Correspondent, Chicago
Ann's Feed
Apr 9, 2015

PG&E assessed record $1.6 billion penalty for California pipeline blast

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California’s chief utility regulator on Thursday ordered Pacific Gas & Electric Corp to pay a record $1.6 billion in fines and other penalties stemming from its deadly 2010 San Bruno natural gas pipeline rupture and fire near San Francisco.

The sum marks the largest penalty ever imposed by the five-member California Public Utilities Commission, dwarfing a $38 million fine against PG&E for a 2008 natural gas explosion in Rancho Cordova, California, according to the agency.

Apr 7, 2015

Fed should not raise rates until late 2016 –Kocherlakota

By Ann Saphir

BISMARCK, N.D. (Reuters) – Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota on Tuesday laid out a case for waiting until the second half of 2016 to start raising interest rates, and to then raise them gradually to just 2 percent by the end of 2017.

It was the first time the dovish policymaker detailed his preferred path for “late and slow” rate hikes. His remarks afterwards to reporters suggest he is increasingly worried that market expectations for nearer-term rate rises, fueled by comments from many of Kocherlakota’s Fed colleagues, could knock the wind out of the economic recovery.

Mar 27, 2015

Fed’s Yellen says rate hike may be warranted later this year

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve may be warranted later this year, with a gradual path expected to follow, although a downturn in core inflation or wage growth could force it to hold off, the central bank’s chief said on Friday.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that after the first rate increase a further, gradual tightening in monetary policy will likely be warranted. If incoming data fails to support the Fed’s economic forecast, the path of policy will be adjusted, she said.

Mar 25, 2015

Don’t blame economic doldrums just on weather: Chicago Fed

By Ann Saphir

(Reuters) – Last year’s unusually harsh U.S. winter probably had some transitory effects on economic activity, but the “folk wisdom” that it was primarily to blame for the slump in early 2014 is suspect, a pair of researchers at the Chicago Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.

The theme of harsh weather holding back economic growth is back again this year, with many states registering even colder temperatures than last winter.

Mar 19, 2015

Evans calls for later rate hikes as Fed faces fading growth

SAN FRANCISCO/ATLANTA, March 19 (Reuters) – The Federal
Reserve should err on the side of looser policy, a leading dove
said on Thursday, a day after Fed officials dramatically cut
their forecasts for the economy’s growth, inflation and rate
hikes at the U.S. central bank’s policy meeting.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said in a research paper
there was a case for keeping interest rates at zero until at
least 2016, arguing that the risks of a premature rate hike may
be rising if the economy is in fact weakening.

Mar 19, 2015

Fed’s Evans says delaying U.S. rate hikes is ‘optimal’

By Ann Saphir

(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve expects both labor markets and inflation to improve, but those projections are so uncertain that the U.S. central bank should err on the side of looser, not tighter, policy, a top Fed official said on Thursday.

“In this paper, we demonstrate that the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates implies that the central bank should adopt a looser policy when there is uncertainty,” Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said in a draft of a paper for a Brookings Institution conference on Thursday and Friday. “In the current context this result implies that a delayed liftoff is optimal.”

Mar 18, 2015

Fed bows to market’s more dovish view of soaring dollar

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve’s back-pedaling on how aggressively it plans to raise interest rates acknowledges that the more dovish financial markets were right all along: turns out, the soaring dollar has stalled its policy-tightening plan.

The U.S. central bank’s far more modest inflation predictions, released on Wednesday, suggest that the strong currency and sagging oil prices are spooking policymakers more than they have let on. It sets the stage for later rate hikes than they expected, but which many investors have long anticipated.

Feb 21, 2015

Contract negotiators for U.S. West Coast ports reach tentative deal

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Shipping companies and terminal operators clinched a tentative deal with the dockworkers union on Friday, settling a labor dispute that led to months of cargo backups at 29 U.S. West Coast ports and snarled trans-Pacific maritime trade with Asia.

The deal, confirmed by a source close to the situation, was reached after the U.S. labor secretary arrived in San Francisco this week to help broker negotiations that had dragged on for nine months between the shippers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

Feb 20, 2015

No deal yet in U.S. West Coast port dispute; talks to continue

By Ann Saphir and Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – Shipping executives and union leaders for dock
workers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports remained locked in a dispute
on Friday as talks, brokered by the U.S. labor secretary, headed
into a fourth straight day.

Negotiations ended late Thursday with no deal, two sources
close to the talks told Reuters Friday, adding that there is
more work to do in discussions set to resume in the morning.

Feb 20, 2015

Status of U.S. West Coast port dispute unclear: Journal of Commerce

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The status of a dispute between shipping executives and union leaders for dock workers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports was unclear on Friday, with the Journal of Commerce, which earlier reported a deal may have been reached, saying conflicting reports had emerged on the status of the nine-month-old talks.

“There is no deal as it stands right now,” Journal of Commerce Chief Content Officer Peter Tirschwell told Reuters.