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

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.


Egypt raises Sinai investment by 75% in 2019-20

Updated 22 August 2019

Egypt raises Sinai investment by 75% in 2019-20

  • North Sinai will receive 2.85 billion pounds of the investments, while South Sinai will take 2.38 billion pounds, Planning Minister Hala Al-Saeed said
  • An aide to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said last year that the Sinai development plan is expected to cost 275 billion Egyptian pounds and be completed by 2022

CAIRO: Egypt said on Thursday it would invest 5.23 billion Egyptian pounds ($315 million) in the Sinai Peninsula in fiscal 2019-20, a 75% rise on the year, in a venture officials say is intended to stabilize a region hit by violence from armed groups.
The Planning Ministry, which directed 2.986 billion pounds in investments to Sinai in the 2018-19 fiscal year, said in response to a Reuters question that the 2019-20 investments would be “general investments directed to all sectors.”
Egypt has been fighting an insurgency led by Daesh and concentrated in the peninsula’s north since the military overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013 after mass protests against his rule.
The government hopes investing in the region will help curb extremism and bring stability by reducing higher-than-average unemployment.
North Sinai will receive 2.85 billion pounds of the investments, while South Sinai will take 2.38 billion pounds, Planning Minister Hala Al-Saeed said in a statement.
“The investments in North Sinai are in education, water, agriculture, irrigation, transport, storage, real estate activities and construction projects,” Saeed said.
South Sinai investments will be “in the agriculture, irrigation, transport, education and other services sectors,” she said.
An aide to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said last year that the Sinai development plan is expected to cost 275 billion Egyptian pounds and be completed by 2022, calling it “a project for national security.”