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Business news in brief

FATF halts formal monitoring of Lebanon

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a supervisory body of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, has reiterated its satisfaction with measures taken by the Lebanese authorities to fight money laundering and recognized the country's sustained efforts to implement its anti-money laundering regime.

The FATF, in its annual review released Wednesday by Saradar Weekly Monitor, said Lebanon has further improved co-ordination between domestic law enforcement agencies, has taken a more intensive approach to domestic anti-money laundering enforcement, while the number and quality of reported suspected cases has increased. As a result, the FATF decided to end formal monitoring of Lebanon in October 2003.


Breached pipeline in southern Iraq back in business

A breach in an oil pipeline in southern Iraq has been repaired, allowing petroleum exports to reach their regular level, an Iraqi oil official told AFP.

"We are currently pumping 72,000 barrels per hour," an oil official from the southern port of Basra offshore oil terminal told AFP by telephone.

The oil pipeline had been breached southeast of the Al-Zubayr oil fields causing a fresh fall in exports Saturday. The rupture was blamed on Iraq's atrophied infrastructure and not sabotage.

Exports had fallen to 40,000 barrels per hour from 84,000 barrels per hour after the rupture four days ago.


Western Bekaa to take precautions with water

The Energy and Water Ministry urged citizens in the Western Bekaa Thursday to expose water to air for a few moments before consumption, especially after traces of pollution were detected in the Loussy well, which supplies the area.
A ministry statement said the Loussy well will always be exposed to pollution due to technical, hydraulic or environmental reasons, and that the ministry is studying the case with specialists. Authorities have also decided to re-examine the amount of potable water pumped from the Shamsine Spring, which supplies the Loussy well.
The ministry cautioned citizens against extracting water from the well where the percentage of nitrate exceeds international standards.
It asked the Shamsine water authority to take samples from homes to analyze the quality of water on the chemical and bacteriological levels. Further analysis will be run within 10 days.


Kerosene, diesel costs drop slightly

Energy and Water Minister Ayoub Humayed announced a LL300 decrease Thursday in the price of kerosene, and another by LL200 in the price of diesel.
According to a statement, 20 liters of kerosene will now cost LL11,000, whereas 20 liters of diesel and diesel oil for vehicles will be sold at LL10,900 and LL11,000, respectively.
As for the prices of 98, 95 and 92 octane unleaded gasoline, they remained unchanged at LL22,500, LL21,600 and LL21,200 respectively.
Also unchanged in price are 1 kiloliter of fuel oil containing 1 percent of sulfur at $224, 1 kiloliter of fuel oil for industries at $185, and a 10-kilogram bottle of butane at LL11,600.

Beirut 12-07-2004
The Daily Star

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