Talking Points

Four items you may have missed in business on Sunday

Raghuram G. Rajan warned three years before the 2008 financial crisis that excessive risk threatened the global financial system.
DIVYAKANT SOLANKI/European Pressphoto Agency
Raghuram G. Rajan warned three years before the 2008 financial crisis that excessive risk threatened the global financial system.


India’s departing central banker warns about interest rates

Raghuram G. Rajan, India’s top central banker, stepped down Sunday as he warned that low interest rates globally could distort markets and would be difficult to abandon. Countries around the world, including the United States and Europe, have kept interest rates low as a way to encourage growth. But countries could become “trapped” by fear that when they eventually raised rates, they “would see growth slow down,” he said. Low interest rates should not be a substitute for “other instruments of policy” and “various kinds of reforms” that are needed to encourage growth, Rajan, 53, said in a recent interview with The New York Times. “Often when monetary policy is really easy, it becomes the residual policy of choice,” he said, when deeper reforms are needed. His warning comes at a time when the world’s central banks appear to be at a loss about how to get global growth moving again. A growing number of voices say that low rates are not doing the job and that governments must take more politically difficult steps to reinvigorate growth. Rajan warned three years before the 2008 financial crisis that excessive risk threatened the global financial system. — NEW YORK TIMES

Executive pay

Shareholders protest generous UK packages

The United Kingdom’s biggest companies are having a harder time gaining shareholder approval for executive pay packages, as investors take issue with a lack of transparency and disclosures when CEOs get a raise. The number of companies in the FTSE 100 Index that failed to win at least 75 percent of shareholder votes in support of executive compensation plans almost doubled since 2012, consultant Deloitte said in a report released Monday. Eight companies in the index missed the 75 percent threshold, while two failed to secure majority approval for proposed payouts. Just 26 percent of the largest 30 companies on the list garnered the backing of 95 percent of shareholders. Last year more than half reached that mark. “While we’re still talking about a relatively small number of companies, this is rightly a cause for concern,” said Stephen Cahill, a partner in Deloitte’s remuneration team. “The 2016 AGM season has been bruising for a number of companies, perhaps even more so than the shareholder spring of 2012.” — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Oil slips as Saudi-Russia deal stops short of output plan

Oil fell as two of the world’s biggest producers stopped short of making concrete proposals to coordinate output, pledging instead to cooperate to ensure market stability. Futures lost as much as 0.9 percent in New York. Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to work together to stabilize prices, without offering details on joint action, after Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and President Vladimir Putin met in China on Sunday. Crude rose the most in two weeks on Friday as Putin said he’d like OPEC and Russia to agree to an output freeze and may propose the plan to the Saudi leader when they met. Oil rallied last month amid speculation that members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers would agree to a plan when they meet later this month in Algiers. A deal to freeze output, originally proposed in February, was derailed in April after Iran declined to cap its production. “At this stage, markets are probably just going to take the view that it needs to see some evidence, some tangible idea on what the agreement might actually amount to before responding to it,” said Ric Spooner, a chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. “We will get a lot of statements about it but probably nothing really concrete until we get to the stage of the Algiers meeting.” — BLOOMBERG NEWS

Personal finance

Varying wage laws often create confusion for workers


This Labor Day weekend, as the national debate intensifies over whether the minimum wage should more than double to $15 an hour, states, cities, and counties are implementing a hodgepodge of wages. That leaves the country’s lowest-paid employees facing different circumstances depending on where they live. And nowhere is that disjointed reality more stark than in the Washington region, where people travel fluidly, sometimes in the same day, among Virginia, Maryland, and the District, which share a high cost of living but diverge drastically in their minimum wages. In Virginia, the minimum wage remains at the federal $7.25 an hour rate. In Maryland, the rate is now $8.75 an hour and will rise to $10.10 in two years. Montgomery and Prince George’s counties go above their state’s minimum to $10.75 by Oct. 1. And in the District of Columbia, the minimum wage a few months ago hit $11.50, with the goal of reaching $15 in 2020. The confusion for workers is nationwide, where 29 states have set their minimum wage above the federal level. — WASHINGTON POST