German industrial orders fall unexpectedly in November

German factories registered a 0.4 percent drop in orders in November. (Reuters)
Updated 08 January 2018
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German industrial orders fall unexpectedly in November

BERLIN: German industrial orders fell in November for the first time since July, data showed on Monday, easing slightly after a strong run as Europe’s largest economy enjoys robust form.
Factories registered a 0.4 percent drop in orders. November’s reading from the Federal Statistics Office confounded expectations in a Reuters poll for a 0.5 percent rise.
Contracts for ‘Made in Germany’ goods climbed by a revised 0.7 percent in October, an upward revision from a rise of 0.5 percent previously reported.
ING economist Carsten Brzeski said “the decrease comes after three consecutive increases and is rather of a technical nature than any sign of weakness.
“With inventories low and capacity utilization at its highest level since 2008, there is little reason to get concerned,” he added. “The general trend for industrial production in Germany remains positive.”
Germany is enjoying strong domestic demand helped by record-high employment, rising real wages and low borrowing costs while its exporters are benefiting from a global economic recovery.
Last month, the Ifo economic institute said the German economy will expand by 2.6 percent in 2018, pointing to a broad upswing that is generating employment and buoyant tax revenues.
On Friday, official data showed retail sales surged more than expected in November and were estimated to have risen sharply in 2017 overall, boosting hopes that private consumption helped growth in Germany last year.


Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

Updated 14 December 2018
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Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

  • Ransom payment would set dangerous precedent
  • NOC declared force majeure on exports on Monday

BENGHAZI: Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp. (NOC) said it was against paying a ransom to an armed group that has halted crude production at the country’s largest oilfield.
“Any attempt to pay a ransom to the armed militia which shut down El Sharara (oilfield) would set a dangerous precedent that would threaten the recovery of the Libyan economy,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement on the company’s website.
NOC on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the 315,000-barrels-per-day oilfield after it was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.
The nearby El-Feel oilfield, which uses the same power supply as El Sharara, was still producing normally, a spokesman for NOC said, without giving an output figure. The field usually pumps around 70,000 bpd.
Since 2013 Libya has faced a wave of blockages of oilfields and export terminals by armed groups and civilians trying to press the country’s weak state into concessions.
Officials have tended to end such action by paying off protesters who demand to be added to the public payroll.
At El Sharara, in southern Libya, a mix of state-paid guards, civilians and tribesmen have occupied the field, camping there since Saturday, protesters and oil workers said. The protesters work in shifts, with some going home at night.
NOC has evacuated some staff by plane, engineers at the oilfield said. A number of sub-stations away from the main field have been vacated and equipment removed.
The occupiers are divided, with members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) indicating they would end the blockade in return for a quick cash payment, oil workers say. The PFG has demanded more men be added to the public payroll.
The tribesmen have asked for long-term development funds, which might take time.
Libya is run by two competing, weak governments. Armed groups, tribesmen and normal Libyans tend to vent their anger about high inflation and a lack of infrastructure on the NOC, which they see as a cash cow booking billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues annually.