AP Business SummaryBrief at 2:47 a.m. EDT

OPEC+ makes big oil cut to boost prices; pump costs may rise

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The OPEC+ alliance of oil-exporting countries has decided to sharply cut production to support sagging oil prices. The move Wednesday could deal the struggling global economy another blow and raise politically sensitive pump prices for U.S. drivers just ahead of key national elections. Energy ministers meeting at the Vienna headquarters of the OPEC oil cartel cut production by 2 million barrels per day at their first face-to-face meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides a token trim in oil production last month, the major cut is an abrupt turnaround from months of restoring deep cuts made during the depths of the pandemic and could help alliance member Russia weather a looming European ban on oil imports.

Twitter under Musk? Most of the plans are a mystery

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A super app called X? A bot-free free speech haven? These are some of Elon Musk’s mysterious plans for Twitter, now that he may be moving toward buying the company after all. After months of squabbling over the fate of their bombshell $44 billion deal, the billionaire and the bird app are essentially back to square one — if a bit worse for wear as trust and goodwill has seemed to erode on both sides.

EXPLAINER: What’s next in Musk’s epic battle with Twitter?

Elon Musk’s monthslong tussle with Twitter took another twist this week after the Tesla billionaire seemed to return to where he started in April — offering to buy the company for $44 billion. But it’s not over yet. Twitter says it intends to close the deal at the agreed-upon price, but the two sides are still booked for an Oct. 17 trial in Delaware over Musk’s earlier attempts to terminate the deal. On Wednesday, the judge presiding over the case said she will continue to press on toward the trial because neither side has formally moved to stop it.

Missing snow puts famed New Zealand ski areas on precipice

TŪROA SKI AREA, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s Tūroa ski area closed three weeks early because it has hardly any snow. Rain washed it away all winter, and snowmaking machines proved no match against balmy temperatures. Throughout the season, workers used machines to push what snow there was onto Tūroa’s trails, but that allowed only limited runs for expert skiers and snowboarders. The disastrous snow season follows two years disrupted by COVID-19, leaving Tūroa and its sister ski area Whakapapa on the brink of bankruptcy. Climate change appears to be a significant factor, after New Zealand’s warmest winter on record. That’s raising questions about the future of skiing and snowboarding in a nation known as an outdoor adventure destination.

Asian stocks mixed on strong US hiring, OPEC oil output cuts

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks are mixed after strong U.S. hiring dampened hopes the Federal Reserve might ease off plans for interest rate hikes and the OPEC oil production cartel agreed to shore up prices by cutting output. Tokyo and Seoul advanced while Hong Kong and Sydney declined. Chinese markets were closed for a holiday. Oil prices edged higher. Wall Street’s benchmark ended a two-day rally after a report showed U.S. employers added slightly more jobs than expected in September. That gives ammunition to Fed officials who say more rate hikes are needed to cool inflation that is at a four-decade high.

Keep it or toss it? ‘Best Before’ labels cause confusion

“Best before” labels are coming under scrutiny as concerns about food waste grow around the world. Manufacturers have used the labels for decades to estimate peak freshness. But “best before” labels have nothing to do with safety, and some worry they encourage consumers to throw away food that’s perfectly fine to eat. Major U.K. chains like Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer recently removed “best before” labels from prepackaged fruit and vegetables. The European Union is expected to announce a revamp to its labeling laws by the end of this year. In the U.S., there’s no similar push to scrap “best before” labels. But there is growing momentum to standardize the language on date labels to help educate buyers about food waste.

Ian deals blow to Florida’s teetering insurance sector

Florida’s home insurance market was already on shaky ground. It now faces an even mightier struggle after the damage caused by Hurricane Ian. Wind and storm-surge losses from the hurricane could reach between $28 billion and $47 billion, making Ian Florida’s costliest storm since Hurricane Andrew made landfall in 1992, according to one property analytics firm. The storm destroyed a record number of homes in Florida, the firm said. The wreckage comes at a time when Florida’s home insurance market was already dealing with billions of dollars in losses and ever-increasing costs from a string of natural disasters, rampant litigation and increasing fraud.

With division at home, UK’s Truss seeks to thaw EU relations

LONDON (AP) — After an acrimonious divorce and years of bickering, Britain’s government looks like it wants to make up with the European Union. European politicians and diplomats have noticed a marked softening of tone since Prime Minister Liz Truss took over from Boris Johnson as U.K. leader a month ago. Truss and her ministers say they want to solve a bitter dispute with the European Union over post-Brexit trade rules. And on Thursday the British leader is traveling to the Czech Republic for the first meeting of the European Political Community. That’s an initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron that brings together EU members, aspiring members and the U.K., the bloc’s only ex-member.

Colorado baker fighting ruling over gender transition cake

DENVER (AP) — The Colorado baker who won a partial Supreme Court victory after refusing on religious grounds to make a wedding cake for a gay couple a decade ago is challenging a separate ruling that he violated the state’s anti-discrimination law — this time over complaints he refused to make a birthday cake celebrating a gender transition. A lawyer for Jack Phillips on Wednesday urged Colorado’s appeals court to overturn last year’s ruling in a lawsuit brought by Autumn Scardina, a transgender woman. Phillips rejected her request in 2017 to make a birthday cake that had blue frosting on the outside and was pink inside to celebrate her gender transition.

WTO predicts trade growth to slow next year amid crises

GENEVA (AP) — The World Trade Organization is predicting global trade volumes to grow a lackluster 1% next year as higher energy prices, rising interest rates and uncertainties about Chinese manufacturing output amid the lingering COVID-19 pandemic weigh on markets. The Geneva-based trade body said Wednesday that the total amount of goods shipped between countries are expected to rise 3.5% this year, up from the 3% that WTO anticipated in its first forecast for the year in April. Trade volumes are set to grow just 1% next year, down from the 3.4% expected previously.

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