Brent oil inches up on Iran tensions and OPEC, while US crude falls

A trade war between the United States and China has dampened prospects of global economic growth and oil demand. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 05 July 2019

Brent oil inches up on Iran tensions and OPEC, while US crude falls

  • Both benchmarks were set for their biggest weekly falls in five weeks
  • In the US, new orders for factory goods fell for a second straight month in May

LONDON: Brent oil ticked higher on Friday, supported by tensions over Iran and the decision by OPEC and its allies to extend a supply cut deal until next year, while US benchmark crude prices fell on weak economic indicators.
Brent was up 53 cents at $63.83 per barrel by 1330 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) slipped 18 cents to $57.16. The US market was closed on Thursday for a holiday.
Both benchmarks were set for their biggest weekly falls in five weeks.
A trade war between the United States and China has dampened prospects of global economic growth and oil demand, but talks between the two nations resume next week in a bid to resolve the deadlock.
“The truce between the United States and China is not translating into anything in the real economy in the short term,” Petromatrix oil analyst Olivier Jakob said.
“The negotiations still have to happen and until then we will be looking at very weak manufacturing PMIs,” he said referring to Purchasing Managers’ Indices which indicate companies’ optimism about their sector.
German industrial orders fell far more than expected in May, and the Economy Ministry said this sector of Europe’s largest economy was likely to remain weak in the coming months.
In the US, new orders for factory goods fell for a second straight month in May, government data showed, stoking the economic concerns.
The US Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday a weekly decline of 1.1 million barrels in crude stocks, smaller than the 5 million barrel draw reported by the American Petroleum Institute and less than analyst expectations.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers such as Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, supported prices by extending their deal on supply cuts.
Tension in the Middle East also offered some support. Iran, already embroiled in a row with the United States, threatened on Friday to capture a British ship after British forces seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar over accusations the ship was violating EU sanctions on Syria.
“It is just another sign that the market sentiment is not strong enough to react to those headlines and events, which is quite unusual,” Jakob said.
A Reuters survey found OPEC oil output sank to a new five-year low in June, as a rise in Saudi supply did not offset losses in Iran and Venezuela due to US sanctions and other outages elsewhere in the group.
Oil production by Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter, was 9.782 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, an OPEC source said, slightly up from 9.67 million bpd in May.


Saudi female student pilot aims high with flying ambitions

Updated 19 November 2019

Saudi female student pilot aims high with flying ambitions

  • Amirah Al-Saif is among the first batch of 49 female students

DUBAI: Saudi women aiming to emulate Yasmeen Al-Maimani’s feat, the Kingdom’s first female commercial pilot, now have that opportunity as Oxford Aviation Academy has opened its doors for them to take flying lessons and earn their licenses.

One those women raring to earn her pilot wings is 19-year-old Amirah Al-Saif, who enrolled in the aviation academy to fulfill her dream of flying for the Kingdom’s national carrier Saudi Airlines (Saudia).

“They have been very supportive of us females,” Al-Saif, who hails from Riyadh, told Arab News at the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow, when asked about her experience at the academy.

Al-Saif is among the first batch of 49 female students, with six of them already in ground school, expected to receive their licenses by the start of 2021 after a grueling course that requires them to first learn English, Mathematics, Physics and other basic knowledge subjects.

She is also the first in the family to have an interest in the aviation industry.

Student pilot Amirah Al-Saif, right, who hails from Riyadh, is the first in the family to have an interest in the aviation industry. (Supplied)

Those who pass the foundation program can then move on to ground school for practical lessons and ideally graduate in two years with three licenses: the Private Pilot License, Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot License.

Al-Saif considers herself lucky since she was not constrained take courses abroad for her pilot training, unlike Al-Maimani who had to leave the Kingdom to receive her license, as well as wait for a long time before being eventually hired by Nesma Airlines.

The flying school is located at the King Fahd International Airport in Dammam and is an authorized branch of Oxford Aviation Academy based in the UK.

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