OPEC cuts 2019 oil demand growth forecast, sees more downside risk

World oil demand will rise by 1.14 million barrels per day this year, 70,000 bpd less than previously expected, OPEC said. (AFP)
Updated 13 June 2019

OPEC cuts 2019 oil demand growth forecast, sees more downside risk

  • World oil demand will rise by 1.14 million barrels per day this year, 70,000 bpd less than previously expected

LONDON: OPEC on Thursday cut its forecast for growth in global oil demand due to escalating trade disputes and pointed to the risk of a further reduction, building a case for prolonged supply restraint in the rest of 2019.
World oil demand will rise by 1.14 million barrels per day this year, 70,000 bpd less than previously expected, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in a monthly report.
“Throughout the first half of this year, ongoing global trade tensions have escalated,” OPEC said in the report. “Significant downside risks from escalating trade disputes spilling over to global demand growth remain.”
OPEC, Russia and other producers have implemented a deal since Jan. 1 to cut output by 1.2 million bpd. They meet on June 25-26 or in early July to decide whether to extend the pact.
Vienna-based OPEC also said its output fell in May as US sanctions on Iran added to the impact of the supply-cutting pact. Production by all 14 OPEC members dropped by 236,000 bpd to 29.88 million bpd, OPEC said.


Fear of food shortages after Beirut explosion hits grain reserves

Updated 06 August 2020

Fear of food shortages after Beirut explosion hits grain reserves

  • Beirut port silos had capacity for 120,000 tons

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s main grain silo at Beirut port was destroyed in a blast, leaving the nation with less than a month’s reserves of grain but enough flour to avoid a crisis, the economy minister said on Wednesday.

Raoul Nehme told Reuters a day after Tuesday’s devastating explosion that Lebanon needed reserves for at least three months to ensure food security and was looking at other storage areas.

The explosion was the most powerful ever to rip through Beirut, a city torn apart by civil war three decades ago. The economy was already in meltdown before the blast, slowing grain imports as the nation struggled to find hard currency for purchases.

“There is no bread or flour crisis,” the minister said. “We have enough inventory and boats on their way to cover the needs of Lebanon on the long term.”

He said grain reserves in Lebanon’s remaining silos stood at “a bit less than a month,” but said the destroyed silos had only held 15,000 tons of the grain at the time, much less than capacity which one official put at 120,000 tons.

Beirut’s port district was a mangled wreck, disabling the main entry point for imports to feed a nation of more than 6 million people.

Ahmed Tamer, the director of Tripoli port, Lebanon’s second biggest facility, said his port did not have grain storage but cargoes could be taken to warehouses 2 km (about one mile) away.

Alongside Tripoli, the ports of Saida, Selaata and Jiyeh were also equipped to handle grain, the economy minister said.

“We fear there will be a huge supply chain problem, unless there is an international consensus to save us,” said Hani Bohsali, head of the importers’ syndicate.

UN agencies are meeting on Wednesday to coordinate relief efforts for Beirut, Tamara Al-Rifai, a spokeswoman for the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, said from Amman. “People are extremely poor, it’s increasingly difficult for anyone to buy food, and the fact that Beirut is the largest port in Lebanon makes it a very bad situation,” she said.

“We are looking at Tripoli, but it is a much smaller port.”

Reserves of flour were sufficient to cover market needs for a month and a half and there were four ships carrying 28,000 tons of wheat heading to Lebanon, Ahmed Hattit, head of the wheat importers union, told Al-Akhbar newspaper.

Lebanon is trying to transfer immediately four vessels carrying 25,000 tons of flour to the port in Tripoli, one official told LBCI news channel.