks on public figures directed at journalists and human rights activists around the world. New rules for Facebook and Instagram also include a ban on coordinated abuse, when a group of different users form a gang to harass another person. The changes come amid increasing criticism of the company for handling hate speech, misinformation and other types of harmful content. Earlier this month, a former Facebook data scientist told Congress that the platform had failed in its responsibility to protect users.
Slight gain breaks 3-day decline for S&P 500 index
NEW YORK: Stocks ended another day of choppy trading Wednesday at marginally higher levels, enough for the S&P 500 to break a three-day losing streak. The benchmark index rose 0.3%. Strength in technology stocks helped push the Nasdaq up 0.7%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged slightly lower. Delta Air Lines fell 5.8%, the most in the S&P 500, after warnings that higher fuel and labor costs could affect its profitability going forward. Bank stocks were the biggest losers. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.54% even after the government reported another jump in consumer prices last month.
The S&P 500 was up 13.15 points, or 0.3%, at 4,363.80. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.53 points, or less than 0.1%, to 34,377.81. The Nasdaq closed 105.71 points, or 0.7%, higher at 14,571.64. The Russell 2000 Index of Small Companies rose 7.70 points, or 0.3%, to 2,241.97.
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