Brent crude falls below $75 amid Chinese economy concerns, OPEC output

Brent crude falls below $75 amid Chinese economy concerns, OPEC output
Crude prices rallied last week after a report showed a bigger-than-expected draw from U.S. storage facilities. (Reuters)
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Updated 02 August 2021

Brent crude falls below $75 amid Chinese economy concerns, OPEC output

Brent crude falls below $75 amid Chinese economy concerns, OPEC output
  • Chinese factory activity posts slowest growth since before pandemic
  • OPEC output reached 15-month high in July - Reuters survey

LONDON: Oil prices dropped, sending Brent crude back below $75 a barrel after a report showed Chinese factory activity declined as the world’s second largest oil consumer battles a resurgence in coronavirus infections.

Brent crude dropped 2 percent to $74.81 a barrel at 2:15 p.m. in London, after ending July at the highest level in more than two weeks.

The international oil benchmark climbed 2.5 percent last week after a rollercoaster month that saw it swoon from a two-year high of $77.16 on July 5 to $68.62 on July 19 before recovering to end the month at $76.33.

Concerns over the effect a resurgence in coronavirus cases might have on demand for crude were allayed on Wednesday when a report showed a bigger-than-expected drawdown of crude stockpiles the previous week.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped 0.8 percent today to $73.24.

Chinese factory activity slowed in July to its lowest level since the start of the pandemic, data showed Saturday, as manufacturing was impacted by slowing demand, weak exports and extreme weather.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a key gauge of manufacturing activity in the world’s second-largest economy, dropped to 50.4 in July from June’s 50.9, the National Bureau of Statistics said. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

“China has been leading economic recovery in Asia and if the pullback deepens, concerns will grow that the global outlook will see a significant decline,” Edward Moya, a senior analyst at OANDA, told Reuters.

Oil prices were also damped by a Reuters survey that showed oil output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rose in July to its highest level since April 2020.

An exchange of words over an attack on an Israeli-managed oil products tanker off the coast of Oman on Thursday appeared to provide little support to the crude market.

Iran will respond promptly to any threat against its security, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday, after the US, Israel and the UK blamed Tehran for the attack..


France’s OVHCloud takes first step toward IPO and hopes to raise around $470m

France’s OVHCloud takes first step toward IPO and hopes to raise around $470m
Updated 5 sec ago

France’s OVHCloud takes first step toward IPO and hopes to raise around $470m

France’s OVHCloud takes first step toward IPO and hopes to raise around $470m
PARIS: French cloud computing services provider OVHcloud said it was hoping to raise 400 million euros ($468.64 million) via the issuance of new shares as part of a planned initial public offering (IPO) on the Paris stock market.
OVHCloud hopes the IPO will “accelerate its growth trajectory and consolidate its European leadership position while continuing to expand in North America and Asia,” the company said, as it released its IPO registration document.
The family-owned company added on Monday that it was targeting a revenue growth of 10-15 percent for 2022 and an organic revenue growth rate in the mid-twenties by 2025.
These growth targets would be achieved while maintaining an adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) margin in line with the fiscal 2020 level.
No dividend payments were anticipated in the mid-term with cash-flows expected to be re-invested in line with the company’s accelerating growth trajectory, it added.
Following the IPO, the Klaba family will retain a substantial majority stake in OVHcloud.
The company had initially announced its IPO plans in March, two days before a major blaze destroyed one of its data centers in eastern France — a disaster that had raised concerns about its capacity to go public.
In June, OVHCloud re-committed to an IPO but provided no timetable.

Pakistan banks move to close gender gap

Pakistan banks move to close gender gap
Updated 4 min 34 sec ago

Pakistan banks move to close gender gap

Pakistan banks move to close gender gap
  • The policy titled “Banking on Equality: Reducing the Gender Gap in Financial Inclusion” identified five key pillars

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) launched a gender mainstreaming policy, which aims to reduce the gender gap in the financial industry and improve women’s access to financial services, a statement said.

The policy titled “Banking on Equality: Reducing the Gender Gap in Financial Inclusion” identified five key pillars, according to the statement issued on Friday.

It will aim at improving gender diversity in financial institutions and their access points; developing and marketing women centric products and services; creating women desks at bank branches for improved facilitation for women customers; cgathering gender-disaggregated data and target setting; and institutionalizing a policy forum on Gender at SBP.

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Abdullah bin Zaraa appointed as head of Saudi Arabia’s executive office at the IMF

Abdullah bin Zaraa appointed as head of Saudi Arabia’s executive office at the IMF
Updated 15 min 28 sec ago

Abdullah bin Zaraa appointed as head of Saudi Arabia’s executive office at the IMF

Abdullah bin Zaraa appointed as head of Saudi Arabia’s executive office at the IMF
  • Bin Zaraa was chief operating officer and chief executive officer of the National Debt Management Center

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan has appointed Abdullah bin Zaraa as head of the Saudi executive fffice at the International Monetary Fund, Argaam reported.

Bin Zaraa was chief operating officer and chief executive officer of the National Debt Management Center.

Saudi Arabia's executive office is a permanent member of the IMF executive board, where it represents the Kingdom independently. 


Saudi Ground Services signs $27.2m handling services deal with Fly Dubai

Saudi Ground Services signs $27.2m handling services deal with Fly Dubai
Updated 20 min 54 sec ago

Saudi Ground Services signs $27.2m handling services deal with Fly Dubai

Saudi Ground Services signs $27.2m handling services deal with Fly Dubai
  • SGS will undertake ground handling services for Fly Dubai in all the Kingdom’s airports

RIYADH: UAE's Fly Dubai has signed an agreement for handling services with the Saudi Ground Services Company (SGS) for a period of five years, with a value exceeding 100 million Emirati dirhams ($27.2 million), Al Bayan paper reported.

Under the agreement, SGS will undertake ground handling services for Fly Dubai in all the Kingdom’s airports SGS will undertake ground handling services for Fly Dubai in all the Kingdom’s airports, including the 11 airports in which the airline operates.

Flydubai has expanded its network to more than 95 destinations, including many unserved destinations such as Minsk, Salzburg and Tirana.

The carrier also recently announced the start of operations to Ankara in Turkey, Ljubljana in Slovenia and Warsaw in Poland.


Egypt to sell minority stake in state payments firm e-finance

Egypt to sell minority stake in state payments firm e-finance
Updated 19 September 2021

Egypt to sell minority stake in state payments firm e-finance

Egypt to sell minority stake in state payments firm e-finance

CAIRO: Egyptian state-controlled payments firm e-finance for Digital and Financial Investments said on Sunday it would offer up to 14.5 percent of its capital in an initial public offering in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Founded in 2005, e-finance said in a statement it is the sole entity authorized to operate the government’s financial network, including processing and settling payment and collection transactions.

The sale is one of several planned for this year.

In May, Egypt sold a 51 percent stake in state-owned Arab Investment Bank to privately owned EFG Hermes, its first sale of a majority bank stake since 2006.

The government announced in 2018 it intended to sell minority stakes in nearly two dozen companies, but those sales have been delayed repeatedly by market downturns and more recently by the coronavirus pandemic.

e-finance said it would float 177.8 million new shares on the stock exchange and 80 million shares owned by current shareholders, to both institutional and retail investors.

Among its shareholders are three state-owned banks: National Investment Bank, with 63.64 percent, and the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr, each with 9.09 percent, according to e-finance’s 2019 annual report.

Egyptian Banks Co., a payments operator led by the central bank, and a firm called Egyptian Company for Investment Projects each own another 9.09 percent.

e-finance's revenue rose to 1.23 billion Egyptian pounds ($78 million) in 2020 and 904 million pounds in the first half of 2021, a 2018-20 compound annual growth rate of 30 percent, it said.

The sale is subject to market conditions and regulatory approvals, the statement added.