Oil prices fall amid OPEC+ impasse on output

Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell back from earlier highs as it became apparent that OPEC+ could not reach a consensus.  (AFP/File)
Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell back from earlier highs as it became apparent that OPEC+ could not reach a consensus. (AFP/File)
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Updated 05 January 2021

Oil prices fall amid OPEC+ impasse on output

Oil prices fall amid OPEC+ impasse on output
  • Crunch meeting of producers’ alliance spills into second day after OPEC+ rejects proposal to boost supply

DUBAI: Global oil prices fell on Monday after OPEC+ members failed to reach agreement on output levels.
A majority of members of the producers’ alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia rejected proposals to increase supply amid new fears of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell back from earlier highs as it became apparent that OPEC+ could not reach a consensus. Delegates at the meeting said Russia and Kazakhstan wanted to increase output by 500,000 barrels per day from next month, while the rest of the 23-member bloc sought to delay an increase until economic indicators improved.
The meeting will resume today, amid optimism a deal can be reached. “Our efforts will continue, and we are close to an agreement,” one energy official told Arab News.
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, was among those who urged caution on the OPEC+ group despite rising crude prices and hopes of a vaccine-led economic recovery.
“At the risk of being seen as a killjoy in these proceedings, I want to urge caution. The new variant of the disease is a worrying and unpredictable development,” the minister said.
“Do not put at risk all that we have achieved for the sake of an instant, but illusory, benefit.”
Other countries who sought a delay in the output increase included the UAE, Kuwait, Iraq, Nigeria and Azerbaijan, according to the official.
Oil analysts played down fears of a repetition of the fallout between Russia and Saudi Arabia last March, which led to a spike in oil output just as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were impacting the global economy. “The market dynamics are entirely different now,” one said.
Brent closed at $51.15, having briefly touched $53 earlier in the day, its highest level since
March 2020.


Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment

Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment
Updated 16 January 2021

Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment

Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment
  • Careem said the company had been affected by the pandemic because workers stayed at home and cut down on their travel

DUBAI: Ride-hailing service Careem has welcomed a government decision to fully localize the sector in the Kingdom, saying the move will help to create more jobs for Saudi drivers.

The Saudi Ministry of Transport said the new rule would have limited impact as citizens already made up 96 percent of the workforce in the ride-hailing sector.

“We are proud that over 100,000 Saudi nationals are finding income-earning opportunities with Careem each month,” a Careem spokesperson told Arab News. “We’ve worked hand-in-hand with the Transport General Authority and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to help the Kingdom achieve its ambitious agenda, and applaud the efforts the government is making to support Saudis working in the ride-hailing sector.”

The spokesperson added that Careem planned to continue investing in the Kingdom with a greater range of transportation and delivery services. 

Although Careem did not give specific numbers for its operations in Saudi Arabia, it said it had 33 million registered users in 13 countries across the region and operated in 28 Saudi cities.

Ibrahim Manna, managing director of global markets at Careem, said the company had been affected by the pandemic because workers stayed at home and cut down on their travel.

“COVID-19 has impacted our ride-hailing, starting in March,” he told Arab News. “This is a natural result of lockdowns, curfews and other limitations of movement, changing user behavior and habits in daily life.”

But while the ride-hailing service decreased, food delivery demand soared.

“Delivery was one of the big growth levers,” he added. “Due to the change in the daily lives and needs of the customer, we adapted quickly and provided them with what they needed most. We partnered up with many stores, pharmacies and restaurants, in order to deliver essentials to citizens in Saudi Arabia during a difficult time.”

On Thursday Mueed Al Saeed, assisting vice president of Land Transport Regulation of the Public Transport Authority, said there were 16 companies including Careem licensed to operate ride-hailing services in the Kingdom.

He also said 300 million trips had been carried out during the past three years, and that there were 250,000 drivers actively working for these services.