World Business Quick Take


Mon, Feb 18, 2013 - Page 15


Firm allowed to resume work

The Chinese subsidiary of ConocoPhillips can resume operations at an oil field off the coast of northeastern China that was closed in 2011 after two oil spills, a regulator said. Conoco and its subsidiary, ConocoPhillips China Inc, came under intense media criticism in China following the spills, which drained into the Bohai Sea and its bay. The State Oceanic Administration said in a statement on Saturday that conditions at the Penglai 19-3 oilfield had returned to normal after a series of rectification measures, and that ConocoPhillips could gradually resume production there. China’s largest oil field is jointly owned by Houston-based ConocoPhillips’ Chinese subsidiary and China National Offshore Oil Corp (中國海洋石油), China’s main offshore oil and gas producer. The two spills occurred in June 2011. Combined, they released more than 114,700 liters of oil, or 723 barrels, and more than 416,400 liters of mineral oil-based drilling mud.


Inflation dictates rates: bank

Central bank Governor Duvvuri Subbarao signaled inflation risks will limit the extent he can reduce interest rates to bolster an economy expanding at the weakest pace in a decade. “There is room for monetary easing, but that room is limited and we have to make a careful judgment on how to use that limited room,” he said at a briefing in Moscow on Saturday, reiterating guidance he gave last month. Subbarao estimated economic expansion of 5.5 percent for the 12 months through March, above the Central Statistics Office projection of 5 percent. The country last month became the first major Asian nation to cut interest rates this year after benchmark inflation eased, as the central bank moved to back government efforts to boost the economy.


Doubt creates drag: expert

Former White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers said uncertainty over the future of the corporate tax code is creating a drag on the economy by making businesses hesitant to invest. Summers, the former director of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, said in an interview on CNN that the question of whether Congress will overhaul the nation’s tax rules has brought about uncertainty for businesses, including whether they should reinvest overseas profits in the US. “Washington absolutely should provide clarity or certainty this year,” Summers said. “It should do whatever it’s going to do on corporate tax reform and then it should make clear that those rules are going to be in place for the next five years. And that will contribute to bringing money home and getting it reinvested in the US economy.”


Wal-Mart sales a ‘disaster’

Wal-Mart Stores Inc had the worst sales start to a month in seven years as payroll-tax increases hit shoppers already battling a slow economy, according to internal e-mails obtained by Bloomberg News. “In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Wal-Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in an e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.” Murray’s comments about this month’s sales follow disappointing results from last month, a month that Cameron Geiger, senior vice president of Wal-Mart US Replenishment, said he was relieved to see end, according to an internal e-mail obtained by Bloomberg News.