Iraq increases oil exports from south to make up for Kirkuk shortfall

The increase in Basra exports keeps Iraq’s total output within the quota agreed with the OPEC. (Reuters)
Updated 21 October 2017
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Iraq increases oil exports from south to make up for Kirkuk shortfall

BAGHDAD: Iraq said it was increasing oil exports on Saturday from the southern Basra region by 200,000 barrels per day to make up for a shortfall from the northern Kirkuk fields.
The output from the northern Kirkuk region fell this week in the course of military operations to take it back from Kurdish fighters who have been there since 2014.
The increase in Basra exports keeps Iraq’s total output within the quota agreed with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the oil ministry said in a statement citing Oil Minister Jabar Al-Luaibi.
He said 200,000 barrels per day will be shipped from southern Basra export terminal on top of the usual volumes exported daily which exceed 3.2 million barrels.
“These additional volumes will be produced until the northern oil output goes back to its previous level,” he said.
Iraq won’t be able to restore Kirkuk’s oil output to last week’s levels before Sunday because of missing equipment at two of the largest fields of the region, Avana and Bai Hasan, an oil ministry official told Reuters on Thursday.
Until these shutdowns, the northern oil region exported about 530,000 barrels per day, of which about half came from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and the rest from the disputed Kirkuk province, claimed by both the Kurds and the Iraqi central authorities.
Kurdish Peshmerga forces deployed in Kirkuk in 2014, when the Iraqi army fled its positions in the face of an advance by Daesh militants. The Kurdish move prevented the militants from taking control of its oilfields.


Chinese consumers pull back, but other indicators stabilize

Updated 48 min ago
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Chinese consumers pull back, but other indicators stabilize

  • Retail sales slowed to an 8.6 percent year-on-year increase in October
  • The NBS blamed the deceleration on consumers holding off from making purchases until Singles Day
BEIJING: Chinese consumer spending slowed in October, official data showed Wednesday, adding to worries over the world’s second-largest economy, but investment and industrial production appeared to stabilize.
Concerns about China have increased in recent months after third-quarter growth came in at its slowest pace in nine years, and as trade frictions with the US have ratcheted upwards.
Chinese officials are currently engaging with their US counterparts as the two economic giants try to work out a compromise on trade ahead of President Xi Jinping’s meeting with Donald Trump later this month at the G20 gathering.
The National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday that retail sales slowed to an 8.6 percent year-on-year increase in October, slightly short of estimates and down from 9.2 percent in September.
The NBS blamed the deceleration on consumers holding off from making purchases until Singles Day, China’s annual discount shopping bonanza that was held on November 11.
“Given uncertain and unstable factors abroad, there are concerns over the slower though stable economic development which is facing downward pressure,” bureau spokeswoman Liu Aihua told a news briefing.
“The world economy and trade growth momentum have weakened while international financial markets have been turbulent.”
Exports to the major US market have held up so far but analysts forecast a dimming picture in the months ahead, reinforcing the need for China to rely on its legions of domestic consumers to grow the economy.
The trade row with the US has sapped market confidence, dragging down Chinese equities and the yuan currency.
On the positive side, fixed-asset investment, a key economic driver, showed signs of rebounding.
It expanded 5.7 percent on-year for the first ten months of the year, picking up after hitting record lows this summer as Beijing’s push to get big projects moving this autumn lifted infrastructure spending.
Output at factories and workshops ticked up 5.9 percent in October, an improvement on the 5.8 percent in September, according to the NBS, and ahead of the 5.8 percent forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.
“Despite the uptick in industrial output and investment, we doubt that economic growth has bottomed out just yet,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics wrote in a research note.
He said local governments had held off on issuing bonds in recent weeks as they face budget limits.
“US tariffs have, if anything, acted as a prop to exports recently (due to front-loading by US importers) but are set to become a drag early next year,” he said.