Business highlights

The Gramm-Rudman bill would dramatically change United States business conditions over the next six years as well as reduce the federal budget deficit, according to an economic analysis prepared by Washington University's Center for the Study of American Business. Joel Prakken, Laurence H. Meyer, and Chris P. Varvares note that real gross national product growth would remain about the same with or without Gramm-Rudman; so would inflation. (All cases assume an ``accommodative'' monetary policy.) The corporate bond rate would decline and business investment improve.

The most important change, the study says, would occur in net exports, which, without Gramm-Rudman, would worsen toward a $148 billion deficit in 1991. If the bill became law, however, the trade deficit would be only $29 billion in 1991, the study says.

The Soviet Union, which trails only Saudi Arabia and Iran in oil exports, is experiencing difficulties in its petroleum industry, according to a report prepared by Cambridge Energy Research Associates. The study, ``The Soviet Union and World Energy Markets,'' notes that Soviet oil production peaked in 1983 and ``a retreat has now begun.'' Production will probably be up to half a million barrels a day lower in 1985 than in '83.

Bad weather, production problems, and organizational disarray have hurt the oil industry.

Still, the USSR has been able to maintain high levels of oil exports, the report says, by substituting gas domestically and in Eastern Europe and by buying and reexporting Middle Eastern oil.

Without improvements in fuel efficiency in the fleet of American cars on the road, modest increases in gasoline demand over the past few years would have been much greater, according to an analysis by the American Petroleum Institute. API says gasoline demand in the United States rose slightly more than 1 percent a year in 1983, '84, and for the first 10 months of '85. Without increasing fuel efficiency, demand might have been triple what it has been in the past three years.

API concludes that the most important factor in improving fuel efficiency has been the factoring of older gas guzzlers out of the fleet.

The average price of a new home in the United States is $103,633, while an existing home averaged $93,163, according to a recent survey by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Service. The survey looked at typical three-bedroom, 1,600-square-foot homes with 11/2 baths. Prices for existing homes varied from $47,500 in Buffalo, N.Y., to $435,000 in Saddle River, N.J.

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