Crude oil futures rallied late Friday to a new record high of US$54.93, a day after a decline in the US inventory of heating oil roiled a market already on edge over tight supplies, high demand and unrest among key producers. \nOil for November delivery rose US$0.17 to settle at US$54.93 a barrel on Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after slipping to US$54.14 in early trading. The November contract had settled at US$54.76 on Thursday for the previous high. \nIn London, Brent crude for December delivery on the International Petroleum Exchange settled down US$0.16 to settle at US$49.93. \nThe oil markets are already concerned about supply shortages, largely because of the slow recovery of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico following Hurricane Ivan -- crude futures have climbed about US$10 a barrel the last month alone. \n"It's momentum," said Fadel Gheit, senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer & Co in New York, noting that traders were also reassured by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's comments that surging oil prices have not adversely affected the US economy. \n"I don't believe we're going to see any letup in oil prices before the [US presidential] election," Gheit said. \nNearly 20 million barrels of oil have been shut in since Ivan hit the Gulf of Mexico in mid-September, and daily oil production in the region remains 27 percent, or 462,000 barrels, below normal, the US federal Minerals Management Service said on its Web site on Friday. \nWhile oil prices are more than 70 percent higher than a year ago, they are still around US$25 below the peak inflation-adjusted price reached in 1981. \nGreenspan said on Friday the rise in energy prices is likely to have far less of an impact on the economy than the oil shocks of the 1970s. He predicted that the global economy will adjust by boosting energy exploration and production and by increasing fuel efficiency. But he conceded that the transition period could feature unexpected bumps. \nOne major concern for the market, analysts say, is that the world's excess production capacity -- the amount of immediate surplus supply -- is about 1 percent of daily demand, now estimated to be above 82 million barrels. \nHowever, analysts said demand does not fully account for the skyrocketing prices. \n"Demand is strong, but not as strong as the numbers would suggest," Gheit said. "Demand is embellished ... and global inventories are rising, and will continue to rise." \nThe thin supply cushion in the event of an extended production outage has led to the markets' focus on events such as the just-concluded oil workers' strike and threats of rebel attacks in Nigeria, Africa's largest producer; sporadic attacks by militants on Iraqi pipelines; unrest in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer; the on-again, off-again tax battle between the Russian government and oil giant Yukos; and political tensions in key OPEC producer Venezuela. \nNevertheless, Gheit pointed out that despite these events, oil production in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Norway and Russia has not been negatively influenced. \n"The only physical destruction has been Hurricane Ivan," Gheit said. \nDeclines in US distillate stocks just before the Northern Hemisphere winter are the latest in a line of supply factors to concern the oil markets. \nThe US Energy Department said in its weekly petroleum supply report Thursday that commercially available supplies of heating oil declined by 1.2 million barrels for the week ending Oct. 8, falling to 50.0 million barrels, or 10 percent below year-ago levels.
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the
MRT TRAVEL FALLS: In February, ridership on the Taipei MRT System fell 8.96 percent from an average of 2.01 million per day in January Scooter sales jumped 13 percent last month as more commuters turned to two-wheelers to avoid public transportation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest statistics showed. Sales expanded to 74,493 units last month, compared with 65,913 units in February, statistics released on Wednesday by Kwang Yang Motor Co (光陽工業) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed. In the first quarter, aggregate sales slid 0.51 percent year-over-year to 186,627 units, from 187,580 units, data showed. Kwang Yang, the nation’s biggest scooter manufacturer, continued to lead the market by selling 24,136 vehicles last month, growing 6.12 percent from 20,785 units in the previous month, while
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the nation’s leading PC vendor, yesterday launched its first dual-screen gaming laptop powered by Intel Corp’s latest central processing units (CPUs). The PC manufacturer’s announcement closely followed the US chipmaker’s unveiling of its 10th Generation Core H-series, the fastest commercial mobile processors with speeds of up to 5 gigahertz. Although Asustek’s Zephyrus Duo 15, the highlight of its Republic of Gamers line, is not the company’s first laptop with two screens, it is its first designed specifically for gaming. Nestled between the primary display panel and the keyboard, the secondary display, which Asustek calls the ScreenPad Plus, is angled
NO ILL EFFECT: Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the spread of COVID-19 was still relatively mild in Taiwan, housing brokers said Housing transactions in the six special municipalities totaled 19,824 units last month, up 7.8 percent from a year earlier, brokers said, citing government data. Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the pinch of the COVID-19 pandemic was not yet evident, they said. Taoyuan posted the largest improvement, with housing transactions soaring 36.6 percent year-on-year to 3,676 units, local government data showed. Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) attributed the pickup to the completion of two presale residential projects in the municipality. Houses in Taoyuan have increasingly gained in popularity in the past few year years due to relatively affordable home prices and