No conspiracy behind oil price fall: Al-Naimi

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Updated 23 December 2014

No conspiracy behind oil price fall: Al-Naimi

ABU DHABI: Gulf countries on Sunday blamed “irresponsible” non-OPEC producers for a plunge in global crude prices, but voiced confidence that markets would rebound.
World prices have fallen almost 50 percent since June, mainly due to a supply glut, the weak global economy and a strong US dollar.
UAE energy minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei, in a clear reference to shale and sand oil output from North America and other emerging energy markets, attributed the price dive to “newcomers.”
“One of the main causes is irresponsible production by some producers from outside the (OPEC) organization,” he told an energy forum in Abu Dhabi.
The global oil market has become increasingly competitive in recent years with the surge in shale and sand oil production from countries outside the decades-old OPEC alliance.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi also lashed out at non-OPEC members, claiming the global price fall on a “lack of cooperation by main producing countries outside OPEC, misleading information and speculators’ greed.”
In a further reference to shale oil, Naimi predicted that “high-cost producers will not continue to increase production.”
Last month, OPEC decided to maintain production levels of 30 million barrels per day despite pleas by some members to cut output in a bid to curb sliding prices.
Mazrouei defended the measure, which he said would stabilize oil markets.
“OPEC’s decision, which aims to provide the market with time to rebalance, is correct, strategic and useful to the global economy,” he added.

'No Saudi plot'
Naimi dismissed claims of a Saudi “plot” to push prices down for political goals, insisting that the kingdom’s policy is “based on pure economic principles.”
Unlike rich Gulf members of the cartel, non-Arab OPEC members lack the sovereign wealth funds to smooth over oil price fluctuations and have budgeted for price scenarios now radically out of sync with reality.
Russia and OPEC-member Iran, whose economies rely heavily on oil revenues, have spoken of a market conspiracy to hold prices down after OPEC’s decision to keep output steady.
Analysts have said Saudi Arabia is content to see shale oil producers — and even some OPEC members — suffer from low prices rather than reduce output to boost prices.
Countries such as Nigeria and Venezuela have also been hit hard by the downturn.
“Recently, certain analyses and articles have spoken of a politically motivated Saudi plot, using oil and its prices against this country or that... This is baseless,” Naimi said.
“I am confident that oil markets will recover... and that oil prices will improve,” he added.
Qatar’s energy minister, Mohammed Al-Sada, also sounded upbeat, arguing that tumbling oil prices represented a “temporary correction.”
He warned however that prices at their current level could “weaken investment” in production capacity needed to meet future demand.
“The growing demand for energy necessitates huge investments,” he said.
Although prices rebounded sharply on Friday from four-year lows — with the benchmark price just over $60 a barrel — analysts say Gulf countries are bracing for a sharp decline in oil revenue.
Pumping about 17.5 million barrels per day, the countries are forecast to lose at least half their income from oil, or around $350 billion a year, at current price levels.


Saudi Arabia expects to reduce spending as it seeks to shrink deficit

Updated 30 September 2020

Saudi Arabia expects to reduce spending as it seeks to shrink deficit

 

LONDON: Saudi Arabia plans to reduce spending next year by about 7.5 percent to SR990 billion ($263.9 billion) as the Kingdom seeks to reduce its deficit. It compares to spending of SR1.07 trillion this year it said in a preliminary budget statement.
It anticipates a budget deficit of about 12 percent this year falling to 5.1 percent next year.
The Kingdom released data on Wednesday showing that the economy contracted by about 7 percent in the second quarter as regional economies faced the twin blow of the coronavirus pandemic and continued oil price weakness.
The unemployment rate among Saudis increased to 15.4 percent in the second-quarter compared to 11.8 percent in the first quarter of the year.
The challenging headwinds facing regional economies is expected to spur activity across debt markets as countries sell bonds to help fund spending.
Saudi Arabia has already issued about SR84 billion in sukuk year to date.
“Over the past three years, the government has developed (from scratch) a well-functioning and increasingly deeper domestic sukuk market that has allowed it to tap into growing domestic and international demand for Shariah-compliant fixed income assets,” Moody’s said in a statement on Wednesday. “This, in turn, has helped diversify its funding sources compared to what was available during the oil price shock of 2015-16 and ease liquidity pressures amid a more than doubling of government financing needs this year.”