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Business Highlights

Citigroup dumps Phibro, avoids showdown with US

NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Citigroup Inc. is removing one of the irritants in its relationship with the government, its Phibro commodities trading division that is paying one trader an estimated $100 million this year.

The deal announced Friday carries a tradeoff for Citigroup: While the $250 million sale to Occidental Petroleum Corp. means a bit less government scrutiny, it also means the bank is losing hundreds of millions of dollars in annual income that could help repay $49 billion in bailout money.

Phibro, which makes most of its money through oil and natural gas trades, earned an average $371 million annually during the past five years. Citigroup sold it for about $250 million, which means Occidental could recoup its investment in less than a year.

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Aug. trade deficit narrows unexpectedly to $30.7B

WASHINGTON (AP) ¿ The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in August as exports posted a small gain, while imports fell on a big drop in demand for foreign oil.

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