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This Week in Business: Interest Rates, Apple, and More

interest rates

The Fed Cuts Interest Rates Again

The Fed cut US interest rates for the third time in the year. However, this time they said it wouldn’t happen again unless the economy takes a turn for the worse. Currently, the Fed is trying to keep economic growth up in the US while the world economy slows down. Because of this, the U.S. central bank announced its decision to cut its key overnight lending rate to a target range of between 1.50% and 1.75%.

“We took this step to help keep the economy strong in the face of global developments and to provide some insurance against ongoing risks,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said. “We see the current stance of monetary policy as likely to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook.”

Apple Profits Down By Slowing iPhone Sales

Apple’s profits slowed in the third quarter due to low iPhone sales. On a year-to-year review, iPhone sales dropped 10% to almost $34Bn. In addition, profit and revenue for the full financial year also fell for the first time since 2016. Apple CEO Tim Cook hastily explained to investors that iPhone sales are slowing due to the popularity of Apple’s latest model, the iPhone 11.

Recently, Apple has been working to make its business less reliant on its phones. As such, they introduced new subscription services for news and television. However, iPhones still account for a majority of sales. Because of this, Apple said it expected revenue growth in the quarter of as much as 6%, above analysts’ expectations.

US Handling Of Tariffs Is “Improper Influence”

The Commerce Department’s internal watchdog says that some companies might have had “improper influence” in the US’s handling of tariffs. In addition, the inspector general uncovered multiple risks during an audit of processes used by two agencies within the department. In this, they found that the department had an unofficial appeals process. They also failed to document off-the-record conversations.

US Economic Growth Slowest This Year

US economic growth slowed in the third quarter. However, it did beat some economists’ expectations of a bigger contraction. The Commerce Department data put GDP growth at 1.9%, ahead of the predicted 1.6%. In addition, consumer spending held up better than expected. This, in turn, offset a fall in business investment and lower public spending.

Fiat Chrysler Board Approves Merger

Fiat Chrysler board of directors approved moving forward with talks to merge with French automaker Peugeot SA. In addition, Peugeot’s board approved moving forward with the discussions earlier on Wednesday. However, the companies have not announced a formal agreement to pursue a combination.