News In Brief

A new - and large - spike in oil prices appears likely just in time for the winter heating season, analysts said. In London, an almost 70-cent-a-barrel jump Tuesday in futures contracts for the benchmark Brent crude pushed prices to $22.04, their highest in 19 months. Meanwhile, producer countries indicated there's no prospect for an early lifting of the supply cuts they adopted in March. That, analysts said, means the price per barrel for futures contracts "will probably approach $25" in fourth-quarter trading. After the summer driving season, commercial stockpiles of oil are on course to hit their lowest levels since 1996, the analysts said, as the gap between demand and supply widens.

Fresh from its $9 billion deal to buy the fifth-largest US long-distance telephone company, Frontier, Bermuda's Global Crossing Ltd. announced it's forming a joint venture to build a telecommunications network in Asia. The fiber-optic company's partners in the $1.3 billion project will be Microsoft Corp. and Softbank, a Japanese Internet concern. Plans call for the 11,000-mile land and underwater network to link most East Asian counties to Global Crossing's Western Hemisphere and European service.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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