Al-Falih: Only Russia undecided on OPEC deal extension

Moscow has yet to agree to an extension of an OPEC+ deal, over disputes as to how much production the country should cut for fear of ceding market share to the US. Above, Khalid Al-Falih and Alexander Novak. (Reuters)
Updated 10 June 2019

Al-Falih: Only Russia undecided on OPEC deal extension

  • Khalid Al-Falih, in Moscow for talks with counterpart Alexander Novak, said there was disagreement in Russia over prolonging the pact at an upcoming meeting in Vienna
  • Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft, warned against extending the deal, saying it posed a strategic threat to Moscow by allowing the US to take Russia’s market share

MOSCOW: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Monday Russia was the only oil exporter undecided on extending an output deal between OPEC and its allies until the end of the year.
Al-Falih, in Moscow for talks with counterpart Alexander Novak, said there was disagreement in Russia over prolonging the pact at an upcoming meeting in Vienna.
“I think the remaining country to jump onboard is Russia. I will wait for them to work it out,” he said.
“There is a debate in the country about the volume Russia should be producing in the second half.”
President Vladimir Putin said last week that Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries disagreed over what constituted a fair oil price, but that they would decide at the meeting.
Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft, warned against extending the deal, saying it posed a strategic threat to Moscow by allowing the US to take Russia’s market share.
Al-Falih said he may have another opportunity to talk to Novak at a G20 meeting in Japan beforehand.
Despite Russian indecision over the deal, known as the “OPEC+ Agreement,” signals from Moscow suggest an extension could work.
There is a still a risk oil producers pump too much crude and prices fall, Novak said on Monday, suggesting he might support an extension of output cuts at a meeting of leading oil producers next month.
“This is not ruled out. A lot depends on the market in the third quarter, on the supply and demand balance,” he said, citing the effect of US-led trade wars and sanctions.
“There are big risks of over-production. But we need to analyze deeper and look at how events will develop in June in order to take a balanced decision at the joint OPEC+ meeting in July.”
Al-Falih said the OPEC+ group was working to take “preventive” measures to avoid sharp oil price declines.
Separately, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said oil prices could fall as low as $30 per barrel if OPEC and others did not extend the curbs.


Cathay Pacific shelves US dollar bond plans amid Hong Kong unrest

Updated 39 min 41 sec ago

Cathay Pacific shelves US dollar bond plans amid Hong Kong unrest

SINGAPORE: Cathay Pacific Airways has shelved plans for its first US dollar debt deal in 23 years, the airline said on Friday, after sources told Reuters that global investors had questioned the pricing due to civil unrest in Hong Kong.

The airline, the biggest corporate casualty of widespread anti-government protests in the Asian financial hub, on Friday lowered its second-half profit expectations, citing “incredibly challenging” conditions in its home market.

Cathay had started meeting investors in Hong Kong and Singapore on Sept. 24 after it mandated four banks to explore carrying out a US dollar denominated bond, according to a term sheet issued at the time, seen by Reuters.

It would have been the first US dollar debt deal for Cathay since 1996 and had been touted as a landmark transaction for the airline given all of its debt is denominated in Hong Kong dollars.

The issuance was to be unrated, and two sources with knowledge of the matter said that Cathay was willing to pay 200 basis points over the US Treasuries rate to secure three-year or five-year funding, with the size and term of the placement dependent on demand.

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Cathay has only carried out 12 bond transactions in the past decade and all were priced in Hong Kong dollars.

However, investors demanded a higher price of at least 300 basis points over US Treasuries, which made the deal more expensive for Cathay, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. Cathay’s term sheet had said the transaction would be reliant on market conditions. A Cathay spokesman on Friday said the Hong Kong dollar private placement market was providing more funding opportunities and a debt issuance in that market was completed last month. “We will continue to monitor the US dollar bond market in future,” he said in a statement.

Dealogic data showed that Cathay raised $102 million in October and $64 million in May through Hong Kong dollar denominated deals.

The airline has only carried out 12 bond transactions in the past decade and all were priced in Hong Kong dollars.

Cathay had mandated Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and HSBC to work on the shelved US dollar bond deal.