Al-Falih: Only Russia undecided on OPEC deal extension

Moscow has yet to agree to an extension of an OPEC+ deal, over disputes as to how much production the country should cut for fear of ceding market share to the US. Above, Khalid Al-Falih and Alexander Novak. (Reuters)
Updated 10 June 2019

Al-Falih: Only Russia undecided on OPEC deal extension

  • Khalid Al-Falih, in Moscow for talks with counterpart Alexander Novak, said there was disagreement in Russia over prolonging the pact at an upcoming meeting in Vienna
  • Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft, warned against extending the deal, saying it posed a strategic threat to Moscow by allowing the US to take Russia’s market share

MOSCOW: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Monday Russia was the only oil exporter undecided on extending an output deal between OPEC and its allies until the end of the year.
Al-Falih, in Moscow for talks with counterpart Alexander Novak, said there was disagreement in Russia over prolonging the pact at an upcoming meeting in Vienna.
“I think the remaining country to jump onboard is Russia. I will wait for them to work it out,” he said.
“There is a debate in the country about the volume Russia should be producing in the second half.”
President Vladimir Putin said last week that Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries disagreed over what constituted a fair oil price, but that they would decide at the meeting.
Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft, warned against extending the deal, saying it posed a strategic threat to Moscow by allowing the US to take Russia’s market share.
Al-Falih said he may have another opportunity to talk to Novak at a G20 meeting in Japan beforehand.
Despite Russian indecision over the deal, known as the “OPEC+ Agreement,” signals from Moscow suggest an extension could work.
There is a still a risk oil producers pump too much crude and prices fall, Novak said on Monday, suggesting he might support an extension of output cuts at a meeting of leading oil producers next month.
“This is not ruled out. A lot depends on the market in the third quarter, on the supply and demand balance,” he said, citing the effect of US-led trade wars and sanctions.
“There are big risks of over-production. But we need to analyze deeper and look at how events will develop in June in order to take a balanced decision at the joint OPEC+ meeting in July.”
Al-Falih said the OPEC+ group was working to take “preventive” measures to avoid sharp oil price declines.
Separately, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said oil prices could fall as low as $30 per barrel if OPEC and others did not extend the curbs.


Africa development bank says risks to continent’s growth ‘increasing by the day’

Updated 18 August 2019

Africa development bank says risks to continent’s growth ‘increasing by the day’

  • The trade dispute between US and China has roiled global markets and unnerved investors
  • African nations need to boost trade with each other to cushion the impact of external shocks

DAR ES SALAAM: The US-China trade war and uncertainty over Brexit pose risks to Africa’s economic prospects that are “increasing by the day,” the head of the African Development Bank (AfDB) told Reuters.
The trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies has roiled global markets and unnerved investors as it stretches into its second year with no end in sight.
Britain, meanwhile, appears to be on course to leave the European Union on Oct. 31 without a transition deal, which economists fear could severely disrupt trade flows.
Akinwumi Adesina, president of the AfDB, said the bank could review its economic growth projection for Africa — of 4 percent in 2019 and 4.1 percent in 2020 — if global external shocks accelerate.
“We normally revise this depending on global external shocks that could slowdown global growth and these issues are increasing by the day,” Adesina told Reuters late on Saturday on the sidelines of the Southern African Development Community meeting in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
“You have Brexit, you also have the recent challenges between Pakistan and India that have flared off there, plus you have the trade war between the United States and China. All these things can combine to slow global growth, with implications for African countries.”
The bank chief said African nations need to boost trade with each other and add value to agricultural produce to cushion the impact of external shocks.
“I think the trade war has significantly impacted economic growth prospects in China and therefore import demand from China has fallen significantly and so demand for products and raw materials from Africa will only fall even further,” he said.
“It will also have another effect with regard to China’s own outward-bound investments on the continent,” he added, saying these could also affect official development assistance.
Adesina said a continental free-trade zone launched last month, the African Continental Free Trade Area, could help speed up economic growth and development, but African nations needed to remove non-tariff barriers to boost trade.
“The countries that have always been facing lower volatilities have always been the ones that do a lot more in terms of regional trade and do not rely on exports of raw materials,” Adesina said.
“The challenges cannot be solved unless all the barriers come down. Free mobility of labor, free mobility of capital and free mobility of people.”