WORLD ECONOMY
WTO: Trade growth
likely to stay weak

The World Trade Organization’s quarterly outlook indicator showed on Monday that global goods trade growth was likely to remain weak, with a reading of 96.3, unchanged from February, the lowest since 2010.

“The outlook for trade could worsen further if heightened trade tensions are not resolved or if macroeconomic policy fails to adjust to changing circumstances,” the WTO said, adding that the latest indicator did not reflect major trade moves in the past few days.

A score of below 100 in the indicator, a composite measure of seven drivers of trade, signals below-trend growth in global goods trade, which the WTO’s April forecast estimated at 2.6 percent this year, the midpoint of a forecast range from 1.3 percent to 4.0 percent.

But WTO economists warned that there were several scenarios that could pull trade growth toward the bottom end of that range, including worsening trade tensions between the United States and China, or Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.

Since April, there has been no resolution to the Brexit impasse and President Trump has ordered a massive increase in tariffs on Chinese goods and said car imports are a national security threat, although he has postponed a tariff he had threatened to impose on cars from around the world.

— Reuters

LEGAL
UPS loses appeal in Postal Service case

The U.S. Supreme Court turned away a United Parcel Service appeal that aimed to force the U.S. Postal Service to raise its prices for delivering packages.

The justices, without comment Monday, left intact an appeals court decision upholding the government’s method for determining how much the Postal Service can charge for parcels. The rebuff is a victory for online retailer Amazon, which relies on the Postal Service for deliveries and backed it in the court case. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

UPS, which competes with the Postal Service in the package-delivery business, says its rival has an unfair advantage because the pricing method doesn’t track the true cost of delivery.

“Postal pricing has departed from Congress’s requirement that the Postal Service compete on a level playing field with private companies for package delivery,” UPS argued in its appeal.

UPS ultimately may get some of what it’s seeking through a different means. A task force appointed by President Trump is recommending the Postal Service raise package prices. Trump created the panel after repeatedly criticizing Amazon and Bezos.

At the Supreme Court, however, the Trump administration urged the justices to leave the Postal Regulatory Commission rate formula intact.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

General Motors said on Monday most of its global models will be capable of over-the-air software upgrades by 2023, as the automaker rolls out new vehicle electrical systems designed to securely handle heavy data traffic and software downloads from the Internet. GM executives have said in the past that matching Tesla's use of over-the-air updates would require new vehicle electrical systems and robust cybersecurity.

American Airlines Group asked a federal court to halt an "illegal slowdown campaign" by unionized employees, saying the action had disrupted the travel plans of 125,000 passengers in the past three months. Mechanics are taking too long to repair jetliners and refusing to work overtime in an effort to gain leverage in contract talks, American said in a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Fort Worth.

Nordstrom has set a date for the opening of its Manhattan flagship location as construction continues on the department-store chain's biggest-ever bet. The retailer plans to throw open the doors of its seven-story, 320,000-square-foot store on West 57th Street on Oct. 24, a Nordstrom spokeswoman confirmed. With Nordstrom and rival Neiman Marcus both coming to town in 2019, it should prove to be a landmark year for New York retailing.

Coming today

10 a.m.: National Association of Realtors releases existing-home sales for April.

Earnings: Home Depot.

— From news services