Oil prices steady after big drop on recession concerns, inventory rise

US crude stocks grew by 1.6 million barrels last week, compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 2.8 million barrels. (Reuters)
Updated 15 August 2019

Oil prices steady after big drop on recession concerns, inventory rise

  • Persistently high levels of oil in US storage has punctured recent optimism in crude markets
  • US crude stocks grew by 1.6 million barrels last week, compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 2.8 million barrels

TOKYO: Oil prices steadied on Thursday, following sharp overnight losses as US crude inventories unexpectedly rose, fears of recession mounted and economic data out of China and Europe disappointed.
Brent crude was down 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $59.35 a barrel by 0643 GMT, after falling 3 percent in the last session.
US crude was up 5 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $55.28 a barrel, having dropped 3.3 percent in the previous session.
The combination of a slew of data suggesting a slowdown in global growth amid the US-China trade war and persistently high levels of oil in US storage has punctured recent optimism in crude markets, but stoked expectations that leading producers may take further steps to support prices.
“Oil prices, though supported by OPEC-led production curbs ... face severe headwinds as traders swing between demand-side worries and supply curtailment policies,” said Benjamin Lu, analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been mostly trimming production since the start of 2017 and traders say they expect Saudi Arabia to reduce output further amid slowing global oil demand.
The US Treasury bond yield curve inverted on Wednesday for the first time since 2007, a sign of investor concern that the world’s biggest economy may fall into recession.
China reported disappointing data for July, including a surprise drop in industrial output growth to a more than 17-year low, underlining widening economic cracks as the trade war with the US intensifies.
Global economic worries, amplified by tariff conflicts and uncertainty over Brexit, are also hitting European economies. A slump in exports sent Germany’s economy into reverse in the second quarter, data showed, while the euro zone’s GDP barely grew in the second quarter of 2019.
A second week of unexpected builds in US crude inventories is adding to the pressure on oil prices.
US crude stocks grew by 1.6 million barrels last week, compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 2.8 million barrels, as refineries cut output, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report.
At 440.5 million barrels, inventories were about 3 percent above the five-year average for this time of year, the EIA said.


Key to success is passion: PepsiCo official

“I always think success is married with passion,” Simon Lowden said, adding that he likes to get involved with ideas that excite him
Updated 14 November 2019

Key to success is passion: PepsiCo official

  • Lowden was speaking at a session titled “100 years is a long time: Preparing for multiple shifts.”

RIYADH: The key to success is being passionate about what you do, Simon Lowden, chief sustainability officer at PepsiCo, told a brainstorming session at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh on Wednesday.

“I always think success is married with passion,” he said, adding that he likes to get involved with ideas that excite him.

“I started my life in a small farming village, went to London to attend university, joined PepsiCo … and now I run our sustainability agenda,” he said. “This made me rich as a person, and I did things I really enjoyed.”

Lowden was speaking at a session titled “100 years is a long time: Preparing for multiple shifts.”

Other panelists included Dave Brooke, vice president of client solutions at Dell Technologies; Kevin Gaskell, an international speaker on leadership and business performance; Deloitte CEO David Sproul; and Nancy Yammout, general director of the NGO Rescue Me. The session was moderated by Lebanese journalist and politician Naufal Daou.