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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, September 14, 2017 1:00 am


Wholesale prices rise with energy

Staff, news services

WASHINGTON – Higher energy costs led to prices at the wholesale level rising in August at the fastest pace in four months.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that its producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, rose 0.2 percent last month. It was the largest monthly increase since a 0.5 percent gain in April.

Inflationary pressures have largely been subdued in recent months. Much of the increase in August came from a 3.3 percent surge in energy costs. Food expenses slipped in August, including a sharp 20.6 percent decline in wheat prices.

The survey was taken before Harvey and Irma struck the southern part of the United States, events that will likely cause prices to further rise in the coming months as the rebuilding process begins.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose 0.1 percent last month. Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices are up a moderate 2.4 percent, while core prices have risen 2.0 percent.

Target to increase holiday hiring

In order to improve customer service during the upcoming holiday season, Target plans to hire 30,000 more seasonal workers than it did last year.

The Minneapolis-based retailer will hold hiring events Oct. 13-15 at every store. The jobs include sales associates and distribution and fulfillment center staff positions.

“ Our commitment to hire 100,000 team members for the holidays will make shopping at Target even easier and more fun during one of the busiest times of the year,” said Janna Potts, Target's chief stores officer, in a statement.

Local steelmaker's Indian rival curtailed

Fort Wayne steelmaker Valbruna Stainless has relief in a ruling affirmed this week that will restrict the flow of products in the U.S. by a competitor in India for nearly 17 years.

A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed orders the U.S. International Trade Commission issued last year requiring India steelmaker Viraj Profiles to stop importing, marketing and selling stainless steel products here for 16.7 years.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued the decision Monday, according to court documents provided by Valbruna Stainless, which employs more than 220 in the U.S.

The case stems from allegations Valbruna made that Viraj bribed an ex-employee to steal Valbruna's manufacturing trade secrets and customer lists from an Italy location.

EU says Italy can't ban modified corn

The European Union court ruled Wednesday in favor of an Italian activist farmer who has defied his nation's laws by planting genetically modified corn.

Italy has prosecuted Giorgio Fidenato for cultivating the corn on his land, citing concerns the crops could endanger human health.

But the European Court of Justice ruled Wednesday that a member state such as Italy does not have the right to ban genetically modified crops given that there is no scientific reason for doing so.

It noted that the European Commission in 1998 authorized the use of the specific maize seeds Fidenato planted, finding “no reason to believe that that product would have any adverse effects on human health or the environment.”