Oil extends 7% slump from previous day

The surge in US production is contributing to rising global stockpiles. (Reuters)
Updated 14 November 2018
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Oil extends 7% slump from previous day

  • Oil markets are being pressured from two sides: a surge in supply and increasing concerns about an economic slowdown
  • OPEC has been making increasingly frequent public statements that it would start withholding crude in 2019

SINGAPORE: Oil markets slipped again on Wednesday, extending losses from a 7 percent plunge the previous session as surging supply and the specter of faltering demand scared off investors.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $55.50 per barrel at 0514 GMT, down 19 cents from their last settlement.
International benchmark Brent crude oil futures were down 22 cents at $65.25 per barrel.
Crude oil has lost over a quarter of its value since early October in what has become one of the biggest declines since prices collapsed in 2014.
The slump in spot prices has turned the entire forward curve for crude oil upside down.
Spot prices in September were significantly higher than those for later delivery, a structure known as backwardation that implies a tight market as it is unattractive to put oil into storage.
By mid-November, the curve had flipped into contango, when crude prices for immediate delivery are cheaper than those for later dispatch. That implies an oversupplied market as it makes it attractive to store oil for later sale.
Oil markets are being pressured from two sides: a surge in supply and increasing concerns about an economic slowdown.
US crude oil output from its seven major shale basins is expected to hit a record of 7.94 million barrels per day (bpd) in December, the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday.
That surge in onshore output has helped overall US crude production hit a record 11.6 million bpd, making the United States the world’s biggest oil producer ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Most analysts expect US output to climb above 12 million bpd within the first half of 2019.
“This will, in our view, cap any upside above $85 per barrel (for oil prices),” said Jon Andersson, head of commodities at Vontobel Asset Management.
The surge in US production is contributing to rising stockpiles.
US crude stocks climbed by 7.8 million barrels in the week ending Nov. 2 to 432 million as refineries cut output, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.
The producer group Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been watching the jump in supply and price slump with concern.
OPEC has been making increasingly frequent public statements that it would start withholding crude in 2019 to tighten supply and prop up prices.
“OPEC and Russia are under pressure to reduce current production levels, which is a decision that we expect to be taken at the next OPEC meeting on Dec. 6,” said Andersson.
That puts OPEC on a collision course with US President Donald Trump, who publicly supports low oil prices and who has called on OPEC not to cut production.


Nissan meets to replace Ghosn, as tensions with Renault grow

Updated 40 min 37 sec ago
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Nissan meets to replace Ghosn, as tensions with Renault grow

  • The decision on replacing Ghosn at Nissan is being led by an advisory committee that includes a former Renault executive
  • The Japanese company removed Ghosn from his post last month after he was detained on allegations of under-reporting his salary

TOKYO: The board of automaker Nissan meets Monday to discuss replacing former chairman Carlos Ghosn after his arrest for financial misconduct, as tensions grow in the firm’s alliance with Renault.
The Japanese company removed Ghosn from his post last month after he was detained on allegations of under-reporting his salary.
But it appears unlikely to agree Monday on a permanent replacement for him, in part because of open discord in its alliance with French automaker Renault.
Nissan itself faces charges for allegedly submitting financial documents that understated Ghosn’s pay, and Renault is now reportedly seeking more sway on the Japanese firm’s board.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Renault urged Nissan in a letter to hold a shareholders meeting to discuss Renault’s representation on the firm’s nine-member board and within its top management.
It warned that Nissan’s indictment “creates significant risks to Renault, as Nissan’s largest shareholder, and to the stability of our industrial alliance,” the Journal reported.
A source with knowledge of the issue confirmed that Nissan had received the letter and was planning an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting in January.
Renault’s letter is the latest sign of the tensions in the alliance that groups the firm with Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors — a partnership that Ghosn forged and was often credited with holding together.
While Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors quickly removed Ghosn from leadership positions after his arrest, Renault has kept the auto executive on as CEO and chairman.
And while Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa launched a broadside against his former mentor shortly after his arrest, describing his “dark side,” Renault has approached the allegations more cautiously.
The decision on replacing Ghosn at Nissan is being led by an advisory committee that includes a former Renault executive, and Japanese media reports suggested it was unlikely to reach a decision on Monday.
“It slows things down, but it isn’t the end of the world,” a source close to the issue told AFP.
“We need to let them talk and decide properly. That’s more important than rushing.”
The company is instead likely to announce new governance measures intended to address criticism that it failed to prevent Ghosn’s alleged misconduct.
As his former employer wrangles over his replacement, Ghosn remains in the one-man cell at a Tokyo detention center he has occupied since his shock arrest on November 19.
Prosecutors have already charged him with under-reporting his pay by around $44 million over the five years to 2015, and are also investigating claims he under-reported it further in the last three years.
He will be detained until at least December 20, when prosecutors will either file new charges or request another 10-day detention period while they continue investigations.
A range of additional claims of financial misconduct have been made against Ghosn, including using Nissan funds to purchase homes around the world, though prosecutors have yet to level those accusations formally.
He and his former right-hand man Greg Kelly, who is also under arrest, reportedly deny any wrongdoing.
The charges have sparked a legal battle over Ghosn’s flat in Rio de Janeiro, with Nissan trying to prevent his family members from accessing the property and removing items.
A Brazilian court authorized relatives to access the apartment, despite claims from Nissan that they were removing corporate documents.
Ghosn’s arrest marked a stunning reversal of fortune for the Franco-Brazilian-Lebanese tycoon, once revered in Japan for effectively rescuing Nissan from insolvency.
He helped engineer the alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi, creating a partnership that sold more cars than any other globally last year.