A Weekly Digest of The World's Financial Press

Business Week

Oil producers are sitting back and enjoying the increase in prices, while holding back on new wells

ALTHOUGH THERE is a temptation for producing nations to cheat, so far there is no evidence they have. The American Petroleum Institute recently announced that US oil inventories fell for the week ending 23 April after oil imports dipped by 17 per cent. There's no sign of new drilling. The number of oil rigs in operation in the U.S. dropped to 488 in the week ended 23 April, down 25 per cent from last December, to the lowest level since Baker Hughes Inc began keeping records in 1944. International rig counts are down. If the higher prices last, of course, drilling is sure to resume. For now, though, Big Oil is taking a long view. "When you drill a well, you realise benefits from it years later," notes Mobil spokesman Bill Cummings. The oil has been underground for millions of years. So what if it stays there a few more?

- Peter Coy

The Economist

Comment on the fall of the euro against the dollar, and the new currency's prospects for the future

THE CURRENT strength of the dollar - like the strength of America's economy - cannot last forever. Two factors still favour the euro in the medium term. The first is America's bulging current-account deficit. The second is that, over time, investors and central banks are likely to want to diversify some of their portfolios out of dollars into euros. America's current-account deficit could rise to almost 4 per cent of GDP next year, its biggest this century. The euro area, meanwhile, has a surplus of 1.5 per cent of GDP.

The euro will get its turn in the sun, even if the warmth has not come yet. The fall in the new currency may have given fresh heart to eurosceptics and wounded some European politicians' pride. But better that, surely, than an over-strong currency wounding the continent's fragile economies.

- Leader Comment

Forbes

BP Amoco's chief executive, John Browne will soon be head of the world's second-largest oil company

JOHN BROWNE, chief executive of BP, now has big stakes in two important gasoline markets - California (Arco) and the US Midwest (Amoco). Browne would no doubt love to dethrone Exxon's Lee Raymond as the industry's most capable chief executive. Even in dismal 1998 Exxon managed to return an estimated 13 per cent on capital, leagues ahead of BP Amoco's 9 per cent. Raymond isn't yet grappling with Mobil. By the time he does, Browne will be well under way with his consolidation plan. One of the advantages of buying Arco is that Browne will be better able to keep ambitious executives challenged. "When John presented the pros and cons," says a BP Amoco board member, "one of the pros was, `We may have a surfeit of talent. Is there a risk that the talent will walk?' This solved the issue."

- Toni Mack

Barron's

A historical perspective on the Goldman Sachs flotation comes from the 1929 Wall Street crash

WE HAVE reservations about the Goldman Sachs flotation. Perhaps our sense that Goldman Sachs' cashing out is a sell signal also springs from history. For one of the famous bits of Wall Street folklore concerns the fate of a trust launched by Goldman before the 1929 Crash. Bob Hoye sent us an excerpt from the 1932 Senate hearing on the Crash.

Senator Couzens: Did Goldman Sachs organise the Goldman Sachs Trading Corp?

Mr Sachs: Yes, Sir.

Senator Couzens: And sold its stock to the public?

Mr Sachs: Yes, Sir.

Senator Couzens: At what price? Mr Sachs: At 104. The stock was split two-for-one.

Senator Couzens: And what price is the stock now?

Mr Sachs: Approximately one and three quarters.

- Alan Abelson

Fortune

On the growing demand for sex addiction treatment in the high-flying world of corporate America

"MOST OF my patients are CEOs or doctors or attorneys or priests," says Patrick J Carnes. "They are people with a great deal of power. We have corporate America's leadership marching through here, and they're paying cash because they don't want anybody to know."

Carnes works at a treatment center called the Meadows, an unassuming little oasis of forbearance tucked among the saguaro cactus and sage in Wickenburg, Arizona. His title is clinical director of sexual disorder services, and he is widely considered the nation's leading expert on what has come to be called, for lack of a better term, sex addiction. He says he treated 500 chief executives last year.

Not far from the Meadows is another addiction center called Sierra Tuscon. There is a waiting list, even at a cost of $850 a day for inpatients.

- Betsy Morris

Wall Street Journal

Looking at the IMF initiative to involve the private sector in global financial regulation

INTERNATIONAL REGULATORS, using their power over lending for leverage, have not been in the business of helping markets work, but of seeing to it that they don't work. That's because markets really do punish mismanagement.

Yet another idea floating around International Monetary Fund meetings is the thought of getting the private sector more involved in making the global financial system conform to an IMF-designed solar system. Maybe those pushing this approach should go back and review the US savings and loan fiasco, which cost US taxpayers almost as much as the $170bn the IMF has drummed up for its global bailouts these last two years. The private sector was very much involved. The best remedy is not regulation, but seeing to it that no one even thinks about getting a free lunch.

- George Melloan

Financial Times

Comment on the prospect of any new statutory regulation of the Financial Services Authority

TO JUSTIFY the cost of giving the Financial Services Authority (FSA) responsibility for mortgages, there would have to be substantial gains from regulation. This is far from clear. The mortgage market, while more complex than it used to be, is still comprehensible to most people. The Government should at least wait for the review of the industry's new voluntary code of conduct later this year before it decides whether statutory measures need to be imposed.

The joint committee has produced a report that addresses many of the concerns about the FSA Bill and has proved itself a useful mechanism for scrutinising legislation. But the report is not perfect and the Government should not feel obliged to comply with all its recommendations. The scope of the mighty FSA is quite large enough already without a whole new swathe of products.

- Leader Comment

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music

Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo, writes Paul Scholes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

CTO / Chief Technology Officer

£100 - 125k: Guru Careers: A CTO / Chief Technology Officer is needed to join ...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker