World economy can withstand $100 oil price: Kuwait
(Reuters) – The global economy can withstand an oil price of $100 a barrel, Kuwait’s oil minister said on Saturday, as other exporters indicated OPEC may decide against increasing output through 2011 as the market was well supplied. Analysts have said oil producing countries are likely to raise output after crude rallied more than 30 percent from a low in May because they fear prices could damage economic growth in fuel importing countries. European benchmark ICE Brent crude for February closed at $93.46 on Friday after hitting $94.74 a barrel, its highest level since October 2008. Arab oil exporters meeting in Cairo this weekend said they saw no need to supply more crude as stocks were high and prices had been inflated temporarily by cold weather in Europe.
Regulator Is Slowed By Budget Impasse – The Securities and Exchange Commission is slowing the pace of some investigations and routine inspections as part of a belt-tightening caused by the budget impasse in Congress. Agency officials recently postponed gathering testimony from witnesses in a number of probes into potential wrongdoing, according to people familiar with the situation. And some previously scheduled audits of financial firms outside Washington have been put on hold because the SEC won’t pay travel costs for investigators until an agreement is reached on the agency’s funding for the current fiscal year.The SEC’s budget was $1.12 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Under the budget proposed by President Obama, funding for the agency would climb to $1.26 billion for the current fiscal year. In the meantime, the SEC is operating under the "continuing resolution" that temporarily extended last year’s $1.1 billion budget at the agency. But even that spending level is stretching SEC officials as they continue revving up a broad crackdown on wrongdoing during the financial crisis and deal with a bigger workload triggered by the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law.
US Congress Blunts Agency Fund Request to Enforce Dodd-Frank – U.S. financial regulators, struggling for months with budgets unequipped to handle new responsibilities imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act, will be forced to go another 10 weeks without a funding increase. Federal lawmakers agreed yesterday to fund the government at current levels through March 4, denying budget increases sought by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission after the regulatory overhaul was enacted. Agreement on the stopgap funding measure came hours before the expiration of an earlier temporary spending bill. “Anytime you have a short-term measure to fund the yearlong capacity of the government, it creates complications,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in his daily briefing yesterday. The temporary accord is “something far less than ideal in providing the needed certainty,” he said.
China Raises Rates Amid Inflation Fight
China raised interest rates for the second time in slightly over two months, signaling the authorities’ resolve to combat rising inflation. Beijing’s latest move also suggests the world’s second-largest economy may be entering a relatively formal monetary tightening cycle and that policy-makers may have been convinced that the weapons used so far, such as credit rationing and artificial price controls, have failed to cool politically sensitive consumer price pressures. The People’s Bank of China said Saturday that effective Sunday, it will raise the one-year yuan lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 5.81% from 5.56%
African Huts Far From the Grid Glow With Renewable Power
– Every week, Ms. Ruto walked two miles to hire a motorcycle taxi for the three-hour ride to Mogotio, the nearest town with electricity. There, she dropped off her cellphone at a store that recharges phones for 30 cents. Yet the service was in such demand that she had to leave it behind for three full days before returning. That wearying routine ended in February when the family sold some animals to buy a small Chinese-made solar power system for about $80. Now balanced precariously atop their tin roof, a lone solar panel provides enough electricity to charge the phone and run four bright overhead lights with switches.
Central Arkansas growing weary of relentless tremors
– Although drilling for natural gas has been ruled out as a cause for the quakes, experts want to continue looking at salt water disposal wells, said Scott Ausbrooks, geohazards supervisor for the Geological Survey. Disposal wells occur when drilling waster is injected back into the earth after drilling. Earlier this month, the Arkansas Oil and Gas commission issued an emergency moratorium on permits for new disposal wells. The commission will ask for a six-month extension for the moratorium at a January regulatory meeting. The state also will soon become one of a few to require companies to disclose the chemicals used in fracking fluid, the water-and-chemical solution used in high-pressure drilling operations, said Shane Khoury, deputy director and general counsel for the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission.
Neb. lawmakers: Pipeline route is out of our hands – The State of Nebraska should explore enacting regulations to protect landowners and taxpayers from problems associated with pipelines, three state senators said Wednesday. But the state is probably powerless to tell a Canadian company to reroute a proposed 36-inch crude-oil pipeline around the sensitive, groundwater-rich Sand Hills region, they said. "I think the siting is a federal issue," said State Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton.