WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: China deal should improve oil outlook

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: China deal should improve oil outlook
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is handed a pen by U.S. President Donald Trump after signing "phase one" of the U.S.-China trade agreement during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 19 January 2020

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: China deal should improve oil outlook

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: China deal should improve oil outlook

Crude oil prices traded flat over the week with Brent crude edging slightly lower to $64.85 per barrel and WTI weakening to $58.54. 

China was a major focus for traders. On one level, the US-China phase one trade deal injected some optimism into the market, but that was countered by troubling economic data. China’s 2019 gross domestic product rate grew by 6 percent, the slowest in 29 years.

Chinese refineries still processed a record high 13.04 million bpd of crude oil last year, which was an increase of 7.6 percent on 2018. 

Its 2019 crude oil imports grew 9.5 percent to 10.2 million bpd.

As the US-China trade dispute was the main reason for downward price movements throughout the year, a deal should produce optimism for a revival in global manufacturing, and thus stronger oil demand.

A short-term energy outlook report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) was relatively bullish. It also highlighted risk factors including supply disruptions and the pace of global economic growth that could push Brent prices out of the expected $60-$70 per barrel range in 2021.

The EIA expects US oil production growth to slow to 1.06 million bpd in 2020, dropping to 410,000 bpd in 2021 as rig counts stay low.

It estimates US oil production averaging 13.3 million bpd in 2020 and 13.71 million bpd in 2021. 

It expects Brent crude to average $64.83 per barrel and WTI at $59.25 per barrel in 2020. 

US oil output growth has dropped from the 1.64 million bpd year-on-year increase in 2018.

The IEA does not see any supply risks amid tension in the Arabian Gulf, but points to a sizable buffer against supply disruption because of the strong output and inventories of non-OPEC producers. 

This view may be questionable, though, especially given that oil inventories in OECD countries are currently only 9 million barrels above their five-year average — not the biggest of cushions.

 


Qatar National Bank sees gradual growth in Saudi Arabia after end of rift

Qatar National Bank sees gradual growth in Saudi Arabia after end of rift
Updated 16 min ago

Qatar National Bank sees gradual growth in Saudi Arabia after end of rift

Qatar National Bank sees gradual growth in Saudi Arabia after end of rift
  • QNB opened its branch in Riyadh in May 2017, just a month before the dispute erupted
  • Bank would rebuild its information technology infrastructure and the banking team

DUBAI: Qatar National Bank (QNB), Gulf’s biggest bank by assets, expects its business in Saudi Arabia will pick up only gradually after reviving its Riyadh branch that was dormant for more than three years due to a diplomatic and economic rift.
A QNB executive made the comments to analysts on Monday after Riyadh announced a deal on Jan. 5 to end the dispute with Doha that forced Qatari firms to halt business in the kingdom and its airline to reroute flights around Saudi airspace.
QNB opened its branch in the Saudi capital in May 2017, just a month before the dispute erupted.
QNB Group Chief Financial Officer Ramzi Mari told analysts that the impact of reopening its Riyadh branch would be gradual, analysts who joined the call said.
The bank would rebuild its information technology infrastructure and the banking team in Riyadh, Mari said, according to the analysts who did not give further details.
QNB declined to comment.
Saudi Arabia, along with United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt suspended diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. Qatar denied the charges and said the embargo was meant to undermine its sovereignty.
Qatar National Bank last week reported a drop in annual profit of more than 16 percent, hit by $1.6 billion in impairments during a year when the region’s economy was affected by the coronavirus outbreak.