The Federal Reserve's latest report on economic conditions, known as the Beige Book, says most of its 12 regions achieved satisfactory growth in November but also says there is "increased uncertainty" among businesses over the influence of US tariff policy. The report highlights rising costs for manufacturers and problems for farmers due to countertariffs imposed by China and others.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is expected to heavily scrutinize changes made by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting Director Mick Mulvaney if she becomes chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Waters likely will subpoena records from the agency and question Kathy Kraninger, who is expected to be confirmed as the CFPB's next director.
Because cybercriminals' activities have become increasingly sophisticated, one expert says that cybercrimes, and especially financial scams, have risen sharply in 2018. "Criminals are no longer just getting the email credentials of a person in the company, they are now monitoring their email and communication style in order to send a phishing email that is hard to detect as being fraudulent," says Jeremy Barnett of NAS Insurance, suggesting that companies put steps in place to prevent phishing scams.
Advisory business owners must find balance between their long-term goal of sustained profitability and their short-term desires, writes consultant Angie Herbers. She warns that "the sacrifices that owners make when they are starting and growing their business, can turn into greed (and neglect) after they've had success."
PCI is encouraging drivers to be cautious while driving this holiday season and to be especially aware of trucks on the road, while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published five recommended "rules" for motorist and truck safety. "Greater awareness of how trucks and cars can safely share the road is one of the most important, but often overlooked factors that can help reduce the number of crashes this winter," says David Golden of PCI.
American International Group has $750 million to $800 million in catastrophe losses in the fourth quarter, not including December, but CEO Brian Duperreault says the company's general insurance unit should enter 2019 "at a slight underwriting profit." Between $150 million and $175 million of loss from the California wildfires will be added to AIG's pretax losses for the fourth quarter, net of reinsurance.
A Munich Re report estimates insured losses from Hurricane Michael are at $10 billion, 60% of a total $16 billion economic loss; and Hurricane Florence's insured loss is at $4 billion, 40% of a $14 billion economic loss. The report also shows that take-up rates for the National Flood Insurance Program were low in the Carolinas, and the maximum amount of program-provided insurance fell below the value of most homes.
Denver is proposing new rules in its pilot program for scooters, such as requiring scooters to use bike lanes instead of the sidewalk. The city's public works department also wants to relax policies that force scooter companies to relocate scooters to bus stops, and the city could raise the cap on the number of dockless vehicles allowed.
A large storm that started on Wednesday in California is forecast to move across the US over six days, bringing snow, rain and possibly tornadoes as it travels to the mid-Atlantic. Twelve states are likely to receive snow, while more than 20 states will see rain from the storm, possibly leading to travel delays and widespread power outages.
May Mobility has been awarded a contract to test autonomous shuttle service in Providence, R.I., by the state's transportation department. Vehicles in the service, which will launch in the spring, will have human drivers prepared to take control in an emergency.