Business News

Biggest Trade Deficit in Years

The US recorded its biggest monthly trade deficit since the 2008 global financial crisis last month, fuelling concerns that the economy contracted in the first three months of the year. The goods and services deficit rose to $51.4bn in March ($37.8bn of which came from China), up 41 per cent from the $35.9bn recorded in February. Exports rose less than 1 per cent while imports grew 7.7 per cent on the back of increased consumer demand for cars and mobile phones.

Vanguard has now officially taken the title as manager of the world's largest bond fund.  The sudden exit of Bill Gross last September cost the Pimco Total Return Fund its title as the world's largest, after another month of withdrawals in April.  The fund's assets slipped to $110.4bn at the end of last month, compared to $117.3bn in the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund.  

One in 10 American consumers has no credit history, according to a study released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The research found that about 26 million American adults have no histories with national credit reporting agencies.  In addition to those so-called credit invisibles, an additional 19 million have credit reports that are so limited or out of date that they are unscorable.

U.S. airlines are earning billions, and they are collecting more in fees on checked bags and reservation changes.  According to the Department of Transportation, airlines collected $3.5 billion in bag fees last year, a 5 percent increase over 2013, and $3 billion in reservation-change fees, a 6 percent hike.  Low cost airlines, such as Spirit, which tout low fares and adds lots of fees, derive only about 60 percent of revenue from the face value of ticket prices. Southwest gets the highest proportion of revenue from ticket sales; 95 percent of the company's revenue comes from the ticket price.

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