OPEC is not the enemy of the US: UAE energy minister

UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said the average oil price of $70 a barrel in 2019 was backed by a pact between OPEC and non-OPEC oil exporters to cut output. (Reuters)
Updated 13 January 2019

OPEC is not the enemy of the US: UAE energy minister

  • UAE Energy MInister Suhail Al-Mazrouei expects an average oil price of $70 a barrel in 2019
  • Price is based on an agreement to cut output by OPEC and non-OPEC oil exporters reached last month

ABU DHABI: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is not the enemy of the US, UAE Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.

“We are complementing each other, we are not enemies here,” Al-Mazrouei told an industry conference in Abu Dhabi, addressing the relationship between OPEC and major consuming countries like the US.

OPEC, and other leading global oil producers led by Russia, agreed in December to cut their combined oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January in order to balance the oil market.

The decision came despite US. President Donald Trump’s calls to oil exporters to refrain from cutting production, saying it would trigger higher oil prices worldwide.

Al-Mazrouei said the average oil price in 2018 was $70 a barrel. His Omani counterpart Mohammed Al-Rumhi, addressing the same event, said he expected a price of between $60 and $80 a barrel in 2019.

The 1.2 million bpd cut should be enough to balance the market, Al-Mazrouei said, expecting the correction to start this month and to be achieved in the first half of the year.

He said there was no need for major oil exporters to hold an extraordinary meeting before the one planned in April.

“Things are working well,” said Oman’s Rumhi, whose country is taking part in the supply reduction agreement without being a member of OPEC. He also said there was no need for major exporters to meet before April.


Innovation jobs flocking to a handful of US cities

Updated 09 December 2019

Innovation jobs flocking to a handful of US cities

  • Economists fear job clustering could have a “destructive” influence on society

WASHINGTON: A new analysis of where “innovation” jobs are being created in the US paints a stark portrait of a divided economy where the industries seen as key to future growth cluster in a narrowing set of places.

Divergence in job growth, incomes and future prospects between strong-performing cities and the rest of the country is an emerging focus of political debate and economic research. It is seen as a source of social stress, particularly since President Donald Trump tapped the resentment of left-behind areas in his 2016 presidential campaign.

Research from the Brookings Institution released on Monday shows the problem cuts deeper than many thought. Even cities that have performed well in terms of overall employment growth, such as Dallas, are trailing in attracting workers in 13 industries with the most productive private sector jobs.

Between 2005 and 2017, industries such as chemical manufacturing, satellite telecommunications and scientific research flocked to about 20 cities, led by well-established standouts San Francisco, Seattle, San Jose, Boston and San Diego, the study found. Combined, these mostly coastal cities captured an additional 6 percent of “innovation” jobs — some 250,000 positions.

Companies in those industries tend to benefit from being close to each other, with the better-educated employees they target also attracted to urban amenities.

Brookings Institution economist Mark Muro said he fears the trend risks becoming “self-reinforcing and destructive” as the workforce separates into a group of highly productive and high-earning metro areas and everywhere else.

Even though expensive housing, high wages, and congestion have prompted some tech companies to open offices outside of Silicon Valley, those moves have not been at scale. Most US metro areas are either losing innovation industry jobs outright or gaining no share, Muro wrote.

Over this decade, “a clear hierarchy of economic performance based on innovation capacity had become deeply entrenched,” Muro and co-author Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, wrote in the report. Across the 13 industries they studied, workers in the upper echelon of cities were about 50 percent more productive than in others.

For much of the post-World War Two period labor was more mobile, and the types of industries driving the economy did not cluster so intensely, a trend that started reversing around 1980.

Concerns that the US is separating effectively into two economies has sparked support for localized efforts to spread the benefits of economic growth.

The Federal Reserve has flagged it as a possible risk to overall growth, and some of the presidential candidates running for office in 2020 have rolled out proposals to address it. One aim of Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on imports from China and elsewhere is to revive ailing areas of the country.