Oil prices on ebb tide as gloom gathers over global economy

The anti-government unrest in Iraq could disrupt exports particularly from its Basra terminals. (AFP)
Updated 07 October 2019

Oil prices on ebb tide as gloom gathers over global economy

  • US and Chinese officials meet in Washington in fresh effort to work out a deal
  • Iraq’s oil exports from Basra terminals could be disrupted if instability lasts for weeks

SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell on Monday, extending last week’s heavy losses, with traders fearing the global economic slowdown will weigh on future oil demand growth while pegging hopes for a rebound on progress in talks this week on ending the US-China trade war.
Brent crude futures edged down 28 cents to $58.09 a barrel by 0300 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at $52.64, down 17 cents.
Both contracts ended last week with a more-than-5 percent decline after dismal manufacturing data from the United States and China, as the lingering row between the world’s top economies hurts global growth and raises the risk of recession.
US and Chinese officials will meet in Washington on Oct. 10-11 in the next, much-anticipated fresh effort to work out a deal.
On the supply side, a faster-than-expected resumption in Saudi Arabia’s production after a Sept. 14 attack on key production facilities also exerted downward pressure on oil prices, although the Middle East remained tense.
“The macro headwinds outweigh supply concerns for oil now, despite tensions in the Middle East and a reduced spare capacity pillow,” said Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiCorp.
In Iraq, the second-largest producer among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, deadly anti-government unrest is posing the biggest security and political challenge so far to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s year-old government.
Iraq’s oil exports of 3.43 million barrels per day (bpd) from Basra terminals could be disrupted if instability lasts for weeks, Ayham Kamel, Eurasia Group’s practice head for Middle East and North Africa, said in a note.
“Any oil production disruption would occur at a time when Saudi Arabia has lost a significant part of its energy system redundancies (spare capacity),” he said.
“While Saudi oil production is now close to 9.9 million bpd, it is not clear that the capacity is fully operational at 11.3 million bpd and the (attacked) Abqaiq facility has lost a significant part of its redundancy.”
Global supply also faces facility repair and maintenance pressures.
The Buzzard oil field in the British North Sea has been shut for pipe repair work, a spokesman from China’s CNOOC said on Friday. Buzzard is the main contributor to the Forties crude stream, the largest of the five North Sea oil grades that underpin Brent crude futures.
Meanwhile Libya’s National Oil Corporation said on Sunday it will close the Faregh oil field at Zueitina port for scheduled maintenance from Monday until Oct. 14.


Expo 2020 Dubai: UAE begins one-year countdown with entertainment galore

Updated 20 October 2019

Expo 2020 Dubai: UAE begins one-year countdown with entertainment galore

  • Dubai prepares for eye-catching countdown on Burj Khalifa
  • Live performances from singer Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 ambassador Hussain Al-Jassmi

DUBAI: The seven emirates of the UAE is counting down to the Expo 2020 on Sunday with a number of simultaneous entertainment events across the country’s iconic landmarks, before it buckles down to business on Oct. 20 next year.

The event started with performances from Arab artists Khalifa, Shamma Hamdan, Abri and Funk Radius, Showcase and Jaysus Zain at the main stage. 

The main show will be at the Burj Park with global superstar Mariah Carey, joined by Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi, who is also an official Expo 2020 ambassador. Bollywood actress Shraddah Kapoor will also be there, as the Burj Khalifa lights up for the count down.

The other six emirates are also marking the occasion with free-for-all activities in venues such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Ajman Museum, Umm Al Quwain Corniche, Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Fort.

The events, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Expo 2020 Director-General Reem Al-Hashimy said, will “offer a window into the once-in-a-lifetime celebration that awaits from October 20, 2020.”

“The next 12 months will see us put the finishing touches to ensure an exceptional World Expo,” she added, in a report by state-run WAM.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi will feature YouTube sensation Sandra Sahi, as well as singers Stephon Lemar, Layla Kardan, the Emirati Trio.

Indian band ROOH, singer and pianist Clarita de Quiroz, Egyptian oud player Rami Zaki and other regional artists are celebrating the count down at Sharjah’s Al Marjaz waterfront.

While the Ajman Museum will host Arabic fusion band, pop-rock musician Hydyy, Emirati soul singer Chakram, poet Storm Fernandes, artist Humaira Hussain and MC Mohammed Enaba.