With OK from Congress, US hemp market to boom

Hemp is about to be­come legal nationwide. A provision of the farm bill that received final approval in Congress on Wednesday removes hemp from the list of federally controlled substances and treats it like a regular crop. Hemp is a type of cannabis that does not get the user high. The change means an industry already seeing explosive growth is likely to grow more. Pres­i­dent Trump is expected to sign the bill into law next week.

Feds: US fishermen had good year aided by lobsters

The federal government says U.S. commercial fishing generated more than $144 billion in sales in 2016, a total about in line with trends of recent years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion released its annual Fisheries Economics of the United States report on Thurs­day. The report states that the $144.3 billion in sales from commercial fishing in 2016 was up about $100 million from the previous year.

Eurozone stimulus program to end

The European Central Bank says it will end the stimulus program that for almost four years has supported the eurozone economy — despite new risks including global trade wars and Brexit. Thursday’s decision to halt the program at year end calls time on a $3 trillion program that bank President Mario Draghi credits with putting more than 9 million people in jobs.

US budget deficit hits record $204.9 billion

The federal budget deficit surged to a record for the month of November of $204.9 billion, but a big part of the increase reflected a calendar quirk. The Treasury Department says that the deficit for Novem­ber was $66.4 billion higher than the imbalance in November 2017. But $44 billion of that figure reflected the fact that December benefits in many government entitlement programs were paid in November this year because Dec. 1 fell on a Saturday.

UK’s May seeks European Union lifeline on Brexit

European Union leaders have offered Theresa May sympathy but no promises, as the British prime minister seeks a lifeline that could help her sell her Brexit divorce deal to a hostile U.K. Parliament. May acknowledged that a breakthrough was unlikely at a two-day EU summit in Brussels but sought reassurances from the bloc that she can use to win over opponents at home. May won a challenge to her leadership but had to promise to step down as Conservative leader before the U.K.’s next vote in 2022.