Friday June 3rd, 2005


Texas gasoline prices lower for fifth straight week…Institute for Supply Management says services sector of economy is expanding, slowly…Greater Houston Partnership hosts World Trade Gala Saturday evening…

Texas gasoline prices are lower for the fifth straight week to below $2 a gallon. Some Houston area independent gas stations, however, have increased prices this week from $1.89 a gallon to around $1.95. The weekly AAA Texas gas price survey released today finds regular unleaded self-serve averaging fractionally below $2 a gallon. That’s down about two cents from last week–and just eight cents higher than a year ago. But AAA Texas spokeswoman Rose Rougeau notes that crude oil prices rallied to more than $54 a barrel this week. She says motorists will see pump prices climb again if the crude oil price continues to climb. The cheapest prices remain in the Corpus Christi area, where they averaged almost $1.90 a gallon–almost unchanged from last week. The costliest pump prices continue to be in the Dallas area, where they averaged almost $2.04 a gallon–down about two cents. The national prices average about $2.09 per gallon–down about a penny.

The nation’s purchasing executives say the services sector of the economy is expanding, just not as fast as seen recently. The Institute for Supply Management May index stands at 58.5, down about three points from the previous month. Any number above 50 indicates growth. The report was released locally by Ralph Kauffman, chairman of the ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee and coordinator of the Supply Chain Management program at the University of Houston-Downtown. The group says services activity should continue at “relatively healthy levels” in the near-term. A measure of prices indicates that the worst pressure from rising steel and energy costs is behind. Some respondents were expressing concern about rising interest rates and prices putting pressure on business in the second half of the year. Others indicated that business remains strong.

The Greater Houston Partnership hosts its annual World Trade Gala at the Intercontinental Hotel tomorrow evening, honoring congressional representatives and businesses in the Houston area. Keith Miceli is senior vice president of the partnership’s World Trade Division.

Keith Miceli audio 1

Miceli says the fact that there are 82 consulates here proves that international trade through Houston is recognized by many countries.

Keith Miceli audio 2

Two international business awards and a lifetime achievement award are being given at the gala. The keynote speaker is Deputy U. S. Trade Representative and Co-Chair of the Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement Ambassador Peter Allgeier.

Exxon Mobil is a step closer to winning approval for a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Texas Gulf Coast in hopes of importing LNG from Qatar by 2008. The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said a proposed site near the Texas-Louisiana border won’t significantly harm the environment. The next step is for commission members to consider the staff recommendation. The project at Sabine Pass is called Golden Pass. Exxon Mobil also has another proposed site, near Corpus Christi, that is awaiting final approval, and a third location off the shore of Cameron Parish, Louisiana.

The Houston Airport System has adopted a “preferred alternative” for future development at Bush Intercontinental Airport, as IAH prepared to accommodate the projected 70 million annual passengers forecast to pass through its gates by 2025. The alternative includes two additional east-west runways within the airport’s current footprint. The airport system will finalize the layout, determine the development sequence, establish a land acquisition plan, prepare cost estimates and a funding plan and create a ground access improvement plan that includes a METRO rail connection. The planning process will also cover support facilities such as cargo buildings and hangars.

Uptown Park has been bought by AmReit in a $69 million deal. AmReit owns other properties near Uptown Park, including the Courtyard at Post Oak, Uptown Plaza and a CVS Pharmacy at Westheimer and Yorktown.

SYSCO has acquired Facciola Meat Company of Fremont, California which supplies fish, poultry and other frozen and refrigerated food products to restaurants, hotels and other operations in northern California, Hawaii and Nevada. Houston-based SYSCO is the largest foodservice marketing and distribution organization in North America.