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Tue, Jan 11, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Energy

Crude oil prices rise

Crude oil prices inched upward yesterday amid traders' worries that OPEC producers may cut output again later this month. Prices for crude oil rose US$0.25 to US$45.68 a barrel in electronic trading afternoon in Asia. Heating oil prices also rose slightly to US$1.2900. Crude prices should hover within the US$45 range until OPEC's meeting at the end of this month, said Esa Ramasamy, oil editorial manager of energy reporting agency Platts. "Investors are getting skittish," Ramasamy said. OPEC members reduced production by 1 million barrels a day from the start this year to bring the cartel closer to its official output ceiling of 27 million barrels. Oil ministers from the organization said then that they were ready to reduce output again if needed when they meet at their Vienna headquarters on Jan. 30. On Wednesday, oil prices fell after a US government report showed larger-than-expected increases in winter fuel supplies, sending heating oil prices lower.

■ Electronics

Samsung has new MCP

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest computer chip maker, said yesterday it has developed the world's first eight-die multi-chip (MCP) package technology for use in high capacity mobile devices. Samsung said the new MCP solution offered a combined capacity of 3.2 gigabits in a package only 1.4mm thick, promising a new generation of cellphones and mobile devices offering more services and faster Internet surfing. "The new eight-chip MCP is an extremely compact, high-capacity solution that is likely to trigger development of new next-generation mobile applications," Samsung said in a statement. "It will provide much greater functionality in cellphones and other smart mobile devices, from movie videos to games as well as faster Internet access."

■ Unemployment

China expects 25m jobless

China says it expects 25 million of its people to be out of work this year, but the actual number of jobless in the world's most populous nation could be much higher. Some 11 million people, including 3.4 million univer-sity graduates, were expect-ed to enter the labor market this year, adding to the app-roximately 14 million unemp-loyed at the end of last year, the China Business Times said yesterday, citing figures from the State Development and Reform Commission. China's official unemploy-ment figure only covers registered urban jobless, and analysts say the true number of people without work could be more than twice the government estimate.

■ Tourism

Firm offers aid tour

An Auckland-based tour operator yesterday launched a vacation with a difference -- for tourists who want to help rebuild a Sri Lankan fishing village crushed by the Dec. 26 tsunami. The trip offers five days of sight-seeing and a minimum of four days of reconstruction for 25 people with trade skills, said Stephen Green-field, managing director of World Discovery Tours. "Many of them don't want to do any sightseeing. They just want to go straight to where the need is and get stuck into the work," Greenfield said. The trip is being organized without profit, with reduced airfares, cheap hotels and travel agents working for free, Greenfield said. Tickets are priced from NZ$2,300 to NZ$2,600 (US$1,598 to US$1,800). More than 50 people inquired yesterday about the first trip which departs on Jan. 20, he said.

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