No conspiracy behind oil price fall: Al-Naimi

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Updated 23 December 2014
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No conspiracy behind oil price fall: Al-Naimi

ABU DHABI: Gulf countries on Sunday blamed “irresponsible” non-OPEC producers for a plunge in global crude prices, but voiced confidence that markets would rebound.
World prices have fallen almost 50 percent since June, mainly due to a supply glut, the weak global economy and a strong US dollar.
UAE energy minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei, in a clear reference to shale and sand oil output from North America and other emerging energy markets, attributed the price dive to “newcomers.”
“One of the main causes is irresponsible production by some producers from outside the (OPEC) organization,” he told an energy forum in Abu Dhabi.
The global oil market has become increasingly competitive in recent years with the surge in shale and sand oil production from countries outside the decades-old OPEC alliance.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi also lashed out at non-OPEC members, claiming the global price fall on a “lack of cooperation by main producing countries outside OPEC, misleading information and speculators’ greed.”
In a further reference to shale oil, Naimi predicted that “high-cost producers will not continue to increase production.”
Last month, OPEC decided to maintain production levels of 30 million barrels per day despite pleas by some members to cut output in a bid to curb sliding prices.
Mazrouei defended the measure, which he said would stabilize oil markets.
“OPEC’s decision, which aims to provide the market with time to rebalance, is correct, strategic and useful to the global economy,” he added.

'No Saudi plot'
Naimi dismissed claims of a Saudi “plot” to push prices down for political goals, insisting that the kingdom’s policy is “based on pure economic principles.”
Unlike rich Gulf members of the cartel, non-Arab OPEC members lack the sovereign wealth funds to smooth over oil price fluctuations and have budgeted for price scenarios now radically out of sync with reality.
Russia and OPEC-member Iran, whose economies rely heavily on oil revenues, have spoken of a market conspiracy to hold prices down after OPEC’s decision to keep output steady.
Analysts have said Saudi Arabia is content to see shale oil producers — and even some OPEC members — suffer from low prices rather than reduce output to boost prices.
Countries such as Nigeria and Venezuela have also been hit hard by the downturn.
“Recently, certain analyses and articles have spoken of a politically motivated Saudi plot, using oil and its prices against this country or that... This is baseless,” Naimi said.
“I am confident that oil markets will recover... and that oil prices will improve,” he added.
Qatar’s energy minister, Mohammed Al-Sada, also sounded upbeat, arguing that tumbling oil prices represented a “temporary correction.”
He warned however that prices at their current level could “weaken investment” in production capacity needed to meet future demand.
“The growing demand for energy necessitates huge investments,” he said.
Although prices rebounded sharply on Friday from four-year lows — with the benchmark price just over $60 a barrel — analysts say Gulf countries are bracing for a sharp decline in oil revenue.
Pumping about 17.5 million barrels per day, the countries are forecast to lose at least half their income from oil, or around $350 billion a year, at current price levels.


Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

Updated 26 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

  • Kingdom is home to three quarters of region's foundations
  • Combined asets of global foundations is $1.5 trillion

Nearly three quarters of philanthropic foundations in the Middle East are concentrated in Saudi Arabia, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Hauser Institute with funding from Swiss bank UBS, also found that resources were highly concentrated in certain areas with education the most popular area for investment globally.

That trend was best illustrated in the Kingdom, where education ranked first among the target areas of local foundations.

While the combined assets of the world’s foundations are estimated at close to $1.5 trillion, half have no paid staff and small budgets of under $1 million. In fact, 90 percent of identified foundations have assets of less than $10 million, according to the Global Philanthropy Report. 

Developed over three years with inputs from twenty research teams across nineteen countries and Hong Kong, the report highlights the magnitude of global philanthropic investment.

A rapidly growing number of philanthropists are establishing foundations and institutions to focus, practice, and amplify these investments, said the report.

In recent years, philanthropy has witnessed a major shift. Wealthy individuals, families, and corporations are looking to give more, to give more strategically, and to increase the impact of their social investments.

Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have become increasingly high profile — but at the same time, some governments, including India and China, have sought to limit the spread of cross-border philanthropy in certain sectors.

As the world is falling well short of raising the $ 5-7 trillion of annual investment needed to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, UBS sees the report findings as a call for philanthropists to work together to scale their impact.

Understanding this need for collaboration, UBS has established a global community where philanthropists can work together to drive sustainable impact.

Established in 2015 and with over 400 members, the Global Philanthropists Community hosted by UBS is the world’s largest private network exclusively for philanthropists and social investors, facilitating collaboration and sharing of best practices.

Josef Stadler, head of ultra high net worth wealth, UBS Global Management, said: “This report takes a much-needed step toward understanding global philanthropy so that, collectively, we might shape a more strategic and collaborative future, with philanthropists leading the way toward solving the great challenges of our time.”

This week Saudi Arabia said it would provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid in Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The UAE also this week said it had contributed $192 million to a housing project in Afghanistan through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.