October 8, 2013


News from the business world

Portland insurer paying $16 million in dividends

The MEMIC Group will be sending out $16 million in dividend checks to policyholders this fall, a record amount for the workers’ compensation insurer.

The checks are expected to go out in November, the company said Tuesday, and follows $13 million in dividend payments last year.

The Portland-based insurer said this year’s dividend payment is based on the company’s 2010 performance. Checks will go out to nearly 18,000 companies that get workers’ comp insurance through MEMIC and will average about $700, with a top payout of $250,000.

Heating oil costs expected to decrease 2% this winter

The government expects most households to pay more for heat this winter, although heating oil users will see their bills drop slightly.

Homes using natural gas for heat, about half of the nation, will see costs rise about 13 percent from a year ago to an average of $679. That’s still about $25 lower than the average for the winters of 2007 through 2012.

Heating oil customers’ average bills should drop 2 percent, to $2,046, the second highest average on record, behind last year’s $2,092.

Homes relying on electricity for heat, about 38 percent of the U.S., will likely pay about 2 percent more, or about $18.

IMF cuts forecasts, warns about dangers of default

The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday cut its global economic growth forecasts and warned that the U.S. would harm the world economy if it fails to raise its borrowing limit.

The international lending agency said the global economy will grow 2.9 percent this year and 3.6 percent in 2014. Both are 0.2 percentage point lower than the group’s July forecasts. The main reason for the downgrade was slower growth in China, India, Brazil and other developing nation.

But the IMF also lowered its outlook for U.S. economic growth this year to 1.6 percent and next year to 2.6 percent. Those are 0.1 percentage point and 0.2 percentage point lower than in July, respectively.

The fund warned that failure to raise the U.S. government’s borrowing limit later this month could lead to a default. That would push up interest rates, disrupt global financial markets and possibly push the U.S. back into recession.

Major stock indexes fall; benchmark crude rises

The Dow Jones Industrial average fell was down 159.71 points to 14,776.53. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed down 20.67 points to close at 1,655.45. The Nasdaq composite fell 75.54 points to 3,694.83.

Benchmark crude for November delivery rose 46 cents to close at $103.49 a barrel.

– From staff and news services

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