The U.S. budget deficit hit $31.46 billion in October, the opening month of fiscal 1991, the Treasury Department reported. The Bush administration estimates that the nation's fiscal '91 budget deficit will be at least $176.33 billion. Many economists, however, put the number higher.

The government said it is ending its 18-month investigation of unfair trade charges against Thailand after the Southeast Asian country agreed to allow imports of American and other foreign cigarettes.

At least 30 states face budget deficits because of the rising cost of services, falling tax revenue and slackening consumer spending, according to studies by the National Association of State Budget Officers and the Boston Globe. The deficits range from $42 million in Tennessee to $1 billion in New York.

A $1 million judgment awarded recently to former First Maryland Savings and Loan executive Julian M. Seidel from Clinton Joint Venture was overturned by U.S. District Court Judge James C. Cacheris. Cacheris said that Seidel, who is serving a 12-year prison sentence for conspiracy to defraud investors, was not a credible witness in the breach-of-contract suit.

SPI Pharmaceuticals of California will merge with Yugoslavia's Galenika Pharmaceuticals in one of the biggest East-West transactions with Yugoslavia since World War II.

Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher, in a taped television interview, said the Federal Reserve isn't easing monetary policy enough and again complained about a credit crunch. Mosbacher stopped short of saying the economy has entered a recession, but he conceded that it has "some problems."

Baltimore Bancorp said four class-action lawsuits filed against the bank company had been dismissed. The lawsuits were filed in connection with Baltimore Bancorp's rejection of a takeover offer from Allied Irish Banks PLC, parent of First Maryland Corp.

MCI Communications, following announcement of a major restructuring in the face of flat growth, has dropped Wells, Rich, Greene Inc. of New York as its advertising agency and selected Messner Vetere Berger Carey Schmetterer, also of New York.

The SEC filed objections to Southland Corp.'s bankruptcy reorganization plan, challenging provisions that would protect Southland's officers, directors and other Southland entities not involved in the bankruptcy action from creditor lawsuits.

Lloyds Bank, one of Britain's largest commercial banks, said it has cut 2,000 of its 55,000 member work force this year as part of a continuing review of its operations.