OPEC+ says it will ensure oil prices do not plunge again

The head of OPEC has said that demand for oil is recovering more slowly than expected as an increasing number of countries are reimposing curfews and lockdowns. (AFP)
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Updated 16 October 2020

OPEC+ says it will ensure oil prices do not plunge again

  • Secretary general said group would take stock of its policy at the ministerial meeting next month

LONDON: The OPEC+ alliance will ensure oil prices do not plunge steeply again when it meets to set policy at the end of November, OPEC’s secretary general said on Thursday, adding that demand has been recovering more slowly than expected.

“I want to assure you that the OPEC, non-OPEC partnership will continue to do what it knows best, by ensuring that we don’t relapse into this almost historic plunge that we saw,” Mohammad Barkindo said.

Barkindo was answering a question at the Energy Intelligence Forum on whether there was room for a planned increase in oil output from January by OPEC+, a grouping that includes OPEC states, Russia and other allies.

“We have to be realistic that this recovery is not picking up pace at the rate that we expected earlier in the year,” he said. “Demand itself is still looking anaemic.”

A technical OPEC+ committee meeting is taking place on Thursday to discuss compliance with oil cuts and market fundamentals.

The group had 102 percent compliance with its cuts in September, two OPEC+ sources told Reuters.

Countries such as Iraq, Nigeria and the UAE, which had fallen short of their commitments, have been asked to make additional cuts until the end of the year to compensate for the shortfalls.

Barkindo said the compensation scheme was working well.

OPEC+ is due to taper production cuts by 2 million barrels per day (bpd), from 7.7 million bpd currently, in January.

Barkindo said when OPEC+ holds its ministerial meetings on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 it will take stock of the whole year to inform any decision to stay the course or amend its policy.

On Tuesday, the energy minister from the United Arab Emirates told the same event that OPEC+ will stick to their plans to taper oil production cuts from January.

It comes as some European countries are reviving curfews and lockdowns to try to contain the rise in new coronavirus cases, with Britain expected to impose tougher COVID-19 restrictions on London from midnight on Friday.

A third of France’s population has been placed under nightly curfew to tackle climbing infections.

India, the world’s third biggest oil consumer, is on track to overtake United States with the world’s most COVID-19 infections, and is bracing for a surge of cases in coming weeks as it heads into its main holiday season.

“If demand weakens noticeably, OPEC+ will have no choice but to call off its production increase if it does not want to risk a renewed oversupply and another price slide,” Commerzbank said.


50% of workers fear losing job in next 12 months: Global economic survey

Updated 41 min 3 sec ago

50% of workers fear losing job in next 12 months: Global economic survey

  • Saudi adults more optimistic of developing new skills for future jobs
  • 195m jobs lost worldwide amid COVID-19 pandemic: Egyptian minister

DUBAI: More than half the global workforce fears being made redundant in the next 12 months, according to a World Economic Forum-Ipsos survey.

The study, released on the eve of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Jobs Reset Summit, questioned 12,000 adults in 27 countries about employment prospects during the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

And although at least 50 percent were concerned about losing their jobs over the coming year, two-thirds of workers worldwide said they could learn the skills needed for the jobs of the future through their current employer.

In Saudi Arabia, less than 20 percent of those who took part in the survey were very concerned about their jobs disappearing, compared to 39 percent in Spain.

While the findings painted an overall gloomy picture of the global job situation amid the COVID-19 outbreak, they also highlighted green shoots of optimism, particularly in the Kingdom.

Around 18 percent of Saudi workers were not at all worried about losing their jobs, more than the global average of 17 percent.

On learning, Saudis were even more enthusiastic, with 39 percent confident of gaining the necessary skills to compete for the new job opportunities of the future.

During a WEF discussion on the impact of the global health crisis on employment, Rania Al-Mashat, the Egyptian minister for international cooperation, described the COVID-19 pandemic as a mix of many crises that had rendered 195 million people jobless around the world.

But she said that Egypt’s young population offered great opportunities for the country and the government had already rolled out plans to tap into youth development before the virus outbreak.

“The Egyptian government has taken comprehensive measures to reshape the education system incorporating a significant technology element to the sector and this turned out to be very useful for home schooling during the lockdown,” the minister added during a session titled, “Building a New Economy and Society.”

Al-Mashat pointed out that Egypt was adopting the principles of stakeholder capitalism, and in order to utilize the energies of its youth had been actively creating entrepreneurial space and building a strong digital infrastructure. She said there had been many policy movements, especially in the creation of gender equality accelerators.

Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever and a speaker in the same session, said COVID-19 was not the only current world crisis, adding that economic, health, geopolitical, trade wars, climate change, capital wars, and a few looming military conflicts could be added to a global list of crises.

He also noted that gross domestic product (GDP) should not be considered the only economic measure. “Our measures for success need to change, we’ll have to look at social and environmental parameters, and not just the GDP.”

Jope predicted plenty of future jobs but not in traditional areas of work. “Most of the jobs will be created in the low-carbon sector, along with the IT and biotech industries,” he said.