Kingdom exports 1.89bn barrels oil worth SR279 billion in 8 months

Updated 30 August 2016
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Kingdom exports 1.89bn barrels oil worth SR279 billion in 8 months

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia exported nearly 1.89 billion barrels of crude oil in the first eight months of the current year with proceeds amounting to SR279 billion, a drop of 27 percent compared to figures of same period last year, local media said quoting an economic expert.
Domestic consumption during the same period was expected to reach 642 million barrels, or 25 percent of the total output, Al-Riyadh daily said quoting Fahad bin Jumaa.
Jumaa said oil prices fluctuated between $40 and $43 per barrel at the beginning of August, where Brent and West Texas oil prices stood at $42.47 and $41.75, respectively, on Aug 10.
However, oil prices sharply rose following statements from Saudi Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Khalid Al-Falih on the possible freeze (stabilization) of oil production by the OPEC officials in their Algiers meeting on Sept. 26-28, he said.
Accordingly, Brent and West Texas oil prices rose by 21 percent and 18 percent to $50.88 and $49.11, respectively, on Aug 19. Later, oil prices registered a marginal drop to $50 for Brent and $47.31 for West Texas, Jumaa added.
He ruled out any stabilization of oil production in all oil producing countries with the exception of Saudi Arabia, adding that a production freeze will not lead to a price rise with the existence of the glut in oil supplies.
The oil expert expects that oil producing countries of high costs will increase their production with improvement in prices and then go back to the previous situation. Therefore, it is better to maximize the market share for the Kingdom and other OPEC members, he said.
OPEC sees the balance of supply and demand for its members in 2016 at 31.9 million barrels per day, with an increase of 1.9 million barrels compared to the previous year. It said demand on OPEC oil is expected to rise to 33 million barrels a day in 2017.
On July 18, the executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted a slow growth rate of fixed gross domestic product (GDP) at 1.2 percent in 2016, but poised to grow to 2 percent in 2017. Therefore, the Kingdom’s budget deficit is expected to drop by 13 percent of the GDP with the increase of non-oil revenues and cutbacks in spending, he added.


Singapore competition watchdog fines Grab, Uber $9.5 million over merger

Updated 13 min 6 sec ago
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Singapore competition watchdog fines Grab, Uber $9.5 million over merger

  • US-based Uber Technologies sold its Southeast Asian business to bigger regional rival Grab in March in exchange for a 27.5 percent stake in the Singapore-based firm
  • Grab said it completed the transaction within its legal rights, and maintained it did not intentionally or negligently breach competition laws

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s anti-trust watchdog fined ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber a combined S$13 million ($9.5 million) over their merger deal, and ordered Uber to sell vehicles from its local leasing business to any rival that makes a reasonable offer.
US-based Uber Technologies sold its Southeast Asian business to bigger regional rival Grab in March in exchange for a 27.5 percent stake in the Singapore-based firm.
The deal invited regulatory scrutiny in the region, with the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) — in a rare move — launching an investigation just days after the deal was announced.
The CCCS on Monday said it had finalized several measures to lessen the impact of the transaction on drivers and riders, and open up the market for new players. It also said it found the merger substantially reduced competition in the market.
The regulator said it has fined Uber S$6.6 million and Grab S$6.4 million to deter future completed, irreversible mergers that harm competition. It also ordered Grab to remove its exclusivity arrangements with drivers and taxi fleets.
“Mergers that substantially lessen competition are prohibited and CCCS has taken action against the Grab-Uber merger because it removed Grab’s closest rival, to the detriment of Singapore drivers and riders,” CCCS Chief Executive Toh Han Li said in a statement.
The regulator said effective fares on Grab rose 10 to 15 percent after the deal, and that the firm now holds a Singapore market share of around 80 percent.
It told Grab to maintain its pre-merger pricing algorithm and driver commission rates.
It also ordered Uber to sell vehicles of its Singapore-based Lion City Rentals to any potential competitor who makes a reasonable offer based on fair-market value, and prohibited Uber from selling those vehicles to Grab without regulatory approval.
Lion City’s fleet totaled 14,000 vehicles as of December.
Uber said it believed the CCCS’s decision was based on an “inappropriately narrow definition of the market, and that it incorrectly describes the dynamic nature of the industry, among other concerns.” It said it would consider appealing.
Grab said it completed the transaction within its legal rights, and maintained it did not intentionally or negligently breach competition laws.
It added that it had not raised fares since the deal, and said for drivers to have full maximum choice, all transport players, including taxi operators, should also be subjected to non-exclusivity conditions.
It said it would abide by remedies set out by the CCCS.