Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

OPEC agrees to cut crude output by 1 million barrels

LONDON >> Moving quickly to buttress sagging crude oil prices, OPEC announced today it would cut output by 1 million barrels a day, or 4 percent of its official target level.

The decision by all 11 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is aimed at supporting prices at around $25 a barrel in the face of eroding demand in the group's key markets in the United States, Europe and Asia. The cut is to take effect Sept. 1.

Energy analysts said the move would indeed shore up prices, but not to the point of causing serious pain for consumers in importing countries.

OPEC, which pumps about 40 percent of the world's oil, will have a new production target of 23.2 million barrels a day. It had already reduced its official production twice this year by a total of 2.5 million barrels a day.

Ministers announced the latest output cut in a terse communique, after conferring privately by telephone.

State unemployment rises to 5 percent in June

Hawaii's unemployment rate rose to 5 percent last month, nearly half a percentage point higher than in 2000, according to state figures released yesterday.

June's unemployment rate is up from 4.6 percent a year earlier, and higher than the 4.3 percent rate in May this year.

The increase from May to June is part of a normal seasonal shift, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The national unemployment rate for June was 4.7 percent.

Lanai posted the lowest unemployment rate, 3.7 percent, and Molokai the highest, at 17.2 percent. Maui County overall had 5 percent unemployed. Oahu came in at 4.2 percent, the Big Island at 8.4 percent and Kauai at 7.9 percent.

Hawaii's unemployment rate has been higher than the national figure since April, after posting lower figures for the preceding four months.

State to promote tours by Japanese students

Tours by school children from Japan make up a small but growing part of Hawaii's tourist industry. The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism has put together a plan with the private sector to run a mission to Japan to give it a boost.

The Sept. 8-15 trip to Tokyo and Osaka will promote educational tours to the islands and school excursions. The department said its research shows that more than 12,000 Japanese students came to Hawaii last year, up 50 percent from 8,000 in 1999. Seiji Naya, the department's director, said the number is expected soon to climb to 20,000.

For information about the trip or to register to join it, call Dennis Ling at 587-2755 or e-mail

In other news ...

Cheap Tickets Inc. said it now has opened its latest travel-booking call center, in Tampa., Fla., with more than 150 employees. Honolulu-headquartered Cheap Tickets now has call centers in Honolulu, Los Angeles, Lakeport, Calif., and Colorado Springs, Colo.

[Taking Notice]


>> Angela H. Isaac has been named executive vice president and director of risk management at Bank of Hawaii and its parent company Pacific Century Financial Corp. She will be responsible for company-wide risk management systems. Isaac, who has more than 20 years of treasury and risk management expertise, joins BOH/PCFC after working for a financial services practice in New York.

>> Scott A. Mori and Debbie Ragasa have been named retail store managers for AT&T Wireless operations on the Big Island.

Mori will oversee the Kopiko and Crossroads stores, as well as a retail kiosk at the Kona Wal-Mart.

Ragasa will be responsible for the Hilo store, as well as kiosks at Prince Kuhio Plaza and the Hilo Wal-Mart.


>> Physician Hugo Higa has joined the practice of Tyrie L. Jenkins as a partner. Higa specializes in corneal oculoplastic and cosmetic surgery. He has been an associate in Jenkins' office since 1998.

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