Oil falls for sixth day as supply fears mount

OPEC member Iran on Thursday announced plans to increase production within the next four years by at least 700,000 barrels a day. (Reuters)
Updated 09 February 2018
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Oil falls for sixth day as supply fears mount

TOKYO: Oil prices fell for a sixth day on Friday after Iran announced plans to boost production and US crude output hit record highs, adding to concerns about a sharp rise in global supplies.
The falls come amid a rout in global share markets as inflation fears grip investors.
Brent futures were down 44 cents or 0.7 percent, at $64.37 a barrel by around 0700 GMT. On Thursday, Brent fell 1.1 percent to its lowest close since Dec. 20.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 62 cents, or 1 percent, at $60.53 a barrel, having settled down 1 percent in the previous session at its lowest close since Jan. 2.
Both contracts have fallen more than 9 percent from this year’s high point in late January.
“Bets on further rising oil and metals prices, for example by hedge funds, have climbed to excessively bullish levels,” said Carsten Menke, commodities research analyst at Swiss Bank Julius Baer.
“We see oil prices dropping toward and below $60 per barrel,” he said.
OPEC member Iran on Thursday announced plans to increase production within the next four years by at least 700,000 barrels a day.
Meanwhile, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) this week said crude production last week rose to a record high of 10.25 million barrels per day (bpd).
At that level, US production would overtake the current output in Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
OPEC and other producers, including Russia, have cut production since January 2017 to force down global inventories, but these cuts have been offset by rising US oil production.
China plans to launch its long-awaited crude oil futures contract on March 26, two sources familiar with the situation said on Friday, a move that will potentially shake up the pricing of the world’s largest commodity market.
The launch next month will mark the end of a push to create Asia’s first oil futures benchmark, which would give China more clout in pricing crude in the region and a share of the trillions of dollars in the oil futures trade.


Philippine government to suspend excise taxes on petroleum products if oil hits $80

Updated 1 min 5 sec ago
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Philippine government to suspend excise taxes on petroleum products if oil hits $80

DUBAI: The Philippine government will suspend the collection of excise taxes on petroleum products if global crude oil prices hit $80 a barrel to soften its impact on Filipino consumers, a presidential spokesperson said Tuesday.
The announcement comes after oil companies on Tuesday implemented their biggest price hike for gasoline products so far this year of 1.6 pesos per liter ($0.03), and prices of diesel and kerosene products up by about 1 peso a liter, with what they claimed was to reflect ‘movements in the international oil market.’
“Excise taxes will be suspended when prices, If I am not mistaken, reach $80 [per barrel]. We are ready when to suspend the collection when oil prices reach that level,” presidential spokesperson Harry L. Roque said during a press briefing.
“The collection will be suspended,” he said, as part of contingencies to protect the public from a possible oil-price shock.
The new duties on fuel – and other items such as cars, tobacco and sugary drinks – are part of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law which took effect at the start of the year.
The first tranche of the Philippine government’s tax restructuring has been blamed for the rise in consumer prices, which rose 4.5 percent in April and breached the year’s target of between 2 percent and 4 percent.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, however, said the roughly two-thirds of the April inflation rate was due to the demands of a rapidly-expanding economy, with the TRAIN accounting for only 0.4 point of the increase instead of the estimated 0.7 point.
“We will coordinate with the Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and Management if the benefits [for poor families] aside from the P200 monthly subsidy [as part of the amelioration program] have been released,” Roque said. “There are still other benefits to be given to soften the effects of TRAIN.”