Archive for August, 2011

Crude oil supplies shrink by 2.2 million barrels

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 | Finance News

NEW YORK – Crude oil supplies fell last week, while gasoline supplies grew, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies shrank by 2.2 million barrels, or 0.6 percent, to 351.8 million barrels, which is 1.8 percent below year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a build of 2 million barrels for the week ended Aug. 19, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies increased by 1.4 million barrels, or 0.6 percent, to 211.4 million barrels. That was 6.3 percent below year-ago levels.Analysts expected gasoline supplies to decline by 1.4 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Aug. 19 was 2.4 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging about 9.2 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 90.3 percent of total capacity on average, a rise of 1.2 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to fall to 88.9 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.7 million barrels to 155.7 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to grow by 1.3 million barrels.

Benchmark oil rose 56 cents to $86 per barrel on morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


Transportation boosts July durable goods orders

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 | Finance News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose more than expected in July on strong demand for aircraft and motor vehicles, government data showed on Wednesday, but a gauge of business spending fell.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders surged 4 percent after a revised 1.3 percent drop in June, which was previously reported as a 1.9 percent fall.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected orders to rise 2 percent last month. Orders were buoyed by a 14.6 percent jump in bookings for transportation equipment, which was the largest increase since January.

Excluding transportation, orders unexpectedly rose 0.7 percent after gaining 0.6 percent in June. Economists had expected this category to fall 0.5 percent.

But non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending, fell 1.5 percent last month after a revised 0.6 percent rise in June.

Economists had expected a 1 percent fall from a previously reported 0.4 percent gain.

The decline in business spending plans, coming on the heels of weak readings on regional factory activity so far this month, could add to fears that the manufacturing sector is running out of steam.

However, this business spending plans category normally weakens in the first month of each quarter in part because of an incomplete seasonal adjustment of the power equipment subcomponent.

Manufacturing has supported the economy's recovery. However, a plunge in share prices has hit both business and consumer confidence. Regional Federal Reserve factory surveys so far for August have been sharply weaker.

Last month, durable goods orders were buoyed by a 43.4 percent surge in aircraft orders, which erased June's 24 percent slump. Boeing received 115 aircraft orders, up from 48 in June, according to information posted on the plane maker's website.

Motor vehicle orders jumped 11.5 percent, the largest increase since January 2003, after edging up 0.1 percent the previous month, indicating a fading of the supply chain disruptions from Japan.

Outside of transportation, details of the report were mixed, with orders for machinery and computers and electronic products falling. However, orders for primary metals, and capital goods rose.

Shipments of non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, which go into the calculation of gross domestic product, edged up 0.2 percent after rising 1.9 percent in June.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Neil Stempleman)


Dubai developer Nakheel completes restructuring

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 | Finance News

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Nakheel, the indebted state developer behind Dubai's man-made islands, said Wednesday it has completed its long-awaited financial restructuring and will issue $1 billion in Islamic bonds to some of its creditors.

Nakheel's credit-fueled building spree put it at the heart of Dubai's financial meltdown in late 2009, so sorting out its debt pile is key to repairing the city-state's fiscal health. The company was a major component of debt-laden conglomerate Dubai World, but separated from its parent company as part of the restructuring deal.

"This is really closing the old chapter and looking forward, ... and (an opportunity) to re-establish the name of Nakheel," said Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah. "We're starting a new page and delivering (on) our promises."

Nakheel hopes the completion of its restructuring will allow it to focus on building new shopping centers and completing residential projects already under way in the emirate.

Those targets are more modest than the islands in the shape of palm trees and a map of the world that Nakheel tackled in the past. High-end villas, apartments and hotels cover only one of its islands, the Palm Jumeirah. Others sit largely empty.

As part of the restructuring, Nakheel plans to issue 3.8 billion dirhams ($1.04 billion) worth of Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, to its trade creditors on Thursday.

The bonds will carry a high profit rate — effectively the return on investment — of 10 percent annually. They will be tradable and backed by an assortment of Nakheel properties, Lootah said.

Nakheel and its parent Dubai World each announced parallel restructuring efforts in March 2010 to tackle more than $35 billion in combined debt.

Dubai World signed a final agreement with its creditors to restructure some $25 billion in debt in March.

Nakheel's process dragged on as it tried to win support not just from bank creditors but also from dozens of trade creditors including contractors and suppliers.

Those trade creditors were offered 40 percent of their claims in cash and the rest in the types of bonds being issued Thursday. Nakheel plans to issue another 1 billion worth of bonds once it gets holdout creditors to sign on to the restructuring plan.