Business Highlights: China lockdowns; Consumer confidence


The AP Interview: IMF head urges China to end mass lockdowns

BERLIN (AP) — The head of the International Monetary Fund says it’s time for China to move away from mass lockdowns under its “zero-COVID” approach. Kristalina Georgieva said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press that a “recalibration” of the tough approach could shift to more targeted restrictions. That would be easier on the Chinese people and reduce spillover effects on the global economy. She also said it’s not time yet for the U.S. Federal Reserve to ease off on its rapid interest rate increases. High inflation numbers in the U.S. and Europe mean its “too early to step back.” She said the Fed “has no option but to stay the course” until there’s a credible decline in inflation.


US consumer confidence falls in November for 2nd month

U.S. consumer confidence fell for the second straight month in November amid ongoing high inflation, rising interest rates, and layoff announcements by several large tech companies. The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to 100.2 this month, down from 102.2 in October.


China ready for ‘closer partnership’ with Russia in energy

BEIJING (AP) — President Xi Jinping says China is ready to “forge closer partnership” with Russia in energy. A state news agency says Xi made the comment in a letter to a China-Russia business forum. That might expand ties that irk Washington by helping the Kremlin resist sanctions over its war on Ukraine. The announcement gave no details. China’s energy-hungry economy is one of the biggest customers for Russian oil and gas. Purchases more than doubled over a year ago in October to $10.2 billion as Chinese importers took advantage of discounts offered by Moscow. Washington, Europe and Japan cut purchases of Russian energy and expelled the country from the global banking system in retaliation for President Vladimir Putin’s Feb. 24 attack on Ukraine.


At Mich. chip plant, Biden says unions ‘built middle class’

BAY CITY, Michigan (AP) — President Joe Biden is telling Americans he is a “pro-union” president, just a day after he sided with business leaders in asking Congress to pass legislation to stave off a crippling rail strike. He toured a technology plant in Michigan on Tuesday to highlight a $300 million expansion. The South Korean company SK Siltron is expected to quadruple its production in the coming years at the plant. Biden said, as he often does, that he’s been pro-union his entire career. He said he spoke with the plant owners about how American workers were “the best workers in the world, you’re the most qualified workers in the world.”


Competitors chip away at Tesla’s US electric vehicle share

DETROIT (AP) — New electric vehicle models from multiple automakers are starting to chip away at Tesla’s dominance of the U.S. EV market, according to national vehicle registration data. But numbers collected by S&P Global Mobility show that Tesla still controlled about 65% of the growing electric vehicle market during the first nine months of this year. And the competitors made gains in the sticker price range below $50,000, where Tesla barely competes. S&P said EVs have picked up 2.4 percentage points of U.S. market share this year, growing to 5.2% of all light vehicle registrations. Of the 525,000 electric vehicles registered during the first nine months of the year, about 340,000, were Teslas.


Gas driller pleads no contest to polluting town’s water

MONTROSE, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s most active gas driller has pleaded no contest to criminal environmental charges in a landmark pollution case. Houston-based Coterra Energy Inc. entered its plea Tuesday in Susquehanna County Court. Residents of the tiny crossroads of Dimock nearby in northeastern Pennsylvania said Coterra Energy ruined their aquifer and failed to make it right. That led to one of the most prominent pollution cases to emerge from the U.S. drilling and fracking boom. Coterra agreed in a plea agreement to pay $16.29 million to connect the residents’ homes to a clean source of water and pay their water bills for the next 75 years.


Twitter ends enforcement of COVID misinformation policy

Twitter is no longer enforcing its policy against misinformation about COVID-19. The change was announced in an online update to Twitter’s rules and comes after the platform was purchased by Elon Musk, who in the past has himself spread misleading COVID claims on Twitter. The platform enacted its COVID misinformation policy in early 2020 and since then has suspended more than 11,000 accounts and removed nearly 100,000 pieces of content that it deemed potentially harmful. Some users celebrated the change Tuesday while public health experts warned it could discourage vaccination and other efforts to combat the still-spreading virus.


Ex-mayor, elected at age 23, loses corruption case appeal

BOSTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the extortion and fraud convictions of a once-celebrated young Massachusetts mayor who was found guilty of extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana businesses. In a ruling published Monday, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a series of challenges to former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Corriea’s 2021 trial, concluding that the 30-year-old was “fairly tried and lawfully convicted by an impartial jury.” Lawyers for Correia declined to comment on Tuesday. In their appeal, they accused prosecutors of carrying out an “unfair smear campaign in the courtroom” and called the evidence against their client “remarkably shallow.”


The S&P 500 fell 6.31 points, or 0.2%, to 3,957.63. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.07 points, or less than 0.1%, to 33,852.53. The Nasdaq fell 65.72 points, or 0.6%, to 10,983.78. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 5.59 points, or 0.3%, to 1,836.55.


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