The daily business briefing: December 1, 2016
OPEC approves production cuts, Netflix introduces video downloads, and more
OPEC agrees to first output cut since 2008
OPEC agreed to its first production cut since 2008 on Wednesday, sending oil prices surging by more than 9 percent. The deal came after Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer, agreed to what Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih described as "a big hit," shouldering the largest of the 1.2 million barrels a day in cuts. Iran had been resisting cuts, insisting it should be allowed to regain market share it lost under recently lifted Western sanctions. Under a compromise, Iran will be allowed to boost production slightly from its October level. Traders said the oil rally might quickly fizzle, as the cuts won't be enough to end a global glut.
Netflix introduces video downloading feature
Netflix announced Wednesday that it was launching a feature allowing subscribers to download select TV shows and movies to view them on Apple and Android devices while offline. The latest versions of the streaming service's mobile apps include a "download" button, along with a menu showing all of the content available for download. Not everything available for streaming will be included. Netflix original series — including Orange Is the New Black, Narcos, House of Cards, Stranger Things, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Master of None, and The Crown — became available for downloading Wednesday.
Trump assembling richest Cabinet ever
President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet is not quite complete, and it is already the wealthiest in modern American history. Wilbur Ross, Trump's commerce secretary nominee, is worth at least $2.5 billion, 10 times the combined inflation-adjusted net worth of George W. Bush's entire first Cabinet in 2001. Ross' nominated deputy, Todd Ricketts, is a scion of the billionaire family that owns the Chicago Cubs. Betsy DeVos, whose father-in-law co-founded Amway, belongs to a family worth $5.1 billion. Treasury secretary nominee Stephen Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and Hollywood financier, has a net worth of more than $40 million; Trump's pick for transportation secretary, shipping heiress Elaine Chao, and her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have a net worth around $37 million. Politico estimates that Trump's Cabinet and administration could have a total net worth of up to $35 billion.
Federal government to forgive $108 billion in student debt
The federal government will forgive an estimated $108 billion in student loans over the next 10 to 20 years as more borrowers request relief, according to report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office. The GAO report criticized the Education Department for underestimating the cost of debt relief programs, saying flaws in accounting methods regarding the $1.26 trillion student-loan portfolio have forced officials to lower their forecasts of revenue for the student loan program, although it is still likely to generate a profit.
Big Mac inventor Jim Delligatti dies at 98
Jim Delligatti, inventor of the McDonald's Big Mac, has died at his home in a Pittsburgh suburb. He was 98. Delligatti first served the now-iconic sandwich — two beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a three-layer sesame-seed bun — at his Uniontown, Pennsylvania, McDonald's outlet in 1967. The chain started serving it nationwide the following year. Delligatti said he was just improvising his own version of double-decker sandwiches served elsewhere. "I would never have dreamed that my creation would turn into a piece of Americana," he once said, according to McDonald's.