Saudi Arabia assures adequate supply as oil hits $80 a barrel

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its ally Russia have cut their output since January 2017 to help reduce excessive global stockpiles. (Reuters)
Updated 18 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia assures adequate supply as oil hits $80 a barrel

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said on Friday it is consulting other oil producers in and outside OPEC to ensure the world has adequate supplies to support economic growth after prices hit $80 a barrel for the first time since 2014.
OPEC’s most influential energy minister, Saudi Arabia’s Khalid Al-Falih, said in a Twitter post that he had called his counterparts in the UAE, the US and Russia, as well as major oil consumer South Korea, to “coordinate global action to ease global market anxiety.”
Falih also said he had reassured the executive director of the International Energy Agency of “commitment to the stability of oil markets and the global economy” and that he would contact others over the next few days.
On Thursday, Falih called Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to assure him that supporting global economic growth was “one of the kingdom’s key goals,” the Saudi government said in a statement, after India expressed frustration with the recent surge in oil prices.

Oil prices held firm on Friday, with Brent crude trading at around $79.70 per barrel after the international benchmark broke through $80 for the first time since November 2014 the previous day.
The Saudi Energy Ministry said on Thursday that the kingdom together with other producers would ensure the availability of adequate supplies to offset any potential shortfalls.
India’s Pradhan had expressed concern about the negative impact of escalating prices on consumers and especially the Indian economy, the world’s third-largest oil consumer.
India is one of the world’s fastest-growing energy consumers and its oil use lags only that of the United States and China.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its ally Russia have cut their output since January 2017 to help reduce excessive global stockpiles.
So far, OPEC has said it sees no need to ease output restrictions despite a fall in global stocks to the group’s desired levels and concerns among consuming nations that the price rally could lead to demand destruction.
OPEC member the UAE said on Thursday OPEC had bigger issues to consider than the impact of the US decision to withdraw from the international nuclear deal with oil producer Iran, such as Venezuela’s collapsing oil output.
US President Donald Trump has also called on OPEC to help cool oil prices, saying they were artificially high.


Germany sees ‘most difficult part’ in EU-US trade talks ahead

Updated 32 min 20 sec ago
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Germany sees ‘most difficult part’ in EU-US trade talks ahead

  • ‘For some weeks and months now, we’re observing with concern that the US is tightening its trade policies, that tensions are increasing’
  • ‘The impact can already be seen in the world economy, global growth has slowed’

BERLIN: The most difficult part in trade negotiations between Europe and the United States is starting now and talks should focus on reducing tariffs on industrial goods to increase the chances of a deal, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Tuesday.
A confidential US Commerce Department report sent to President Donald Trump over the weekend is widely expected to clear the way for him to threaten tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported autos and auto parts by designating the imports a national security threat.
“For some weeks and months now, we’re observing with concern that the US is tightening its trade policies, that tensions are increasing,” Altmaier told Deutschlandfunk radio.
“The impact can already be seen in the world economy, global growth has slowed,” Altmaier said.
Asked about the risk of higher US car tariffs, Altmaier said he did not buy the argument that imported cars would threaten the national security of the United States.
Altmaier, a confidant of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said that reducing tariffs on cars and other manufactured goods should be the main focus of the ongoing trade talks.
“We are not yet where we want to be. We might have made one-third of the way and the most difficult part will be now,” Altmaier said.
Altmaier added that he was in favor of reducing import tariffs for cars to the same level in the US and Europe, “ideally to zero percent.”
The trade talks will also be high on the agenda during a meeting of Altmaier with his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire in Berlin later on Tuesday.
Both ministers are expected to narrow differences on how far the negotiation mandate of the European Commission in the talks with the US should go and which areas should be excluded.
France is reluctant to open up its agriculture sector to US imports and Altmaier said he was fine with excluding the issue in the trade talks.
“Agriculture is a very sensitive topic, so we don’t want to talk about this in the current situation,” Altmaier said.
Altmaier and Le Maire are expected to hold a news conference after the talks.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a German newspaper that Trump had promised him he would not impose additional import tariffs on European cars for the time being.
If Trump imposed tariffs on European cars, however, the EU would react immediately and not feel obliged to stick to its promise to buy more soybeans and liquefied gas from the United States, Juncker added.