Gasoline prices at the pump rose more than 6 cents a gallon nationwide over the past two weeks, the first increase in three months, the Lundberg survey of 8,000 filling stations found. The average, including all grades and taxes, was $1.51 - up 6.25 cents since Aug. 10. The surge was attributed to the shutdown of several refineries for repairs and maintenance as well as to a dwindling inventory of stocks. Prices had been declining steadily since peaking in May at $1.76 a gallon. The summerlong decrease was largely the result of refineries overproducing to avert shortages during the busiest driving season.
Five billion dollars in new financial aid appeared all but certain for the government of Indonesia, after it signed an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on reforming its economic policies. The deal ended eight months of deadlock after the IMF froze loans last December over President Abdurrahman Wahid's foot-dragging on measures to revive the struggling economy. The three-year agreement still must be approved by the IMF's executive board next month, but that OK is expected to open the gates for additional aid from other donors.