Saudi Arabia not considering non-dollar oil trade: official

A view of Saudi Aramco's Shaybah oilfield at the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
Updated 08 April 2019
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Saudi Arabia not considering non-dollar oil trade: official

DUBAI: The Saudi Arabian Energy Ministry has rejected the suggestion that it is considering selling oil in currencies other than the traditional US dollar.
In its first public reaction since speculation began last week that the Kingdom might consider pricing oil in other currencies if the Americans enacted legislation aimed at OPEC, the ministry said: “Recent reports claiming that Saudi Arabia is threatening to sell its oil in currencies other than the dollar are inaccurate and do not reflect Saudi Arabia’s position on the matter.
“The Kingdom has been trading its oil in dollars for decades and that has served well its financing and monetary needs. Furthermore, the Kingdom remains committed to be a stabilizing force to energy markets and does not want its key priority to be out at risk, including changes to the financial terms of oil trading relationships around the world.”
The reaction from the ministry - headed by energy minister Khalid Al-Falih who is also the chairman of the world’s biggest oil company Saudi Aramco - will put and end to speculation that the Kingdom intends to react radically to the possible passage of what has been called “NOPEC” laws in the US.
Such a law is opposed by US energy leaders and by the Energy Secretary Rick Perry as potentially destabilizing for world energy markets. A final decision on the law - if it gets passed by the US Congress - would be the responsibility of the administration of Donald Trump, who has not so far indicated his thinking on the matter.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.