Oil falls 1% on weaker oil demand growth, surprise gain in US crude stocks

The US Energy Information Administration lowered its 2019 world oil demand growth forecast by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.22 million bpd. (Reuters)
Updated 12 June 2019

Oil falls 1% on weaker oil demand growth, surprise gain in US crude stocks

  • The US Energy Information Administration lowered its 2019 world oil demand growth forecast by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.22 million bpd

SEOUL: Oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Wednesday, weighed down by a weaker oil demand outlook and a rise in US crude inventories despite growing expectations of ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were down 87 cents, or 1.4 percent, at $61.42 a barrel by 0231 GMT.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 85 cents, or 1.6 percent, at $52.41 per barrel.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) cut its forecasts for 2019 world oil demand growth and US crude oil production in a monthly report released on Tuesday.
The EIA lowered its 2019 world oil demand growth forecast by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.22 million bpd and wound back its forecast for 2019 US crude production to 12.32 million bpd, 140,000 bpd less than the May forecast.
A surprise increase in US crude stockpiles also kept oil prices under pressure.
“Investors have been concerned about the recent rise in stockpiles in the US,” ANZ bank said in a note.
US crude inventories rose by 4.9 million barrels in the week ended June 7 to 482.8 million barrels, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday. That compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 481,000 barrels.
Official data from the Energy Information Administration is due at 10:30 A.M. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday.
Alongside concerns about rising supply, ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China, the world’s two biggest oil consumers, weighed on prices. US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he was holding up a trade deal with China.
“Oil prices have struggled to retain bullish gains as traders stay cautious over heightened geopolitical risks and persistent weakness in the global economic backdrop,” said Benjamin Lu, commodities analyst at Phillips Future in Singapore.
With the next meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) set for the end of June, the market is eyeing whether the world’s major oil producers would prolong their supply cuts.
OPEC, along with non-members including Russia in a group called OPEC+, have limited their oil output by 1.2 million bpd since the start of the year to prop up prices.
The Energy Minister for the United Arab Emirates Suhail Al-Mazroui said on Tuesday that OPEC members were close to reaching an agreement on continuing production cuts.
OPEC is set to meet on June 25, followed by talks with its allies led by Russia on June 26. But Russia suggested a date change to July 3 to 4, sources within the group previously told Reuters.


British Airways burning through cash, CEO urges unions to engage

Updated 04 June 2020

British Airways burning through cash, CEO urges unions to engage

  • Job losses necessary as cash reserves of IAG, British Airways’ parent company, would not last forever

LONDON: The boss of British Airways said its parent company IAG was burning through $223 million a week and could not guarantee its survival, prompting him to urge unions to engage over 12,000 job cuts.
British Airways came under heavy attack from lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday, who accused it of taking advantage of a government scheme to protect jobs while at the same time announcing plans to cut its workforce by 28 percent.
Planes were grounded in March due to coronavirus restrictions, forcing many airlines to cut thousands of staff as they struggle without revenues. Airlines serving Britain now face an additional threat from a 14-day quarantine rule.
In an internal letter to staff seen by Reuters, Alex Cruz, the chief executive of British Airways said the job losses were necessary as IAG’s cash reserves would not last forever and the future was one of more competition for fewer customers.
BA also wants to change terms and conditions for its remaining workers to give it more flexibility by, for example, making all crew fly both short and long-haul.
Cruz said IAG, which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, was getting through $223 million a week, meaning that it could not just sit out the crisis. The group had €10 billion of liquidity at the end of April.
“BA does not have an absolute right to exist. There are major competitors poised and ready to take our business,” Cruz said in the letter.
He urged two unions which represent cabin crew and other staff, GMB and Unite, to join in discussions to mitigate proposed redundancies. Pilots union BALPA is “working constructively” with the airline, he added.
Cruz also joined other airline bosses in criticizing Britain’s quarantine rule, due to come into effect on June 8, calling it “another blow to our industry.”