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Sat, Aug 12, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Energy

Oil rebounds from slump

Oil rebounded yesterday from a 3 percent slump as traders saw a limited impact on air travel and oil demand from an attempted aircraft bomb plot and fretted over Middle East violence. US light, sweet crude oil rose US$0.45 to US$74.45 by 0714 GMT, recovering from the US$2.35 slump a day ago when traders sold oil on fears that travellers might shun airlines after officials said they stopped the suicide plan just days before being carried out. London Brent crude climbed US$0.55 to US$75.83, nearly US$3 below the record-high touched on Tuesday.

■ Internet

Betting firm shuts operation

Internet gambling company BetOnSports PLC announced yesterday that it is shutting down its US-focused operations because of a US federal indictment restraining its operations. The move followed the July 17 arrest of BetOnSports' former chief executive, David Carruthers, at a Texas airport and the unveiling of a 22-count indictment in St. Louis, Missouri, alleging fraud and racketeering against BetOnSports. The company took bets from tens of thousands of US customers from bases in Costa Rica and Antigua, but Internet betting is illegal throughout the US.

■ Telecoms

Warner agrees mobile deal

Warner Music International has licensed songs from its catalog of music to Russian mobile carrier VimpelCom Group, the companies said on Thursday. The deal between the global arm of Warner Music Group and Moscow-based VimpelCom appears to be the first of its kind to involve a major Western record label and a Russian mobile operator. VimpelCom, which operates under the Beeline brand, boasts more than 50 million subscribers. It provides mobile service in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia.

■ Energy

IEA guarded on oil capacity

Estimated world oil product demand is flat at 84.8 million barrels per day this year and the market has a fragile cushion to absorb supply disruptions in Alaska and elsewhere, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported yesterday. "For the time being, the market can cope with current outages," the IEA said in its monthly review of the oil market. "But in the light of the many possible threats to output, including the current hurricane season, there is little doubt that the upstream spare capacity cushion remains thin." The impact of disruption to supplies from the BP field in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, would probably be substantially less than the 400,000 barrels per day reported because of offsetting factors elsewhere.

■ Finance

Citigroup hit by fine

Banking giant Citigroup has been fined US$1.1 million after dozens of its brokers gained waivers on mutual fund sales charges by falsely claiming their customers were disabled, the NASD securities regulator said on Thursday. The NASD said in a statement that the scheme involved over 100 brokers and was tied to over 2,000 mutual fund transactions totaling US$47 million (NT$1.5 billion). The sham deals were conducted between June 2001 and June 2002. In some cases, according to investigators, brokers at the bank's Citigroup Global Markets Inc group falsely claimed their customers were disabled individuals when in fact they were hedge funds.

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