Oil rises as Saudi Arabia says producers will cooperate beyond 2018

A group of oil producers including OPEC and Russia, the world’s biggest crude producer, started to withhold production in January last year to prop up prices. (Reuters)
Updated 22 January 2018
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Oil rises as Saudi Arabia says producers will cooperate beyond 2018

SINGAPORE: Oil prices climbed on Monday, pushed higher by comments from Saudi Arabia that cooperation between oil producers who are currently withholding supplies would continue beyond 2018.
Strong global economic growth and a drop in US drilling activity also supported crude, traders said.
Brent crude futures were at $68.89 a barrel at 0315 GMT, up 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close. Brent on January 15 rose to $70.37, its highest since December 2014.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.61 a barrel, up 24 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last settlement. WTI climbed to $64.89 on January 16, also its highest since December 2014.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and de-facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said on Sunday major oil producers were in agreement they should continue cooperating on production after their deal on supply cuts expires this year.
“There is a readiness to continue cooperation beyond 2018 ... The mechanism hasn’t been determined yet, but there is a consensus to continue,” Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said in Oman.
A group of oil producers including OPEC and Russia, the world’s biggest crude producer, started to withhold production in January last year to prop up prices. The deal is set to expire at the end of 2018.
In the US, declining drilling activity for new oil production further supported crude.
US drillers cut five oil rigs in the week to Jan. 19, bringing the count down to 747, energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday.
Despite this, the rig count in 2017 and early this year remains much higher than in 2016, resulting in a 16 percent rise in US production since mid-2016, to 9.75 million barrels per day.
Beyond supplies, strong global economic growth was also supporting oil prices.
“During the last four quarters, the underlying global growth dynamic began to shift... Global growth has become synchronized and accelerated above trend,” US bank Morgan Stanley said over the weekend in a note.
In the latest indicator, Japanese manufacturing sentiment in January jumped to an 11-year high, the Reuters Tankan poll showed on Monday, highlighting the optimism driven by nearly two years of economic expansion.
Despite the well-supported market, analysts warned oil markets had lost some steam since their peak early last week.
Bernstein Energy said on Monday that oil inventories might start rising soon due to a slowdown in demand which typically happens at the end of the northern hemisphere winter.
“We expect... an end to the strong (inventory) draws we have seen... With the strong correlation between inventories and crude prices, this perhaps means we should expect crude prices to moderate in the near term,” Bernstein said.


Indonesia’s Go-Jek close to profits in all segments

Updated 18 August 2018
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Indonesia’s Go-Jek close to profits in all segments

  • Go-Jek is Indonesia's first billio-dollar startup
  • Ride haling app evolves into online payment platform

JAKARTA: Go-Jek, Indonesia’s first billion-dollar startup, is “extremely close” to achieving profitability in all its segments, except transportation, its founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim told Reuters.

Launched in 2011 in Jakarta, Go-Jek — a play on the local word for motorbike taxis — has evolved from a ride-hailing service to a one-stop app allowing clients in Southeast Asia’s largest economy to make online payments and order everything from food, groceries to massages.

“We’re seeing enormous online to offline traction for all of our businesses and are close to being profitable, outside of transportation,” said the 34-year old CEO.
The startup is expected to be fully profitable “probably” within the next few years, Makarim added.

Already a market leader in Indonesia, where it processes more than 100 million transactions for its 20-25 million monthly users, Go-Jek is now looking to expand in Southeast Asia.

Ride hailing services in Southeast Asia are expected to surge to $20.1 billion in gross merchandise value by 2025 from $5.1 billion in 2017, according to a Google-Temasek report.

Go-Jek said in May it would invest $500 million to enter Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, after Uber struck a deal to sell its Southeast Asian operations to Grab — the bigger player in the region.

Go-Jek is seeing strong funding interest from its backers as it targets an aggressive expansion, Makarim said.

“Since its Aug. 1 launch, the app has already grabbed 15 percent of market share in Ho Chi Minh,” Makarim said. The firm this week opened recruitment for motorcycle drivers in Thailand.

The startup expects anti-monopoly concerns swirling around the Grab-Uber deal, which Singapore said had substantially hurt competition, to help clear a path for its expansion.

“We’re bringing back choice. The Singapore government is particularly eager to bring back competition,” Makarim said, adding that the order of overseas rollouts had not been set.

Go-Jek’s offshore push comes at a time when Singapore-based Grab is stepping up funding to expand in Indonesia and transform itself into a consumer technology company, starting with a partnership with online grocer HappyFresh.

“Mimicking Go-Jek’s strategy is the highest form of flattery,” laughed Makarim.

Grab told Reuters in a statement, “The super app strategy has been around for a while now and no Southeast Asian player can claim to have pioneered it.” The company also said Grab has not lost market share in Ho Chi Minh since August, but declined to provide market share data.

Makarim believes Go-Jek’s understanding of food merchants will give it an edge over Grab, which counts investors such as Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. among its backers.

Makarim, who sees food delivery as Go-Jek’s core business, said he was not concerned about funding, without giving details.

Go-Jek was reported in June as being in talks to raise $1.5 billion in a new funding round and was valued at about $5 billion in a prior fundraising, sources have told Reuters. The firm had said in March it was considering a domestic IPO.

Makarim noted Go-Jek’s backers were sharing both capital and expertise. The company is collaborating with Alphabet Inc’s Google on platform mobility, Tencent on payments strategy, JD.com on logistics operations, and Meituan Dianping on merchant transactions and deliveries.

Go-Jek has set up a venture capital arm, Go-Ventures, to invest in startups in Southeast Asia “with strategic importance to our business,” the CEO said.