Trump junior to entertain luxury flat buyers in India

Dozens of property investors and their families will be treated to dinner with Donald Trump junior in Delhi this week. (AFP)
Updated 19 February 2018
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Trump junior to entertain luxury flat buyers in India

NEW DELHI: Dozens of property investors and their families will be treated to dinner with Donald Trump junior in Delhi this week after snapping up flats in a Trump Towers luxury development on the outskirts of the Indian capital.
Trump’s local partners have promised dinner with the US president’s son to anyone who buys into the development of high-rise apartments boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, state of the art amenities and a “lifestyle concierge.”
At 2.5 million rupees (around $39,000) just for the downpayment on the smallest and cheapest flat, that is well beyond most Indians.
Nonetheless around 75 people have already stumped up and Indian developer Tribeca expects that number to increase to 100 before the promotion deadline expires on Thursday, a staff member told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“The meeting is a token of gratitude to the clients for showing tremendous faith in the upcoming project,” said the Tribeca employee.
The 47-story towers will comprise 250 homes and are expected to be completed by 2023, with price ranging from 55-110 million rupees ($850,000-$1.7 million).
Adverts in Indian newspapers on Monday promised prospective buyers their neighbors would include a “renowned industrialist,” “art maestro” and “famous Indian cricketer” — although it was not clear whether this was based on the identity of the existing buyers.
“Trump is here. Are you invited? read the full-page advert in Monday’s Times of India.
The development is in the modern satellite city of Gurgaon, where many major companies now have their headquarters.
India is already the Trump Organization’s biggest international market, with developments in four major cities — Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon and Kolkata.
All are being built with local partners, with the Trump Organization giving permission to use its brand and taking a share of the profits.
According to media reports, the estimated cost of developing these projects is $1.5 billion.
The Trump family earned $3 million in royalties in 2016 from ventures in India, according to a New York Times report.
Trump junior and his brother now head the company after their father stood down when he became president amid concerns over a conflict of interest.
Although the US embassy says he is in Delhi on an unofficial visit, Trump junior is due to speak on Indo-Pacific relations at a business conference on Friday at which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the keynote speaker.
The luxury property in Gurgaon is being developed by Indian firms Tribeca and M3M, with construction expected to start toward the end of the year.
India’s residential property market has struggled in recent years, hit by a glut in urban centers combined with the impact of a 2016 move to tackle tax evasion with a ban on high-value banknotes.


Saudi Arabia seeks stable, not soaring, oil prices

Updated 22 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia seeks stable, not soaring, oil prices

  • Due to market tightness, Brent rose to nearly $80 per barrel but deteriorated to $78.80 on Friday.
  • The average price for Brent crude per barrel over the past five months has been between $72.11 and $76.98

RIYADH: Oil prices rose this week on continuing market tightness. With the price rise, some Saudi-bashing has begun. Bloomberg reported that increasing prices were due to Saudi Arabia’s comfort with Brent crude above $80 per barrel. Such “analysis” is hogwash.

Due to market tightness, Brent rose to nearly $80 per barrel but deteriorated to $78.80 on Friday. WTI rose above $70 per barrel for the first time in three months and settled at $70.78 per barrel by the week closing.
The average price for Brent crude per barrel over the past five months has been between $72.11 and $76.98. As may be noted in those numbers, the Brent crude price has been resisting the psychological barrier of $80 per barrel. The fact is that, since October 2014, the Brent monthly average has never gone above $80.
The oil price outlook might be raised as a result of this upward tendency and the continuing tight oil market. For instance, with the latest numbers in hand, HSBC has revised its oil price forecast upward with Brent to average $80 per barrel in 2019 and $85 in 2020, before settling at about $75 in 2021.
Bloomberg was inaccurate about Saudi Arabia’s comfort with a Brent price above $80 per barrel. The Kingdom has never been among the bulls when it comes to oil prices. Again and again, Saudi Arabia has been a major advocate for stable oil prices, not increasing oil prices, which it views as unsustainable and damaging to the global economy. Bloomberg is also predicting that Saudi Arabia will follow its allegedly bullish nature and refrain from ramping up production to compensate for the oil lost once the US sanctions on Iran come into effect.
US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has confirmed that Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US are well able to add enough crude oil supply into the market to compensate for Iran. Indeed, the Kingdom has begun to increase output to adjust for market needs, from 9.87 million barrels per day (bpd) in April to 10.42 million bpd in August.
The upward movement in oil prices came after strong fundamentals showed market tightness that spurred record levels of speculative traders, with nearly all betting on higher prices. The price rise also recognized that total US inventories are below the five-year average for the first time since May 2014. Oil prices have been gradually trending upward with gentle fluctuations. There have not been any steep surges or declines. There is nothing artificial about the trend. In reality, it is boringly predictable.
Last month, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported OECD commercial crude oil inventories at 32 million barrels below the five-year average. Stocks at the end of Q2 2018 were up 6.6 million barrels versus the end of 1Q 2018, the first quarterly increase since 1Q 2017. The IEA also noted that global refinery throughputs in the second half of 2018 are expected to be 2 million barrels higher than in the first half of the year. These refined products stocks will draw down before building again in 4Q 2018.
Global crude oil inventories peaked in 2016. The OPEC+ agreement that worked for market balance was the reason for a fall in inventories. Since May 2017, global oil stocks have been on the decline and now global crude oil stocks are below the five-year average. Product stocks are also below that level, with strong demand and healthy refining margins.
Inventories have kept falling despite American producers pumping at all-time highs last month. It is only the massive flood of oil from the US which has kept crude oil prices at low levels from early 2015 to the end of 2017 — along with a resulting lack of upstream investment in the oil industry. Therefore, the IEA predicts that in 2022 spare production capacity will fall to a 14-year low.
Global oil markets are rebalancing. Oil prices started their upward momentum from the end of October 2017. They went above the psychological barrier $60 a barrel after 10 consecutive months of tireless efforts by OPEC and non-OPEC nations that started on January 2017. The market rebalancing will continue through the end of 2018, and beyond.
Such upward momentum in oil prices isn’t artificial movement because it came after many months without steep price fluctuations. In 2016, the Brent price average was $43. The 2017 Brent price average was $54, and prices just surpassed $60 in October 2017. The Brent average surpassed $70 in late March 2018 and has been hovering between $72 and $78 since. There is no evidence of a steep fluctuation or an artificial movement.
The claims of an artificial price movement have come just at the time when OPEC and the world are reaping the positive outcomes of 24 nations collaborating in output cuts that managed to successfully rebalance the oil market in a situation where global oil inventories were running at record highs. Also, these false claims came when the oil industry needs capital inflows to reactivate upstream investments for major international oil companies. Such investments are essential for the price stability that benefits oil producers and consumers globally. Low oil prices result in low investment in discovery and production of petroleum resources, which damages various industry sectors and energy needs. That leads to a vicious cycle of up-and-down price fluctuations.