OPEC warns of trade war ‘risks’ for oil market

OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo. OPEC has warned about the probable negative impact, on the oil market, of escalating ‘trade tensions’ between the US and China. (Reuters)
Updated 11 July 2018
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OPEC warns of trade war ‘risks’ for oil market

  • OPEC said buoyant world trade in 2017 and 2018 had helped impulse economic growth and therefore demand for crude
  • OPEC: ‘If trade tensions rise further and given other uncertainties it could weigh on business and consumer sentiment’

PARIS: The OPEC cartel on Wednesday warned that global trade tensions could have a negative impact on the oil market by pushing down demand for crude.
In its monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said buoyant world trade in 2017 and 2018 had helped impulse economic growth, and therefore demand for crude.
But this may change further down the line, OPEC said, as the United States and China fired the latest shots in their escalating trade war.
Washington on Tuesday threatened to impose new tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods and Beijing vowed to retaliate.
The latest moves in the trade war between the world’s top two economies came just after tit-for-tat duties on $34 billion in goods came into effect.
According to OPEC, “the re-emergence of global trade barriers has thus far only had a minor impact on the global economy.”
However, “if trade tensions rise further, and given other uncertainties, it could weigh on business and consumer sentiment,” the report warned.
“This may then start to negatively impact investment, capital flows and consumer spending, with a subsequent negative effect on the global oil market.”
OPEC’s latest report comes after the cartel and non-member Russia pledged to boost oil production in a meeting in Vienna last month.
The agreement to hike output came after the price of crude soared earlier this year, hitting $80 per barrel in May.
According to the report, which cites secondary sources, OPEC crude production stood at an average of 32.33 million barrels per day in June, an increase of 173,000 barrels per day over the previous month.
“Crude oil output increased mostly in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Nigeria, Kuwait and UAE, while production showed declines in Libya, Venezuela and Angola,” the report said.


Regulator unveils plan to monitor cryptocurrency threat

Updated 7 min 23 sec ago
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Regulator unveils plan to monitor cryptocurrency threat

  • “Monitoring the size and growth of crypto-asset markets is critical.." FSB says
  • Plan follows drive by central banks and regulatory bodies to keep cryptocurrencies at bay

GENEVA: A financial regulator on Monday unveiled a strategy to monitor whether cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin pose a threat to world economic stability.
The plan follows on from a concerted drive by central banks and regulatory bodies to keep cryptocurrencies at bay.
In a statement, the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which oversees regulation among G20 economies, said it believes “crypto-assets do not pose a material risk to global financial stability at this time.”
But, the FSB added, the speed at which cryptocurrencies are spreading, the lack of solid data on their use and uncertainty over which rules apply in the sector should spur major economies to redouble their scrutiny.
“Monitoring the size and growth of crypto-asset markets is critical to understanding the potential size of wealth effects, should valuations fall,” the FSB said.
The framework also calls of an examination of whether cryptocurrencies are evolving from a method of paying for goods and services into a securities product, which individuals are holdings as a savings device instead of a stock or a bond.
The FSB also underscored “the scarcity of reliable data on banks’ holdings of crypto-assets.”
That point serves as a chilling reminder of the 2008 financial crisis, which was made worse by the fact that some banks did not know their level of exposure to securities backed by junk mortgages, even after those mortgages started to fail.
The FSB said an affiliate called the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision was “conducting an initial stocktake on the materiality of banks’ direct and indirect exposures to crypto-assets.”
It warned that the exposure of financial institutions to cryptocurrencies will serve as a key measurement of the “risks to the broader financial system.”
The FSB said it expects its plan will face hurdles from the outset, given the “data gaps” and “lack of transparency” in the sector, especially concerning the individuals trading coins on a daily basis.
The FSB, currently chaired by Bank of England chief Mark Carney, said it will formally present the framework to G20 finance ministers when they meet in Buenos Aires later this month.
The call for tighter monitoring follows major swings in the value of assets like Bitcoin and the constant emergence of new cryptocurrencies, which has raised fears that the unregulated and opaque market could pose a rising threat to investors.