OPEC calls for price cuts
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Thursday called for lower oil prices, suggesting that a "gesture" needed to be made to increase either real production or output quotas at an upcoming gathering of the cartel. Meeting in Brussels with EU officials and ministers, OPEC president Sheikh Ahmed Fahd al-Sabah voiced concerns that current global oil prices were too high. "Prices should be lower than actual prices by between five and eight dollars" per barrel, Sheikh Ahmed, who is also Kuwait's oil minister, was quoted as saying by Kuwait's official news agency KUNA. The OPEC chief has proposed a 500,000 barrel per day (bpd) hike in the cartel's output ceiling at a meeting next week if prices remain too high.
■ Auto industry
Toyota to hike prices in US
Japan's top carmaker Toyota plans price hikes for almost all the vehicles it sells in the US from October to appease its struggling US rivals, a report said yesterday. Toyota Motor Corp was in the final stages of arranging the US price increases, which would be 2 percent to 3 percent on average, the mass-circulation Asahi Shimbun said without citing sources. Toyota, which overtook Ford to become the world's second-largest automaker in terms of sales last year, plans to raise prices by partly reflecting high steel and other raw material costs and by reducing sales incentives, it said. Toyota chairman Hiroshi Okuda has voiced his readiness to cooperate with US companies amid concern about a revival of the trade friction between Japan and the US in the 1980s. A Toyota spokesman said nothing concrete had been decided.