IMF downgrades outlook

for overall global growth

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday downgraded its outlook for growth in the United States, Europe, Japan and the overall global economy and pointed to heightened trade tensions as a key reason.

The IMF expects the world economy to grow 3.3 percent this year, down from 3.6 percent in 2018. That would match 2016 for the weakest year since 2009. In its previous forecast in January, the IMF had predicted that international growth would reach 3.5 percent this year.

For the United States, IMF economists downgraded their growth forecast for this year to 2.3 percent from 2.9 percent in 2018.



Retailers gaining option

to offer Uber vouchers

Retailers have begun working with ride-hailing company Uber to entice customers through their doors.

Uber launched a voucher program Tuesday that enables stores and restaurants to dole out free or discounted rides to customers, offering a way for retailers to counter declining foot traffic heightened by the growth of online shopping.

Retail traffic has declined 2.3 percent over the last two years, according to Cowen Equity Research. Malls in particular have experienced a drop-off as younger generations living in urban centers have shown little interest in owning cars and taking trips to suburban shopping malls, said Jon Reily, vice president and global commerce strategy lead at Publicis Sapient.



Federal safety net program

ready to start enrollment

The federal Farm Service Agency says a program to help hard-pressed dairy farmers is expected to be ready for enrollment in June.

Dairy farmers are in their fifth year of low milk prices that have driven thousands out of business.

Thirty-eight U.S. senators recently signed a letter urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement the insurance program quickly, saying dairy farmers' situation "is urgent."

Farmers would pay for coverage and receive payments when the gap between milk prices and feed prices reach a certain level. The program was delayed by the partial government shutdown.



Standard Chartered agrees

to fine exceeding $1 billion

Financial services giant Standard Chartered Bank agreed Tuesday to pay U.S. and British authorities more than $1 billion to resolve allegations that it processed transactions for customers in Iran and other countries under U.S. sanctions.

The London-based bank, which previously drew scrutiny for allegedly scheming with the Iranian government to launder $250 billion, said it accepts full responsibility for the new batch of violations and for the internal lapses that allowed the illegal transactions to go unchecked.

Standard Chartered processed 9,335 transactions from June 2009 until May 2014 totaling $437.6 million that involved persons or countries subject to U.S. sanctions, the Treasury Department said.