Oil firms as China’s slowdown not as steep as some expected

Researchers at Bernstein Energy said the supply cuts led by OPEC ‘will move the market back into supply deficit’ for most of 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 21 January 2019
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Oil firms as China’s slowdown not as steep as some expected

  • In an expected cooling, China’s economy grew by 6.6 percent in 2018, its slowest expansion in 28 years
  • ‘Brent can remain above $60 per barrel on OPEC+ compliance, expiry of Iran waivers and slower US output growth’

SINGAPORE: Oil prices firmed on Monday after data showed China’s economic slowdown was not as big as some analysts had expected, with supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also offering support.
International Brent crude oil futures were at $62.83 per barrel at 0259, up 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $53.92 a barrel, up 12 cents, or 0.2 percent.
Both oil price benchmarks had dipped into the red earlier in the session on fears that China’s 2018 economic growth figures would be weaker.
In an expected cooling, China’s economy grew by 6.6 percent in 2018, its slowest expansion in 28 years and down from a revised 6.8 percent in 2017, official data showed on Monday. China’s September-December 2018 growth was at 6.4 percent, down from 6.5 percent in the previous quarter.
Although the slowdown was in line with expectations and not as sharp as some analysts had expected, the cooling of the world’s number two economy casts a shadow over global growth.
“The global outlook remains murky, despite emerging positives from a dovish Fed (now boosting US mortgage applications), faster China easing (China credit growth stabilizing) and a more durable US-China truce,” US bank JP Morgan said in a note.
Despite this, analysts said supply cuts led by OPEC would likely support crude oil prices.
“Brent can remain above $60 per barrel on OPEC+ compliance, expiry of Iran waivers and slower US output growth,” JP Morgan said.
It recommended investors should “stay long” crude oil.
Researchers at Bernstein Energy said the supply cuts led by OPEC “will move the market back into supply deficit” for most of 2019 and that “this should allow oil prices to rise to $70 per barrel before year-end from current levels of $60 per barrel.”
In the US, energy firms cut 21 oil rigs in the week to Jan. 18, taking the total count down to 852, the lowest since May 2018, energy services firm Baker Hughes said in a weekly report on Friday.
It was biggest decline since February 2016, as drillers reacted to the 40 percent plunge in US crude prices late last year.
However, US crude oil production still rose by more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018, to a record 11.9 million bpd.
With the rig count stalling, last year’s growth rate is unlikely to be repeated in 2019, although most analysts expect annual production to average well over 12 million bpd, making the US the world’s biggest oil producer ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Arabia, China sign $28 billion worth of economic accords

Updated 22 February 2019
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Saudi Arabia, China sign $28 billion worth of economic accords

  • A total 35 agreements had been signed at a joint investment forum held by Saudi Arabia’s investment agency SAGIA

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia and China signed economic cooperation agreements worth a total of $28 billion at a joint investment forum during a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Beijing, Saudi state news agency SPA said on Friday.
It said 35 agreements had been signed at the forum, held by Saudi Arabia’s investment agency SAGIA. It also said four licenses for Chinese companies had been awarded at the forum.

The forum, which coincided with the official visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman China as part of his Asian tour, aimed at enhancing opportunities for joint cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

Other cooperation agreements signed during the forum included areas of the Kingdom's target sectors such as renewable energy aimed at activating cooperation and consultation frameworks in the field of investment development in wind turbines by manufacturing Electric control devices, wind turbine structures, turbine blades and wind generators with an investment of $ 18 million.

The agreement aims to open up to 800 new job opportunities in one of the most targeted sectors of sustainable development.