Goldman sees oil at $80-a-barrel on biggest demand jump ever

Goldman sees oil at $80-a-barrel on biggest demand jump ever
The logo of Goldman Sachs is seen on the clothing of a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Reuters)
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Updated 28 April 2021

Goldman sees oil at $80-a-barrel on biggest demand jump ever

Goldman sees oil at $80-a-barrel on biggest demand jump ever
  • Easing of travel restrictions to spur jet fuel demand
  • Copper could hit $11,000 per ton

BENGALURU: US bank Goldman Sachs expects commodities to rally another 13.5 percent over the next six months on a worldwide reversal of coronavirus curbs, lower interest rates and a weaker dollar, its commodities research team said on Wednesday.
The bank now sees Brent prices rising to $80 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices to $77 a barrel over the six month period.
“We expect the biggest jump in oil demand ever, a 5.2 million barrels per day (bpd) rise over the next six months,” Goldman said, citing acceleration of vaccinations in Europe and an unleashing of pent-up travel demand.
The easing of international travel restrictions in May will lead global jet demand to recover by 1.5 million bpd, it said.
The bank sees gold prices at $2,000 an ounce over the next six months and said it is too early for Bitcoin to compete with gold for safe haven demand, adding that the two can co-exist.
“While Bitcoin benefits from greater liquidity, it suffers from lack of real use and weak environmental, social, governance (ESG) scoring, due to its high energy consumption,” it said.
Such extensive energy use made the cryptocurrency vulnerable to losing its “store of value” demand to another, better-designed contender, it added.
Goldman also upgraded its copper price forecast, setting a 12-month target of $11,000 per ton, citing an under-invested supply side.
“The only way this record-sized and fast approaching supply crunch can be solved is via a surge in price to new record highs,” the bank said.
While China will maintain its major role in commodity demand, the bank added, it is not expected to be the only major source of growth in the coming decade.


S&P Global introduces a new national credit rating scale for Saudi Arabia

S&P Global introduces a new national credit rating scale for Saudi Arabia
Updated 13 sec ago

S&P Global introduces a new national credit rating scale for Saudi Arabia

S&P Global introduces a new national credit rating scale for Saudi Arabia

S&P Global Ratings has established a national credit rating scale for Saudi Arabia in response to a growing interest in the Kingdom’s local currency debt markets.

The new assessment scheme will help identify the creditworthiness of local loan takers, and comes as Saudi Arabia pursues policies of economic diversification and private sector strengthening as part of Vision 2030.

The agency said the rating scale will be complementary to the one used globally, with the methodology “generally the same” as the international-focused system.

The highest rating in the Saudi scale is ksaAAA, equivalent to ‘A- and above’ in the global scale, and reflects “extremely strong capacity to meet [...] financial commitments relative to that of other national obligors.”


Oil rises 1 percent ahead of OPEC meeting under Omicron cloud

Oil rises 1 percent ahead of OPEC meeting under Omicron cloud
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 16 min 32 sec ago

Oil rises 1 percent ahead of OPEC meeting under Omicron cloud

Oil rises 1 percent ahead of OPEC meeting under Omicron cloud
  • A Reuters survey found OPEC pumped 27.74 million bpd in November, up 220,000 bpd from the previous month

Oil prices clawed back some losses on Wednesday after steep falls in the previous session, as major producers prepared to discuss how to respond to the threat of a hit to fuel demand from the Omicron variant.


US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 78 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $66.96 a barrel at 0122 GMT, after a 5.4 percent drop on Tuesday.


Brent crude futures gained $1.01, or 1.5 percent, to $70.24 a barrel, after a 3.9 percent slump on Tuesday.


The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet on Wednesday after 1300 GMT ahead of a meeting on Thursday of OPEC+, which includes OPEC and allies including Russia.


While some analysts expect OPEC+ will pause plans to add 400,000 barrels per day of supply in January in light of the potential hit to demand from travel curbs to rein in the spread of the Omicron variant, several OPEC+ ministers have said there was no need to change course.


“The market continues to look for signs of any impact of Omicron on demand,” ANZ Research commodity analysts said in a note.


Even if OPEC+ agrees to go ahead with its planned supply increase in January, producers may struggle to add that much.


A Reuters survey found OPEC pumped 27.74 million bpd in November, up 220,000 bpd from the previous month, but that was below the 254,000 bpd increase allowed for OPEC members under the OPEC+ agreement.


In a bearish sign on demand, data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group showed US crude stocks fell by 747,000 barrels in the week ended Nov. 26, according to market sources, which was a smaller decline than expected.


Ten analysts polled by Reuters were expecting crude stockpiles to fall by about 1.2 million barrels.


At the same time, gasoline inventories rose by 2.2 million barrels compared with analysts’ forecasts for no change, while distillate stocks rose by 789,000 barrels, which was a bigger build than analysts had expected.


VW expects battery, raw material drive to cost up to $34bn

VW expects battery, raw material drive to cost up to $34bn
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 36 min 4 sec ago

VW expects battery, raw material drive to cost up to $34bn

VW expects battery, raw material drive to cost up to $34bn
  • Schmall is overseeing Volkswagen’s ambitious plan to build six large battery cell plants in Europe by the end of the decade

Volkswagen’s planned European battery cell plants and securing vital raw materials will cost as much as 30 billion euros ($34 billion), board member Thomas Schmall said, putting a price tag on the expansion for the first time.


Schmall, who is in charge of technology at Europe’s largest carmaker, said in an interview at  the  Reuters Next conference that Volkswagen would seek outside partners to fund it.”


“We are talking about 25 to 30 billion (euros) ... including the vertical chain of raw materials, not only the factories,” the 57-year old said, adding VW would not have to take the lead on funding and was not aiming for a 50/50 investment split.


“It depends on the partnership model we will establish in the next months. We’re open to discuss it. For us it’s necessary that we can control ... the technology roadmap, the timing, the costs and the availability to enable our rollout.”


Schmall is overseeing Volkswagen’s ambitious plan to build six large battery cell plants in Europe by the end of the decade, a strategic pillar in its bid to overtake Tesla and become the world’s top electric vehicles seller.


Sweden’s Northvolt, the first plant in which Volkswagen owns a fifth, will start production premium cells for the German carmaker from 2023. The second plant, to be built jointly with China’s Gotion High-Tech in Salzgitter, is to start in 2025.


Four more plants will follow by the end of the decade, most likely in Spain, eastern Europe and two additional locations that have so far not been disclosed.


Costs will be 1 billion to 2 billion euros per plant while capacity will range from 40 up to a maximum of 80 gigawatt hours (GWh), depending on the chemistry as well as whether enough energy supplies are available, Schmall said.


“We have some natural limits in the availability of utilities, energy, water,” he said.

But production capacity is only one part of the equation, Schmall said, adding that Volkswagen also had to make sure it gets enough raw materials, such as lithium and nickel.


This requires a more proactive approach and Schmall said that Volkswagen was looking to strike partnerships, with cooperation announcements due “in some weeks.”


Volkswagen, which plans to submit its next five-year investment plan to the supervisory board on Dec. 9, is pursuing a mix of strategies, which might even include becoming a shareholder in a mining firm.


“You will see the full range,” Schmall said, also referring to fixed and mixed price contracts with suppliers. “You have to tailor-fit solutions, necessarily, to specific raw materials.”


This also requires making sure that materials are procured sustainably, which, in Volkswagen’s case, includes transparency reports, supplier ratings, and efforts to phase out some materials, most notably cobalt.


In the end, Schmall said, the goal was to ensure that the full production chain was sustainable, adding that producing electric vehicles alone was not enough for Volkswagen, which is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050 at the latest.


“And this altogether brings us in this closed loop and hopefully show you that we are taking care from the beginning on, from the first step, from the mining process, to be sustainable, until the last point of battery lives and car lives and recycling,” he said.


Air taxis will come to NEOM after pioneering deal signed with Germany’s Volocopter

Air taxis will come to NEOM after pioneering deal signed with Germany’s Volocopter
Updated 46 min 51 sec ago

Air taxis will come to NEOM after pioneering deal signed with Germany’s Volocopter

Air taxis will come to NEOM after pioneering deal signed with Germany’s Volocopter

RIYADH: Air taxis will take to the skies above the Saudi city of NEOM thanks to a deal signed with German-based Volocopter in what will be a world's first bespoke public transport development.

NEOM has ordered 15 Volocopter aircraft to start initial flight operations within the next two to three years, it said on its website.

Of those, ten will carry passengers while the remaining five will transport logistics. 

NEOM, a regional development in northwest Saudi Arabia, has created a joint venture company with Volocopter which will be the sole operator of the initial public transit routes across the city.

It will also enable an open electric vertical take-off and landing ecosystem for vertical mobility services, known as eVTOL.

This includes logistics, emergency response, and tourism. 

Nadhmi Al-Nasr, the CEO of NEOM, said: “In designing cities and urban infrastructure for the 21st century, mobility is at the center of the equation. 

“Through this joint venture with Volocopter, we are demonstrating to the world that NEOM is the ideal region to implement urban air mobility rapidly and create a fully integrated vertical mobility ecosystem.”

Christian Bauer, the chief commercial officer at Volocopter, described the deal as an “exciting journey,” adding: “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be an essential part of designing and operating a completely new UAM (urban air mobility) ecosystem from the ground up without the constraint of legacy infrastructure or regulation, and as pioneers in the industry, Volocopter is honored to be the trusted partner to contribute to NEOM’s ambitious vision.”


Amazon investing in 274 renewable energy projects globally, adds 18 new projects in Europe and US

Amazon investing in 274 renewable energy projects globally, adds 18 new projects in Europe and US
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 01 December 2021

Amazon investing in 274 renewable energy projects globally, adds 18 new projects in Europe and US

Amazon investing in 274 renewable energy projects globally, adds 18 new projects in Europe and US
  • The projects will supply renewable energy for Amazon’s corporate offices, fulfillment centers, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers

Amazon today announced 18 new utility-scale wind and solar energy projects across the US, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, totaling 5.6 gigawatts (GW) of procured capacity to date in 2021.

Amazon now has 274 renewable energy projects globally and is on a path to power 100 percent of its business operations with renewable energy by 2025 — five years earlier than its original 2030 commitment.


These new utility-scale wind and solar projects bring Amazon’s total committed renewable electricity production capacity to more than 12 GW and 33,700 gigawatt hours (GWh) when the projects become fully operational, or electricity output equivalent to powering more than 3 million US homes for a year.

The projects will supply renewable energy for Amazon’s corporate offices, fulfillment centers, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers that support millions of customers globally.

The projects will also help Amazon meet its commitment to produce the clean energy equivalent of the electricity used by all consumer Echo devices.

The amount of clean energy produced by these projects will avoid the equivalent of the annual emissions of nearly 3 million cars in the US each year, or about 13.7 million metric tons.


“We are moving quickly and deliberately to reduce our carbon emissions and address the climate crisis,” said Kara Hurst, vice president of worldwide sustainability at Amazon.

“Significant investments in renewable energy globally are an important step in delivering on The Climate Pledge, our commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

Renewable energy projects also bring new investment, green jobs, and advance the decarbonization of the electricity systems in communities around the world.”


Following today’s announcement, Amazon is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world, with 274 global projects including 105 utility-scale wind and solar projects and 169 solar rooftops on facilities and stores worldwide. 


“Amazon is wasting no time demonstrating that they are fully committed to a clean energy future for all,” said Gregory Wetstone, CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy.

“At COP26, the world agreed we needed bigger and bolder ambitions around global carbon reduction from all sectors. With hundreds of renewable energy projects already underway, Amazon is a model for the level of urgency and action we need from the private sector to combat the climate crisis.”


“Large-scale clean energy investments like these benefit us all and should be the new normal for industries of all shapes and sizes. They bring good-paying, green jobs to local communities and support progress toward our community’s goal of a 90 percent carbon-free US electricity system, said Miranda Ballentine, CEO of Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA).”


“Amazon’s procurement of 12 GW of renewable energy capacity globally is a strong testament to the company’s commitment to reaching net-zero carbon by 2040,” said Hannah Hunt, impact director at RE-Source, a corporate renewable energy sourcing platform in Europe.

“The company’s 10 new renewable energy operations across Europe will benefit communities, bring new green jobs, and help meet our commitments to curb the climate crisis.”