Briefly

U.S. Steel resuming project

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — U.S. Steel Corp. will restart construction on an idled manufacturing facility in Alabama, and it gave some of the credit to President Donald Trump’s trade policies in an announcement Monday.

Trump’s “strong trade actions” are partly responsible for the resumption of work on an advanced plant near Birmingham, the Pittsburgh-based company said in a statement. The administration’s tariffs have raised prices on imported steel and aluminum.

The manufacturer also cited improving market conditions, union support and government incentives for the decision.

Work will resume immediately, the company said, and the facility will have an annual capacity of 1.6 million tons.

U.S. Steel said it also will update other equipment and plans to spend about $215 million, adding about 150 full-time workers. The furnace is expected to begin producing steel in late 2020.

The 16,000-member United Steelworkers praised the decision to resume work, which followed an agreement with the union reached last fall.

UK economy takes turn for worse

LONDON (AP) — The British economy has not had a worse year since the global financial crisis and Brexit uncertainty is clearly to blame. The government even admits it.

Official figures released Monday showed that a lack of clarity over Brexit weighed on businesses throughout 2018 and kept a lid on their investments.

For 2018 as a whole, the economy grew by 1.4 percent. The last time it performed so weakly was in 2012, during Europe’s debt crisis. The last time it had a worse year was in 2009, when it contracted by 4.2 percent in the wake of the global financial crisis that brought much of the world’s banking system to its knees.

Monday’s figures showed the slowdown gathering pace as the year came to an end. A surprise 0.4 percent contraction in December means the economy grew at a tepid rate of only 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 0.6 percent in the third quarter.

That backs up other indicators that suggest the uncertainty over Brexit is increasingly hurting the economy at a time when global trends, like a trade war between the U.S. and China, are weighing on world growth.

Business investment fell at the end of last year for a fourth straight quarter– the first time that has happened since the financial crisis.

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