ECONOMY T-bill rates fell. The Treasury sold 52-week bills at an average discount rate of 6.22 percent, down from 6.58 percent at the last auction Dec. 13 and the lowest level since Feb. 11, 1988, when the rate was 6.18 percent. The bills will carry an equivalent coupon rate of 6.62 percent.

California crops suffered $700 million in damage from freezing temperatures in December, county agricultural commissioners reported.

COMPANIES Mobil signed an offshore exploration agreement with Guyana that covers more than 5 million acres. The Washington Post approved an increase in the annual dividend on common stock from $4 to $4.20 a share. The increase marks the 15th consecutive year the company has raised its dividend. Ford's board of directors elected to maintain its 75-cent dividend despite reports the No. 2 automaker would cut it due to fourth-quarter losses and a weak sales market. Comcast, a cable TV firm and provider of Muzak background music, sought federal permission to operate experimental networks of new-generation portable phones in Baltimore and four other cities. Roadway Services, will replace Pan Am in the Dow Jones transportation average on Monday. It is the first time a stock traded over the counter has been a Dow component. Boeing said it would close its 1,600-worker Lake Charles, La., plant by the end of the year because of a lack of business. US Sprint laid off 280 telemarketing employees in its Consumer Services Group. Saatchi & Saatchi, the ailing London-based advertising group, unveiled a complex recapitalization plan under which it will issue about 350 million additional shares of stock at a price yet to be determined.

ACQUISITIONS House of Fabrics, which operates 629 stores in 43 states, launched a hostile $43.2 million attempt to take over Fabricland, which operates about 80 stores in six western states.

INTERNATIONAL Romania will allow companies and banks to trade freely in some hard currencies, in an attempt to hasten convertibility of the Romanian leu. Norway's government will propose an $833 million state guarantee fund to assure stability in its troubled banks, which have been stung by a national economic slump.

REGULATION The administration began an investigation that could lead to trade retaliation against the European Community in a dispute over sanitary conditions in U.S. meatpacking plants. The EC halted shipments of U.S. beef and pork saying U.S. plants didn't meet EC health standards. The Food and Drug Administration approved Coca-Cola's plans to sell its soft drinks in recycled plastic bottles, paving the way for the first major use of such materials to package a food product. The FCC ruled that AT&T may not include in its overall rate structure temporary discounts for some customers at the expense of others.

CONTRACTS MCI won a contract worth at least $1.3 million to link the U.S., British and Japanese offices of Japan's Kyowa Bank.

EARNINGS PaineWebber Group said it will post a 1990 loss of about $55 million, after losing $95 million in the last three months of the year, when it took a $24 million charge against earnings to pay for severance and space costs associated with 400 layoffs. McCormick said fourth-quarter profits rose 25.5 percent, but its 1990 results were off 48 percent, due to an $83 million gain in 1989 on the sale of its real estate division.

PEOPLE Michel Camdessus, the head of the IMF, said the U.S. recession should not spread worldwide, in part because the German and Japanese economies are still growing. An aide to millionaire Perry Bass, Shaye Evans, is being sought for allegedly stealing at least $100,000 from the Bass empire, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Evans is reportedly planning to surrender to authorities.