China suddenly drops interest rates, Takata apologizes for air bag malfunctions, and the Buffalo Bills move their home football game. Read the top news stories for Nov. 21, 2014.
China Cuts Interest Rates
In an attempt to prop up growth in the country, China Friday cut interest rates unexpectedly, sending the world’s markets into a frenzy of activity. China has the world’s second-largest economy but it is reporting its slowest growth in nearly a quarter century. The cut is the first in over two years and it comes as factory growth has stalled and the property market remains weak. The People’s Bank of China cut one-year benchmark lending rates by 40 basis points to 5.6 percent and lowered one-year benchmark deposit rates by 25 basis points. The changes take effect Saturday.
Fed Studies Major Banks
The United States Federal Reserve has started a review of how it oversees major banks in order to determine whether officials are getting the information they need. Separate studies are being carried out by the Fed’s Washington-based Board of Governors and its Office of Inspector General to make sure that “divergent views’’ about the state of large banks are adequately heard and studied. The Fed said in a statement the reviews will determine if the Fed officials “receive the information needed to ensure consistent and sound supervisory decisions,'' including being made aware of "material matters that required reconciliation of divergent views.''
Shufflin’ Off to Detroit
The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets will play their National Football League game this weekend in Detroit because of the huge amounts of snow that have hit the upstate New York area. Buffalo was set to host the Jets on Sunday, and instead the teams will play at Detroit’s Ford Field Monday night. The Bills have been unable to practice all week as the area in and around the city have received almost eight feet of snow this week. “All of the focus needs to be on the safety of not only the fans but the community,’’ said Buffalo Bills president Russ Brandon. The Bills also have a home game against Cleveland on November 30 that currently is up in the air in terms of location.
Takata: “Deeply Sorry and Anguished”
At a Senate hearing Thursday investigating a growing problem with exploding airbags, the global quality chief of Takata Corp apologized and an official from Honda acknowledged the automaker broke a disclosure law. Hiroshi Shimizu said the Japanese parts supplier is "deeply sorry and anguished" about the malfunctioning air bags that have been blamed for five deaths worldwide. Shimizu said the company accepts full responsibility for three deaths, but said that two others were still under investigation. More than eight million cars in the U.S. have been recalled to fix the potentially faulty inflators, which can explode with too much force and spew metal fragments at passengers. Rick Schostek, executive vice president for Honda North America, said under questioning that the automaker violated the TREAD act, a law passed in 2000 requiring faster reporting of deaths, injuries and safety defects by automakers. Honda is Takata's largest customer and so far has recalled more than 5 million cars for air bag repairs.
Thanksgiving Travel to Reach Seven-Year High: AAA
Just over 46 million Americans are expected to go 50 miles or more from home, the highest number since 2007, AAA announced. This represents a 4.2 percent increase over last year, but it is still 8.5 percent short of the 50.6 million high point reached in 2007, just before the recession. Nine-in-ten Thanksgiving travelers will be driving. Drivers can give thanks for lower gas prices. AAA forecasts that says the average retail price for gasoline will be $2.85 per gallon, 43 cents cheaper than Thanksgiving Day last year.
For Art Collector, Georgia’s on Their Mind
T CNBC’s Robert Frank reports that Georgia O’Keefe’s iconic flower painting “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” sold at auction by Sotheby’s for $44,405,000, more than three times the previous world auction record for a female artist. The prior record was set by Joan Mitchell's "Untitled," which sold for $11.9 million, at Christie's New York in May 2014.