OPEC+ likely to be cautious on oil demand at upcoming meeting, Vitol says

OPEC+ likely to be cautious on oil demand at upcoming meeting, Vitol says
Image: Shutterstock
Short Url
Updated 28 November 2021

OPEC+ likely to be cautious on oil demand at upcoming meeting, Vitol says

OPEC+ likely to be cautious on oil demand at upcoming meeting, Vitol says
  • Opec+ is a group consisting of both Opec and some of the world's largest non-Opec oil exporting nations

RIYADH: The OPEC+ group is likely to take a cautious stance when deciding next week whether to go ahead with planned production increases following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant has emerged, Geneva-based oil trader Vitol Group said. 

The new variant, named Omicron, has rattled the oil market globally, pushing prices down to their biggest decline since April 2020. 

There are signs that demand may be weakening in some markets going into the winter months in Asia and Europe, said Mike Muller, the head of the Asia unit at Vitol, as reported by Bloomberg.

The new coronavirus variant will probably lead to more flight cancellations this week, he said.

Several countries have tightened travel restrictions against a number of African countries, following the discovery.

Opec+ is a group consisting of both Opec and some of the world's largest non-Opec oil exporting nations.

“OPEC+ have erred on the side of caution,” Muller said on a weekly webinar by Dubai consultancy Gulf Intelligence.

“Post facto they’ve proven to be right. It is likely they will take into account these fundamentals and the possibility of a demand hit over the winter months.”

OPEC and its partners, including Russia, will meet next week to discuss whether it will implement a planned production increase of 400,000 barrels per day.

 


Germany’s gas costs surged by 78.5%, despite drop in imports

Germany’s gas costs surged by 78.5%, despite drop in imports
Updated 20 sec ago

Germany’s gas costs surged by 78.5%, despite drop in imports

Germany’s gas costs surged by 78.5%, despite drop in imports

Germany saw its bill for importing gas shoot up by 78.5 percent last year despite a cut in the amount it brought in.

According to the country’s trade statistics office BAFA, Germany imported 7 percent less gas between January and November 2021 compared to the same period a year earlier, Reuters reported.

Tight global supply meant that prices soared, before recently coming down due to the arrival of more seaborne cargoes and environmental factors such as a relatively mild winter.

There could yet be another rise as there are fresh concerns over when the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Russia starts flowing. 

Also, disruption of shipments are expected to be caused by escalating tensions on the Russia/Ukraine border.

BAFA’s monthly figures showed Germany’s gas imports from January to November in 2021 totaled 4.546 million terajoules, compared with 4.888 million TJ in the same period a year earlier.

Importers’ bills over the 11 months amounted to $33 billion, versus $18.47 billion in the same period of 2020. In November alone, the price per TJ witnessed a rise of 217.5 percent year-on-year.

The average price paid per TJ on the border in the period was up 92 percent year-on-year, BAFA said.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, relies on gas from Russia, Norway, the Netherlands, UK and Denmark. 

German gas stocks, which can hold three to four months of annual consumption, dropped to 45 percent of available capacity this week, down 9 percent on the year, according to Reuters quoting figures by gas infrastructure group GIEs.


Capital Economics sees stronger Gulf non-oil growth in 2022 and 2023

Capital Economics sees stronger Gulf non-oil growth in 2022 and 2023
Updated 21 min 58 sec ago

Capital Economics sees stronger Gulf non-oil growth in 2022 and 2023

Capital Economics sees stronger Gulf non-oil growth in 2022 and 2023

RIYADH: Higher oil prices will support looser Gulf fiscal spending for the next two years, with a knock-on effect on non-oil growth in the region, according to Capital Economics.

The economic consultancy updated its oil-price forecasts this week, predicting Brent crude will end 2022 at $70 a barrel and 2023 at $65 a barrel, up from previous forecasts of $60 and $55, respectively. The change was driven by the expectation that Russia and some smaller producers within OPEC+, the alliance of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, will struggle to meet their production quotas.

That led to an upgrade in Gulf hydrocarbon export revenue prediction of 8 percent and 11 percent for this year and next, respectively, Capital Economics Middle East and North Africa Economist James Swanston wrote in a research note.

“The upshot is that higher oil prices will keep the door for fiscal loosening ajar for longer, which may provide scope for slightly stronger growth in non-oil sectors,” he wrote. “But, as prices head below $70pb in 2023, that door will gradually close.”

For Middle East economies outside the Gulf, continued high oil prices will mean current-account deficits stay wider for longer, the note said. For countries that haven’t scaled back fuel subsidies, fiscal budgets will also remain under pressure.

“This furthers cement our view that, with officials struggling to push through fiscal consolidation, Tunisia will continue along the past to a sovereign default,” Swanston said.


Sukuk issuance to remain flat in 2022, says S&P Global

Sukuk issuance to remain flat in 2022, says S&P Global
Updated 44 min 51 sec ago

Sukuk issuance to remain flat in 2022, says S&P Global

Sukuk issuance to remain flat in 2022, says S&P Global
  • Global sukuk issuance fell marginally to about $147.4 billion from $148.4 billion in 2020

RIYADH: Sukuk issuance volumes will not grow significantly in 2022 as global interest rates rise and funding needs for Gulf economies fall, according to a report from S&P Global Ratings.

Global sukuk issuance fell marginally to about $147.4 billion from $148.4 billion in 2020, S&P said in the report.

Central bank interest rates tend to respond to moves from the US Federal Reserve, particularly those in the Gulf where currencies are pegged to the dollar.

“Amid a tight job market, accelerated inflation readings over the past few months, and increasingly hawkish forward guidance from the US Federal Reserve, we now expect three rate hikes in 2022, with the first expected in May,” the report said.

While sukuk issuance is likely to be subdued this year, the market is likely to grow in the long run, due to the increasing importance of environment and governance factors, it added.

Green and sustainability linked sukuk will continue to attract investors, S&P said. Energy transition policies adopted by Gulf countries as well as fresh fintech solutions will provide new opportunities for sukuk issuers.


Turkey’s swap deal with the UAE is a boost, but won’t solve the lira’s underlying problems

Turkey’s swap deal with the UAE is a boost, but won’t solve the lira’s underlying problems
Updated 21 January 2022

Turkey’s swap deal with the UAE is a boost, but won’t solve the lira’s underlying problems

Turkey’s swap deal with the UAE is a boost, but won’t solve the lira’s underlying problems
  • Agreement is valued at $4.9 billion
  • Comes ahead of Turkey's President Erdogan planned visit to Abu Dhabi in February

ANKARA: At a time when Ankara is searching for foreign resources and facing unprecedented inflation rates, Turkey’s currency swap deal with the UAE is a much-needed confidence boost for the country’s economy.

However, analysts have warned that this deal alone will not solve the underlying problems facing the lira. 

The two nations have signed a three-year agreement worth $4.9 billion, including finance and trade relations.

Securing foreign swap lines are expected to fuel Turkey’s much-needed foreign currency reserves. 

“While this is a good vote of longer-term confidence in the Turkish economy, the currency swap will not address the roots of Turkey’s economic challenges. Many of these challenges are linked to nonconventional economic policy decisions,” Robert Mogielnicki, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, told Arab News.

According to Mogielnicki, the currency swap puts some cash behind recent efforts to improve strained relations between the UAE and Turkey.

“The UAE is likely interested in using the currency swap to better position Emirati firms and investors to engage with Turkish markets as well as to support foreign policy objectives,” he said. 

Noting that currency swaps reduce dependency on a third currency and thus avoid fees arising from exchange rate volatility and transfer costs, Mogielnicki said that this move paves the way for greater trade and investment between countries.

“The broader MENA region is unlikely to be worse off because of the currency swap, but I don’t view this agreement as especially significant for the region,” he added. 

Enver Erkan, the chief economist of Tera Investment in Istanbul, welcomes the swap agreement with the UAE as a positive step towards increasing the gross foreign exchange reserves held by the Turkish Central Bank.

 “We, on the other hand, also consider the economic landscape in terms of net reserves excluding swaps. While net reserves are around $8 billion under the current circumstances, there is a negative picture of minus $56 billion in net reserves excluding swaps,” he told Arab News. 

Talks between Turkey's central bank and its counterpart in Azerbaijan on securing a possible currency swap line are also ongoing. 

Swap agreements are mainly used by countries that conduct large-scale trade relations between each other to finance part of these relations to be paid in local currencies.

Turkey already has some swap deals with China, Qatar and South Korea worth about $23 billion.

With this latest currency swap agreement, the Turkish Central Bank's total swap figure with foreign central banks reached $28 billion.

The swap agreement with China in 2012 and subsequent arrangements have permitted Turkish companies to pay for imports from China using yuan.

The agreement between Turkish and Emirati Central Banks will be valid for a period of three years, with the possibility of being extended further. 

Emre Peker, European director for political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, thinks the swap agreement will not have a material impact on Turkey's economy, but it will help Turkish companies trading with the UAE on the margins. 

“It is not a game changer, but will alleviate some financing pressures, considering that the swap covers Turkey's average annual exports to the UAE,” he told Arab News. 

The agreement comes ahead of a trip by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Abu Dhabi in February as part of Turkey’s moves to repair ties and concentrate on the economy.

Mustafa Sentop, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, told the Emirates News Agency the visit is “going to be a testament to the improved ties between our countries.”

"We believe that the leaders of Turkey and the UAE standing next to each other will deliver an important message on its own. The objective is to further strengthen the bilateral relations. There are mutual efforts to conclude new agreements and to renew previous commitments to cover a wider range in our current cooperation," he added.

According to the Emirates News Agency, the UAE is Turkey’s top trading partner among the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, with trade between the two countries US$8 billion in 2020. 

Sentop said the trade in the first 10 months of 2021 had amounted to US$6.4 billion.lira


Oil falls from 7-year high after US inventory build

Oil falls from 7-year high after US inventory build
Updated 21 January 2022

Oil falls from 7-year high after US inventory build

Oil falls from 7-year high after US inventory build
  • Both oil benchmarks are headed for a fifth straight weekly advance

RIYADH: Oil prices slid on Friday, a day after reaching a seven-year high, as higher inventories of US crude and fuel prompted profit taking.

Brent crude fell 2.1 percent to $86.50 a barrel as of 12:21 p.m. Riyadh time after touching $89.50 on Jan. 20, the highest level since October 2014. US benchmark WTI declined 2.2 percent to $83.65 a barrel after reaching a seven-year high on Wednesday.

Both benchmarks are still headed for a fifth straight weekly advance and are up about 10 percent this year.

US gasoline inventories rose by 5.9 million barrels last week to their highest since February 2021, the US Energy Information Administration said in a report on Thursday. Crude stockpiles increased by 515,000 barrels last week.

“An unexpected increase in US crude stockpiles prompted investors to take profits,” said Tatsufumi Okoshi, senior economist at Nomura Securities, who added the recent rally has been overdone. “Still, losses were limited as expectations that supply tightness would continue amid recovering demand and geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine and in the Middle East kept investors cautious about selling.”

Investors are concerned about potential disruptions to supply after Yemen’s Houthis attacked the UAE, OPEC’s third-largest producer, and Russia, the world’s second-largest oil producer, makes increasingly ominous noises about a potential invasion of Ukraine.

However, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday that oil supply will soon overtake demand as some producers are set to pump at or above all-time highs, while demand holds up despite the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant.

Oil prices were also supported by French oil giant TotalEnergies’s announcement on Friday that it would withdraw from Myanmar over “worsening” human rights abuses committed since the country’s military took power in a February 2021 coup.

“The situation, in terms of human rights and more generally the rule of law... has led us to reassess the situation and no longer allows TotalEnergies to make a sufficiently positive contribution in the country,” the company said in a statement.

A fire broke out early Friday at a site belonging to the Kuwait National Petroleum Company, forcing a suspension of export operations there, the company said in a statement.

The fire in the Shuaiba Industrial Area in eastern Kuwait did not result in any injuries, according to a brief statement issued by the company. The fire occurred at a petroleum coke flowline. The coal-like substance is a byproduct of refined crude oil that is used in the steel and aluminum industry.

Only a week ago, a deadly fire erupted during maintenance work at a major oil refinery run by the same company, killing two Asian workers. Another 10 were wounded, five of them critically. An earlier fire erupted at that same oil refinery three months prior, resulting in several injuries.

Kuwait, a nation home to 4.1 million people, has the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves.