Oil market oversupplied in 2019 on US production: energy watchdog

The International Energy Agency predicted that global oil stocks could rise by 136 million barrels by the end of the first quarter of 2020. (Reuters)
Updated 12 July 2019
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Oil market oversupplied in 2019 on US production: energy watchdog

  • The demand for OPEC crude oil in early 2020 could fall to only 28 million barrels per day

LONDON: Surging US oil output will outpace sluggish global demand and lead to a large stock build around the world in the next nine months, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday.
The forecasts appear to predict the need for producer club OPEC and its allies to reduce production to balance the market despite extending their existing pact, forecasting a fall in demand for OPEC crude to only 28 million barrels per day (bpd) in early 2020.
“Market tightness is not an issue for the time being and any rebalancing seems to have moved further into the future,” the IEA said in its monthly report.
“Clearly, this presents a major challenge to those who have taken on the task of market management,” it added, referring to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and producer allies such as Russia.
The demand for OPEC crude oil in early 2020 could fall to only 28 million bpd, it added, with non-OPEC expansion in 2020 rising by 2.1 million bpd — a full 2 million bpd of which is expected to come from the United States.
At current OPEC output levels of 30 million bpd, the IEA predicted that global oil stocks could rise by 136 million barrels by the end of the first quarter of 2020.
Maintaining its forecasts for oil demand for the rest of 2019 and 2020, the Paris-based agency cited expected improvement in US-China trade relations and US economic expansion as encouraging but flagged tailwinds elsewhere.
“There are indications of deteriorating trade and manufacturing activity. Recent data show that global manufacturing output in 2Q19 fell for the first time since late 2012 and new orders have declined at a fast pace,” it said.
The IEA said that markets were concerned by escalating tension between Iran and the West over oil tankers leaving the Gulf but that incidents in the region’s shipping lanes have been overshadowed by supply concerns.
“The oil price impact has been minimal with no real security of supply premium,” the IEA said. “For now, maritime operations in the region are close to normal and markets remain calm.”
Tightened US sanctions on Iranian crude drove down Tehran’s June exports by 450,000 bpd to 530,000 bpd, near three-decade lows.


BMW picks insider Zipse as CEO to catch up with rivals

Oliver Zipse
Updated 20 July 2019
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BMW picks insider Zipse as CEO to catch up with rivals

  • German giant has lost ground to Mercedes-Benz and Tesla as tech steps up

FRANKFURT: BMW has named Oliver Zipse as its new CEO, continuing the German carmaker’s tradition of promoting production chiefs to the top job even as the auto industry expands into new areas such as technology and services.
Hailing Zipse’s “decisive” leadership style, BMW hopes the 55-year-old can help it win back its edge in electric cars and the premium market  from rival Mercedes-Benz.
But some analysts questioned whether Zipse was the right choice with new fields such as software and services like car-sharing becoming increasingly important.
“What is intriguing is the cultural bias to appoint the head of production. It works sometimes but ... being good at building cars is not a defining edge the way it was 20 years ago,” said Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois.
Current CEO Harald Krueger, and former chiefs Norbert Reithofer, Bernd Pischetsrieder and Joachim Milberg were all former production heads.
Zipse joined BMW as a trainee in 1991 and served as head of brand and product strategies and boss of BMW’s Oxford plant in England before joining the board.
He will become chief executive on Aug. 16, taking over from Krueger who said he would not be available for a second term.
“With Oliver Zipse, a decisive strategic and analytical leader will assume the Chair of the Board of Management of BMW. He will provide fresh momentum in shaping  the future,” said Reithofer.
Zipse helped expand BMW’s efficient production network in Hungary, China and the US, in a move that delivered industry-leading profit margins.
Under Krueger, BMW was overtaken in 2016 by Mercedes-Benz as the best-selling luxury car brand.
It also had an early lead over US  rival Tesla in electric cars, but scaled back ambitions after its i3 model failed to sell large numbers.
Reithofer initially championed Krueger’s low-key consensus-seeking leadership, but pressured him to roll out electric vehicles more aggressively, forcing Krueger to skip the Paris Motor Show in 2016 to reevaluate BMW’s electric strategy.
Krueger’s reluctance to push low-margin electric vehicles led to an exodus of talented electric vehicle experts, including Christian Senger, now Volkswagen’s (VW) board member responsible for software, and Audi’s Markus Duesmann, who is seen as a future CEO of the company.
Both were poached by VW CEO Herbert Diess, a former BMW board member responsible for research who was himself passed over for BMW’s top job in 2015.
VW has since pushed a radical 80 billion euro ($90 billion) electric car mass production strategy, and a sweeping alliance with Ford.

Other skills
“A CEO needs to have an idea for how mobility will evolve in the future. This goes far beyond optimising an existing business,” said Carsten Breitfeld, chief executive of China-based ICONIQ motors, and former BMW engineer. “He needs to build teams, attract talent, and promote a culture oriented along consumer electronics and internet dynamics.”
German manufacturers have dominated the high-performance market for decades, but analysts warn shifts towards sophisticated technology and software is opening the door to new challengers.
“Tesla has a lead of three to four years in areas like software and electronics. There is a risk that the Germans can’t catch up,” UBS analyst Patrick Hummel said.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport car magazine, normally quick to champion German manufacturers, this week ran a cover questioning BMW’s future.
“Production expertise is important, but if you want to avoid ending up being a hardware provider for Google or Apple, you need to have the ability to move up the food chain into data and software,” a former BMW board member said.