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Mon, Jan 07, 2008 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ OIL

Exxon Mobil reports leak

Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest oil company, reported an incident at its Baytown, Texas, refinery, the largest in the US. The incident involved a possible exchanger leak at Tail Gas Cleanup Unit C, a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said. All customer needs are being met, however, the Exxon Mobil report said. Emissions from the incident began at 6am on Saturday and would continue until 6pm yesterday, the filing said. The Baytown refinery has oil-processing capacity of 586,000 barrels a day, the US Energy Department said.

■ OIL

GCC stocks stable

Gulf Arab stocks will probably hold their value this year as oil earnings boost the region's economies even after benchmarks jumped last year, leaving "few bargains" for investors, Nomura Holdings Inc said. "Valuations should be supported by a resilient macroeconomic environment, lower interest rates, moderate earnings growth and plentiful liquidity" this year, Bahrain-based Nomura analyst Tarek Fadlallah said in a note to clients e- mailed yesterday. Local and overseas investors bought shares in countries including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on rising corporate earnings, attractive prices and speculation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states will revalue their currencies against the US dollar, Fadlallah said.

■ ECONOMY

Clinton sees recession

Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton said on Saturday she believed the US economy was heading toward recession. Citing jobs data on Friday that showed the US unemployment rate rising to its highest level in more than two years, Clinton said: "I think the economy is slipping toward recession." US employers added only 18,000 jobs last month, underlining a dramatically slowing economy. In addition, oil prices topped US$100 a barrel last week.

■ CONSUMING

Cooking oil rationed

Malaysian cooking oil will be rationed starting today to counter a supply shortage caused by smuggling and panic buying amid fears of a price hike, a government official said. Consumers will be allowed to buy only up to 5kg of cooking oil at any one time, said Hoo Seong-chang, parliamentary secretary of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry. Supermarkets and retail stores nationwide have been told to enforce the rationing, he said yesterday. "It's a temporary measure to alleviate the shortage. It will help to prevent panic buying," he said.

■ MINING

Uranium production restarts

Energy Resources of Australia Ltd, producer of more than one-tenth of the world's mined uranium, intends to resume full production at its Ranger operation after a cyclone hampered mining and caused a staff evacuation. "We're flying people back in today [yesterday]," company spokeswoman Libby Beath said by telephone from Darwin, in the Northern Territory. Tropical Cyclone Helen, with winds of up to 90kph, swept east across the Territory's coastline yesterday, felling trees and power lines in Darwin and preventing the use of trucks at Ranger.

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