Oil hits top price in 3 years as global recovery gathers pace

Oil hits top price in 3 years as global recovery gathers pace
The recovery in oil prices from last spring has been in part driven by improving economic conditions around the world. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 28 September 2021

Oil hits top price in 3 years as global recovery gathers pace

Oil hits top price in 3 years as global recovery gathers pace
  • Analysts forecast higher demand for oil as the global economy recovered from the pandemic downturn more quickly than expected

DUBAI: The price of oil surged on Monday to within a few cents of $80 a barrel, its highest level for nearly three years, as traders reassessed their outlook for global economic recovery amid tightening crude supply.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, ended the day at $79.60 a barrel — a 90 per cent rise in the last year — and analysts forecast higher demand for oil as the global economy recovered from the pandemic downturn more quickly than expected.
Damien Courvalin, commodities analyst at US bank Goldman Sachs, said: “While we have long held a bullish oil view, the current global oil supply-demand deficit is larger than we expected.” Global demand recovery from the impact of the coronavirus delta variant had been faster than previous estimates, he said, and Goldman raised its year-end forecast by $10 to $90 per barrel.
Christian Malek of JP Morgan restated his forecast of $100 per barrel as all commodities go through a “supercycle” in prices. “The oil supercycle is underway,” he said.
The recovery in oil prices from last spring has been in part driven by improving economic conditions around the world, but also to the action taken by OPEC+ — the alliance of producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia — to curb supplies when demand was weak.
Although OPEC+ has begun to reverse the cuts, with an extra 400,000 barrels per month allowed until Dec. 2022, Goldman said the oil market would be in “structural deficit” again in 2023 as demand exceeded supply and investment remained low.
Despite the increased OPEC+ output quotas, some big producers have found it difficult to meet the new limits and give the global market all it needs. Saudi Arabia, with the biggest spare capacity in OPEC+, will probablybe a big winner from rising prices and output.
Gas shortages in Europe and elsewhere are also likely to give a boost to oil prices. “Winter demand risks are further now squarely skewed to the upside as to the global gas shortage will increase oil-fired power generation,” Goldman said.
The next OPEC+ meeting will decide whether to stick to the agreed 400,000 increase, but faces a conundrum if prices continue to rise. Some energy experts believe US shale oil could be on the cusp of a resurgence that could eat into OPEC+ market share.
West Texas Intermediate, the US standard, rose above $75 a barrel yesterday, a level many producers will regard as sufficient to justify resuming drilling.


Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets

Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets
Updated 14 sec ago

Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets

Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets

LONDON: Sterling touched a new 20-month high against the euro on Tuesday, driven by diverging interest rate expectations for Britain and the eurozone, though concerns over economic growth and EU ties kept the currency broadly flat on the day.

Money markets are pricing in a rate hike by the Bank of England at its Nov. 4 meeting, helping the pound rally around 2 oercebt versus the euro and the dollar so far this month .

The euro, meanwhile, is being dogged by signs the European Central Bank will be among the last to raise interest rates in the developed world. Monday data showing German business morale deteriorating for the fourth month running in October, cemented expectations of a dovish message from Thursday’s ECB meeting.

By 0850 GMT, sterling traded at 84.2 pence to the euro, 0.2 percent firmer on the day at the highest since February 2020, while against the dollar it was marginally firmer at $1.378, having come off five-week highs touched last week.

However, Britain's weak economic data — including last Friday’s unexpected drop in retail sales — has capped the pound’s gains. Short-dated gilt yields too have slipped from 17-month highs hit last week, with fears growing that impending policy tightening will exacerbate the slowdown.

“Euro-sterling is trading close to the bottom end of its post-referendum low on BoE hike expectations. But UK growth momentum is weakening, which could see euro-sterling turn,” Bilal Hafeez, head of the MacroHive consultancy, told clients.

There are also concerns around potential tax hikes that may be unveiled in Wednesday's budget announcement, alongside EU-UK wrangling over provisions that govern post-Brexit trade between Britain, Northern Ireland, and EU member Ireland.

Britain has threatened to take unilateral action if a solution cannot be found at the ongoing talks, which some reckon could emerge as a serious headwind for the pound.


Ma’aden pledges 60% emissions cut by 2040

Ma’aden pledges 60% emissions cut by 2040
Updated 15 min 40 sec ago

Ma’aden pledges 60% emissions cut by 2040

Ma’aden pledges 60% emissions cut by 2040

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Mining Co., or Ma’aden, will cut carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2040 and reduce groundwater consumption by 65 percent, its chief executive said in an interview with Al-Arabiya. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Abdulaziz Al-Harbi said the production at the mining company would not slow.

The mining company on Monday posted profit of SR1.27 billion ($339 million), after deduction of zakat and taxes, in the first nine months of the year as compared to SR6.47 million a year ago. Revenue over the same period rose 44 percent to SR6.7 billion.


Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor

Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor
Updated 35 min 2 sec ago

Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor

Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor

Saudi Arabia’s central bank (SAMA) should have no involvement with crypto-assets as many of those who deal with them are criminals, according to its governor.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Fahad Al Mubarak claimed there would be no smashing of the banking system by digital currencies such as Bitcoin, but instead an expansion of a centralized system for regulating the tender.

Regulators are still playing catch-up when it comes to how crypto-curencies should be governed, he added.

Hussain Abdulla, co-CEO of Qatar-based investment bank QInvest, claimed the products were not yet Sharia-compliant, and more understanding was needed.

Abdulla warned though that the Middle East is lagging way behind the US and Europe when it comes to digitization of the banking industry, adding: “Winners in the banking industry will be those who take steps today toward digitization rather than later.”

The SAMA governor talked up the rise of online banking during the Covid-19 crisis, and said: “Before the pandemic only 35 percent of the transactions were electronic, now it’s around 55 percent “


Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework

Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework
Updated 26 October 2021

Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework

Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework

DUBAI: The regulator for DIFC, Dubai’s state-owned financial free zone and the Middle East’s major finance center, has released the first part of a regulatory framework for digital tokens aimed at opening up trading of the fast-growing asset class.

The move by the Dubai Financial Services Authority comes as Gulf countries start to look at how to regulate digital assets to attract new forms of business as regional economic competition heats up.

The framework initially covers security and derivative tokens it refers to as investment tokens — digital representations of rights and obligations equivalent to those conferred by assets such as shares or futures contracts, issued, transferred and stored using distributed ledger technology such as blockchain.

It expects to issue another consultation this year for tokens not yet covered by the regulation, including exchange tokens — also known as cryptocurrencies — utility tokens and some asset-backed tokens known as stablecoins.

Last month, the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority and the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority agreed a framework that allows DWTCA to approve and license financial activities relating to crypto assets.

 Bahrain in 2019 released rules regulating crypto assets. 


Customer demand for quick delivery is huge challenge for retailers, warns CEOs

Customer demand for quick delivery is huge challenge for retailers, warns CEOs
Updated 26 October 2021

Customer demand for quick delivery is huge challenge for retailers, warns CEOs

Customer demand for quick delivery is huge challenge for retailers, warns CEOs

Customer demand for fast delivery of products is one of the biggest challenges facing companies today, according to retail group leaders.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, heads of major firms set out how pandemic-caused changes in shopping behavior, together with developments in technology, has shifted expectations from consumers.

Yusuf Ali, chairman of Abu Dhabi-based Lulu Group International, told delegates that e-commerce was not growing in the Gulf region before Covid-19 swept the globe, but now the picture is different and his company “will increase e-commerce platforms”. 

John Hadden, CEO of Alshaya Group, headquartered in Kuwait, highlighted food and beverage deliveries as an area changed by the pandemic.

“The new challenge is how to get the right products to the consumers as quickly as possible,” he said.

The head of online marketplace Noon.com warned that customers now expect small grocery deliveries within 20 minutes, adding: “Buyers’ desire to get orders quickly is increasing and this is the challenge for companies.”