Oil prices fall on rising US crude inventories and record production

The US now produces more crude oil than top exporter and Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. (Reuters)
Updated 03 May 2018
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Oil prices fall on rising US crude inventories and record production

SINGAPORE: Oil prices dipped on Thursday, weighed down by swelling US crude inventories and record weekly US production that is countering efforts by producer group OPEC to cut supplies and prop up prices.
Brent crude oil futures were at $73.19 per barrel at 0404 GMT, down 17 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $67.82 per barrel.
Prices were pulled down by a report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday showing US crude inventories jumped by 6.2 million barrels to 435.96 million barrels in the week to April 27, the highest level in 2018.
“The (EIA) report showed a much larger than expected crude build for last week as well as an unexpected build in gasoline inventories,” said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.
US oil production also rose to a record of 10.62 million barrels per day (bpd), a jump of more than a quarter since mid-2016.
The US now produces more crude oil than top exporter and Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Only Russia currently pumps more oil, at around 11 million bpd, though the US could surpass that level soon.
US drillers added five oil rigs looking for new production in the week to April 27, according to energy services firm Baker Hughes, bringing the total count to 825, the most since March 2015.
US producers are being incentivized to ramp up production as OPEC restricts production and raises prices.
State-owned producer Saudi Aramco said on Wednesday it has raised the June price for its Arab Light grade for Asian customers by 70 cents a barrel versus May to a premium of $1.90 a barrel to the Oman/Dubai average, the highest since August 2014.
Overall, OPEC produced around 32 million bpd of crude oil in April, according to a Reuters survey, implying that its production is slightly below its target of 32.5 million bpd, due largely to plunging output in Venezuela.
BMI Research said it expects OPEC’s output to remain stable around or slightly above 32 million bpd for the rest of the year.


Huawei in public test as it unveils sanction-hit phone

Updated 19 September 2019

Huawei in public test as it unveils sanction-hit phone

  • Hit by US sanctions, Huawei's Mate 30 will not be allowed to use Google’s Play Store
  • Household-name services like WhatsApp, Instagram and Google Maps will be unavailable.
BERLIN: Chinese tech giant Huawei launches its latest high-end smartphone in Munich on Thursday, the first that could be void of popular Google apps because of US sanctions.
Observers are asking whether a phone without the Silicon Valley software that users have come to depend on can succeed, or whether Huawei will have found a way for buyers to install popular apps despite the constraints.
The company has maintained a veil of secrecy over its plans, set to be dropped at a 1200 GMT press conference revealing the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro models.
Huawei, targeted directly by the United States as part of a broader trade conflict with Beijing, was added to a “blacklist” in Washington in May.
Since then, it has been illegal for American firms to do business with the Chinese firm, suspected of espionage by President Donald Trump and his administration.
As a result, the new Mate will run on a freely available version of Android, the world’s most-used phone operating system that is owned by the search engine heavyweight.
While Mate 30 owners will experience little difference in the use of the system, the lack of Google’s Play Store — which provides access to hundreds of thousands of third-party apps and games as well as films, books and music — could hobble them.
Household-name services like WhatsApp, Instagram and Google Maps will be unavailable.
The tech press reports that this yawning gap in functionality has left some sellers reluctant to stock the new phones, fearing a wave of rapid-fire returns from dissatisfied customers.
Huawei president Richard Yu said at Berlin’s IFA electronics fair this month that his engineers found a “very simple” way to install the hottest apps without going via the Play Store.
Huawei could offer its own app store in a preliminary version, setting itself up as a competitor to the dominant Apple and Google offerings, observers speculate.
Over the longer term, the company could build out a similar “ecosystem” of devices, apps and services as the Silicon Valley companies that would bind users more closely to it.
The world’s second-largest smartphone maker after Samsung, Huawei earlier this month presented its proprietary operating system HarmonyOS, a potential replacement for Android.
The Mate 30 will not yet have HarmonyOS installed.
But it could make for a new round in the decades-old “OS wars” between Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Mac OS, then Android versus Apple’s iOS.
Meanwhile, Eric Xu, current holder of Huawei’s rotating chief executive chair, has urged Europe to foster an alternative to Google and Apple.
That could provide an opening for Huawei to build up Europe’s market of 500 million well-off consumers as a stronghold against American rivals.
“If Europe had its own ecosystem for smart devices, Huawei would use it... that would resolve the problem of European digital dependency” on the United States, Xu told German business daily Handelsblatt.
He added that his company would be prepared to invest in developing such joint European-Chinese projects.