Business & Tech


Brexit Talks End Early as EU, U.K. Say Big Differences Remain


Airbnb aims to thwart party houses

Airbnb announced Thursday that the short-term-rental company will no longer allow some customers younger than 25 to book entire homes located near their own address. To prevent young people from turning Airbnb listings into party houses — in which users book homes in their own area to host unauthorized guests — the company will restrict the types of bookings that younger customers with few ratings can secure. The new policy prevents guests younger than 25 and with less than three positive reviews from booking an entire home near where they live. Younger users can still book rooms within homes and hotel rooms on Airbnb, the company said. And customers with three positive reviews and no negative reviews can still rent an entire house even in their own area. — WASHINGTON POST


on private jet barred from Italy because of EU ban on
US citizens

Officials on the Italian island of Sardinia are distancing themselves from a reported decision by local airport authorities to prevent a group of Americans who arrived in a private plane from going to their rented summer house due to European Union anti-coronavirus measures. Because of the number of confirmed virus cases still getting reported in the United States, the EU did not include the United States on the list of countries whose nationals were allowed to resume visiting Europe as of Wednesday. A newspaper reported that the group of about 10 people, most of them Americans and their children, as well as British and New Zealand nationals, landed at Cagliari Elmas Airport aboard a private jet from Colorado on Wednesday. The tourists were prevented from leaving the airport and kept in a waiting area, according to photographs of them posted by Sardinian media. Eventually they got back on the plane and took off for Birmingham, England, the report said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Wells Fargo
to cut back
on lending
to students

Wells Fargo & Co. is pulling back from student lending as the US surge in coronavirus cases threatens to further disrupt higher education and the broader US economy. The firm, which has been reviewing businesses under new chief executive Charlie Scharf, said student loans for the upcoming academic year will be granted only to people who submitted applications before July 1 or to customers who already have an outstanding balance on a prior student loan from the bank. The pandemic is disrupting academic programs and undermining the ability of many borrowers to repay as it halts commerce and costs tens of millions of Americans their jobs. Already, more than 40 million student-loan accounts were in deferment as of mid-June, according to Equifax. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Rate for
30-year loan
at historic low


Long-term US mortgage rates fell this week with the benchmark 30-year home loan hitting its lowest level ever. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the key 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.07 percent, down from last week’s 3.13 percent. For the second week in a row, it is the lowest level since Freddie began tracking average rates in 1971. A year ago, the rate stood at 3.75 percent. The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also fell slightly to 2.56 percent from 2.59 percent last week, but it is down from 3.18 percent a year ago.


Fiat Chrysler warns employees against shutting down production over virus safety concerns

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Fiat Chrysler issued a stern warning to employees after workers at two of its US plants stopped production last week over concern management wasn’t properly handling coronavirus risks. “Unauthorized work stoppages in our facilities create both disruption, and, potentially, safety concerns, and therefore cannot be tolerated,” Mike Resha, Fiat Chrysler’s head of North American manufacturing, wrote in a June 28 letter. Employees found to have instigated unapproved shutdowns will face disciplinary action, and stoppages “will result in zero pay,” he wrote. Fiat Chrysler’s threat following production pauses at key Jeep and Ram pickup factories shows tensions are still simmering at Detroit automakers, six weeks after they called workers back to the assembly line. While the companies are eager to restore pre-lockdown production to restock dealerships seeing recovering demand, employees are concerned about exposing themselves to COVID-19 in workplaces where social distancing can be difficult. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


US trade gap rises again

The US trade deficit rose for the third straight month in May. Both exports and imports fell as the coronavirus outbreak continued to take a toll on world commerce. The Commerce Department said Thursday that the gap between the United States buys and what it sells abroad rose 9.7 percent in May to $54.6 billion, highest since December 2018. The coronavirus pandemic has devastated world trade. US exports fell 4.4 percent in May to $144.5 billion, lowest since November 2009. Imports slid 0.9 percent to $199.1 billion, lowest since July 2010. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Penn Station redevelopment to be funded
by new construction
in the neighborhood

A New York state plan to redevelop the neighborhood surrounding Penn Station would clear the way for more than 14 million square feet of new offices, a massive addition of space that would accelerate the shift of Manhattan’s core toward the West side. The project would use new construction on eight sites to fund improvements to the existing Penn Station and create underground tracks and platforms to the south of the transit hub, according to a draft proposal posted online. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo first proposed the plan in January, promising to expand the Penn Station’s capacity by 40 perecent and create new development projects to finance improvements to the transit hub. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Tesla delivered more cars in second quarter than first

Tesla says it delivered more electric vehicles worldwide in the second quarter than it did in the first. The increase came even though coronavirus restrictions forced it to shut down its only US factory for much of the period. The company says it delivered 90,650 vehicles from April through June as it rolled out the new Model Y SUV in the United States and China. That’s a 2.5 percent increase over the first quarter’s 88,400. But it was a 4.8 percent drop from the second quarter of 2019, when Tesla delivered 95,200 vehicles. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


British judge refuses to give Venezuela control over $1b in gold


A British judge on Thursday refused to give Venezuela control of over $1 billion in gold sitting in a Bank of England vault, ruling that it is unlawful to give it to President Nicolás Maduro since Britain does not recognize him as president of the Latin American nation. Maduro has demanded the gold to help his cash-starved nation fight the coronavirus pandemic. But the central bank for the United Kingdom, whose government recognizes Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as his country’s legitimate leader, had refused to hand it over to Maduro’s socialist administration. — ASSOCIATED PRESS