Crude oil futures rallied late Friday to a new record high of US$54.93, a day after a decline in the US inventory of heating oil roiled a market already on edge over tight supplies, high demand and unrest among key producers. \nOil for November delivery rose US$0.17 to settle at US$54.93 a barrel on Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after slipping to US$54.14 in early trading. The November contract had settled at US$54.76 on Thursday for the previous high. \nIn London, Brent crude for December delivery on the International Petroleum Exchange settled down US$0.16 to settle at US$49.93. \nThe oil markets are already concerned about supply shortages, largely because of the slow recovery of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico following Hurricane Ivan -- crude futures have climbed about US$10 a barrel the last month alone. \n"It's momentum," said Fadel Gheit, senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer & Co in New York, noting that traders were also reassured by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's comments that surging oil prices have not adversely affected the US economy. \n"I don't believe we're going to see any letup in oil prices before the [US presidential] election," Gheit said. \nNearly 20 million barrels of oil have been shut in since Ivan hit the Gulf of Mexico in mid-September, and daily oil production in the region remains 27 percent, or 462,000 barrels, below normal, the US federal Minerals Management Service said on its Web site on Friday. \nWhile oil prices are more than 70 percent higher than a year ago, they are still around US$25 below the peak inflation-adjusted price reached in 1981. \nGreenspan said on Friday the rise in energy prices is likely to have far less of an impact on the economy than the oil shocks of the 1970s. He predicted that the global economy will adjust by boosting energy exploration and production and by increasing fuel efficiency. But he conceded that the transition period could feature unexpected bumps. \nOne major concern for the market, analysts say, is that the world's excess production capacity -- the amount of immediate surplus supply -- is about 1 percent of daily demand, now estimated to be above 82 million barrels. \nHowever, analysts said demand does not fully account for the skyrocketing prices. \n"Demand is strong, but not as strong as the numbers would suggest," Gheit said. "Demand is embellished ... and global inventories are rising, and will continue to rise." \nThe thin supply cushion in the event of an extended production outage has led to the markets' focus on events such as the just-concluded oil workers' strike and threats of rebel attacks in Nigeria, Africa's largest producer; sporadic attacks by militants on Iraqi pipelines; unrest in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer; the on-again, off-again tax battle between the Russian government and oil giant Yukos; and political tensions in key OPEC producer Venezuela. \nNevertheless, Gheit pointed out that despite these events, oil production in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Norway and Russia has not been negatively influenced. \n"The only physical destruction has been Hurricane Ivan," Gheit said. \nDeclines in US distillate stocks just before the Northern Hemisphere winter are the latest in a line of supply factors to concern the oil markets. \nThe US Energy Department said in its weekly petroleum supply report Thursday that commercially available supplies of heating oil declined by 1.2 million barrels for the week ending Oct. 8, falling to 50.0 million barrels, or 10 percent below year-ago levels.
PLANNED OUT: The government is lifting sale and export restrictions on 60% of the 20 million masks made daily, but people can still make purchases using their NHI cards Twenty thousand boxes of 50 masks each would be on sale at FamilyMart convenience stores starting tomorrow, Taiwan FamilyMart Co Ltd (全家便利商店) said yesterday. A box of 50 masks would cost NT$249 for those with FamilyMart memberships and NT$299 for those without, with no limits placed on how many boxes a person can buy, the company said. Convenience store chain operator Hi-Life International Co Ltd (萊爾富) said that it would also start selling masks from tomorrow. It has yet to announce details about prices and quantity. Hypermarket chain operator Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福) said that it would start selling packs of five
BOOSTING BUYING: A source said that the idea of pre-ordering vouchers online is being considered, but the preliminary plan is for people to buy them at post offices A stimulus voucher program to be rolled out next month to boost consumption would be available not only to Taiwanese, but also foreign nationals and Chinese spouses who hold residency permits, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday. The government is fine-tuning the details of the program, which involves issuing vouchers for in-store purchases to revive buying amid the COVID-19 pandemic. During a radio interview on Monday last week, National Development Council (NDC) Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said that the plan is to allow anyone, regardless of age or income level, to buy NT$3,000 (US$99.89) worth of vouchers for
Delta Electronics Inc (台達電), the nation’s leading power management solutions provider, has signed an agreement to acquire Canadian software firm Trihedral Engineering Ltd to bolster its smart production efforts, it said on Saturday. Delta said in a statement that it would acquire Trihedral for C$45 million (US$32.68 million) through its 100 percent-owned subsidiary Delta Electronics (Netherlands) BV. Trihedral specializes in supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and industrial Internet of Things software, which would strengthen Delta’s hardware offerings in fast-growing areas such as automation, artificial intelligence and data analytics, it said. “The collection, monitoring and analyzing of data are critical to Delta’s two
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the