Oil hovers above $70


Hurricane Katrina pushed oil prices to new records yesterday as news filtered through to panicking oil traders in London and New York of widespread damage to oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico caused by what looks set to be the costliest hurricane since Andrew in 1992. In New York, US crude futures jumped to a record $70.85 a barrel. — The Guardian

US economy slows


US growth slowed to 3.3 per cent in the second quarter, the government said in a second estimate after previously giving growth for the period at 3.4 per cent. GDP growth in the quarter to June decelerated from the pace of 3.8 per cent seen in the previous three months. The new GDP figure primarily reflected an upward revision to imports and a downward revision to personal consumption expenditures that were mostly offset by an upward revision to private inventory investment. — AFP

Eurozone growth dips


Hopes for firm economic growth in the eurozone remain slim in the face of high oil prices, with a possible rebound in Germany the only light on the horizon. The EU statistical arm, Eurostat, said GDP in the 12 nations using the euro grew by 0.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2005, down from 0.4 per cent in the first quarter. — AFP

German jobless rate


With barely three weeks to go before the general election, the number of people out of work in Germany fell in August, but not enough to prop up consumer spending, which is seen as a key to a sustainable recovery in the eurozone’s biggest economy. — AFP

WTO boss joins office


The WTO new boss Pascal Lamy took the helm of the global body two days ahead of schedule. The former EU trade chief lived up to his hardworking reputation, arriving on Tuesday at the Geneva headquarters of the WTO. “He started on Tuesday,” said a WTO official. — AFP

Gulf to ensure growth


Revenues of Gulf producers have shot up as world oil prices soar, enabling them to launch expensive projects, but economists said on Wednesday they had failed to use the windfall to ensure continued economic growth. Gulf Arab producers, joined in the six-member GCC, are set to reap revenues of around $265 billion from oil this year. — AFP

Bankruptcy bill


The Czech government on Wednesday approved a bankruptcy bill that should facilitate bankruptcies and increase creditors’ powers. The country has long been criticised for its existing bankruptcy legislation with proceedings dragging on for years and creditors in the end receiving only 17 per cent of their claims, the lowest percentage in the EU. — AFP

Sanofi-Aventis profits


Pharmaceutical group Sanofi-Aventis on Wednesday reported a 26 per cent rise in second quarter net earnings but its share price fell sharply on what was seen as a mixed picture for new product prospects. Sales increased by 6.5 per cent in the May-June period. — AFP