Iraqi oil minister expects prices to rise over time

Iraq’s Energy Minister of Oil Thamer Abbas Al Ghadhban (C) speaks to journalists as he attends the 175th OPEC Conference of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria on December 06, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 December 2018

Iraqi oil minister expects prices to rise over time

  • Ghadhban said the recent fall in Iraqi exports was due to weather conditions
  • “Our goal is to reach an export capacity of 6.5 million barrels per day but over several stages,” he said

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban said on Monday he expected the fall in oil prices to stop and for prices to rise over time, adding that if OPEC had not cut production, prices would have dropped to $45-50 per barrel.
Speaking at a ministry event in Baghdad, Ghadhban said the recent fall in Iraqi exports was not due to technical reasons, as Iraqi oil fields have high capacity, but rather because of weather conditions.
“Our goal is to reach an export capacity of 6.5 million barrels per day but over several stages,” he said.
Speaking about the recent Kirkuk oil deal with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Ghadhban said state oil marketer SOMO had received preferential prices, albeit for low quantities.
Iraq last month restarted exports of Kirkuk oil, halted a year ago due to a standoff between the central government and the KRG, after a new government in Baghdad agreed a tentative deal with Irbil.


Saudi mall operator Arabian Centres bucks retail malaise as profits surge

Updated 21 August 2019

Saudi mall operator Arabian Centres bucks retail malaise as profits surge

  • Mall operator defies online shopping pressure by lowering discounts to tenants, boosting occupancy and rental revenues

LONDON: Arabian Centres, the Saudi mall operator which went public in May, said first-quarter consolidated net profit almost trebled to SR227 million ($60.53 million) as occupancy edged higher across its shopping centers. Revenues increased by about 2.5 percent over the year to SR572.5 million.

The results helped to propel the group’s shares 3 percent higher on Tuesday.

The group said that it boosted performance by offering lower discounts to its tenants which helped to drive rental revenues. Like-for-like occupancy across all malls increased  to 93.2 percent from 92.4 percent in the year earlier period. Finance costs fell by about 65 percent from a year earlier to SR73.9 million.

FASTFACT

 

27 - Arabian Centres plans to expand its mall portfolio to 27 within four years.

Retailers across the Middle East are coming under increased pressure as more consumers shop online, while at the same time, tourists are spending less in dollar-pegged economies because their purchasing power has been cut by the strength of the greenback. Still, in Saudi Arabia, the under-served retail market is expected to receive a boost from rising investment in the entertainment sector, especially new cinemas.

“Faced with the rising challenge of online shopping, the brick-and-mortar retail segment has sought to diversify its offering to secure its customer base, providing an increased range of leisure and entertainment facilities,” said Oxford Business Group, in a report analyzing emerging trends in the Saudi retail sector.

“The reintroduction of cinemas to the Kingdom in April last year ... is expected to increase retail footfall,” it said.

Arabian Centres, majority-owned by Fawaz Alhokair Group, listed its shares on the Tadawul stock exchange in May — the first to do so in the Kingdom under Rule 144a, allowing the sale of securities, mainly to qualified institutional buyers in the US.

The group aims to expand to 27 malls within four years.