WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Stronger oil demand unlikely to hamper OPEC+ plans

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Stronger oil demand unlikely to hamper OPEC+ plans
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Updated 30 May 2021

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Stronger oil demand unlikely to hamper OPEC+ plans

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Stronger oil demand unlikely to hamper OPEC+ plans
  • Goldman Sachs estimates that the Brent price would still reach $80 per barrel in the last quarter 2021

Oil prices recovered from last week’s losses. Prices rose to a two-year high, but huge resistance kept the Brent crude price slightly below the $70 mark.

Oil prices rose on the back of increased global oil demand and renewed optimism from the lifting of restrictions in much of Europe and the US.

As the rollout of global vaccinations continues to accelerate and people start traveling more, the upcoming strong demand for gasoline and jet fuel will be the primary driver.

On the week closing, the Brent crude price rose to $69.63 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate rose to $66.32 per barrel.

OPEC+ output cuts are set to reach 5.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from July onward to April 2022 unless the agreed outputs strategy is adjusted.

OPEC+ is expected to return 2.1 million bpd to the market by July, which is already factored in oil prices that remain sustainable, not because the demand for crude oil exceeds supply but because of OPEC+ production curtailments.

Producers’ output cuts strategy is not expected to change when OPEC+ meets in early June, but surprises are always expected to both the bullish and bearish sides. The group keeps monitoring market developments closely while easing output cuts.

OPEC+ output cuts do not seem to be influenced by the possible increase in Iranian supply. Some market analysts seem concerned that Iranian oil might flood the market or weigh down on prices.

Iranian barrels will not add even a short-term bearishness. The coming summer demand surge, where oil market spreads are suggesting a very tight supply outlook ahead, is set to further tighten in the coming months. This is less likely to be offset by the ongoing crisis in India and will outstrip the potential for a quick return of Iran’s oil. The physical oil market for spot barrels is becoming more constrained with traders willing to pay premiums to secure more immediate barrels.

It is unlikely to change after the return of 2.1 million bpd of supply from OPEC+ to the market in July. This is in anticipation of high global demand, despite the growing infections in India.

OPEC+ plans are unlikely to be hampered as demand is rebounding stronger than expected, and the anticipated return of the 6 million bpd in global crude demand in 2021, concentrated in the second half of the year, seems right. Also, Goldman Sachs estimates that the Brent price would still reach $80 per barrel in the last quarter 2021.

The latest figures from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on May 25, 2021 showed that long positions on crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange numbered 636,998 contracts, up by +11,939 contracts from the previous week (1,000 barrels for each contract).

• Faisal Faeq is an energy and oil marketing adviser. He was formerly with OPEC and Saudi Aramco. 

Twitter: @faisalfaeq


Skeptics fail to deter companies from entering crypto fray: Market wrap

Skeptics fail to deter companies from entering crypto fray: Market wrap
Updated 9 sec ago

Skeptics fail to deter companies from entering crypto fray: Market wrap

Skeptics fail to deter companies from entering crypto fray: Market wrap
  • Paypal Crypto is now available to its UK customers

RIYADH: Paypal has completed the first international expansion of its cryptocurrency offering outside the US. 

Paypal Crypto is now available to its UK customers allowing them to buy, hold and sell four types of cryptocurrencies.

The official account of Paypal UK tweeted: “We are delighted to share that all eligible customers in the UK can now buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies such as: Bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash and litecoin from their Paypal account.”

Meanwhile, Laos has allowed a series of cryptocurrency mining and trading projects in the country in contravention of the policies of its central bank which issued warnings against cryptocurrencies just a month ago. The move to allow bitcoin mining is part of the government’s efforts to compensate for the losses caused due to a decline in tourism due to the coronavirus disease pandemic. 

Six companies have been authorized to start cryptocurrency trading and mining operations in the country, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Laos could also try to attract some of the miners who were expelled from China.

Skepticism

Sergei Shvetsov, deputy chairman of the board of directors of the Bank of Russia, stated that the bank remains skeptical about the acquisition of cryptocurrencies and will not support increased access to crypto markets for Russian investors, most of whom are not certified, according to media reports.

Russia’s central bank is now working with commercial banks to delay payments made on digital asset exchanges.

The move aims to limit cryptocurrency purchases that Russian investors make based on emotion and are not qualified to do so. The move is likely to affect peer-to-peer and over-the-counter trading platforms.

Speaking at the International Banking Forum, the senior official explained: “When it comes to buying cryptocurrency for investment purposes, we are skeptical about this idea. We believe it’s different from traditional assets, it’s highly risky and has signs of a pyramid scheme.”

Trading

Bitcoin, the leading digital currency, traded lower on Sunday and slipped by 1.57 percent to $47,690.80 at 5:52 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most-traded cryptocurrency, was down by 3.46 percent at $3,357.70, according to data from CoinDesk.

 

 


UAE economy minister to visit Britain seeking trade deal

UAE economy minister to visit Britain seeking trade deal
Updated 19 September 2021

UAE economy minister to visit Britain seeking trade deal

UAE economy minister to visit Britain seeking trade deal
  • Trade between the two countries was worth almost $8.1 billion in 2020

DUBAI: The UAE’s economy minister will lead a high-level delegation to Britain this week, the ministry said on Sunday, as the Gulf state seeks to deepen trade ties.

Abdulla bin Touq Al-Marri and the delegation will meet British ministers, officials and representatives from the private sector to discuss recently announced UAE economic policies.

One of those policies includes the UAE seeking to seal what it calls a comprehensive economic agreement covering trade and foreign investment with Britain and seven other countries.

The delegation would also discuss ways to develop economic ties and strengthen cooperation in trade, investment, healthcare and energy, among other sectors, the ministry said.

The UAE last week announced it had expanded an investment partnership with the British government, committing  £10 billion ($13.7 billion) to invest in the UK over five years.

The UAE delegation will also include local government, investment company and private sector representatives, the ministry said.

Britain is the UAE’s third largest non-oil trade partner in Europe, with trade between the two countries worth almost $8.1 billion in 2020, it said.


Iraq launches project to reduce flaring at oilfields

Iraq launches project to reduce flaring at oilfields
Updated 19 September 2021

Iraq launches project to reduce flaring at oilfields

Iraq launches project to reduce flaring at oilfields
  • Iraq is the second-biggest user of flaring worldwide after Russia.

BAGHDAD: Iraq has launched a new project that aims to recover gas normally set alight during oil extraction at two oilfields in the country’s south.
Flaring, or burning off excess gas during oil extraction, is a highly polluting practice but far less costly than processing it for sale.
According to the World Bank, Iraq is the second-biggest user of flaring worldwide after Russia.
The new project, signed in 2017 with oil services company Baker Hughes, will eventually allow 200 million cubic feet (around 5.6 million cubic meters) of gas a day that is usually torched on the Nasiriyah and Gharraf oilfields to be captured, according to a statement from the Oil Ministry sent to the media on Sunday.
It seeks to “exploit the gas that escapes from all oilfields across all Iraq, consolidate national gas production” and help preserve the environment, Oil Minister Ihsan Ismail was quoted as saying in the statement.
A ministry official told AFP that the implementation of the project and exploitation of the gas would have to wait 30 months for the completion of infrastructure works.
The World Bank said the amount of gas torched in Iraq annually reached 17.37 million cubic meters last year.
Earlier this month, French giant TotalEnergies signed a contract to invest in oil, gas and solar production in Iraq.
The French major plans initially to invest $10 billion in infrastructure, the proceeds of which will then allow a second round of investments of $17 billion, the officials said.
One of the projects will see the construction of a complex to exploit production from the sector’s gas fields.
Rather than flaring or burning off the excess, the plan is to recover it for use in electricity generation.
The premier’s office has said this will “reduce gas imports.”


Saudi holdings of US treasury bills rose for 2nd month in a row

Saudi holdings of US treasury bills rose for 2nd month in a row
Updated 19 September 2021

Saudi holdings of US treasury bills rose for 2nd month in a row

Saudi holdings of US treasury bills rose for 2nd month in a row
  • The Kingdom is the 16th largest holder of US debt

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s holding of US Treasury securities increased for the second consecutive month in July, reaching $128.1 billion, according to new data from the US government.

The holdings increased by 0.2 percent from June, and 2.8 percent from July last year. However, the Saudi holdings in July is down by 5.2 percent from the beginning of the year when it was $135.1 billion, the data showed.

This increase in June and July is in line with global trends, as countries around the world increased their holdings by 5.7 percent in the two months leading up to July.

However, analysis showed that Saudi holdings are still down from their peak of $184.4 billion in February 2020. As the global pandemic took hold in March last year, the Saudi government decreased its holding, as the Kingdom’s reserves were hit by the collapse in oil prices.

In July last year, Saudi Arabia began to boost its holdings once again, peaking in November and then continuing to decline by low single percentages till May 2021.

“The rise in US Treasury holding was expected “given the higher yields on US T-bills compared to bank deposit,” Dr. Mohamed Ramady, a London-based independent economist, told Arab News.

He said in the case of Saudi Arabia, higher oil prices have also provided it with more flexibility in its investment portfolio maturity profile. 

The Kingdom is the 16th largest holder of US debt. Japan remains No.1 with $1310.2 billion in US bonds, followed by China ($1068.3 billion), the UK ($539.5 billion), Ireland ($319.7 billion) and Switzerland ($298.3 billion).

The UAE holds $58 billion, an increase of nearly 100 percent year-on-year. Kuwait holds $46.4 billion, down by 3.1 percent year-on-year.


Saudi Arabia’s Algosaibi family plans recovery after $7.5bn debt deal

Saudi Arabia’s Algosaibi family plans recovery after $7.5bn debt deal
Updated 19 September 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Algosaibi family plans recovery after $7.5bn debt deal

Saudi Arabia’s Algosaibi family plans recovery after $7.5bn debt deal
  • It comes after successful negotiations over its $7.5 billion in debt since 2009 – a case many experts saw as a test for Saudi Arabia’s new bankruptcy law

DUBAI: The Algosaibi family is looking to restore some of its businesses after its landmark deal with creditors last week, Bloomberg has reported, citing the conglomerate’s chief restructuring officer, Simon Charlton.

In an interview, Charlton said the company was looking “where it would make the most sense and at what sort of level to return to the market.”

It comes after successful negotiations over its $7.5 billion in debt since 2009 – a case many experts saw as a test for Saudi Arabia’s new bankruptcy law.

Under the deal, Ahmah Hamad Algosabi & Brothers Co (AHAB) will repay its creditors 26 percent of their claim values through a mixture of cash, shares, and Saudi real estate.

“Our hope is that as the company emerges from this and gets access to credit and is back into the credit markets and will be able to raise working capital finance, we’ll be able to rebuild those businesses,” Charlton said.

AHAB will retain most of its operating manufacturing businesses, he added, including logistics, hospitality, and retail.