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Oil price's downward trend unpredictable: Ma

President Ma Ying-jeou stated yesterday that the 10-week downward trend of international oil prices was beyond the predictions of experts. The price declines have caused controversy as they came on the heels of a sharp hike in gas prices in April.

Ma made the remarks when speaking at a graduation ceremony held yesterday morning at the National Chiayi University.

The president told the university graduates that they may find things difficult once they enter the job market, but he encouraged them to be honest, to work diligently, and to care for others.

He also said that in order to help graduates with employment, the government has made significant efforts to create over 400,000 jobs since he took office in 2008.

Given that the unemployment rate is still 4.1 percent, Ma continued, it's an absolute imperative for the government and enterprises to create more jobs. To this end, Ma stressed, enterprises should focus their efforts on innovative products, designs and services, as well as establishing their own brands in order to tap into international markets.

Taiwan should break through its economic bottleneck by opening its markets to the world, otherwise the world won't embrace Taiwan.

In addition to economic liberalization, Ma continued, academic liberalization is also one of the important tasks at hand. The president maintained that more foreign students should be allowed to study at universities in Taiwan in order to internationalize local universities.

Although having been affected by numerous global financial crises, Taiwan has managed to survive.

Just a few days earlier, lawmakers blasted the state-run oil refiner CPC Corp., Taiwan for its misjudgment of international oil price movement trends, which, in turn, caused the company to lower domestic oil prices for nine consecutive weeks after enforcing a sharp hike of NT$3.1 per liter on April 2.

The CPC spokesperson stressed that the company raised domestic oil prices on April 2 partly to offset its huge losses caused by the long-enforced mechanism of halving oil price hikes in past years, and partly to reflect the forecasts of the upward movement trend for international oil prices.

Meanwhile, officials with the Bureau of Energy under the Ministry of Economic Affairs said that the April 2 price hike and the following 10 consecutive weeks of price lowering were different practices adopted in two different stages. The price hike wasw not a misjudgment of international oil price movement trends.

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