Saudi Arabia: All options open to OPEC+ as China virus weighs on price

Saudi Arabia’s minister of energy, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman Al-Saud, pictured here at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, warned it was too early for OPEC+ to make a decision on oil supply. (Reuters)
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Updated 26 January 2020

Saudi Arabia: All options open to OPEC+ as China virus weighs on price

  • Group will meet in Vienna in March to set policy, with the possibility of further oil production cuts firmly on the table

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman Al-Saud said all options were open at an OPEC+ meeting in early March, including further cuts in oil production, Al Arabiya reported. But he added it was too early to make a call on the need for more cuts.
“I can’t judge now if the market needs additional cuts because I haven’t seen the balances for January and February,” he said.
He added that when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies led by Russia convened for an emergency meeting in March, the grouping would study where the market is and “objectively decide” if more cuts are needed.
OPEC+ agreed in December to widen supply cuts by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.7 million bpd until the end of March.
Prince Abdul Aziz said the aim of OPEC+ was to reduce the size of the seasonal inventory build that takes place in the first half of the year.
OPEC+ is due to meet in Vienna on March 5 and 6 to set their policy. A ministerial monitoring committee for the deal will meet in Vienna on March 4.
Oil slipped below $62 a barrel on Friday and was heading for a weekly decline as concern that a virus in China may spread, curbing travel and oil demand, overshadowed supply cuts.




Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman Al-Saud. (Reuters)

The virus has prompted the suspension of public transport in 10 Chinese cities. Health authorities fear the infection rate could accelerate over the Lunar New Year holiday this weekend, when millions of Chinese travel.
Global benchmark Brent is down almost 5 percent this week, its third consecutive weekly drop. US crude was also on course for a weekly decline.

FASTFACT

2nd - China is the world’s second largest oil consumer.

“One should be prepared for negative surprises when it comes to Chinese demand,” said Eugen Weinberg, analyst at Commerzbank. “The impact of this is all the greater because the restrictions are being imposed during the busiest travel season for the Chinese.”
China is the world’s second-largest oil consumer so any slowdown in travel would show up on demand forecasts.
Offering some support for prices was the US Energy Information Administration’s latest weekly supply report, which showed crude inventories fell 405,000 barrels in the week to Jan. 17.
Nonetheless, the upside for prices was limited. Oil inventories in the wider industrialized world are above the five-year average according to OPEC figures, which analysts say is limiting the impact on prices of supply losses.
“Such is the bearish pressure that a raft of ongoing crude supply outages are not gaining much traction,” said analysts at JBC Energy in a report.


Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala to invest €1bn in French state-backed fund

Updated 2 min 54 sec ago

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala to invest €1bn in French state-backed fund

  • State-backed investment bank Bpifrance and Mubadala will both commit €1bn to the fund to support French companies
  • Bpifrance has said it aims over time to raise up to €10bn for the fund, which is to be used to shore up the capital of French companies

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala Investment Company will invest €1 billion ($1.08 billion) in a new French state-backed fund to support French companies, France’s finance minister said on Monday.
State-backed investment bank Bpifrance and Mubadala will both commit €1bn to the fund which will launch next month, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said. Additional commitments from institutional investors such as insurers will bring the total invested to four billion, he said.
“The first foreign sovereign investment fund to invest in the French fund is Abu Dhabi’s,” Le Maire told reporters during a visit to Abu Dhabi.
“It’s sends a strong signal that Abu Dhabi’s fund is investing €1bn.”
Bpifrance has said it aims over time to raise up to €10bn for the fund, which is to be used to shore up the capital of French companies facing activist investor campaigns or adapting their business models or shareholder bases.
Bpifrance’s pitch on the fund to outside investors has said it would deploy capital in about 15 companies with a time horizon of 10 years.
Mubadala said in a statement that it saw “significant investment opportunities” in France and said that the fund would invest in companies with “compelling returns.”