Oil steady with investors focusing on possible return of Iranian supply

Oil steady with investors focusing on possible return of Iranian supply
A section of the BP Eastern Trough Area Project oil platform in the North Sea. (Reuters)
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Updated 26 May 2021

Oil steady with investors focusing on possible return of Iranian supply

Oil steady with investors focusing on possible return of Iranian supply
  • Crude stocks fell by 439,000 barrels in the week ended May 21.
  • Indirect negotiations between the US and Iran have resumed in Vienna

TOKYO: Oil prices were steady on Wednesday as concerns a possible resumption in Iranian supply would cause a glut were offset by hopes for stronger US fuel demand after a drop in weekly inventory estimates by the American Petroleum Institute.
Brent crude oil futures for July gained 5 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $68.70 a barrel by 0102 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for July was at $66.05 a barrel, down 2 cents.
Both benchmarks edged higher on Tuesday, ending at their highest levels in a week, amid hopes for rising demand from the approach of the northern hemisphere’s summer driving season and lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
US crude oil and fuel inventories fell last week, according to two market sources, citing API figures on Tuesday.
Crude stocks fell by 439,000 barrels in the week ended May 21. Gasoline inventories fell by 2 million barrels and distillate stocks fell by 5.1 million barrels, the data showed, according to the sources.
“The API data was good, but investors were paying more attention to the Iran talks because the impact from possible return of Iranian oil to the market is more significant,” said Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at commodities broker Fujitomi Co.
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Tuesday he was optimistic over Tehran reaching an agreement soon at talks with world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, although Iran’s top negotiator cautioned that serious issues remained.
Indirect negotiations between the US and Iran have resumed in Vienna this week after Tehran and the UN nuclear agency extended a monitoring agreement on the Middle Eastern country’s atomic program.
Iran and global powers have negotiated in Vienna since April to work out steps that Tehran and Washington must take on sanctions and nuclear activities to return to full compliance with Iran’s 2015 nuclear pact with world powers.
Analysts have said Iran could provide about 1 million to 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in additional oil supply if a deal is struck and sanctions lifted.


Aramco prepares work on its largest non-associated gas field

Aramco prepares work on its largest non-associated gas field
Updated 21 sec ago

Aramco prepares work on its largest non-associated gas field

Aramco prepares work on its largest non-associated gas field
  • The Saudi-listed firm claims it to be the “largest non-associated gas field” in the Kingdom

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco is marking the start of its development of the Jafurah unconventional gas field on Nov. 29. 

The Saudi-listed firm claims it to be the “largest non-associated gas field” in the Kingdom. 

The move is part of the Kingdom’s push to commercialize its unconventional resources and expand Aramco’s integrated gas portfolio. 


London-based Knight Frank expands Dubai team as real estate continues boom

London-based Knight Frank expands Dubai team as real estate continues boom
Updated 17 min 42 sec ago

London-based Knight Frank expands Dubai team as real estate continues boom

London-based Knight Frank expands Dubai team as real estate continues boom
  • The firm hired Andrew Cummings, who has been involved in major sales transactions in Dubai, including two 100-million-dirham properties

DUBAI: London-based real estate firm Knight Frank has hired a veteran broker in Dubai as it expands its operations in the emirate, particularly targeting the luxury market. 

The firm hired Andrew Cummings, who has been involved in major sales transactions in Dubai, including two 100-million-dirham properties, which at the time were the second and third highest sales in the emirate’s residential market history. 

It comes as Dubai experiences a surge in sales transactions, particularly in the luxury residential market, in recent months.

“With Dubai’s property market roaring back to life and seeing record growth in 2021, now is absolutely the time to capitalize on this momentum,” Cummings said in a statement. 


Saudi firm bags $14m contract to supply steel pipes to Uruguay 

Saudi firm bags $14m contract to supply steel pipes to Uruguay 
Updated 22 min 54 sec ago

Saudi firm bags $14m contract to supply steel pipes to Uruguay 

Saudi firm bags $14m contract to supply steel pipes to Uruguay 
  • The supply contract will run for three months, the company said in a bourse filing

DUBAI: The Saudi Steel Pipe Company has won orders worth SR52.4 million ($13.96 million) to supply steel pipes for oil and gas to Uruguay-based Tenaris Global Services.

The supply contract will run for three months, the company said in a bourse filing. 

The impact of the deal will reflect in the company’s first-quarter earnings next year. 


Startup of the Week: Wafeer — helping Saudis spend wisely and save money

Startup of the Week: Wafeer — helping Saudis spend wisely and save money
Updated 27 November 2021

Startup of the Week: Wafeer — helping Saudis spend wisely and save money

Startup of the Week: Wafeer — helping Saudis spend wisely and save money

JEDDAH: Personal finance app Wafeer is the only service in Saudi Arabia that automatically tracks user’s spending patterns in a bid to help them stick to budgets.
The fintech company was founded by Salah Al-Bassam, Ahmad Ramadan and Abdulaziz Al-Jasser in 2019.
Each founder brings their own skills to the firm — Al-Bassam is an investment professional, Ramadan specialized in tech, while Al-Jasser is an engineer.
“We believe this was the formula that made Wafeer what it is right now, the broad and diverse experience that each founder brings to the table and of course our value add investors,” Al-Bassam told Arab News.
In March, Wafeer raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-seed funding round led by Nama Ventures, with participation from RAI group, WomenSpark, and several angel investors.
At the time, Nama Venture’s general partner Mohammed Alzubi said: “We first met the Wafeer team in August of 2020. The first thing that stood out for us was how complementary was the skillsets of the team, with real role clarity from the get go.”
Al-Bassam explains that its software automatically updates expenses that are paid through the app, rather than needing manual entry.
“Beyond tracking user’s expenses, Wafeer offers personalized advice using artificial intelligence helping users get notified before overspending and gives them recommendations that help cut spending or create wiggle room,” Al-Bassam said.
He added the Saudi Vision 2030 growth initiative highlights the importance of creating more awareness of spending, savings and investment through its Financial Sector Development Program.
Al-Bassam said: “It is one of the Vision's realization programs. This program has several goals, the most important of which are achieving financial diversity, stability, and promoting the culture of saving.
“Our goal at Wafeer is to play a role in achieving these objectives with the aim of answering this ongoing question that arises at the end of each month: What did I spend my salary on?”
Wafeer has 82,000 active users in its platform, who have notched up almost 1 million transactions.
The startup has partnered up with big companies in the region, such as online marketplace Noon and Saudi fast food app Hungerstation to provide special offers to customers.
Al-Bassam said: “We are proud of our partnerships, we have signed a number of strategic partnerships, most recently with Noon and Hungerstation to provide Wafeer users with exclusive discounts and offers that match their spending behavior.”
Wafeer currently only operates in the Kingdom, but has plans to extend its services to other Middle Eastern and North African countries.


Americans spent $14bn online during holiday season, says report

Americans spent $14bn online during holiday season, says report
Updated 27 November 2021

Americans spent $14bn online during holiday season, says report

Americans spent $14bn online during holiday season, says report
  • Cyber Monday predicted to be the biggest online shopping day of 2021

RIYADH: US consumers spent $14 billion online during Thanksgiving and Black Friday, according to data from Adobe Analytics, a wing of Adobe’s business that specializes in data insights and tracks transactions at 80 of the top 100 US retailers. 

Black Friday

The report said $8.9 billion were spent on Black Friday and $5.1 of online sales were reported on Thanksgiving. Sales on both occasions slid in 2021 as compared to the previous year.

Forbes quoted Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights, as saying: “We are seeing that more purchasing was done earlier in the season as retailers put forth promotions as early as October prompting consumers to shop early.”

Many retailers closed physical stores on Thanksgiving this year, as they did in 2020, amid a labor shortage and the coronavirus pandemic. Stores reopened the day after Thanksgiving, and shopper visits increased by 47.5 percent compared to 2020, but fell by 28.3 percent when compared to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, according to data from Sensormatic Solutions.

Supply chain challenges and shipping delays may have prompted shoppers to visit stores in order to increase the chances of securing gifts in time for Christmas. More are making purchases online that they can pick up in-store, which keeps shipping costs down.

Macy’s, Walmart, Target and Kohl’s , for example, gave shoppers the flexibility to shop online, in stores or through hybrid methods, walked away as winners on Black Friday, said Louis Navellier, chairman of investor Navellier & Associates.

Of those purchasing online, slightly more used their smartphones. Canadian e-commerce company Shopify said the number of shoppers on its platform who used smartphones to make purchases increased this year to 72 percent from 67 percent last year.

Retailers’ moves to encourage buying holiday gifts earlier could also lessen the importance of Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving.

BNPL

Buy-now-pay-later solutions like Sezzle, Afterpay, Plan It by American Express and PayPal’s Pay in 4 are growing in usage as consumers look for ways to manage their holiday budgets. BNPL revenue is up 422 percent in November and is over pre-pandemic levels (Nov 2019) for online purchases. 

Cyber Monday sales

Adobe is predicting that Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day of 2021, with between $10.2 billion and $11.3 billion  in online spending.