published Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Business briefing

Hughes named Rotary president

Cornerstone Bank chief executive Frank Hughes will be inaugurated today as the Downtown Rotary Club’s 99th president.

Prior to joining Cornerstone, Hughes was employed at Pioneer Bancshares as the vice president and investment officer from 1994 to 1998.

From 1983 to 1991, Hughes worked for American National Bank & Trust as a senior investment officer. He has been a member of the Chattanooga Rotary Club since 1997.

Trade deficit narrows in May

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in May from April, helped by cheaper oil that lowered imports and an increase in American exports to Europe and China. But economists cautioned that the global economy has weakened since then.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the trade deficit fell 3.8 percent to $48.7 billion in May, down from $50.6 billion in April. Exports rose 0.2 percent to $183.1 billion. The increase reflected stronger sales of telecommunications equipment and heavy machinery.

“The trade deficit will drift slightly lower because of the decline in the price of oil,” said Jay Bryson, senior global economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, N.C., who was the only analyst to correctly project the trade outcome.

“Exports are holding up, but as we go forward we are going to see pretty weak numbers given the slowdown abroad. Our economy has slowed as well. Import growth has definitely softened,” Bryson said.

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