Sun, Jun 08, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ ENERGY

TNK-BP sees end to dispute

The head of British-Russian oil giant TNK-BP yesterday said a dispute within the company seen as a test of Russia’s investment climate would be resolved soon. “I am sure the dispute will be resolved within days,” Robert Dudley was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying on the sidelines of an economic forum in Saint Petersburg. TNK-BP is Russia’s third-largest oil producer and is jointly held by British oil major BP and three Russian billionaires, who have called for Dudley to step down, accusing him of working solely in BP’s interests. Dudley was also summoned this week by Russian authorities in a tax investigation.

■AUTOMOBILES

Toyota plans more hybrids

Toyota Motor Corp plans to produce hybrid cars in Australia and Thailand as demand for fuel-efficient vehicles surges along with oil prices, Japan’s top business daily said yesterday. Toyota, the world’s second-biggest automaker by annual vehicle sales, will roll out the hybrid version of the popular Camry sedan in Thailand at the end of next year and in Australia as early as 2010, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said. Officials at Toyota could not be reached for comment. Toyota is hoping to sell 1 million hybrids a year sometime after 2010.

■FINANCE

Credit card borrowing slows

Americans relied a lot less on their credit cards in April with debt in that area rising at the slowest pace in nearly three years. The Federal Reserve said on Friday that consumer borrowing increased at an annual rate of 4.2 percent in April, slower than the 6.2 percent increase of March. The slowdown reflected the fact that borrowing in the category that includes credit cards rose at an annual rate of just 0.4 percent, the weakest performance since borrowing in this area actually declined at a 1.8 percent rate in May 2005.

■AUTOMOBILES

Firms take state to court

General Motors Corp and other automakers said California was trying to enforce carbon-reduction rules not yet approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and asked a judge for an order blocking the regulations. Without an injunction, automakers will have to spend billions of dollars by the end of this year, said the filing to the federal court in Fresno, California. The companies are seeking a court order that would prevent California from requiring companies to take any steps toward compliance before 2017. In December the EPA blocked California’s efforts to require cuts in greenhouse gas exhaust starting with next year’s models, saying a nationwide regulation was needed. It was the first time the EPA rejected a California pollution program.

■AGRICULTURE

Farmers to end strike

Argentine farm leaders said they would end their latest strike against a new export tax plan tomorrow in order to enter talks with the government and calm fears of food shortages. Argentina’s four biggest farming groups said on Friday that they were willing to enter talks aimed at ending the dispute, which started when the taxes were introduced on March 11. Farmers will remain “on alert” along roadsides as talks begin, said an e-mailed statement drafted after an eight-hour meeting in Buenos Aires. Blockades by truck drivers, who are protesting the farmers’ actions, have raised the threat of food shortages in the South American country for the second time since March.

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