Economy Keeps Growing Even With Rising Oil Prices

America’s rediscovered prowess in oil production is shaking up old notions about the impact of higher crude prices on the U.S. economy.

It has long been conventional wisdom that rising oil prices hurt the economy by forcing consumers to spend more on gasoline and heating their homes, leaving less for other things.

Presumably that is happening again with the 2018 run-up in crude prices, but it has hardly slowed the economy, which grew at its fastest rate in nearly four years during the April-through-June quarter.

President Donald Trump appears worried about rising oil prices, which are creating higher prices at the gasoline pump for motorists just a few weeks before mid-term elections that will decide which party controls the House and Senate.

Members of OPEC are meeting over the weekend.

World Trade Body to Rule on US, China Anti-Dumping Spat

A World Trade Organization arbitrator will step into a years-old dispute brought by China over U.S. anti-dumping measures.

A trade official said Friday the arbitration was triggered automatically after the U.S. objected to Beijing’s request for authorization to retaliate against more than $7 billion worth of U.S. goods in the case.

The case originated with a Chinese challenge nearly five years ago over 40 U.S. anti-dumping rulings against Chinese goods, which the U.S. says were sold below market value.

In 2017, the WTO’s appellate body ruled largely in favor of China. Beijing insists the U.S. has not complied.

The arbitrator has until Oct. 21 to rule on the issue, but such cases often go past the deadline.

The standoff comes amid a high-profile showdown between China and the Trump administration over trade.

Board Finalizes a Puerto Rico Debt Deal for $17B in Savings

A federal control board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances has finalized a debt-restructuring deal that represents nearly a quarter of the U.S. territory’s $70 billion public debt load.

The board said Friday that the deal will be presented next month to a federal judge assigned to Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy case. Officials said the deal represents more than $17 billion in debt service savings.

The agreement involves several groups including those that hold Puerto Rico sales tax bonds. The board said those who hold general obligation bond debt also support the agreement, which economists say could indicate an upcoming deal with them.

Puerto Rico is in a 12-year recession and still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria, which cause more than an estimated $100 billion in damage.

AT&T Says Govt Failed to Show Price Hikes From Merger

Defending court approval of its huge merger with Time Warner, AT&T is arguing the Trump Justice Department failed to show that the merger will raise wholesale prices for pay-TV programming and for consumers.

AT&T’s $81 billion takeover of Time Warner, completed this spring soon after a federal judge approved it, is under challenge by the government in a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. The phone and pay-TV giant submitted its filing in the landmark competition case Thursday.

AT&T, the biggest pay-TV provider in the U.S., asserted the merger will save it money on content from Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting, enabling it cut charges to its DirecTV customers by at least $78 million a year.

Kremlin Slams New US Sanctions Affecting Arms Exports

The Kremlin has dismissed the latest round of U.S. sanctions that affected an aircraft-making factory as an “unfair” move to undercut Russia as a major arms exporter.

The United States on Thursday blacklisted 33 Russian nationals and three entities in a new round of sanctions for the Russian interference in the 2016 election. One of the companies is an aircraft-making factory in Russia’s Far East.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that Russia views the new set of sanctions as an attempt to undermine the competitiveness of Russian arms exports and vowed to reciprocate.

As part of the Thursday announcement, the U.S. also imposed sanctions on a Chinese military agency over the purchase of Russian weapons. China has demanded that they be revoked.

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