Crude oil prices rose over the weekend, raising concern that higher fuel costs may slow global economic growth. Oil prices rose as much as 2.6 percent, to the equivalent of $33.30 a barrel, on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, Asia's biggest energy-futures market. New York and London, the world's largest oil futures markets, were closed yesterday for holidays. Analysts attributed the increase to turmoil in Saudi Arabia, where the third terrorist attack in a month left 22 people dead. "It's a wake-up call for Saudi Arabia to really be decisive and communicate the message that the situation is under control," said Michael Preiss, chief investment strategist at CFC Securities in Hong Kong.
Canada's Economy Cools in 1st Quarter
Canada's economic expansion slowed to a 2.4 percent annual rate in the first quarter as companies cut inventories and export growth cooled, Statistics Canada said. Growth is lagging behind the Bank of Canada's 3 percent target. The central bank cut the benchmark lending rate to 2 percent last month to fuel domestic spending and help exporters adjust to a record rise in the Canadian dollar last year.
Hewlett-Packard, the world's second-largest computer maker, said it's broadening support for open-source programs on its servers as it tries to benefit from rising demand for the Linux operating system.
The yen rose in Europe to a three-week high against the dollar on optimism that Japan's economic recovery is accelerating, spurring overseas investment there. Japan's currency also rose to its highest value in more than two weeks against the euro after European Union reports of rising inflation and declining business confidence. Japanese household spending had a record gain last month, and industrial production in April rose to its highest since September, other reports showed.
China Eastern Airlines, China's third-largest carrier, said it will buy 10 Airbus A330 jetliners, valued at as much as $1.3 billion, and might also order Boeing's proposed 7E7 plane. China Eastern had 97 planes at the end of 2003. China is the world's fastest-growing aviation market, with passenger traffic expected to rise 20 percent this year.
A Citigroup unit will buy part of a South Korean company's chip business for $820 million in cash and assumed debt, said creditor officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. Citigroup Venture Capital Equity Partners's offer for Hynix Semiconductor's non-memory chip business was accepted by creditors holding more than 75 percent of voting rights. Lenders previously rejected a bid of about $645 million.
Fiat's new chairman promised to push ahead with a restructuring plan aimed at pulling the Italian auto giant out of its worst financial crisis ever. Speaking on the sidelines of a Bank of Italy meeting in Rome, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said management at the automaker was still strong, despite the sudden resignation of chief executive Giuseppe Morchio after Montezemolo was named chairman.
Mexico's tobacco companies will contribute about $350 million to Mexico's health system through November 2006, President Vicente Fox said.
The Camisea natural gas pipeline, Peru's biggest energy project, may be delayed by environmental protesters, possibly preventing its start-up Aug. 9. Protesters are demanding $20 million in compensation from Transportadora de Gas del Peru, which is investing $800 million in building a 460-mile pipeline through the Andes mountains to Lima.
AES, based in Arlington, was among five companies that expressed interest in buying 51 percent stakes in the Romanian power distributors Electrica Oltenia and Electrica Moldova, the Romanian government said. The government will announce June 30 which of the five qualify to make preliminary bids. The other four companies were E.ON in Germany, CEZ in the Czech Republic, Union Fenosa in Spain and Public Power in Greece.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.