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 user 2008-06-05 at 11:15:38 am Views: 62
  • #20084
    Oil price ‘may hit $200 a barrel’
    Global demand for oil has been fuelled by China and India
    price of crude oil could soar to $200 a barrel in as little as six
    months, as supply continues to struggle to meet demand, a report has
    warned.Goldman Sachs energy strategist Argun Murti made the warning as
    benchmark US light crude passed the $123 mark for the first
    time.Surging demand was increasingly likely to create a “super-spike”
    past $200 in six months-to-two years’ time, he said. Oil prices have
    now risen by 25% in the last four months and 400% since 2001.US sweet,
    light crude hit an all-time peak of $123.53 (£63.25) on Wednesday,
    while London Brent crude jumped to $122.32.Mr Murti correctly predicted
    three years ago – when oil was about $55 a barrel – that it would pass
    $100, which it reached for the first time in January of this year.

    Chinese demand
    global demand for oil is being led by China’s continuing economic boom
    and, to a lesser extent, by India’s rapid economic expansion.Both are
    now increasingly competing with the US, the European Union and Japan
    for the lion’s share of global oil production.This additional demand
    comes at a time of continuing production problems in a number of
    oil-producing nations.Production is down in Nigeria after the latest
    attacks on pipelines this week by anti-government militants, while
    Iraqi exports through the north of the country have been hit by renewed
    cross-border raids by Turkish forces against Kurdish insurgents.Oil
    prices are also rising as the key US summer driving season
    approaches.Economists warn that continuing high oil prices will impact
    on the global economy, hitting growth and fuelling inflation

    Fuel protests erupt in India, Malaysia
    LUMPUR, Malaysia  – Protests broke out in India and Malaysia on
    Thursday as consumers reacted angrily to sharp fuel price hikes that
    could undermine governments in both countries.With global oil prices
    soaring, authorities in the two countries said a day earlier they were
    slashing fuel subsidies that were draining government coffers.

    Malaysia, gasoline pump prices jumped 41 percent overnight and diesel
    prices surged a stunning 67 percent.The gasoline price hike in India,
    the second this year, was smaller – about 11 percent in the capital,
    New Delhi – but will still weigh on consumers. India also raised prices
    on diesel and cooking gas.The most pronounced protests were in India’s
    West Bengal state, where schools and businesses were closed and flights
    and trains canceled. Shops were also shuttered and roads emptied in the
    southern state of Kerala, with protests also reported in the central
    city of Indore.India’s communist parties, which control both Kerala and
    West Bengal, have called for a week of protests across the country,
    saying import duties on oil should be further cut instead of raising
    retail prices.In Malaysia, long lines of vehicles formed at gasoline
    stations overnight to fill up before midnight when the new pricing came
    into effect, and brawls broke out as some motorists tried to cut in
    line.On Thursday, gas stations were mostly deserted. The opposition
    Democratic Action Party staged a small protest in downtown Kuala Lumpur
    and vowed more rallies to demand the government back down from the
    plan.”There is a sense of public outrage … both on the increase and
    the manner in which it was done,” said DAP chief Lim Kit Siang.

    But many Malaysians appeared resigned to the cut in fuel subsidies.
    we don’t increase the fuel price now, the economy will go down,” said
    Chong Wai Ket, a 29-year-old shopkeeper in Kuala Lumpur.PROTES, an
    anti-inflation coalition of opposition parties and other groups, is
    planning rallies nationwide which will peak in a mass demonstration in
    Kuala Lumpur on July 12, said a coalition leader Hatta Ramli.”We are
    hoping for 100,000 people to turn up. We want the government to revert
    to yesterday’s price,” said Hatta, who is also a member of the
    opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party.

    Like many Asian
    countries, Malaysia, is struggling with a spiraling fuel subsidy bill
    that may breach $14 billion this year as global oil prices
    skyrocket.India, which imports 75 percent of the crude oil it needs,
    has said the hikes will help cover losses at state-run oil companies
    which have been unable to pass on to consumers the higher fuel costs
    due to price controls.Government finances have been strained as crude
    oil prices doubled over the last year, spiking above $135 a barrel last
    month before falling back to the $122 range Thursday.

    Indonesia, Taiwan and Sri Lanka have also recently raised fuel prices.
    Malaysia – which had some of Southeast Asia’s lowest gasoline prices -
    gasoline jumped from the equivalent of $2.32 a gallon to $3.31 a
    gallon.In India, gasoline was raised 5 rupees per liter. In New Delhi,
    that lifted the pump prices to 50 rupees a liter, or $4.56 a gallon.
    Fuel prices vary between states, which also impose their own taxes.
    Singh has urged states to lower taxes to ease the burden for the
    people.The fuel price hike is expected to send prices of food,
    transportation and other essentials higher across the board, piling
    further inflationary pressure on India and Malaysia. India’s inflation
    is currently at 8 percent and Malaysia at 3 percent.Protests over the
    price hikes may further weaken Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s
    government ahead of an election in India by the middle of next year,
    analysts said.In Malaysia, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi faces
    increasing risks as he fights for his political survival after shock
    election losses in March.”It’s going to be hard for people to accept.
    There will be an immediate adverse effect on (Abdullah’s) popularity,”
    said Ibrahim Suffian, director of independent think-tank Merdeka Center
    of Opinion Research.