Norwegian cruise line may bypass Florida due to ban on vaccine requirements
Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is threatening to skip Florida ports because of the governor's order banning businesses from requiring that customers be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The company says Gov. Ron DeSantis' order conflicts with guidelines from federal health authorities that would let cruise ships sail in U.S. waters if passengers and crew members are vaccinated. Norwegian's CEO, Frank Del Rio, says lawyers think federal law tops state law.
The CEO says if Norwegian can't operate in Florida, it can go to other states or the Caribbean. The company owns Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Consumer borrowing rises again in March
U.S. consumer borrowing rose by a strong $25.8 billion in March, the second-straight sizable monthly gain.
The number released Friday by the Federal Reserve represents another indication that the U.S. economic recovery is gaining steam. The March increase followed an even larger $26.1 billion rise in February. The two increases were the biggest monthly gains since a $26.8 billion increase in December 2019 before the pandemic hit.
The March borrowing advance reflected a $6.4 billion increase in the category that includes credit cards and a $19.4 billion rise in the category that covers auto loans and student loans.
BMW profits up from China sales
Auto sales are booming in China and Germany's BMW is benefiting. The luxury carmarker doubled its sales there in the first quarter. That helped Munich-based BMW make net profit of 2.8 billion euros in the first three months of the year.
BMW net profit rose to 2.83 billion euros ($3.42 billion) from 574 million in the year-earlier period. Revenues rose 15% to 26.78 billion euros. Per-vehicle profitability, defined as operating result on sales, reached 9.8%, a big increase from 1.3% in the year-earlier quarter and within the company's long-term target range.
Auto markets are rebounding from the worst of the pandemic recession. One exception was BMW's home market in Germany, where sales were down. The company says it is using all that cash to push ahead with more electric and digitally connected cars.
German output, exports up strongly in March
Factory production and exports increased strongly in Germany in March. That bodes well for the second quarter in Europe's largest economy as it struggles to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Economy Ministry said Friday that industrial production rose 2.5% in March over February when adjusted for seasonal and calendar factors. In a separate encouraging report, German exports were up 1.2% in March over February, and up 16.1% over March of last year, according to seasonally and calendar adjusted figures from the Federal Statistical Office.
Germany's economy did better last year than several others in Europe as it was supported by manufacturing.
— Compiled by Dave Flessner