Not even a small dent was put in crude oil futures prices by OPEC's latest announcement of a production increase. The rally that has tripled prices in the past 21 months in such markets as New York and London was keeping them close to 10-year highs - $35.84 and $34.23 a barrel, respectively - as the Monitor went to press. OPEC president Ali Rodriguez of Venezuela warned that prices could hit $40 a barrel "if there's a cold winter" and said the cartel "doesn't have the power to control" a looming global energy crisis if consuming nations do not produce and refine more petroleum. Meanwhile, the oil minister of Saudi Arabia, the world's No. 1 producer, said his government would not try to lower prices by flooding the market with discounted crude. In the US, with winter around the corner, stockpiles of home-heating oil are at 40 percent below normal, according to industry sources.
Amid speculation it may soon be subject to a takeover bid, Dresdner Bank AG, Germany's third-largest, is negotiating to buy privately owned US investment bank Wasserstein Perella, published reports said. Such a deal, valued between $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion, would be aimed at strengthening Dresdner's investment services and mergers and acquisitions division. Dresdner was involved in two failed merger attempts earlier this year. German banks are seeking to bolster their holdings after recent Swiss acquisitions in the US investment banking market, economists said.
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