- - Sunday, May 8, 2011


Qatar’s energy chief says OPEC to stand pat

DOHA — Qatar on Sunday ruled out any “dramatic” action by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to control prices, insisting that production and supplies were at healthy levels.

Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed Saleh al-Sada told reporters on the sideline of an industry meeting that an upcoming OPEC meeting could not be expected to make any major change.

“We think the fundamentals are fine and we can’t see shortage of supply. OPEC countries and non-OPEC countries are producing and supplying and satisfying the world demands,” he said. “Clearly the supply level and the stocks level is healthy, and we are after the stability of oil prices.”

He said he did not expect a free fall in the oil prices even though commodity prices were on the decline.


Fed: Consumers borrowed more on credit cards in March

Consumers used their credit cards more in March, marking only the second increase in the more than two years since the height of the financial crisis.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that consumers increased their total borrowing by $6 billion in March, the sixth consecutive monthly gain. Consumers borrowed more to finance car loans for the eighth straight month. And a category of borrowing that includes credit card use rose for only the second time since August 2008.

More frequent credit card purchases could be a sign that consumers are feeling more confident about the economy.


Dollar boosted by strong jobs report

NEW YORK — A strong U.S. jobs report gave the dollar a lift Friday, while a report from a German newspaper saying Greece could withdraw from the euro bloc drove that currency lower, although some analysts were skeptical about how realistic such a scenario was.

The bump up follows a long decline for the dollar, which hit multiyear lows against several currencies earlier this week. The dollar has fallen because of the Federal Reserve’s signals that it will keep rates low for at least the next few months in order to support the economy.

Other central banks around the world are raising rates to counter rising food and energy prices. Higher rates tend to support currencies.

On Friday, however, investors got some evidence of momentum in the U.S. economy after a recent run of weak data. The government said 244,000 jobs were added in April. Private employers added 268,000 jobs, the most since February 2006. But the jobless rate rose to 9 percent from 8.8 percent the previous month as more people looked for work.


T-Mobile USA posts record subscriber losses

NEW YORK — T-Mobile USA lost a record number of subscribers in the first three months of the year, posing a conundrum for regulators as they look at whether to let AT&T Inc. buy the smaller carrier for $39 billion.

The argument against the deal is that it would eliminate one competitor in the wireless industry. But judging by results reported Friday, T-Mobile isn’t competing successfully.

T-Mobile, the smallest of the four national carriers, lost a net 471,000 subscribers on contract-based plans. It was able to add subscribers through wholesalers, who pay much less than contract-signing customers, but it still lost 99,000 overall. Both figures are record losses for T-Mobile, the Bellevue, Wash.-based subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG of Germany.

T-Mobile’s quarterly revenue fell to the level it was at three years ago, just before it got a boost by buying a small regional carrier. In the same period, AT&T’s wireless revenue grew 29 percent.


Delta plans buyouts and early retirement offers

ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines will offer voluntary buyouts and early retirement incentives as it plans to cut flying later this year because of high fuel prices.

Delta has been planning to cut its schedule by 4 percent starting in September. In a hotline message to employees Friday, CEO Richard Anderson said Delta needs to reduce the costs that go with that flying, too.

“In order for our business to thrive we must think of the current high fuel prices as a permanent reality of our business,” Mr. Anderson said.

He said Delta workers whose age plus 10 years of service equals 55 will be eligible for early retirement. Buyouts will be available for workers who don’t meet the requirements for early retirement but have at least five years with Delta. Both are voluntary.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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