Global Glance: ECB keeps stimulus on high; Price tries to reassure on health care

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Here are today’s top headlines from across the nation and world:

ECB keeps stimulus on high even as economy picks up

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — President Mario Draghi has some explaining to do – about why the European Central Bank is leaving its stimulus programs running nearly full blast while inflation and growth are picking up. Draghi is expected to use his news conference Thursday to underline the bank’s determination to stick with its December decision to keep pumping newly printed money into the economy at least through the end of the year. The purchases are aimed at boosting inflation from dangerously low levels and supporting an economy that’s slowly gathering steam. Read more

Price tries to reassure on health care; Dems not buying it

WASHINGTON (AP) — Offering reassurances, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for health secretary said Wednesday the new administration won’t “pull the rug out” from those covered by “Obamacare.” Democrats were unimpressed, noting a lack of specifics. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., also told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that Trump is “absolutely not” planning to launch an overhaul of Medicare as he tries to revamp coverage under President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. He acknowledged that high prescription drug costs are a problem, but did not endorse the idea of government directly negotiating prices. Read more

Theresa May seeks to convince business of a ‘global Britain’

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May sought to convince business leaders Thursday that the country remains committed to free trade and globalization despite last year’s vote to leave the European Union. Just two days after indicating that Britain would be leaving the European single market as well as the EU, May told an audience at the World Economic Forum at the Swiss ski resort of Davos that the Brexit vote was not a rejection of “our friends in Europe,” or an attempt to cease cooperation. Read more

Safran to buy Zodiac in $10 billion aviation deal

PARIS (AP) — Aircraft-engine company Safran has agreed to buy seat and cabin manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace in a deal worth 9.7 billion euros ($10.3 billion), including debt. The companies, both based in or around Paris, announced Thursday the creation of a “new global leader in aerospace.” Safran will offer 29.47 euros per share, which is 26.4 percent above Zodiac’s closing share price Wednesday. French President Francois Hollande said in statement that the deal “will strengthen the French aeronautics industry.” Read more

Global oil production dropping as OPEC cuts kick in

PARIS (AP) — The International Energy Agency says global oil output is dropping for the first time in months, as Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing countries follow through on pledged cuts aimed at lifting oil prices. The IEA’s monthly report says Thursday that OPEC production dropped to 33.09 million barrels a day in December from 34.2 million the previous month. The first such drop in seven months, it’s attributed to lower Saudi output and disruptions in Nigeria. Read more

JPMorgan settles mortgage discrimination lawsuit

NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan Chase will pay $55 million to settle federal charges that independent brokers working for the bank discriminated against minorities seeking home mortgages during the housing crisis. While the settlement is not a big financial dent to the giant bank, the cases illustrate the depth of the mortgage quagmire that has trailed the financial sector for a decade. A federal suit filed in Manhattan Wednesday accused JPMorgan Chase & Co. of charging black and Hispanic borrowers higher interest rates and fees for mortgages from 2006 to at least 2009, causing them to pay an average of an extra thousand dollars. Read more

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