Iraq: OPEC and allies may deepen oil cut deal to reach 1.6m bpd

OPEC will consider deepening the cuts at meetings due this week in Vienna. (AFP)
Updated 01 December 2019

Iraq: OPEC and allies may deepen oil cut deal to reach 1.6m bpd

  • OPEC to consider deepening the cuts at meetings due this week in Vienna

BAGHDAD: OPEC and allied oil producers will consider deepening their existing oil supply reduction deal by about 400,000 barrels per day to 1.6 million bpd, Iraq’s oil minister said on Sunday.

The minister, Thamer Ghadhban, told reporters in Baghdad that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, together known as OPEC+, will consider deepening the cuts at meetings due this week in Vienna.

OPEC+ oil exporters have coordinated their output for three years to balance the market and support prices. Their current deal, which agreed to cut supply by 1.2 million bpd from January this year, is due to expire at the end of March.

Iraq will exceed 100 percent commitment with the supply deal as of Sunday, Ghadhban also said, adding that an agreement capping production from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region will also help the country’s compliance.

The agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) caps production from the northern Iraqi region at 450,000 bpd, he said. About 250,000 bpd of the KRG’s output will be handed over to the central Iraqi government and 200,000 bpd will be used by the region to pay back debt owed to foreign firms, he added.

The minister also said that Iraq’s crude output has not been affected by anti-graft protests that broke out in early October across Baghdad and the oil-rich regions of the south.


Despite agreement, China purchase of US agriculture lags

Updated 10 August 2020

Despite agreement, China purchase of US agriculture lags

  • The two sides are set to meet on Saturday to discuss the deal, American media says

NEW YORK: Seven months after the United States and China signed a preliminary agreement to temper their trade war, Beijing’s purchases of US agricultural goods have yet to reach the deal’s target.

As President Donald Trump readies for a tough reelection battle in November, US media reported the two sides are set to meet beginning August 15 to discuss the deal, which calls for China to sharply increase buying American goods and services this year and next.

But according to data compiled by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), Chinese agricultural purchases at the end of June were far from where they should be at this point in the year.

They had reached only 39 percent of their semiannual target, according to US figures, or 48 percent, based on Chinese figures.

“If we get back to what the level of trade was in 2017, we’ll be lucky,” said Chad Bown, a PIIE senior fellow who authored the study, referring to the year before the trade war began.

Under the deal’s terms, China agreed to increase agricultural imports $32 billion over the next 2 years from 2017 levels.

Chinese orders for corn and soybeans have increased since mid-July, with Beijing buying just over 3 million tons of American oilseeds between July 14 and Aug. 7, according to US Department of Agriculture data.

At the end of July, the United States reported the largest-ever daily order by China for its corn, of 1.9 million tons.

The announcements were a relief to US farmers, who are expecting a bumper crop this year and need to find buyers to take it.

They also came at a time of high political tension between the two countries, after the Trump administration authorized sanctions against several Hong Kong leaders over the rights crackdown in the city, and restrictions on Chinese apps WeChat and TikTok.

The Chinese “realize we’re not being the best of buddies right now, but they need the products and they’re gonna take as much as they need,” said Jack Scoville, agricultural market analyst for Price Futures Group.

It’s possible that Beijing will change its orders from buying this year’s harvest to next year’s.

But analysts warn that any orders could be called off before the ships carrying them leave port.

Brazil and Argentina, two of the world’s largest soybean and corn producers, are starting their harvests next spring, said Brian Hoops, president of the brokerage firm Midwest Market Solutions.

China “could cancel all these purchases they made in July and buy at much cheaper prices if that’s available to them,” Hoops said.

The trade deal dubbed “phase one” and signed in January has managed to survive both the tensions and the sharp global economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has badly hit international trade.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in June said China would follow through on its commitments, while Washington would also pursue a “phase two” trade deal that “will focus on issues of overcapacity, subsidization, disciplines on China’s state-owned enterprises, and cyber theft.”

Bown said any success in getting China to buy not just farm but also energy and manufactured goods, would aid Trump in his reelection campaign.