Wed, Apr 12, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Wells Fargo to reclaim funds

Wells Fargo’s board on Monday said that it would claw back an additional US$75 million in compensation from the two executives on whom it pinned most of the blame for the company’s scandal over fraudulent accounts: former chief executive John Stumpf and former community banking head Carrie Tolstedt. The forced return of pay and stock grants are the largest in banking history and among the largest in the corporate US. A four-person committee of Wells Fargo’s directors investigated the extensive fraud. The board said in a report issued on Monday that Stumpf had turned a blind eye to the fraudulent accounts being created under his nose, and that Tolstedt, who ran the branch system, had focused obsessively on sales targets and withheld information from her boss and the board. While the amount of money customers lost was relatively small — the company has refunded US$3.2 million — the scope of the fraud was huge: 5,300 employees were fired for creating as many as 2 million unwanted bank and credit card accounts.


Tesla eclipses GM

Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc briefly surpassed General Motors Co (GM) to become the US’ most valuable carmaker, eclipsing a company whose well-being was once viewed as interdependent with the nation’s. A week after topping Ford Motor Co, Tesla climbed as much as 3.7 percent in early trading on Monday, boosting its market capitalization to US$51 billion. Tesla and GM jostled back and forth for the top spot in later trading, with the electric-car maker edging GM by about US$3 million as of 2:15pm in New York.


UK inflation paused

UK inflation’s upward trajectory paused last month as the timing of Easter led to a drop in airfares, offsetting increases in the price of food and clothing. While the rate was unchanged compared with February, at 2.3 percent, that is still up from just 0.5 percent a year earlier. The increase in the past year reflects higher fuel costs and the pound’s decline since the Brexit vote in June. On the month, prices rose 0.4 percent, the British Office for National Statistics said. Airfares fell 4 percent, compared with a 23 percent jump a year earlier, when the Easter holiday fell in March.


Imports hit workers hard

Global trade has brought benefits from increased productivity to lower prices, but governments have not adequately helped workers and communities hit hard by imports, the world’s top multilateral economic institutions said on Monday. In a report that serves as their answer to US President Donald Trump administration’s more protectionist trade stance, the IMF, the WTO and World Bank said that an open trading system based on well-enforced rules was critical to world prosperity. The institutions, which have promoted free trade for decades, cited research showing that manufacturing regions that were more exposed to imports from China since about 2000 saw “significant and persistent losses in jobs and earnings, falling most heavily on low-skilled workers.” It described what Trump has called the “forgotten Americans” that he wants to serve with his “America First” trade policies. “Workers displaced from manufacturing tend to be older, less educated and longer-tenured in the lost job than workers displaced from other sectors, and in turn tend to take longer to return to work,” the groups said in the report.

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