U.S. credit borrowing took big leap in July

Americans increased their borrowing in July at nearly double the pace of the previous month, evidence that confident consumers are willing to take on more debt to support their spending. The Federal Reserve reports that consumer debt rose by a seasonally adjusted $16.6 billion in July, up sharply from a gain of $8.5 billion in June. The category that includes credit cards rose by $1.3 billion after shrinking by $1.2 billion in June. The category that covers auto and student loans surged by $15.4 billion after an increase of $9.6 billion in June. It was the largest gain since an increase of $17.9 billion last November. Consumer borrowing is closely followed for the clues it can provide about the willingness of consumers to go into debt to support spending.


S.D., Mont. Indian tribes sue administration

American Indian tribes in Montana and South Dakota sued the Trump administration on Monday, claiming that approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline did not adequately analyze potential damage to cultural sites from spills and during construction. Attorneys for the Fort Belknap and Rosebud Sioux tribes asked a federal court in Great Falls, Mont., to rescind the line's permit issued by the U.S. State Department. The tribes argue President Donald Trump ignored the rights of tribes when he reversed a prior decision by President Barack Obama and approved the project last year. The $8 billion TransCanada Corp. pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels of crude daily along a 1,184-mile route from Canada to Nebraska. State Department representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


German trial begins in VW investors' lawsuit

Trial proceedings have begun in Germany in the lawsuit brought against Volkswagen by investors alleging the company did not give them timely notice of its scandal over cars rigged to cheat on diesel-emissions tests. Investors are seeking almost 9 billion euros ($10.4 billion), saying Volkswagen didn't give them the information they needed to decide what to do with their shares before the scandal became public. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accused Volkswagen in September 2015 of manipulating diesel emissions, sending the shares sharply lower. The case opening Monday in front of the higher regional court in Braunschweig involves claims from investors that will serve as a model for further cases, the dpa news agency reported. The model case involves claims of 4 billion euros from Deka Investments and other shareholders. Proceedings are being held in a convention hall due to the number of participants and high public interest. The company said it met its duty to inform investors in time.


Gasoline prices in the U.S. stay steady

U.S. gas prices remained steady over the past two weeks and an analyst said the pump price may start to drop later this month. Trilby Lundberg said the average price of regular-grade gas as of Friday was $2.91 per gallon. In California, however, the average was $3.63 per gallon. The price in the San Francisco Bay Area was even higher while the city with the lowest average was Jackson, Miss., at $2.51 per gallon. Consumers may see prices fall 2 to 4 cents per gallon by the end of the month, Lundberg said, because gasoline supplies are plentiful, growth in demand is weak and refiners are ending their production of summer blend gas that's designed to reduce pollution but is costlier to produce.


Japan proposes an end to whaling ban

Japan is proposing an end to a decades-old ban on commercial whaling, arguing there is no longer a scientific reason for what was supposed to be a temporary measure. The proposal is facing stiff opposition from Australia and others at the International Whaling Commission meetings that opened Monday in Florianopolis, Brazil. Japan has hunted whales for centuries as a source of protein. The country said it complies with the commission's commercial ban but hunts whales under a research exception. Critics said the program is a cover for commercial whaling because the whale meat is sold for food. Japan is proposing to create a committee that would establish quotas for commercial whaling. It's not clear when voting will take place. The Japanese could also pull back the proposal.