Go on, make my day, Saudi minister warns oil speculators

Go on, make my day, Saudi minister warns oil speculators
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said no one should doubt the commitment of OPEC+ to tackle the current challenges. (Screengrab)
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Updated 20 October 2020

Go on, make my day, Saudi minister warns oil speculators

Go on, make my day, Saudi minister warns oil speculators
  • No place for manipulation in global crude markets, Prince Abdul Aziz tells meeting of OPEC+ ministers

DUBAI: Energy leaders will do “what is necessary” to enhance stability in global oil markets, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman told a “virtual” conference of OPEC+ ministers on Monday.

“I cannot emphasize strongly enough how vital it is to show the strength of our resolve. Nobody in the global oil market should be in any doubt as to our commitment and our intent,” the minister said.

He again invited speculators to “make my day” by manipulating global crude markets.  “Destabilizing speculation and manipulation have no place in a responsible and efficient market,” he warned.

Prince Abdul Aziz was speaking at the monthly meeting of the joint ministerial monitoring committee of OPEC+, the alliance of producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Ministers reaffirmed commitments to complying with the historic cuts that have helped rebalance global crude markets since the crisis of April.

They also pledged to make up for any shortfall in compliance levels by compensating with extra cuts by the end of the year. Prince Abdul Aziz said he hoped to “close the chapter once and for ever” on compensation by then.

“We can take some satisfaction from the levels of compliance we have achieved, but there is some work to do before we achieve the agreed compensation targets,” he said.

OPEC+ is due to add an extra 2 million barrels per day from January, which some industry experts have said should be delayed while market demand remains uncertain in light of pandemic lockdowns.

That issue was not on the agenda, but is likely to figure at a full meeting of OPEC members at the end of November that can decide policy.

Prince Abdul Aziz dismissed talk of disunity within OPEC+. “We’re not breaking ranks. We are a much more solid front in attending to this market,” he said.

Alexander Novak, the Russian energy minister, said there was uncertainty and volatility in global oil markets because of renewed outbreaks of COVID-19, but Russia remained committed to strengthening OPEC+.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose marginally to nearly $43 as the OPEC+ ministers met.


Swiss authorities ask Lebanon to cooperate on central bank probe

Swiss authorities ask Lebanon to cooperate on central bank probe
Updated 23 min 58 sec ago

Swiss authorities ask Lebanon to cooperate on central bank probe

Swiss authorities ask Lebanon to cooperate on central bank probe
  • The Swiss attorney general's office said it had requested legal assistance from Lebanon in the context of a probe into "aggravated money laundering"

BEIRUT: Swiss authorities have opened an investigation into money transfers by Lebanon's Central Bank Governor Riad Salame, a Lebanese government official told Reuters on Tuesday.
Salame denied any wrongdoing.
"Both the prime minister and the president are in the loop" on the inquiry which is also looking into Salameh's brother and assistant, said the government official, who asked to remain anonymous.
The Swiss attorney general's office said it had requested legal assistance from Lebanon in the context of a probe into "aggravated money laundering" and possible embezzlement tied to the Lebanese central bank.
But in responding to questions from Reuters, it did not say whether Salameh was a suspect and declined further comment.
Lebanon's crippled banking system is at the heart of a financial crisis that erupted in late 2019. Banks have since blocked most transfers abroad and cut access to dollar deposits.
The meltdown has crashed the currency, prompted a sovereign default and doomed at least half the population to poverty.
In response to Reuters questions about local media reports of a European inquiry, Lebanese Justice Minister Marie Claude Najm said she had received a request for cooperation from Swiss judicial authorities and submitted it to the public prosecutor. She did not elaborate.
A statement by Salameh dismissed any allegations about transfers by him, his brother or assistant as "fabrications". He threatened to sue anyone who spreads them with harmful intent.
A former Merrill Lynch banker, Salameh has led Lebanon's central bank, Banque du Liban, since 1993. The collapse of Lebanon's financial system shook his reputation as a pillar of stability, as foreign donors demanded a central bank audit and Salameh turned into a focus of anger for protesters last year.