Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fuel price cut will have ‘little impact’

PETALING JAYA: It will provide some relief but will not have much impact — that sums up the sentiments of the public on the fuel price reduction yesterday.

City folk were definitely happy but many doubt that prices of basic necessities would go down in tandem with the reduction.

Bus and lorry operators said it did not really benefit them as prices of other goods had gone up.

Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said the reduction in fuel prices would not affect bus operators.

“For us, it’s still the same. We are still paying the subsidised rate of RM1.43 per litre for diesel,” he said.

He added that bus operators had also not felt the benefit of lower fuel prices as the cost of other products were still high.

“When the fuel prices shot up early this year, the price of everything else — batteries, lubricating oil and tyres — went up. Now, even though fuel prices are down, the price of these items are not coming down,” he said.

Pan Malaysian Lorry Owners Association president Er Sui See said that while he was happy with the reduced diesel prices, lorry owners still would not be able to absorb the escalating transport charges.

“Only a quarter of the diesel we use is subsidised, so yes it’s good that diesel prices are down.

“But all the other costs that have gone up are still going up. We can’t absorb the cost,” he said.

He gave the example of tyres, which would cost 15% more from Nov 1.

Tutor Tan Chin Swee, 48, said: “The sudden jump in petrol price a few months ago resulted in a spiral effect which pushed up the price of many daily necessities. I doubt that the reduction can undo the inflationary impact that an ordinary person is now facing.”

“Recession and inflation are inherent in any economy and are things that we have to live with,’’ Tan added.

Manager Gobal Rajee, 46, said he was happy with the reduction but felt that there would be little effect.

“We hope the prices of other goods will go down as well, otherwise it really makes no difference,’’ he said.

Civil servant Karim Jaabar, 37, said it was nothing to rejoice about if the prices of goods remain the same.

Administrative executive Theresa Heng, 49, said it was better than nothing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

U.N. says credit crisis could enable "green growth"

By Patrick Worsnip , Reuters UK, 11 October 2008

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Instead of sidelining the fight against climate change, the global credit crisis could hasten countries' efforts to create "green growth" industries by revamping the financial system behind them, the U.N. climate chief said on Friday.

But that would depend on governments helping poor countries -- who are key to saving the planet's ecology -- tackle their problems, instead of spending most available money on rescuing the financial world, Yvo de Boer told reporters.

De Boer said the financial "earthquake" that has seen markets plunge worldwide in recent weeks could damage U.N.-led climate change talks, but only "if the opportunities that the crisis brings for climate change abatement are ignored."

"The credit crisis can be used to make progress in a new direction, an opportunity for global green economic growth," de Boer, who heads the Bonn-based U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told a news conference.

"The credit crunch I believe is an opportunity to rebuild the financial system that would underpin sustainable growth ... Governments now have an opportunity to create and enforce policy which stimulates private competition to fund clean industry."

De Boer said a successful outcome to climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009 would create new markets, investment opportunities and job creation.

But he warned that "if available global capital is used primarily to refloat the financial world, we literally will sink the futures of the poorest of the poor.

"And I hope that the credit crunch will not mean that people in the South will have to wait for those in the North to have repaid their credit card debts and mortgages before attention is again turned to the South."

Without reaching out a hand to developing countries, it would be very difficult to make advances on the rest of the environmental agenda, De Boer said.

Environment ministers will meet in two months' time in Poznan, Poland, to prepare for the Copenhagen summit, which is due to agree on a new global-warming accord to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Ministers in Poznan must make clear they were "willing to put financial resources, the architecture, the institutions in place that will allow developing countries to engage in a global approach on both mitigation and adaptation," he said.

Funding did not have to all come from governments and he foresaw "an approach where we very much use the market".

De Boer said the financial crisis had not so far affected the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism, which allows rich countries to offset their carbon footprints by investing in clean energy projects in developing countries.

"I don't see a slowdown in the CDM pipeline at the moment," he said.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oil prices fall to lowest in eight months

Monday October 06 2008, Graeme Wearden,

Oil fell to its lowest level in eight months today, offering drivers and companies the hope of lower petrol prices in the weeks ahead.

The price of a barrel of US crude oil dropped to $89.38 in morning trading, a fall of $4. This followed sharp falls on world stockmarkets, reflecting concerns that demand for energy will drop as the global economy slows.

This is the first time since mid-February that a barrel of US crude has cost less than $90, and almost a year since it first broke through this level.

London Brent crude also fell this morning, losing almost $3.50 to $86.87.

For most of 2008 oil has been well over $100 a barrel, causing pain at the pumps where petrol now costs well over £1 a litre.

A litre of unleaded petrol currently costs an average of 109.9p in the UK, with diesel costing 121.5p a litre, according to

Typically it costs around six weeks for changes in the oil price to feed through to the consumers, but there are already signs that prices are falling. On Friday Asda and Morrisons both cut their fuel prices, with a litre of unleaded now costing 105.9p at Asda, and 106.6p at Morrisons.

Merrill Lynch analysts predicted last that the price of oil could sink to $50 a barrel next year, if the economic slowdown deepens into a recession.

However, oil-producing cartel Opec may cut production to stem falling prices. Last month, as oil slipped below the symbolic $100 a barrel mark, it reversed earlier plans to boost output.

Graeme Wearden
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