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Wed, May 19, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Oil pricesSIA adds fuel surcharge

Singapore Airlines (SIA) plans to introduce a fuel surcharge on passenger fares for the so-called Kangaroo Route which covers trips from Australia and New Zealand to Britain and vice versa. SIA's announcement in a statement late Monday followed moves by Qantas Airways and Air New Zealand, which began to pass on the cost of higher jet fuel prices to passengers via a surcharge. "Singapore Airlines is monitoring and reviewing the situation of whether to implement a surcharge on passenger fares," SIA said. "However, SIA intends to follow the initiatives taken by national carriers on the Kangaroo Route and apply a fuel-related surcharge in the Australian, New Zealand and UK markets in the coming days."

■ Oil

Price declines slightly

Oil prices paused from a five-session rally yesterday as some players took profit from this week's run up to 21-year highs on nagging worries that supplies could not meet surging demand. US light crude slipped US$0.28, or 0.7 percent, to US$41.27 a barrel, just US$0.58 off Monday's intraday peak of US$41.85, which marked the highest level since futures were launched on the New York Mercantile Exchange in 1983. Ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet on the sidelines of a producers-consumers conference in Amsterdam starting on Saturday.

■ Steel

Chinese demand surging

China, which uses more steel each year than the US, Japan and South Korea combined, will account for more than a third of global demand within seven years, BlueScope Steel Ltd chief executive Kirby Adams told a meeting in Sydney. China's annual steel demand may reach 385 million tonnes in 2010, from 233 million tonnes last year, said Adams, who is also chairman of the International Iron & Steel Institute. Increased use of steel in the world's most populous nation will boost global demand by more than a quarter to 1.09 billion tonnes in the same period.

■ Japan

GDP grows 1.4 percent

Japan's GDP grew a better than expected 1.4 percent in the three months to March from the previous quarter, the Cabinet Office said yesterday. On an annualized basis, the world's second-biggest economy expanded 5.6 percent in inflation-adjusted terms, it said. Private economists on average had forecast 0.9 percent quarterly growth, or an annualized rate of 3.5 percent. In the past fiscal year to March, the economy grew 3.2 percent, well above the government's official forecast of 2.0 percent and up from 1.1 percent growth recorded in the previous year.

■ Mobile phones

AT&T to re-enter market

AT&T Corp, the US' largest long-distance carrier, will start offering a mobile phone service using Sprint Corp's wireless network, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation. AT&T may package the service under the AT&T Wireless brand, which it will soon regain the rights to after it closes the sale of AT&T Wireless Services Inc to Cingular Wireless LLC for US$41 billion, the paper said. AT&T plans to forge additional resale agreements with other carriers, securing access to the strongest cell phone networks in particular markets, the Journal reported.

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