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.


Capitalism doing ‘more harm than good’ says global survey

Updated 46 min 27 sec ago

Capitalism doing ‘more harm than good’ says global survey

  • The poll contacted over 34,000 people in 28 countries

LONDON: A majority of people around the world believe capitalism in its current form is doing more harm than good, a survey found ahead of this week’s Davos meeting of business and political leaders.

This year was the first time the “Edelman Trust Barometer,” which for two decades has polled tens of thousands of people on their trust in core institutions, sought to understand how capitalism itself was viewed.

The study’s authors said that earlier surveys showing a rising sense of inequality prompted them to ask whether citizens were now starting to have more fundamental doubts about the capitalist-based democracies of the West.

“The answer is yes,” David Bersoff, lead researcher on the study produced by US communications company Edelman. “People are questioning at that level whether what we have today, and the world we live in today, is optimized for their having a good future.”

The poll contacted over 34,000 people in 28 countries, from Western democracies like the US to those based on a different model such as China or Russia, with 56 percent agreeing “capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world.”

The survey was launched in 2000 to explore the theories of political scientist Francis Fukuyama, who after the collapse of communism declared that liberal capitalist democracy had seen off rival ideologies and so represented “the end of history.”

That conclusion has since been challenged by critics who point to everything from the rising influence of China to the spread of autocratic leaders, trade protectionism and worsening inequality in the wake of the 2007/08 global financial crisis.

On a national level, lack of trust in capitalism was highest in Thailand and India on 75 percent and 74 percent respectively, with France close behind on 69 percent. Majorities prevailed in other Asian, European, Gulf, African and Latin American states.

Only in Australia, Canada, the US, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan did majorities disagree with the assertion capitalism currently did more harm than good.

FASTFACT

75%

The Edelman Trust Barometer survey found lack of trust in capitalism was highest in Thailand and India on 75 percent and 74 percent respectively.

The survey confirmed a by-now familiar set of concerns ranging from worries about the pace of technological progress and job insecurity, to distrust of the media and a sense that national governments were not up to the challenges of the day.

Within the data there were divergences, with Asians more optimistic about their economic prospects than others across the world. There was also a growing split in attitudes according to status, with the affluent and college-educated much more likely to have faith in how things were being run.

Of possible interest to corporate leaders gathering in Davos this week was the finding that trust in business outweighed that in governments and that 92 percent of employees said CEOs should speak out on the social and ethical issues of the day.

“Business has leapt into the void left by populist and partisan government,” said Edelman CEO Richard Edelman. “It can no longer be business as usual, with an exclusive focus on shareholder returns.”