Business Briefs – January 21, 2018

U.S. Oil Output Is Booming and Seen Outpacing Saudis, Russia

PARIS (AP) – A global energy agency says that U.S. oil production is growing quickly and is forecast to top that of heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Russia this year. The International Energy Agency says in its monthly market report that U.S. oil production, which has already risen to its highest level in nearly 50 years, will push past 10 million barrels a day as higher prices entice more producers to start pumping.

Anti-Smoking Plan May Kill Cigarettes — and Save Big Tobacco

WASHINGTON (AP) – The first step that could one day make smoking an obsolete habit gets underway this week. U.S. regulators will hold a public meeting about a device that heats a Marlboro-branded tobacco, but doesn’t burn it. It’s part of a delicate plan that would drastically cut nicotine levels in cigarettes and allow lower-risk products for those who can’t or won’t quit. It’s a thorny proposition because it offers a role for the tobacco industry in the effort to eliminate the diseases caused by smoking.

SEC Letter Shows Bitcoin Funds Won’t Happen Soon, If Ever

NEW YORK (AP) – Federal regulators have a long list of questions and concerns they want answered before they’ll approve a digital currency fund for Main Street investors. Among the concerns: How would funds calculate a fair value for volatile digital currencies, and what steps would the funds take to ensure that investors can easily cash out their shares?

Tourism Booming in Cuba Despite Tougher New Trump Policy

HAVANA (AP) – President Donald Trump drew cheers from a Cuban-American crowd last summer when he announced that he was rolling back some of Barack Obama’s opening to Cuba in order to starve the island’s military-run economy of U.S. tourism dollars and ratchet up pressure for regime change. That doesn’t appear to be happening. The number of visitors rose last year, and more tourism dollars seem to be funneling to Cuba’s state sector and away from private business.

Quarles Lays Out Road Map For Bank Regulations

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve’s top official on financial regulation is putting forward a wide-ranging agenda for improving the way the nation’s banks are regulated. Randal Quarles says he wants to focus on “efficiency, transparency and simplicity” in bank regulations.

Coke Aims to Recycle a Bottle For Each It Sells by 2030

NEW YORK (AP) – Coca-Cola announced long-term recycling goals Friday, including attempting to recycle a bottle or can for every beverage it sells by 2030. The soda maker and other consumer products companies have been under pressure from customers and environmental advocates to stop using plastic packaging.