Russia and OPEC output in focus as oil extends losses

The OPEC and its allies including Russia will meet in June to decide whether to continue withholding supply. (AFP)
Updated 16 April 2019
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Russia and OPEC output in focus as oil extends losses

  • Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said over the weekend that Russia and OPEC may decide to boost production
  • OPEC and its allies will meet in June to decide whether to continue withholding supply

SYDNEY: Oil prices edged down on Tuesday after a Russian minister said the nation and OPEC may boost crude output to fight for market share, checking a recent sharp rally driven by tighter global production.
Brent crude oil futures were at $71.08 a barrel at 0111 GMT, down 10 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last close. Brent ended down 0.5 percent on Monday.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.39 per barrel, down 2 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their previous settlement. WTI fell 0.8 percent on Monday.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said over the weekend that Russia and OPEC may decide to boost production to fight for market share with the United States, but this would push oil as low as $40 per barrel.
“There is a growing concern that Russia will not agree on extending production cuts and we could see them officially abandon it in the coming months,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst, OANDA.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, known as OPEC+, will meet in June to decide whether to continue withholding supply. That comes after they previously agreed to crimp output by 1.2 million barrels per day from Jan. 1 for six months.
Losses were checked by tighter supplies from Iran and Venezuela amid signs the United States will further toughen sanctions on those two OPEC producers, and on the threat that renewed fighting could wipe out crude production in Libya.


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.