Business briefs: Company fined $11,000 over spill into river
WASHINGTON – A federal agency has fined the company that spilled chemicals into West Virginia’s largest water supply $11,000 for a pair of violations.
The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Freedom Industries $7,000 for keeping storage tanks containing MCHM behind a diked wall that was not liquid tight. On Jan. 9, roughly 10,000 gallons of MCHM leaked from one of the tanks and through the riverside diked wall and left 300,000 residents without clean water for days.
OSHA also fined Freedom Industries $4,000 for failing to have standard railings on an elevated platform.
Freedom Industries did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Treasury bill rates slip at weekly auction
WASHINGTON – Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills fell in Monday’s auction, with rates reaching their lowest level in two weeks.
The Treasury Department auctioned $25 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.030 percent, down from 0.040 percent last week. Another $23 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 0.060 percent, down from 0.065 percent last week.
The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,999.24 while a six-month bill sold for $9,996.96. That would equal an annualized rate of 0.030 percent for the three-month bills and 0.061 percent for the six-month bills.
Separately, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable rate mortgages, eased to 0.10 percent last week from 0.11 percent the previous week.
Mortgage foreclosure settlement yields $3.1 billion so far
WASHINGTON – A new report says homeowners have received about $3.1 billion in cash under a federal settlement with 13 big banks over alleged misconduct in processing mortgages that may have resulted in wrongful foreclosures.
The report by the Federal Reserve released Monday says 83 percent of the 4.2 million borrowers covered by the January 2013 settlement, or about 3.4 million, had cashed checks as of April 25. The amounts range from several hundred dollars to $125,000.
The banks are Aurora, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC Financial Services, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.
The $9.3 billion settlement called for $3.6 billion in cash payments and $5.7 billion in aid such as reduced mortgage loans.
WTO panel issues mixed ruling in U.S.-China dispute
GENEVA – An appeals body of the World Trade Organization has decided it lacked enough information to uphold China’s objections to a U.S. law meant to help American companies that face unfair foreign competition.
The panel said Monday it was “unable to complete the analysis” and could not uphold China’s appeal of a previous WTO ruling on the law signed by President Barack Obama in 2012.
But China claimed victory because the WTO panel did not overturn another part of the ruling that said the U.S. violated trade rules when it double-counted certain punishments on Chinese goods.
China’s WTO mission in Geneva said the panel’s conclusions represent “another significant victory of China’s challenge against the United States’ abuse of trade remedy measures.”