Saudi energy think tank urges global cooperation

Under Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency, leaders and central bank governors have agreed new measures to assist low-income countries struggling amid the coronavirus disease outbreak. (AFP)
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Updated 01 April 2020

Saudi energy think tank urges global cooperation

  • New study argues that global teamwork is the only resolution to the current oil market crisis

DUBAI: A prestigious Saudi Arabian energy think-tank has called for global co-operation to solve the crisis in global oil markets.

The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) said that the “unprecedented disruption” of recent weeks on the world’s energy markets required “greater international co-operation with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).”
In a paper entitled “The world needs OPEC, but OPEC can’t go it alone,” the center argued that such co-operation was “the only short-term resolution to the current oil market crisis.”
The study comes amid moves in the international energy community for some form of combined approach by the three big producers — Saudi Arabia, the US and Russia — to stabilize markets.
In recent weeks there has been unprecedented energy volatility which has seen the price of crude fall by half on international markets amid record drops in demand for crude as national economies shut down because of restrictions to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
Energy experts have estimated that global demand for oil has fallen by at least 20 percent in the past month, and that storage facilities around the world are rapidly filling with crude.
Some big producers in the US are believed to be considering shutting oil facilities as prices in local markets reach “negative” levels, meaning that the oil companies pay customers to take crude away.

FASTFACT

20% - Energy experts have estimated that global demand for oil has fallen by at least 20 percent in the past month.

The crisis began earlier this month when Saudi Arabia and Russia — the two leaders of the OPEC+ alliance of OPEC members and other producers — failed to agree new output restrictions at a meeting in Vienna.
Saudi Arabia responded by announcing big new production targets, with capacity set to reach 12.3 million barrels per day next month, and significant discounts to customers around the world. Russia and several other big producers in the UAE, Iraq and Nigeria also said they would be lifting their crude output.
“The result of no-deal was another blow to the market sentiment, which was already turning bearish in the face of the growing COVID-19 outbreak. Oil market volatility is now at an all-time high, with the turmoil in the global
financial system further exacerbating the situation and making it more difficult for OPEC and supporting countries to stabilize the market,” KAPSARC said.


Swiss bank giant UBS posts best Q3 in a decade despite pandemic

Updated 20 October 2020

Swiss bank giant UBS posts best Q3 in a decade despite pandemic

  • The world’s largest wealth manager saw net profit jump 99 percent year-on-year to $2.5 billion

ZURICH: Swiss banking giant UBS said Tuesday it nearly doubled its net profit in its best third quarter in a decade, the latest in a string of global lenders to report better-than-expected results despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The world’s largest wealth manager saw net profit jump 99 percent year-on-year to $2.5 billion, it said in a statement, handily beating analyst expectations for $1.5 billion.
The rise comes after net profit dropped by 11 percent in the second quarter to June as the firm stepped up provisions for bad loans with the global economy in a tailspin due to the pandemic.
UBS’ profits received a one-off, third-quarter boost from the $631 million sale of a majority stake in its fund platform Fondcenter to Clearstream, a subsidiary of the Deutsche Borse group.
Its operating profit increased 26 percent to $8.9 billion, also surpassing analyst expectations.
CEO Sergio Ermotti said he was proud of the third quarter results, his last at the helm, with ex-ING group chief Ralph Hamers taking over as chief executive officer on November 1.
“UBS has all the options open to write another successful chapter of its history under Ralph’s leadership,” Ermotti said in the statement.
But UBS did not give any estimate of its outlook, due to a “high level of uncertainty.”
“Going forward, the pandemic and political uncertainties may lead to periods of higher market volatility and could affect client activity positively or negatively,” it said in the statement.
Other global banking giants to report surging profits this earnings season include Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.