Update on the latest in business:
Trump calls on Federal Reserve to cut interest rates
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is calling on the Federal Reserve to begin cutting interest rates, saying the economy will take off like a “rocketship” if the Fed begins loosening policy.
Trump, speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, says that he believes the central bank “really slowed us down” with the four rate hikes it imposed last year. Trump says those were unnecessary because there is “very little, if any inflation.”
“I think they should drop rates and I think they should get rid of quantitative tightening. You would see a rocket ship,” Trump said.
Trump has announced he intends to nominate to conservative political allies — Stephen Moore and former 2012 GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain — for two current vacancies on the seven-member Fed board.
US says ‘significant work remains’ in trade talks with China
WASHINGTON (AP) — White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says “significant work remains” in trade talks with China, and officials from both nations will be in continuous contact to resolve outstanding issues.
The White House issued the statement Friday after three days of talks in Washington.
United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin met with the Chinese delegation led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
China and the U.S. are working to end a standoff that has shaken financial markets and darkened the outlook for the world economy.
Sanders says topics the two parties discussed included the protection of intellectual property, non-tariff barriers to trade, agriculture and enforcement.
Sanders describes the negotiations as “productive” and says the two sides made progress on “numerous key issues.”
Boeing cutting production rate of troubled 737 Max jet
DALLAS (AP) — Boeing will cut production of its troubled 737 Max airliner this month, underscoring the growing financial risk it faces the longer that its best-selling plane remains grounded after two deadly crashes.
The company said Friday that starting in mid-April it will cut production of the plane to 42 from 52 planes per month so it can focus its attention on fixing the flight-control software that has been implicated in the crashes.
The move was not a complete surprise. Boeing had already suspended deliveries of the Max last month after regulators around the world grounded the jet.
Preliminary reports into accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia found that faulty sensor readings erroneously triggered an anti-stall system that pushed the plane’s nose down. Pilots of each plane struggled in vain to regain control over the automated system.
In all, 346 people died in the crashes. Boeing faces a growing number of lawsuits filed by families of the victims.
Pipeline opponents ask judge to strike down Trump’s permit
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Opponents of the long-stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline asked a federal court Friday in a lawsuit to declare President Donald Trump acted illegally when he issued a new permit for the project in a bid to get around an earlier court ruling.
In November, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ruled that the Trump administration did not fully consider potential oil spills and other impacts when it approved the pipeline in 2017.
Trump’s new permit, issued last week, is intended to circumvent that ruling and kick-start the proposal to ship crude oil from the tar sands of western Canada to U.S. refineries.
White House officials have said the presidential permit is immune from court review. But legal experts say that’s an open question, and the case could further test the limits of Trump’s use of presidential power to get his way.
CRYPTOCURRENCY UNIVERSITY DONATION
Tech entrepreneur gives $25M in cryptocurrency to alma mater
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A tech entrepreneur and his wife have made a very Silicon Valley donation to his San Francisco alma mater — $25 million, mostly in cryptocurrency.
The gift from Chris Larsen, founder of cryptocurrency company Ripple, and his wife Lyna Lam, to San Francisco State University is already giving officials an education in digital financial services.
Venesia Thompson-Ramsay, interim vice president for university advancement, said Friday the November donation came in as about 56 million XRP — one of thousands of digital-only currencies. Its value has fluctuated since then. Larsen, who donated $3 million in cash, has guaranteed his alma mater he will make up the difference until the school has the promised $25 million.
The donation will pay for an endowed chair in financial technology and another in entrepreneurship and fund the Lam-Larsen Fund for Global Innovation, which will support students studying cryptocurrency and other digital financial services
Lauren Sanchez files for divorce after Bezos split finalized
LOS ANGELES (AP) — TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, who is in a relationship with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has filed for divorce the day after Bezos’ divorce was finalized.
Sanchez and talent agent Patrick Whitesell, her husband of 14 years, both filed divorce papers Friday. They’re seeking joint custody of their two kids.
The divorce of Bezos and wife MacKenzie Bezos was finalized Thursday.
The billionaire pair announced they were getting divorced in January, shortly before the National Enquirer reported that Jeff Bezos and Sanchez were having an affair.
He later accused the tabloid’s publisher of threatening to publish explicit photos of him unless he stopped investigating how the Enquirer obtained his private messages with Sanchez.
Sanchez has been a news anchor and sports reporter, and hosted Fox-TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”