Morocco begins talks to curb trade deficit with Turkey

Morocco’s overall trade deficit widened by 2.3% to 191.8 billion dirhams ($20 billion) in the first 11 months of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018. (File: Reuters)
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Updated 15 January 2020

Morocco begins talks to curb trade deficit with Turkey

  • Turkey had agreed in talks on Wednesday to review their free trade deal
  • The two parties hope to agree on amendments to the trade accord by Jan. 30

RABAT: Morocco said it and Turkey had agreed in talks on Wednesday to review their free trade deal as Rabat struggles to curb its roughly $2 billion annual trade deficit with Ankara, the North African country’s trade minister said.
“We agreed to rebalance our trade through encouraging more Turkish investment in Morocco’s industrial sector and promoting more Moroccan exports to Turkey,” Moulay Hafid Elalamy said after talks in Rabat with Turkish counterpart Ruhsar Pekcan.
The two parties hope to agree on amendments to the trade accord by Jan. 30 “to avert losses in the Moroccan job market”, he said. “We are convinced that we can reach a more balanced and more significant deal.”
Elalamy did not elaborate. Pekcan declined to comment.
The Moroccan minister told parliament earlier this week that the free trade accord should be scrapped if no deal to amend it is reached. Elalamy said some of Morocco’s other 55 free trade deals would also be re-examined.
Members of parliament have complained to Elalamy about what they describe as “unfair competition practices” by some Turkish food and ready-to-wear retailers whose products are sold in Morocco under the free trade deal.
Omar Moro, head of Morocco’s chambers of commerce group, has said the deal is detrimental to Morocco’s textile industry.
Morocco’s overall trade deficit widened by 2.3% to 191.8 billion dirhams ($20 billion) in the first 11 months of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018, official figures show.


Oil giants’ production cuts come to 1m bpd as they post massive write-downs

Updated 10 August 2020

Oil giants’ production cuts come to 1m bpd as they post massive write-downs

  • Crude output worldwide dropped sharply after the market crashed in April

LONDON: The world’s five largest oil companies collectively cut the value of their assets by nearly $50 billion in the second quarter, and slashed production rates as the coronavirus pandemic caused a drastic fall in fuel prices and demand.

The dramatic reductions in asset valuations and decline in output show the depth of the pain in the second quarter. Fuel demand at one point was down by more than 30 percent worldwide.

Several executives said they took massive write-downs because they expect demand to remain impaired for several more quarters as people travel less and use less fuel due to the ongoing global pandemic.

Of those five companies, only Exxon Mobil did not book sizeable impairments. But an ongoing reevaluation of its plans could lead to a “significant portion” of its assets being impaired, it reported, and signal the elimination of 20 percent or 4.4 billion barrels of its oil and gas reserves.

By contrast, BP took a $17 billion hit. It said it plans to recenter its spending in coming years around renewables and less on oil and natural gas.

Weak demand means oil producers must revisit business plans, said Lee Maginniss, managing director at consultants Alarez & Marsal. He said the goal should be to pump only what generates cash in excess of overhead costs.

“It’s low-cost production mode through the end of 2021 for sure, and to 2022 to the extent there are new development plans being contemplated,” Maginniss said.

London-based BP has previously said it plans to cut its overall output by roughly 1 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOEPD) by the end of 2030 from its current 3.6 million BOEPD.

Of the five, Exxon is the largest producer, with daily output of 3.64 million BOEPD, but its production dropped 408,000 BOEPD between the first and second quarters. The five majors, which include Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch Shell and Total SA, also cut capital expenditures by a combined $25 billion between the quarters.

Crude output worldwide dropped sharply after the market crashed in April. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to cut output by nearly 10 million barrels a day to balance out supply and demand in the market.