Business Highlights: Iraq oil minister, UK economy

·5 min read


AP Interview: Iraq oil minister says gas sector a priority

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s oil minister says the country’s oil sector is rebounding after a catastrophic year triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, with key investment projects on the horizon. But he also is warning that enduring bureaucratic culture of fear threatens to stand in the way. Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail spoke to The Associated Press on Friday. He said that Iraq is currently trading oil at $68 per barrel, close to the approximately $76 needed for the state to operate without reliance on the central bank to meet government expenditures. He said he can now focus on other priorities. At the top of those is developing the country’s gas sector.


UK economy edges to pre-pandemic levels as lockdown eased

LONDON (AP) — The easing of lockdown restrictions in April helped the British economy grow at its fastest rate since July 2020 and recoup further ground lost during the coronavirus pandemic. The Office for National Statistics said Friday that the economy grew by 2.3% during April, when shops selling non-essential items reopened and service providers such as hairdressers resumed work. Despite the growth recorded in April, the British economy remained 3.7% smaller than it was in February 2020. Of the major sectors in the economy, only construction is above the level it was at on the eve of the pandemic. The British economy is expected to regain more ground over the summer as remaining restrictions are lifted.


US to seek automated braking requirement for heavy trucks

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto safety regulators say they will move to require or set standards for automatic emergency braking systems on new heavy trucks. The regulatory stance is an about-face from policies under the Trump administration, which opposed many vehicle safety regulations. The Department of Transportation announced the change Friday when it released its spring regulatory agenda. The department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also says it will set rigorous testing standards for autonomous vehicles and develop a national database to document automated vehicle crashes. The announcement comes two days after four people were killed when a milk tanker going too fast collided with seven passenger vehicles on a Phoenix freeway.


Stocks notch modest gains and a 3rd winning week for S&P 500

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks shook off a wobbly day of trading and ended modestly higher on Wall Street, giving the S&P 500 its third weekly gain in a row. The index added 0.2% Friday, led by technology companies and banks. Bond yields fell this week despite reports showing the economy is gaining strength as well as some signs of inflation. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note ended the week at 1.46%. Investors will be closely watching next week’s meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers for their assessment of how much of a threat inflation may poise as the economy emerges from its pandemic-induced recession.


Google offers UK watchdog role in browser cookie phase-out

LONDON (AP) — Google has promised to give U.K. regulators a role overseeing its plan to phase out existing ad-tracking technology from its Chrome browser. The U.K. competition watchdog has been investigating Google’s proposals to remove so-called third-party cookies over concerns they would undermine digital ad competition and entrench the company’s market power. To address the concerns, Google on Friday offered a set of commitments including giving the watchdog an oversight role as the company designs and develops a replacement technology. The promises also include limiting how Google will use and combine individual user data and not discriminating against rivals in favor of its own ad businesses.


End of an era: American will drop its in-flight magazine

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The longest-running in-flight magazine on a major airline is nearing its final flight. American Airlines says it is dropping the American Way magazine after a 55-year run. An airline spokeswoman said Friday that American will retire the magazine and its online version at the end of June. American Way started as an annual publication but eventually turned into a monthly. It has an assortment of feature stories and other items like airport terminal maps. But fewer passengers read in-flight magazines these days, preferring to browse on their phones, tablets and laptops.


McDonald’s latest company to be hit by a data breach

CHICAGO (AP) — McDonald’s is the latest company to be hit by a data breach after unauthorized activity on its network exposed the personal data of some customers in South Korea and Taiwan. McDonald’s said Friday that it quickly identified and contained the incident and that a thorough investigation was done. McDonald’s said its investigation determined that only South Korea and Taiwan had customer personal data accessed, and that they would be taking steps to notify regulators and also the customers who may be impacted. No customer payment information was exposed. Businesses across various sectors are being targeted by cybercriminals, including some very high profile cases in recent weeks.


The S&P 500 rose 8.26 points, or 0.2%, to 4,247.44. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 13.36 points, or less than 0.1%, to 34,479.60. The Nasdaq gained 49.09 points, or 0.4%, to 14,069.42. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies advanced 24.40 points, or 1.1%, to 2,335.81.

The Associated Press

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