Oil prices flat after weeks of steep declines

OPEC supplies actually jumped in May as output recovered in Libya and also Nigeria, two countries exempt from the production cut agreement. (Reuters)
Updated 19 June 2017
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Oil prices flat after weeks of steep declines

NEW YORK: Oil prices were flat on Monday after diving 13 percent since late May as rising production in the US, Libya and Nigeria have foiled the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) efforts to support the market by cutting production.
Brent futures for August were down 4 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $47.33 a barrel by 11:39 a.m. EDT (1539 GMT), while US crude for July was down 9 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $44.65 per barrel the day before the July contract expires.
The premium of the Brent front-month over the same month for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is now at its highest since late May, when producers led by OPEC extended by nine months its pledge to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd).
“Lack of major upside price response to OPEC output cuts upping the odds of reduced compliance to the agreement in our opinion,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Chicago-based energy advisory firm Ritterbusch & Associates, said in a note.
OPEC supplies actually jumped in May as output recovered in Libya and also Nigeria, two countries exempt from the production cut agreement.
Analysts also said a steady rise in US crude production has also fed the global crude glut. Data on Friday showed a record 22nd consecutive week of increases in the number of US oil rigs, bringing the count to 747, the most since April 2015.
“There is no reason to be overly optimistic at the moment,” said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.
Libya’s oil production has risen more than 50,000 bpd to 885,000 bpd after the state oil company settled a dispute with Germany’s Wintershall, a Libyan oil source told Reuters.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs said if the US rig count holds, fourth-quarter domestic oil production would rise 770,000 bpd from the same period last year in the Permian, Eagle Ford, Bakken and Niobrara shale oil fields.
There are also indicators that demand growth is stalling in Asia, the world’s biggest oil-consuming region, even though China increased the 2017 oil import quotas for its refineries.
Japan’s customs-cleared crude imports fell 13.5 percent in May from a year earlier. India took in 4.2 percent less crude in May than the year before.
Saudi Arabia’s crude exports in April fell to 7 million bpd, official data showed. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the oil market needed time to rebalance.


UAE to loosen visa rules for investors and innovators

Updated 21 May 2018
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UAE to loosen visa rules for investors and innovators

  • UAE cabinet announces the launch of an integrated visa system to attract talent and talent in all vital sectors of the national economy
  • The Council also announced changes in the system of foreign ownership of companies in the country, which allows the acquisition of 100% of the global investors by the end of the year

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates, home to financial hubs Abu Dhabi and Dubai, is loosening its residency laws and will grant long-term visas for up to 10 years to investors and highly-skilled professionals.
The 10-year residency visas will be granted to specialists in science, medicine and research, and to “exceptional students.” The state-run WAM news agency says the plan aims to attract global investment and innovators.
The UAE Cabinet approved the new rules on Sunday, saying plans are also on track to allow foreign investors 100 percent ownership of their UAE-based companies this year.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum affirmed that the UAE will remain a global incubator for exceptional talents and a permanent destination for international investors. “The UAE has been open, governed by tolerance and contributed to by all who live on its land.
“Our open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation offer the best opportunities to attract international investment and exceptional talent in the UAE,” he said. “Our country is the land of opportunity, the best environment for realizing human dreams and unleashing their extraordinary potentials.”
The new regulations include raising the percentage of global investors’ ownership in companies to 100% by the end of the current year. He directed the Ministry of Economy in coordination with the concerned parties to implement the decision and follow up on its developments and submit a detailed study in the third quarter of this year.
The new regulations approved by the Council of Ministers and the authorities concerned have also set the procedures for implementing them to grant investors residence visas of up to ten years for them and all members of their families, as well as granting residency visas of up to ten years for specialized competencies in the medical, scientific, research and technical fields.
The new regulations also include visas for students studying in the country for five years and a 10-year residency for exceptional students.
Under current laws, foreign companies must have an Emirati owning 51 percent of the shares, unless the company operates in a free zone. Major brands Apple and Tesla are believed to be exceptions to the rule.