Brent oil holds above $60 as lower inventories boost WTI

American crude stocks dropped last week by 10 million barrels amid concerns over global economic slowdown due to the US-China trade war. (AFP)
Updated 29 August 2019

Brent oil holds above $60 as lower inventories boost WTI

  • Concerns over a global slowdown in economic growth and its impact on oil demand are keeping prices in check

LONDON: Brent oil held above $60 a barrel on Thursday, withstanding pressure from concerns about economic growth, while a sharp fall in US inventories boosted West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures.

International benchmark Brent crude was down 19 cents at $60.30 a barrel in early afternoon trade in London while WTI was up 32 cents at $56.10 a barrel.

“If the American Petroleum Institute (API) unexpectedly supplied bullets to oil bulls on Tuesday evening so that they could fire from all cylinders, the US government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) flung the door of the ammunition depot wide open yesterday,” Tamas Varga of oil brokerage PVM said.

The EIA said on Wednesday that American crude stocks dropped last week by 10 million barrels, while gasoline and distillate stocks each fell by 2.1 million barrels.

On Tuesday, industry body API said US crude stocks had fallen by 11.1 million barrels last week.

US weekly crude production rose 200,000 barrels per day to a new record at 12.5 million bpd in the week to Aug. 23, the EIA said.

Concerns about a slowdown in economic growth due to the trade war raging between the US and China, the world’s biggest oil consumers, along with the potential hit to oil demand, are keeping prices in check.

“Trade tensions (are) hanging like a dark cloud threatening to rain over oil prices,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday that China and the US were discussing the next round of face-to-face trade talks scheduled for September, but hopes for progress hinged on whether Washington could create favorable conditions.

San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly said she is in a “watch and see” mode as she assesses the need for another US interest-rate cut for an economy that has “strong” momentum but faces headwinds from uncertainty and a global slowdown.

Concerns about the global economy have watered down the impact of oil production cuts that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers have been exercising over the past two years.

“When they (OPEC and its allies) really managed to accelerate the price from late 2016 onwards they had a big tailwind of global growth acceleration, now they have this big negative headwind of global growth de-acceleration,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at Nordic bank SEB.

Morgan Stanley has lowered its oil price forecasts for the rest of the year, citing a weaker economic outlook, faltering demand and higher shale oil output.


Emirates launches airbridge between Dubai, Lebanon emergency relief 

Updated 14 August 2020

Emirates launches airbridge between Dubai, Lebanon emergency relief 

  • Customers of Emirates will be able to donate cash or pledge their Skywards Miles to the airline for the aid
  • Emirates SkyCargo will also provide 20 percent reduction on air freight transportation charges for approved shipments

DUBAI: UAE national carrier Emirates SkyCargo plans to ramp up its freighter operations to Lebanon with 50 flights to deliver emergency relief in the wake of the Beirut port blast that killed nearly 200 people.
Customers of Emirates will be able to donate cash or pledge their Skywards Miles to the airline for the aid, state news agency WAM reported.
The Emirates Airline Foundation will coordinate shipments of urgent food, medical supplies with NGO partners to ensure donations directly help those affected on the ground.
Emirates SkyCargo will also provide 20 percent reduction on air freight transportation charges for approved shipments, underscoring its commitment to expedite emergency relief efforts to Beirut.
“Today, the world is banding together to stand in solidarity with Lebanon, providing urgent relief and immediate recovery support to those affected by this tragic disaster,” Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, said. 
“Emirates supports the UAE’s ongoing humanitarian efforts to support Lebanon and is committed to bolster its global emergency response to ensure that it can support organizations which provide urgent care, shelter, food and medical support to the Lebanese people,” he added. 
Emirates said that it had dispatched several charter flights carrying food, clothing and medical supplies donated by various grassroots organizations in the UAE to Lebanon.