Russia keen on more OPEC cooperation on oil output cap

Russia’s energy minister however said that it was too early to discuss extending or altering the landmark 2016 deal, which expires on March 31. (AFP)
Updated 23 September 2017
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Russia keen on more OPEC cooperation on oil output cap

VIENNA: Russia’s energy minister said Friday that he was in favor of continuing cooperation with OPEC as their joint accord to cap output bears fruit in boosting the price of crude.
However Alexander Novak said that it was too early to discuss extending or altering the landmark 2016 deal by 24 countries — including Russia and members of OPEC — that expires on March 31.
“We should keep the pace and definitely moreover follow through on the concerted action,” Novak said at a meeting at OPEC headquarters in Vienna of a committee reviewing implementation of the agreement.
He added that while it oil producers should “elaborate a strategy” for April 2018 onwards and that prolonging it was “an option”, it was premature to make a decision now.
“I believe that January is the earliest date when we can actually credibly speak about that state of the market and about how the situation is developing,” Novak told a news conference after the meeting.
“I don’t think it’s right for people to expect us to make a decision seven months before the deal expires,” he said.
Before the pact was reached, a global oil glut saw crude prices plummet from over $100 a barrel in 2014 to a 13-year low of under $30 last year.
The price of oil has seesawed considerably in the last six months, but this week has traded around the $50-per-barrel level, suggesting that the agreement was finally bearing fruit.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, closed at $56.43 a barrel on Thursday, its highest since February and up 25 percent since June. It inched up further on Friday as did West Texas Intermediate.
“We have every reason to be pleased with the steady progress we have made in our collective efforts to overcome the challenges of the current oil market cycle, which is perhaps the worst of all the previous cycles that we have witnessed in recent times,” OPEC’s secretary general Mohammed Barkindo said at the talks.
Recent market data showing a reduction in stocks of oil around the world that has depressed oil prices “confirm beyond all reasonable doubt ... that the market rebalancing is on course,” the Nigerian said.
“OPEC members are trying to target a figure of close to $60 a barrel. We’re not too far away from that,” Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s minister for petroleum resources, told Bloomberg.
“If we get to March (when the deal expires) and find that there’s a need to do more, I think we will.”
The danger, however, is that higher crude prices could entice shale oil producers in the US — outside the deal — to ramp up output and put the market back in surplus.


One in five financial institutions consider cryptocurrency trading, survey says

Updated 26 min 25 sec ago
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One in five financial institutions consider cryptocurrency trading, survey says

LONDON: One in five financial institutions is considering trading cryptocurrencies within the next 12 months, a survey published by Thomson Reuters on Tuesday found.
Among those respondents who said they were willing to trade cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the best known of the digital coins, 70 percent said they were planning to start trading in the next three to six months, the survey showed.
The survey covered more than 400 clients across Thomson Reuters Corp. platforms including large asset managers, hedge funds and trading desks at the biggest banks. Thomson Reuters, the parent company of Reuters, provides data and news to the financial services industry.
Retail interest in the buying and selling of digital coins exploded last year after prices skyrocketed, and institutional involvement has been predicted to grow, despite regulatory warnings that cryptocurrencies are highly risky and prone to scams.
Banks are examining client interest and several hedge funds have tried their hand trading virtual currencies.
Large falls in cryptocurrency prices this year, however, have encouraged critics to warn again that the market is a bubble and that investors should stay away.
The survey was the first conducted by Thomson Reuters so it was not possible to gauge how institutional appetite for crypto trading has changed.