News In Brief

The likelihood that an extra 500,000 barrels a day of crude oil would be pumped by OPEC member nations appeared dead because prices were remaining well below the threshold designed to trigger the additional supply. The average price of a "basket" of seven different OPEC crudes was at $25.40 as trading opened Wednesday, the cartel said - a drop of 30 cents from Monday's close. Under the cartel's formula for the additional output, the basket price needed to be at or above $28 a barrel for 20 consecutive days, ending tomorrow. The extra oil was to be brought to market to drive prices down to the $25-a-barrel level.

Negotiations aimed at merging two rival banks into the second-largest in Germany collapsed. Dresdner Bank and Commerzbank had been discussing the tie-up for six weeks, following the earlier failure of merger talks between Dresdner and Deutsche Bank, Germany's No. 1. Analysts said, however, that the time is overdue for consolidation of the nation's banking industry.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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