No production cut to make space for others: Kingdom

Updated 24 January 2016

No production cut to make space for others: Kingdom

JEDDAH: The Kingdom will not cut oil production and give up its market share in order to prop up prices, said the chairman of Saudi Aramco at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“We are not going to accept to withdraw our production to make space for others,” Khalid Al-Falih said at a panel hosted by CNN’s emerging markets editor John Defterios.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s second biggest oil producer and the top crude exporter. “This is the position that we’ve earned...we are not going to leave that position to others,” Al-Falih said.
He said Saudi Arabia has in the past played the role of a “reserve bank” in the oil market, smoothing short-terms shocks. The country has acted during the financial crisis and during civil unrest and wars in oil producing regions that have disrupted supplies. But it will not step in to fix the hugely oversupplied market.
“Saudi Arabia has never advocated that it would take the sole role of balancing market against structural imbalance,” he said at the CNN panel.
“If there are short-term adjustments that need to be made and if other producers are willing to collaborate, Saudi Arabia will also be willing to collaborate,” he said.
Oil prices have crashed to $27 per barrel from well over $100 in just 18 months. “If the prices continue to be low, we will able to withstand it for a long long time ... obviously we hope it will not happen,” he said.
He said the current prices are “unreasonable,” but are probably not likely to climb much any time soon. “Short term, it’s a very bleak picture,” he said.
Saudi production (now at about 10.3 mbd) would be nothing by now if the Kingdom had continuously cut production to allow room for others, he added.
Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told CNN that supply and demand are governing Saudi’s oil strategy, not an attempt to hurt Iran. “People should go back to Adam Smith and basic economics. It’s about supply and demand ...We let the market determine where the equilibrium should be. What we’re seeing now is the market price,” he said.
Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest spare crude oil production capacity. Saudi Aramco says it is the world’s lowest-cost producer.


Japan’s Uniqlo pulls ad after South Korean fury

Updated 21 October 2019

Japan’s Uniqlo pulls ad after South Korean fury

  • South Korean and Japanese relationship is deeply strained by the legacy of Tokyo’s 20th-century expansionism
  • Seoul and Tokyo are currently locked in a bitter trade and diplomatic row stemming from historical disputes
SEOUL: Japanese retail giant Uniqlo has pulled a commercial featuring a 98-year-old US fashion figure from South Korean screens, it said Monday after it was accused of whitewashing colonial history.
South Korea and Japan are both US allies, democracies and market economies faced with an overbearing China and nuclear-armed North Korea, but their relationship is deeply strained by the legacy of Tokyo’s 20th-century expansionism.
The latest example is an advert for Uniqlo fleeces showing elderly fashion celebrity Iris Apfel chatting with designer Kheris Rogers, 85 years her junior.
The last line has the white-haired Apfel, asked how she used to dress as a teenager, innocuously responding: “Oh my God. I can’t remember that far back.”
But Uniqlo’s Korean arm subtitled its version of the ad slightly differently, reading: “I can’t remember things that happened more than 80 years ago.”
That would put the moment as 1939, toward the end of Japan’s brutal colonial rule over the Korean peninsula, where the period is still bitterly resented, and some South Koreans reacted furiously.
“A nation that forgets history has no future. We can’t forget what happened 80 years ago that Uniqlo made fun of,” commented one Internet user on Naver, the country’s largest portal.
The phrase “Uniqlo, comfort women,” in reference to women forced to become sex slaves to Japanese troops during the Second World War, was among the most searched terms on Naver at the weekend, and demonstrators protested outside Uniqlo shops on Monday.
Seoul and Tokyo are currently locked in a bitter trade and diplomatic row stemming from historical disputes, and South Korean consumers have mounted boycotts of Japanese products.
Uniqlo — which has 186 stores in South Korea — has itself been one of the highest-profile targets, while Japanese carmakers’ sales dropped nearly 60 percent year-on-year in September.
The company denied the allegations in a statement, saying the text was altered to highlight the age gap between the individuals and show that its fleeces were for people “across generations.”
“The ad had no intention whatsoever to imply anything” about colonial rule, a Uniqlo representative said on Monday, adding the firm had withdrawn the ad in an effort at damage control.
Analysts said the controversy demonstrated the politicization of the neighbors’ complex history.
The reaction was excessive, said Kim Sung-han, a former foreign affairs vice minister who teaches at Korea University, involving a “jump in logic” that “assumes everything Uniqlo does is political as a Japanese company.”
“I don’t see how her remark could be linked to the comfort women issue,” he added. “This is overly sensitive.”