Oil prices held near nine-month highs on Friday, guarding strong gains driven by an early winter slide in US crude and natural gas inventories. \nNew York crude futures fell US$0.25 to US$33.46 a barrel after hitting US$33.93, the highest front-month level since March 18, two days before the US-led invasion of Iraq. London Brent was US$0.27 lower at US$30.53. \nOil has jumped around US$3 in barely three weeks as colder-than-normal weather in the US. Northeast -- the world's biggest consumer of heating oil -- eats into fuel inventories. \nUS crude inventories have fallen for the last four weeks to drop 11.6 million below levels a year ago and the lowest December level since the government began tracking the data in 1982. \nDistillates stocks, including heating oil, have dropped too, sharpening fears over fuel supplies with more US cold weather forecast for the second half of this month. \nUS weather forecaster Meteorlogix predicted the week of Dec. 25 to Dec. 31 will show "a pattern featuring more persistent cold weather over the central and eastern United States." Cold weather is also forecast for key Asian consumers Japan and South Korea over the next few days. \nOil prices have risen nearly 25 percent since OPEC's September decision to cut supply by 3.5 percent, buoyed by strong Chinese demand and repeated sabotage at Iraqi oil facilities. \nSome OPEC ministers warn the cartel may cut supply again in February on fears of a surplus once demand declines after the northern winter. \nOPEC president Abdullah Al-Attiyah said on Thursday the Bush administration raised concerns with him that oil demand will be strong next year and "indirectly" asked the cartel not to cut output. \nThe Bush administration is concerned that higher prices would "negatively" affect US economic growth, Attiyah said. High oil prices could become an issue in next year's US presidential election campaign. \nOPEC's reference crude oil price rose to US$30.73 a barrel on Thursday, well above the cartel's US$22 to US$28 target band. The basket has been above the range for most of the last quarter, last dropping below US$28 for just one day on Dec. 1. \nUS Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said crude oil prices were "very high" but stopped short of publicly calling for any action by OPEC to ease them. \n"It's very high and, obviously, we have continually stated our belief that the market should be allowed to work," Abraham said. \nMeanwhile, EU regulators on Friday approved the US$1.35 billion acquisition by BP PLC and Russia's TNK of a 50 percent stake in Russian oil company Slavneft. \nBP-TNK will run Slavneft as a joint venture with another Russian oil company, Sibneft. \n"The transaction will only have limited effects in Western Europe in relation to the sale of certain petrochemicals," the European Commission said in a statement. \n"On the worldwide market for the exploration for crude oil and gas as well as the development and production of crude oil, the proposed transaction will not result in competition concerns," the commission added.
Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) yesterday launched its first electric bicycle, the Gogoro Eeyo 1, in Taiwan, after unveiling the bike in New York in late May and in France on Tuesday. The company said it would also introduce the series in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. The “Eeyo project” is the fourth of Gogoro’s eight projects that concentrate on smart transportation, which includes Gogoro’s electric scooter, battery swap system and electric scooter sharing service, company founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke (陸學森) told a media briefing in Taipei. “There are various types of city commuters. We will not
EXPERIMENTAL DRUG: While news about a COVID-19 vaccine is more eye-catching, developing a treatment would be more viable, the Senhwa boss said Senhwa Biosciences Inc (生華科) aims to raise NT$1.5 billion (US$50.57 million) by issuing 15 million new common shares in the third quarter of this year to fund the research of new drugs, including the experimental drug Silmitasertib for the treatment of COVID-19, the company said on Monday. That would be the firm’s largest fundraising effort after it raised more than NT$1.4 billion from an initial public offering on the Taipei Exchange (TPEX) in April 2017, chief financial officer Sarah Chang (張小萍) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The price of the new shares would depend on the firm’s average share price
NOT A PANACEA: Offering 5G services would not solve the problem of declining telecom incomes, chairman Sheih Chi-mau said, expecting a flat 5G telecom revenue Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday became the nation’s first telecom to debut its 5G services, offering tiered tariffs that include a threshold of NT$599 and flat rates, as it aims to switch half of its subscribers to the 5G network within three years. Subscribers would have unlimited data transmission for monthly fees starting at NT$1,399 — the same flat rate as when the company launched its 4G service in 2014 — and they can subscribe to the highest-rate plan for NT$2,699 per month for faster data transmission speeds and larger bandwidth, the company said. Data transmission speeds would be within the range
ROW: A probe would determine if the rights of shareholders who were not allowed to vote yesterday had been violated, while the stock exchange also wants answers The election of board directors yesterday at Tatung Co (大同) sparked controversy after the company blocked some institutional and individual shareholders from participating in the general shareholders’ meeting, prompting the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to announce that the vote would be investigated. Lin Kuo Wen-yen (林郭文艷) was re-elected as chairwoman of the household-appliance maker’s nine-member board, but prior to the vote she announced that several shareholders would not have voting rights. They were being denied a vote because they had contravened the Business Mergers and Acquisitions Act (企業併購法), and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and