Business

California Pushes Electric Trucks as the Future of Freight
Business

California Pushes Electric Trucks as the Future of Freight

Neri Diaz thought he was ready for a crucial juncture in California’s ambitious plans, closely watched in other states and around the world, to phase out diesel-powered trucks.His company, Harbor Pride Logistics, acquired 14 electric trucks this year to work alongside 32 diesel vehicles, in anticipation of a rule that says diesel rigs can no longer be added to the list of vehicles approved to move goods in and out of California’s ports. But in August the manufacturer of Mr. Diaz’s electric vehicles, Nikola, took back the trucks as part of a recall, saying it would return them in the first quarter of the new year.“It’s a brand-new technology, first generation, so I knew things were going to happen, but I wasn’t expecting all my 14 trucks to be taken back,” he said. “It is a big impact on my...
Under Argentina’s New President, Fuel Is Up 60%, and Diaper Prices Have Doubled
Business

Under Argentina’s New President, Fuel Is Up 60%, and Diaper Prices Have Doubled

Over the past two weeks, the owner of a hip wine bar in Buenos Aires saw the price of beef soar 73 percent, while the zucchini he puts in salads rose 140 percent. An Uber driver paid 60 percent more to fill her tank. And a father said he spent twice as much on diapers for his toddler than he did last month.In Argentina, a country synonymous with galloping inflation, people are used to paying more for just about everything. But under the country’s new president, life is quickly becoming even more painful.When Javier Milei was elected president on Nov. 19, the country was already suffering under the world’s third-highest rate of inflation, with prices up 160 percent from a year before.But since Mr. Milei took office on Dec. 10 and quickly devalued the Argentine currency, prices have soared a...
Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline
Business

Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline

Despite lingering inflation, Americans increased their spending this holiday season, early data shows. That comes as a big relief for retailers that had spent much of the year fearing the economy would soon weaken and consumer spending would fall.Retail sales increased 3.1 percent from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 compared with the same period a year earlier, according to data from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. The numbers, released Tuesday, are not adjusted for inflation.Spending increased across many categories, with restaurants experiencing one of the largest jumps, 7.8 percent. Apparel increased 2.4 percent, and groceries also had gains.The holiday sales figures, driven by a healthy labor market and wage gains, suggest that ...
Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy
Business

Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy

The attacks on crucial shipping traffic in the Red Sea straits by a determined band of militants in Yemen — a spillover from the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza — are injecting a new dose of instability into a world economy already struggling with mounting geopolitical tensions.The risk of escalating conflict in the Middle East is the latest in a string of unpredictable crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, that have landed like swipes of a bear claw on the global economy, smacking it off course and leaving scars.As if that weren’t enough, more volatility lies ahead in the form of a wave of national elections whose repercussions could be deep and long. More than two billion people in roughly 50 countries, including India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, the United Stat...
Price Increases Cooled in November as Inflation Falls Toward Fed Target
Business

Price Increases Cooled in November as Inflation Falls Toward Fed Target

A closely watched measure of inflation cooled notably in November, good news for the Federal Reserve as officials move toward the next phase in their fight against rapid price increases and a positive for the White House as voters see relief from rising costs.The Personal Consumption Expenditures inflation measure, which the Fed cites when it says it aims for 2 percent inflation on average over time, climbed 2.6 percent in the year through November. That was down from 2.9 percent the previous month, and was less than what economists had forecast. Compared with the previous month, prices overall even fell slightly for the first time in years.That decline — a 0.1 percent drop, and the first negative reading since April 2020 — came as gas prices dropped. After volatile food and fuel prices we...
Choice Hotel Franchise Owners Push Back on Merger With Wyndham
Business

Choice Hotel Franchise Owners Push Back on Merger With Wyndham

When Patrick Pacious, the chief executive of a large portfolio of hotel brands, promoted a blockbuster attempt to acquire a competitor in October, he said the proposed merger would lower costs and attract more customers for the families and small businesses that own most of the company’s locations.“Our franchisees instantly grasped the strategic benefit this would bring to their hotels,” Mr. Pacious, who leads Choice Hotels, said on CNBC.As the weeks have passed, however, the reaction has not been positive. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, the target of the proposed deal, rejected the offer from Choice, which is now pursuing a hostile takeover. And in early December, an association representing the majority of hoteliers who own Choice and Wyndham-branded properties came out strongly against it....
Houthi Attacks on Commercial Ships in Red Sea Threaten Global Economy
Business

Houthi Attacks on Commercial Ships in Red Sea Threaten Global Economy

The wave of attacks against merchant ships in the Red Sea is forcing companies to send ships on longer routes and threatens to hurt an already wobbly global economy.The Houthis, an armed group backed by Iran that controls much of northern Yemen, have been using drones and missiles to target ships since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. That has forced some shipping giants and oil companies to avoid the Suez Canal, a development that could hamper global trade and push up the cost of imported goods.The Suez is a vital artery for container ships and fuel tankers. Goods and fuel from Asia and the Middle East have made their way to Europe and the United States through the passage since it opened in 1869. Britain and other world powers have fought wars and engaged in geopolitical intrigue over th...
The Debt Problem Is Enormous. Experts Say the System for Fixing It Is Broken
Business

The Debt Problem Is Enormous. Experts Say the System for Fixing It Is Broken

Martin Guzman was a college freshman at La Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina, in 2001 when a debt crisis prompted default, riots and a devastating depression. A dazed middle class suffered ruin, as the International Monetary Fund insisted that the government make misery-inducing budget cuts in exchange for a bailout.Watching Argentina unravel inspired Mr. Guzman to switch majors and study economics. Nearly two decades later, when the government was again bankrupt, it was Mr. Guzman as finance minister who negotiated with I.M.F. officials to restructure a $44 billion debt, the result of an earlier ill-conceived bailout.Today he is one of a number of prominent economists and world leaders who argue that the ambitious framework created at the end of World War II to safeguard economi...
Bank of England Keeps Interest Rates at 5.25%, a 15-Year High
Business

Bank of England Keeps Interest Rates at 5.25%, a 15-Year High

The Bank of England held interest rates at a 15-year high on Thursday, as policymakers sought to squeeze out inflationary pressures even amid signs of economic slowdown.The bank’s key rate remained at 5.25 percent, following a faster-than-expected retreat in inflation, which dropped below 5 percent in October. Still, the inflation rate was more than double the central bank’s 2 percent target.Troubling to some policymakers and analysts, the rate is also high compared to European neighbors, and workers on average are experiencing relatively fast wage growth, pushing up prices in the services sector. Indications that domestic price pressures remain quite strong mean traders are not expecting the central bank to cut rates until about the middle of next year. The bank’s policymakers were split ...