China to up Saudi oil imports 11%

Updated 09 December 2012
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China to up Saudi oil imports 11%

China’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia are likely to rise about 11 percent next year, faster than this year’s growth rate, as refiners lift output in anticipation of an economic recovery and an increase in fuel demand, industry officials in Beijing told Reuters.
China, the world’s second-largest crude consumer, is expected to buy about 1.17 million barrels per day (bpd) of Saudi oil next year, 120,000 bpd more than this year’s contracted amount.
The figures are based on estimates by industry sources with direct knowledge of the supply situation, Reuters reported.
China, which imports about 5.3 million bpd of crude a year, is the Kingdom’s third largest customer after the US and Japan. In the year to October, imports from Saudi grew 8.6 percent on the year to 1.06 million bpd, compared to growth of 12.6 percent in 2011.
China sees Saudi Arabia as a strategic partner capable of providing stable supplies, and the state energy companies of both nations are in a $ 10 billion joint venture to build a 400,000-bpd refinery on the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast.
Sinopec Corp, Asia’s largest refiner, would take in more than 80 percent of the total Saudi supplies to China. China’s No.2 refiner, PetroChina, and Sinochem Corp, will use up the rest, the sources told Reuters.
“Sinopec’s imports of Saudi crude have been increasing steadily over the past years and are expected to rise further as Sinopec’s refining capacity will rise steadily over the next few years,” one Chinese trader told Reuters.
Sinopec is estimated to increase Saudi imports by up to 80,000 bpd, as it adds new refining facilities at two subsidiary plants, a 200,000-bpd unit started in late November at Maoming in south China and a 160,000-bpd unit at Jinling refinery in east China. Sinopec and Aramco are expected to finalize the 2013 contract soon, traders said.


Britain’s M&S says must accelerate change or die

Updated 3 min 7 sec ago
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Britain’s M&S says must accelerate change or die

LONDON: Britain’s Marks & Spencer said on Wednesday it urgently had to modernize or risk fading away as it reported a second straight decline in annual profit and booked a 321 million pounds ($430 million) charge for a store closure program.
The 134-year-old M&S faces unrelenting competition from supermarkets, fashion chains like Zara, H&M and Primark, as well as online giant Amazon, while efforts to revitalize its business are being hampered by ongoing pressure on UK consumers’ spending power.
M&S reset its strategy in November, two months after retail veteran Archie Norman joined as chairman, detailing a five-year program of store closures and relocations, and moves to make its misfiring food business more competitive.
On Tuesday M&S said it would close 100 UK stores by 2022, further accelerating the plan as it strives to make at least a third of sales online.
M&S, one of the best known names in British retail, said it made a pretax profit before one-off items of 580.9 million pounds ($778.6 million) in the year to March 31.
That was ahead of analysts’ average forecast of 573 million pounds but down from 613.8 million pounds made in 2016-17.
After taking account of adjusted items of 514.1 million pounds, including the charge relating to store closures, pretax profit was 66.8 million pounds, a 62 percent fall.
Turnover was broadly flat at 10.7 billion pounds.
“We have to modernize our business to ensure we are competitive and reignite our culture. Accelerated change is the only option,” said M&S.
Shares in M&S have fallen 26 percent over the last year and the firm is in danger of being booted out of the prestigious FTSE 100 index.
The stock closed Tuesday at 292 pence, valuing the business at 4.7 billion pounds.