WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Global trade outlook improves

The EIA said that crude inventories dropped by 4.8 million barrels. (Reuters)
Updated 08 September 2019

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Global trade outlook improves

  • Bullish sentiment returned to the market after the US and China agreed to hold trade talks in October

Oil prices kept an upward momentum for the second week running, with Brent finishing at $61.54 per barrel and WTI advancing to $56.52.

Bullish sentiment returned to the market after the US and China agreed to hold trade talks in October that renewed hopes for a resolution to their dispute. 

The Energy Industry Administration released a positive weekly inventory report. Strong drawdowns in US crude oil and gasoline inventories, and a dip in production eased fears of an imminent recession. 

The EIA said that crude inventories dropped by 4.8 million barrels to 423 million barrels. EIA data showed large demand for gasoline and distillate fuels such as diesel and heating oil.

An increase in output from both OPEC and Russia did not appear to weigh on prices even as some market participants made much of the uptick in OPEC production of just 150,000 barrels in August. 

OPEC production in August was 29.71 million million barrels per day (bpd), while in July the group accounted for 29.56 bpd.  In July, OPEC compliance for cutting 1.2 million bpd was 159 percent.

Still, that wasn’t enough to lift prices as traders remained focused on the grim global economic outlook.

The oil media largely ignored the slowdown in upstream spending that is being driven by the uncertainty over the direction of the oil price.

This raised questions over the growth in US shale output that is so sensitive to downward oil price movement.

New US pipeline capacity starting up in the second half of 2019 will speed the transport of shale oil from the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford to export terminals around Houston and Corpus Christi. This could have a drastic impact on prices for the US measure.

 


Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

Updated 15 November 2019

Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

  • Others have also reduced headcount amid economic downturn and property market weakness

DUBAI: HSBC Holdings has laid off about 40 bankers in the UAE and Emirates NBD is cutting around 100 jobs, as banks in the Arab world’s second-biggest economy reduce costs.

The cuts come amid weak economic growth, especially in Dubai, which is suffering from a property downturn.

HSBC’s redundancies came after the London-based bank reported a sharp fall in earnings and warned of a costly restructuring, as interim CEO Noel Quinn seeks to tackle its problems head-on.

HSBC has about 3,000 staff in the UAE, part of a nearly 10,000-strong workforce in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

The cuts at Dubai’s largest lender Emirates NBD came in consumer sales and liabilities, one source said, while a second played down the significance of the move.

HSBC and Emirates NBD declined to comment.

“The cuts are part of cost cutting and rationalizing to drive efficiencies in a challenging market,” the second source said.

Other banks have also reduced staff this year. UAE central bank data shows local banks laid off 446 people in the 12 months until the end of September. Foreign banks added staff in the same period.

Staff at local banks account for over 80 percent of the 35,518 banking employees in the country.

The merger between Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union Commercial Bank and Al Hilal Bank saw hundreds of redundancies.

Commercial Bank International (CBI) said it would offer voluntary retirement to employees in September, which sources said saw over 100 departures. Standard Chartered, too, cut over 100 jobs in the UAE in September.

Rating agency Fitch warned in September a weakening property market would put more pressure on the UAE’s banking sector.