Local gas prices continue decline and more local, national business news

Unleaded gas dips below $2 Wednesday at the Sam's Club on Lee Highway. Gas was priced at $1.96 per gallon for members of the shopping club.
Lowest Gas Prices in Chattanooga
Chattanooga Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com

Average retail gasoline prices in Chattanooga fell another 8.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.06 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 gas outlets in Chattanooga.

GasBuddy counted 43 service stations in Chattanooga with prices gas prices below $2 a gallon. The cheapest gas on Monday was at the Sam's Club on Lee Highway, where gas was selling for $1.87 per gallon.

Nationwide, gas prices fell an average 9.6 cents per gallon last week, and averaged $2.28 per gallon as of Sunday. Chattanooga gas prices are 98.5 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 42.7 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, according to GasBuddy price surveys.

"The dramatic decline at the pump continues to reap significant savings for the motoring public- over $525 million less spent every day versus this past summer, or $375 million less than the same time last year," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.

Walker Chamber dinner on Jan. 22

The Walker County Chamber of Commerce will host its 2015 annual dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22, at the Walker County Civic Center in Rock Spring, Ga.

The program will include the recognition of retiring directors, as well as the official passing of the gavel to incoming Chamber chairwoman Melissa Roden of Memorial Health Care. Additionally, winners of the 2014 Chamber Member of the Year, 2014 Small Business of the Year, and 2014 Ambassador of the Year will also be announced.

The cost to attend is $50 per person or $500 for a reserved corporate table of eight. Persons may register online at http://business.walkercochamber.com/events/details/2015-annual-dinner-a-stockholder-s-meeting-803.

Russian Ruble continues fall

The Russian currency extended its losses on Monday after a report showed the economy has started shrinking in annual terms for the first time since 2009 as the country is buffeted by falling oil prices and Western sanctions.

Meanwhile, the government, which has been scrambling to support the ruble and the economy, announced fresh steps to keep the banks afloat.

The ruble has been one of the world's worst performing currencies this year and was down another 5 percent on Monday, trading at 56 rubles per dollar in early afternoon in Moscow, wiping off some of the gains it made last week.

The fall came as the Economic Development Ministry issued a report showing the economy shrank by 0.5 percent in November compared with a year earlier. The ministry attributed the year-on-year decline in the economy, Russia's first in five years, to a sharp drop in manufacturing and investment.

The economy has been buffeted by a combination of lower prices for the country's crucial oil exports and the impact of Western sanctions.

Stabilizing the ruble is a priority for the country's monetary authorities. The Central Bank in past weeks raised its key interest rate to 17 percent and said it will offer dollar and euro loans to banks so they can help major exporters that need foreign currencies to finance operations.

The bank's foreign currency reserve has now dropped below $400 billion for the first time since August 2009, as the government has been selling the currency on the market to support the ruble.