Russia-Saudi oil cooperation to bring stability to markets: RDIF’s Dmitriev

Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, Khalid Al-Falih Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and Minister of Energy of the United Arab Emirates, UAE, Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, fromm left, attend a news conference after a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, and non OPEC members at their headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, June 23, 2018. (Ronald Zak/AP)
Updated 25 June 2018
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Russia-Saudi oil cooperation to bring stability to markets: RDIF’s Dmitriev

  • Saudi Arabia and Russia said they had a general consensus that the OPEC+ format should be “institutionalized” and extended until 2019 and beyond to monitor the market and change output if needed
  • Long-term Russia-Saudi cooperation “will ensure pricing stability on global markets and increase investments in the energy sector”

VIENNA: The joint deal by OPEC and other oil-producing allies to raise output demonstrates the strength of the Russia-Saudi energy alliance, which will help stabilize the market for many years to come, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund said on Monday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other top crude producers agreed to raise output from July by about 1 million barrels per day (bpd), after Saudi Arabia persuaded arch-rival Iran to cooperate.
Ahead of OPEC’s Vienna meeting, Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s top oil producers, said they had a general consensus that the OPEC+ format should be “institutionalized” and extended until 2019 and beyond to monitor the market and change output if needed.
“A long-term partnership between Russia and Saudi Arabia related to the coordination of efforts between oil producers and the future creation of a new organization based on OPEC+ will help to overcome disagreements between the producers and work out a united action strategy on the global markets,” Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) told Reuters.
Dmitriev, one of the architects of the initial deal between Moscow and OPEC in December 2016, said that long-term Russia-Saudi cooperation “will ensure pricing stability on global markets and increase investments in the energy sector.”
At a meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, Dmitriev said that Saudi Arabia, whose Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Moscow in June, agreed to invest $10 billion in Russia, of which $2 billion had already been spent.
Dmitriev told Reuters he expected investments between the two countries to double in the next three years.


Pakistani central bank lifts interest rate as inflation bites

Updated 20 May 2019
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Pakistani central bank lifts interest rate as inflation bites

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s central bank raised its key interest rate to 12.25% on Monday, warning that already soaring inflation risked further rises on the back of higher oil prices and reforms required for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.
The 150 basis points increase follows a preliminary agreement last week with the IMF for a $6 billion loan that is expected to come with tough conditions, including raising more tax revenues and putting up gas and power prices. It was the eighth time the central bank has increased its main policy rate since the start of last year.
With economic growth set to slow to 2.9% this year from 5.2% last year, according to IMF forecasts, the rate rise adds to pressure on Prime Minister Imran Khan, who came to power last year facing a balance of payments crisis that has now forced his government to turn to the IMF.
Higher prices for basic essentials including food and energy has already stirred public anger but the central bank suggested there was little prospect of any immediate improvement.
Noting average headline inflation rose to 7% in the July-April period from 3.8 percent a year earlier, the central bank said recent rises in domestic oil prices and the cost of food suggested that “inflationary pressures are likely to continue for some time.”

 

It said it expected headline inflation to average between 6.5% and 7.5% for the financial year to the end of June and was expected to be “considerably higher” in the coming year. Expected tax measures in next month’s budget as well as higher gas and power prices and volatility in international oil prices could push inflation up further, it said.
It said the fiscal deficit, which the IMF expects to reach 7.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, was likely to have been “considerably higher” during the July-March period than in the same period a year earlier due to shortfalls in revenue collection, higher interest payments and security costs.
Despite some improvements, financing the current account deficit remained “challenging” and foreign exchange reserves of $8.8 billion were below standard adequacy levels at less than the equivalent of three months of imports.
The central bank said it was watching foreign exchange markets closely and was prepared to take action to curb “unwarranted” volatility, after the sharp fall in the rupee over recent days that saw the currency touch a record low of 150 against the US dollar.
Details of what Pakistan will be required to do under the IMF agreement, which must still be approved by the Fund’s board, have not been announced but already opposition parties are planning protests.
As well as higher energy prices that will hit households hard, there are also expectations of new taxes and spending cuts in next month’s budget to reach a primary budget deficit — excluding interest payments — of 0.6% of GDP.
With the IMF forecasting a primary deficit of 2.2% for the coming financial year, that implies squeezing roughly $5 billion in extra revenues from Pakistan’s $315 billion economy, which has long suffered from problems raising tax revenue.

FACTOID

Pakistan’s economic growth is set to slow to 2.9% this year.