Oil prices drop after OPEC+ decision despite omicron fears: Daily Virus Update

Oil prices drop after OPEC+ decision despite omicron fears: Daily Virus Update
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Updated 03 December 2021

Oil prices drop after OPEC+ decision despite omicron fears: Daily Virus Update

Oil prices drop after OPEC+ decision despite omicron fears: Daily Virus Update
  • Since August, the group has been adding an additional 400,000 barrels per day

DUBAI: Oil prices dropped on Thursday as OPEC+ decided to stick to plans to increase production by 400,000 barrels per day in January.

The drop came after Brent crude futures rose $1.24, or 1.8 percent, to $70.11 by 0748 GMT, having eased 0.5 percent in the previous session.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained $1.13, or 1.7 percent, to $66.70 a barrel, after a 0.9 percent drop on Wednesday.

December 02

Global oil prices have lost more than $10 a barrel since last Thursday, when news of omicron first shook investors.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, together known as OPEC+, will likely decide on Thursday whether to release more oil into the market as previously planned or restrain supply.

Since August, the group has been adding an additional 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of output to global supply each month, as it gradually winds down record cuts agreed in 2020.

The new variant, though, has complicated the decision-making process, with some observers speculating OPEC+ could pause those additions in January in an attempt to slow supply growth.

December 01

The OECD warned Wednesday that the omicron coronavirus variant threatens the global economic recovery as it lowered the growth outlook for 2021 and appealed for a swifter rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

The global economy is now expected to expand by 5.6 percent this year, down from an earlier forecast of 5.7 percent, the OECD said in its updated economic outlook

 Nigeria’s public health authorities said Wednesday that the new COVID-19 variant, omicron, was identified in samples from three passengers travelling to the continent’s most populous country from South Africa.

“Genomic surveillance has now identified and confirmed Nigeria’s first cases of the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, now known as the omicron variant,” the head of Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control, Ifedayo Adetifa, said in a statement.

Earlier, the UK’s health secretary, Sajid Javid, said it was likely the vaccines would remain effective against serious disease from the new variant. He added it could be two more weeks before more was known about the variant.

Japan has asked airlines to stop taking new incoming flight bookings over concerns about the virus variant.

“We have asked airlines to halt accepting all new incoming flight reservations for one month starting December 1,” a transport ministry official told AFP, adding that existing bookings would not be affected.

Oil prices rose more than 3 percent on Wednesday, recouping a big chunk of the previous session’s steep losses, as major producers prepared to discuss how to respond to the threat of a hit to fuel demand from the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Brent crude futures rose $2.46, or 3.6 percent, to $71.69 a barrel at 0742 GMT, after rising to as high as $71.95 earlier in the day.

The benchmark had slumped 3.9 percent on Tuesday.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $2.13, or 3.2 percent, to $68.31 a barrel, after a 5.4 percent drop on Tuesday.

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

November 30

Amid speculations on the impact of omicron on oil demand, the Saudi energy minister said it was too early to tell, adding OPEC+ was keen to monitor the situation.

The group of oil-producing countries has rescheduled its meetings to later this week to have more time in assessing the impact, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, told Arab News in an Aramco ceremony in Dhahran on Monday.

Earlier, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said, there is “no need for emergency measures in the oil market.”

He added OPEC+ partners did not call to review the current deal.

Oil prices rebounded on Monday after a huge slump last week, which was led by fears brought by the new coronavirus variant.

Brent crude futures climbed $3.11, or 4.3 percent, to $75.83 a barrel by 0355 GMT, after falling $9.50 on Friday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up $3.47, or 5.1 percent, at $71.62 a barrel, having tumbled $10.24 in the previous session.

Oil prices plunged more than 10 percent on Friday, their biggest one-day drop since April 2020,  as the new variant spooked investors across financial markets.

There are worries the new variant could derail the global economic recovery, potentially hurting oil demand, while it has also added to concerns that a supply surplus could swell in the first quarter.

Economists at Goldman Sachs outlined four scenarios that could happen as the world cautiously navigates the situation. 

If omicron turns out to transmit faster than its predecessor, Delta, it will result in first-quarter global growth slowing to a 2 percent quarter-on-quarter annual rate.

The economists said if both the disease severity and immunity against hospitalizations are worse than for Delta, global economic growth will take a more substantial hit, but inflation impact will be “ambitious.”

On a slightly positive note, if omicron spreads slower than delta, it will have no significant effect on global growth and inflation, Goldman Sachs said.

If the new variant is more transmissible, but causes less severe disease, global growth could be higher than Goldman’s baseline.

November 29

Most Gulf stock markets ended lower on Sunday, with the Saudi and Dubai indexes suffering their biggest single-day fall in nearly two years as fears of a potentially vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant spooked investors.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

The World Health Organization on Friday designated the omicron coronavirus variant detected in South Africa as being “of concern” — the fifth variant to be given that designation

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index slid 4.5 percent, dragged down by a 5.4 percent fall for Al Rajhi Bank and a 6.2 percent decline for Saudi Basic Industries.

The Kingdom halted flights from and to Malawi, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, Mauritius and the Comoros Islands on Sunday owing to concerns related to the spread of the new COVID-19 strain, state news agency SPA reported on Twitter.

The latest pandemic developments also sent oil prices, a key catalyst for the Gulf’s financial markets, plunging by $10 a barrel on Friday for their largest one-day drop since April 2020. The new variant added to concerns that an oil supply surplus could swell in the first quarter.

“It’s obvious that traders are concerned about the implications of the newly mutated virus which brings back the lock-down memories from last year. If Saudi decides to impose more restrictive measures the economy will be impacted significantly and the growth prospects next year will vanish”, Mohammed Al-Suwayed, chief executive officer of Razeen Capital, said. He said the time is now suitable for investors to reinvest in the market since the share prices are relatively low.

Dubai’s main share index declined 5.2 percent, its biggest intraday fall since March 2020, with most stocks in negative territory.

Blue-chip developer Emaar Properties plunged 9.4 percent and budget carrier Air Arabia retreated by 7.1 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index fell 1.8 percent, weighed down by a 3.3 percent drop for telecoms company Etisalat and a 1.4 percent decline for First Abu Dhabi Bank, the country’s largest lender.

The UAE has suspended entry for travelers from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique from Nov. 29 over concerns about the new coronavirus variant, the state news agency reported on Friday.

In Qatar, the index slipped by 2.8 percent as investors shunned stocks across board, with petrochemicals group Industries Qatar leading the losses.

Egypt’s blue-chip index lost 1.3 percent, with top lender Commercial International Bank retreating by 0.8 percent.

(With Reuters)


Saudi stocks poised to extend winning streak, omicron fears subside: Closing bell

Saudi stocks poised to extend winning streak, omicron fears subside: Closing bell
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Updated 12 sec ago

Saudi stocks poised to extend winning streak, omicron fears subside: Closing bell

Saudi stocks poised to extend winning streak, omicron fears subside: Closing bell

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s main TASI index ended higher for the seventh straight session, buoyed by strong investor sentiment stifling any lingering omicron fears.

TASI advanced 0.5 percent to close at 12,166 points after starting the session with mild gains, while the parallel market Nomu edged down by 0.4 percent to 26,180 points.

Tadawul group, owner of the Saudi Exchange, led the gainers as it added 5.8 percent to reach SR160 ($45) — its highest closing value since listing.

This was supported by advances in the Kingdom’s utility provider ACWA POWER Co., its largest lender the Saudi National Bank, and oil giant Saudi Aramco, up 0.2, 1.4 and 0.4 percent, respectively.

ACWA POWER re-appointed Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan as chairman of the board of directors for another three years.    

In the financial sector, Alinma bank was up 0.9 percent to a record high of SR27.9 and the Saudi British Bank, known as SABB, gained 1.9 percent.

Shares of Saudi franchise retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co. surged 3.7 percent. 

Earlier, the retailer submitted a filing to the Capital Market Authority for capital decrease, followed by capital increase through rights issue of SR1 billion.

Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances Corp., or SPIMACO, was up 1.5 percent after it sealed a deal with Swiss-based Vifor Pharma to localize the production of an injection.

In the oil market, Brent crude was down to $85.7 per barrel after crossing $86 earlier in the morning, and US WTI crude oil reached $83,7 per barrel as of 3:37 p.m. Saudi time.


Egypt’s issuance of securities surge 44% to $17.8 bn in 2021

Egypt’s issuance of securities surge 44% to $17.8 bn in 2021
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Updated 21 min 26 sec ago

Egypt’s issuance of securities surge 44% to $17.8 bn in 2021

Egypt’s issuance of securities surge 44% to $17.8 bn in 2021

Egypt saw issuances of securities worth 280 billion Egyptian pounds ($17.8 billion) in 2021, up by 44 percent from a year earlier, according to the country’s Financial Regulatory Authority.

Investments made by insurance companies also rose by 22.1 percent to 131.5 billion Egyptian pounds while mortgage financing soared by 138.2 percent to 8.1 billion Egyptian pounds, CNBC Arabia reported.

Data on the value of financial leasing contracts showed an increase of 35.5 percent to hit 79.8 billion Egyptian pounds in 2021.

In addition, the country had its first ever green bond issuance in 2021, valued at $100 million to aid in the move towards a green economy, according to Egypt Today.

Meanwhile, there were 3.5 million beneficiaries from the financing of micro, small and medium enterprises — which grew by 9.4 percent.


Bahrain’s Infracorp plans $800 million perpetual green sukuk sale

Bahrain’s Infracorp plans $800 million perpetual green sukuk sale
Getty Images
Updated 32 min 4 sec ago

Bahrain’s Infracorp plans $800 million perpetual green sukuk sale

Bahrain’s Infracorp plans $800 million perpetual green sukuk sale

Bahrain-based Infracorp, an infrastructure fund spun out of asset manager GFH Financial Group, aims to issue around $800 million in perpetual green sukuk — Islamic bonds — in the first quarter, GFH’s chief executive said on Monday.


Infracorp has hired banks to advise on the debt sale, GFH CEO Hisham Alrayes told Reuters in an interview, but did not name them. Allen & Overy was hired as legal adviser and KPMG as auditor.


Infracorp’s roughly $1 billion in capital will come from the sukuk as well as $200 million in equity.

The fund has $3 billion in assets under management and was spun off to allow Infracorp to focus on infrastructure assets while GFH mainly looks at financial instruments.


Proceeds from the sukuk sale will be eligible to finance environment, social and governance (ESG) goals, a focus in the Gulf and around the world as governments and investors acknowledge the need to curb emissions and improve corporate governance.


Alrayes said GFH was in talks with strategic and financial investors to buy a stake in Infracorp, which would initially reduce its stake in the spun-out company to 40 percent, and eventually dilute GFH’s share to 20 percent.


Eventually, he said this would “bring down our ownership and hence de-consolidate it from our book and (Infracorp) becomes one of our associates.”


GFH last year received approval to issue up to $300 million in Additional Tier 1 (AT1) sukuk — debt raised by financial institutions to shore up their core capital, Alrayes said.


GFH could issue between $100 million and $150 million in AT1 sukuk this year, should it need and if market conditions are right, he added. 


Indonesia’s trade surplus shrank sharply by 71% in December: Macro snapshot

Indonesia’s trade surplus shrank sharply by 71% in December: Macro snapshot
Updated 33 min 41 sec ago

Indonesia’s trade surplus shrank sharply by 71% in December: Macro snapshot

Indonesia’s trade surplus shrank sharply by 71% in December: Macro snapshot

Indonesia’s trade surplus narrowed sharply by a monthly rate of 71 percent in December as the country made higher purchases of machinery and mineral fuels.

The trade balance hit $1.02 billion in December, according to Statistics Indonesia. 

Purchases of machinery rose by 15.2 percent from a month ago while those of mineral fuels surged by 60.8 percent.

In addition, oil and gas imports went up by 11.7 percent to hit $3.4 billion.

Exports fell by 2.04 percent to reach $22.4 billion, driven by an 18 percent decline in oil and gas exports.

Norway’s trade surplus

Norway's trade surplus jumped to a new record in December, boosted by higher prices for natural gas exports, according to data shown by the Norwegian National Statistics Agency.

It had a trade surplus of $12.09 billion in December, exceeding the previous record of $9.64 billion in October.

Italy’s inflation rate

The Italian consumer price index for the whole nation rose by 0.4 percent in December on a monthly basis and by 3.9 percent on an annual basis, according to the National Institute of Statistics.

Japan machinery orders

Japan’s core machinery orders rose for the second month in a row in November, indicating that companies’ susceptibility to capital spending remains resilient despite pressure from higher raw material prices.


Shell says electricity to meet 60 percent of China’s energy use by 2060

Shell says electricity to meet 60 percent of China’s energy use by 2060
Beijing, China. The China Zun (or CITIC Tower) is seen behind high voltage electric power lines.
Updated 17 January 2022

Shell says electricity to meet 60 percent of China’s energy use by 2060

Shell says electricity to meet 60 percent of China’s energy use by 2060
  • Hydrogen will meet 16 percent of total energy use in 2060

China may triple electricity generation to supply 60 percent of the country’s total energy under Beijing’s carbon-neutral goal by 2060, up from the current 23 percent, Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday.


Shell is one of the largest global investors in China’s energy sector, with business covering gas production, petrochemicals and a retail fuel network.

A leading supplier of liquefied natural gas, it has recently expanded into low-carbon business such as hydrogen power and electric vehicle charging.


In a rare assessment of the country’s energy sector by an international oil major, Shell said China needed to take quick action this decade to stay on track to reach the carbon-neutrality goal.


China has mapped out plans to reach peak emissions by 2030, but has not yet revealed any detailed carbon roadmap for 2060.


This includes investing in a reliable and renewable power system and demonstrating technologies that transform heavy industry using hydrogen, biofuel and carbon capture and utilization.


“With early and systematic action, China can deliver better environmental and social outcomes for its citizens while being a force for good in the global fight against climate change,” Mallika Ishwaran, chief economist of Shell International, told a webinar hosted by the company’s China business.


Shell expects China’s electricity generation to rise three-fold to more than 60EJ in 2060 from 20EJ in 2020.


Solar and wind power are expected to surpass coal as the largest sources of electricity by 2034 in China versus the current 10 percent, rising to 80 percent by 2060, Shell said.


Hydrogen is expected to scale up to 17 exajoules (EJ), or equivalent to 580 million tons of coal by 2060, up from almost negligible currently, adding over 85 percent of the hydrogen will be produced through electrolysis powered by renewable and nuclear electricity, Shell said.


Hydrogen will meet 16 percent of total energy use in 2060 with heavy industry and long-distance transport as top hydrogen users, the firm added.


The firm also expects China’s carbon price to rise to 1,300 yuan ($204.82) per ton in 2060 from 300 yuan in 2030.


Nuclear and biomass will have niche but important roles for power generation in the years to come, Shell said.


Electricity generated from biomass, combined with carbon, capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), provide a source of negative emissions for the rest of the energy system from 2053, it added.