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Trucking groups salute 2 congressmen

Two Republican lawmakers from Arkansas have received praise from the trucking industry after their legislative opposition to calls for a delay in the rollout of electronic logging devices in big rigs.

The American Trucking Associations and the Arkansas Trucking Association are asking their members to make donations to the campaigns of U.S. Reps. Bruce Westerman and Rick Crawford. In a recent mailer, the groups highlighted the two for fighting a Texas lawmaker's amendment to push back the start date for the required use of electronic logging devices in every commercial truck and bus.

The industry is throwing its weight behind the two lawmakers at a time of technological changes in commercial transportation. By requiring the devices on every rig, the federal government hopes to crack down on truck drivers who work beyond their hours-of-service limitations.

Larger carriers and companies with truck fleets, such as Tyson Foods, resoundingly supported the devices, while many smaller carriers -- which make up most of the industry -- feared they would be a burden with penalties and lost productivity.

The American Trucking Associations will host a luncheon in Washington on Jan. 30 to celebrate its relationship with Crawford and Westerman.

-- Dalton LaFerney

U.S. now a net exporter of natural gas

America's trade imbalance just got a wee bit smaller. The U.S. has now become a net exporter of natural gas on an annual basis for the first time since at least 1957.

Net exports averaged about 0.4 billion cubic feet per day last year, flipping from net inflows of 1.8 billion in 2016, according to Victoria Zaretskaya, a Washington-based analyst for the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The numbers will be officially released by the agency in a report today, she said.

A "significant projected increase" in natural gas sent by pipeline to Mexico and a growing number of liquefied natural gas shipments to the rest of the world should guarantee the trend moving forward, Zaretskaya said by email on Wednesday.

Now the U.S. has a single liquefied natural gas export facility operating, Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana. Two others are scheduled to start this year.

-- Bloomberg News

Fed sent $80.2B profit to Treasury in '17

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve's economic stimulus campaign continued to generate large profits in 2017, helping to reduce the federal deficit, but the windfall is showing signs of tapering.

The Fed, which remits its profits to the Treasury Department, disclosed Wednesday that its payments last year totaled $80.2 billion -- about 12 percent less than the $91.5 billion in 2016.

The decline in profits reflects the Fed's efforts, as the economy gains strength, to conclude the economic stimulus campaign it waged in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Fed has gradually increased its benchmark interest rate amid an improving economic picture, and those higher rates increase what the Fed must pay on deposits that banks keep stashed at the Fed.

-- The New York Times

Sears raises cash despite holiday blues

NEW YORK -- Sears has secured more financing and is considering more cost cutting, as the beleaguered retailer reported a big sales drop during the critical Christmas shopping season.

The company, which operates Sears and Kmart stores, said Wednesday that it secured $100 million in new financing, will seek twice that from other sources and will attempt $200 million in additional cost cuts this year unrelated to store closings.

Sears Holdings Corp., which said last week that it is closing more than 100 stores, said that during the November and December period, comparable-store sales tumbled by 16 percent to 17 percent. The metric -- which measures sales in stores open at least a year -- is a key indicator of retailer's health.

-- The Associated Press

Bass Pro CEO issues donation challenge

SIDNEY, Neb. -- Bass Pro Shops Chief Executive Officer Johnny Morris said he will match donations by former Cabela's executives and owners to a severance fund for some Cabela's workers who are losing their jobs after Bass Pro bought the rival outdoor retailer.

Bass Pro Shops has said some employees in Sidney, Neb., where Cabela's was headquartered, will likely lose their jobs as a result of the $5 billion deal that closed in September. Bass Pro has said it will keep its headquarters in Springfield, Mo.

Cabela's has been headquartered for decades in Sidney and employed as many as 2,000 people in the town of about 6,700 people that's about 365 miles west of Omaha.

Bass Pro said it has already committed an additional $10 million on top of its normal severance program to help the Sidney employees. The Omaha World-Herald reported Wednesday that Morris has asked former Cabela's executives who got large "golden parachutes" or profits from their Cabela's stock sale to contribute to the severance fund.

-- The Associated Press

Bitcoin seen as viable for some nations

Bitcoin may seem like a solution in search of a problem in the U.S., where transaction costs are already low and the dollar stable. But in developing countries, digital currencies could succeed as a real form of money, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says.

Many currencies in sub-Saharan Africa have lost value because of high inflation and supply mismanagement. As a result, foreign money makes up more than 90 percent of deposits and loans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zimbabwe demonetized its currency in 2015. Bitcoin could also be useful in regions where governments impose strict rules on the use of traditional currencies from other countries.

"In recent decades the U.S. dollar has served its purpose relatively well," Goldman Sachs strategists Zach Pandl and Charles Himmelberg wrote in a report Wednesday. But "in those countries and corners of the financial system where the traditional services of money are inadequately supplied, Bitcoin (and cryptocurrencies more generally) may offer viable alternatives."

-- Bloomberg News

Business on 01/11/2018

Print Headline: hcb ,2,16,1 Trucking groups salute 2 congressmen U.S. now a net exporter of natural gas $80.2B Fed profit sent to Treasury in '17 Sears raises cash despite holiday blues Bass Pro's chief exec issu...

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