Commodities update — Oil dips on Russia-Ukraine talks, US inventory data; soybean climbs; China shares wobble

Update Commodities update — Oil dips on Russia-Ukraine talks, US inventory data; soybean climbs; China shares wobble
Brent futures were up 83 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $100.74 a barrel at 0120 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, rose 58 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $97.02 a barrel. (AFP)
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Updated 16 March 2022

Commodities update — Oil dips on Russia-Ukraine talks, US inventory data; soybean climbs; China shares wobble

Commodities update — Oil dips on Russia-Ukraine talks, US inventory data; soybean climbs; China shares wobble

RIYADH: Oil lost ground for the fifth time in the last six days on Wednesday as traders reacted to hoped-for progress in Russia-Ukraine peace talks and a surprising increase in US inventories.

The oil market has been on a roller-coaster for more than two weeks, and both major benchmarks have traded in their largest high-to-low range over the last 30 days than at any time since the middle of 2020.

Wednesday was no different, as global benchmark Brent traded in a $6 range, between $97.55 and $103.70 before settling at $98.02, down $1.89 a barrel, or 1.9 percent. US West Texas Intermediate crude ended down $1.4, or 1.5 percent, at $95.04 a barrel.

US inventories rose by 4.3 million barrels, against expectations for a loss, while stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, hub rose as well, alleviating a bit of concern about the low level of inventories there.
 

Reduced exports could see loss of up to 3 million bpd of Russian oil, says IEA

Up to three million barrels per day of Russian oil and products may not find their way to market beginning in April in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday, as sanctions bite and buyers hold off.

“Of the cutback, we see a reduction in total exports of 2.5 million bpd, of which crude accounts for 1.5 million bpd and products 1 million bpd,” the IEA said in its monthly oil report.

Additionally, it projected lower Russian domestic demand for oil products.

Japan sets date for auction of oil from reserve

Meanwhile, Japan will hold an auction on April 8 to sell about 1.89 million barrels, or 300,000 kiloliters, of oil from its national reserve, the industry ministry said on Wednesday.

Supply will be available to winning bidders from May 20, the ministry said in a statement.

Totalenergies says it withdraws from Myanmar

TotalEnergies on Wednesday said PTTEP International, a subsidiary of the Thai national energy company PTT, would take over equity stakes in local units and resume some of its operations in Myanmar.


The French oil and gas giant in January announced its decision to withdraw from the Asian country.

India's first-half March fuel sales rise

Indian state fuel retailers posted robust growth in gasoline and gasoil sales in the first half of March, preliminary fuel sales data showed on Wednesday, as consumers and dealers topped tanks ahead on the likelihood of a fuel price hike after March 10.

The state retailers sold 3.53 million tons of gasoil from March 1 to 15, up 32.8 percent from last month, the data showed. Sales of gasoline were 1.24 million tons in the same period, up 18.8 percent from last month.

Wheat, corn ease while soybean climbs

US wheat and corn futures eased on Wednesday, as Ukrainian officials gave upbeat assessments of their peace talks with Russia, lifting the likelihood of the Black Sea region opening up soon for grain exports.

Soybeans rose on firm edible oil prices and as the market closely monitored drought conditions in South America, fueling concerns of tight supply.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade Wv1 was down 0.24 percent at $11.51-1/2 a bushel, as of 0408 GMT, after rising more than 5 percent in the previous session.

Corn Cv1 dropped 0.46 percent to $7.54-1/2 a bushel, while soybeans Sv1 rose 0.63 percent to $16.69-1/4 a bushel. 

Asian share markets up

Asian share markets rose on Wednesday, with investors’ eyes on volatile oil prices, Ukraine-Russia peace talks, and the US Federal Reserve, which is expected to raise rates for the first time in three years and give guidance on future tightening.

The rise in Asian shares came a day after mainland and Hong Kong equity indexes had tumbled in reaction to spiking coronavirus infections in China and fading expectations for a rate cut by the People’s Bank of China.

Investor sentiment remained weak, however. And the strong early rebound in China’s CSI300 index had evaporated by late morning on Wednesday, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also trimmed gains.

The Hang Seng was last up 1.7 percent after opening 3.6 percent higher, while the CSI300 was down 0.6 percent from a rise of nearly 1.9 percent earlier.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.8 percent.

(With inputs from Reuters)


Tawadul Group awards $36.7m contract for fit-out works in new HQ in KAFD

Tawadul Group awards $36.7m contract for fit-out works in new HQ in KAFD
Updated 18 sec ago

Tawadul Group awards $36.7m contract for fit-out works in new HQ in KAFD

Tawadul Group awards $36.7m contract for fit-out works in new HQ in KAFD

RIYADH: Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Co. has awarded a SR137.98 million ($36.7 million) contract for fit-out works to its new headquarters in King Abdullah Financial District, according to a bourse statement.

The contract was given to Riyadh-based Construction & Planning Co., the statement said, and covers fit-out works for some designated floors in the new Riyadh HQ.

Tadawul Tower has been designed by Japan’s Nikken Sekkei and will host the Saudi stock exchange, major banks and financial institutions, according to the Nikken Sekkei website. 

The construction and equipment works at the KAFD are nearing completion and have reached their final stages, Al Arabiya reported in May 2022.

The Public Investment Fund's KAFD is located in the heart of Riyadh and covrs an area of more than 3 million sq. m..


Britain launches oil, gas licensing round to boost domestic supply

Britain launches oil, gas licensing round to boost domestic supply
Updated 35 min 59 sec ago

Britain launches oil, gas licensing round to boost domestic supply

Britain launches oil, gas licensing round to boost domestic supply

LONDON: Britain launched its first oil and gas exploration licensing round since 2019 on Friday to try and boost domestic hydrocarbon output as Europe weans itself off Russian fuel, according to Reuters.

The British North Sea, home to the global Brent benchmark grade, is an aging basin where oil and gas production has fallen from a 1999 peak of around 4.4 million barrels of oil equivalent to around 1.5 million boed.

Britain is hoping to increase domestic supplies as it grapples with record high energy prices which have forced it to plow billions of pounds into schemes to help limit the impact on homes and business and to curb spiralling inflation.

In the new licensing round, the North Sea Transition Authority is offering 898 blocks, encouraging applications especially for the Southern North Sea where hydrocarbons are close to existing infrastructure allowing for swift development.

Depending on the number and quality of applications, around 100 licenses might be awarded, the NSTA said.

It estimates the time from oil or gas discovery to production has fallen significantly in recent decades to around five years.

While hosting the COP26 climate summit last year, Britain decided not to join an alliance of countries vowing to stop new oil and gas projects on their territory.

The government says continued oil and gas production does not stand in the way of its aim to build a carbon neutral economy by 2050.

“Security of supply and net zero should not be in conflict,” NSTA chief executive Andy Samuel said.

Greenpeace said the focus should be on insulating homes better and growing renewable power.

“New oil and gas licenses won’t lower energy bills for struggling families this winter or any winter soon nor provide energy security in the medium term,” Philip Evans, energy transition campaigner for Greenpeace said.

“More fossil fuels... solve neither of those problems but will make the climate crisis even worse.”

The government is reviewing its plans on how to reach its carbon neutral goal with a renewed focus on energy costs for businesses, energy secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has previously expressed skepticism about the need to fight climate change, said on Sept. 26.

“Ensuring our energy independence means exploiting the full potential of our North Sea assets,” Rees-Mogg said.

Britain imported close to 40 percent of its energy last year, according to government data. In terms of oil and gas, British fields provided around 38 percent of its gas and 75 percent of its oil demand, according to the OEUK offshore industry body.

Oil and gas firms can apply for licenses until Jan. 12 with licenses expected to be awarded in the second quarter of next year, the NSTA said.

 


Chipmakers weigh on European shares; focus on US jobs data

Chipmakers weigh on European shares; focus on US jobs data
Updated 07 October 2022

Chipmakers weigh on European shares; focus on US jobs data

Chipmakers weigh on European shares; focus on US jobs data

BENGALURU: European shares slipped on Friday, led by semiconductor firms after weak earnings and forecasts from Samsung and Advanced Micro Devices, while recession fears lingered amid signs that central banks would remain aggressive with policy tightening, according to Reuters.

The continent-wide STOXX 600 index was down 0.3 percent, as of 0800 GMT, in line with a downbeat Asian trading session.

The index closed lower on Thursday after minutes from the European Central Bank’s last meeting fanned fears about the state of inflation in the euro zone and aggressive policy moves to tame it.

All eyes are on the US nonfarm payrolls report, due at 1230 GMT, which will show job growth likely slowed in September, although overall labor market conditions remain tight, providing the Federal Reserve with cover to continue hiking rates.

“The reason this data set is a big one, arguably the biggest since markets began to unravel, is because the data will show if the Fed’s enthusiastic interest rate hikes are now being felt in the jobs market,” said Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“Today’s news will shape the Fed’s monetary decision in November.”

The STOXX 600 had rallied earlier this week after a smaller-than-expected rate hike by Australian central bank and softer US economic data spurred hopes of central bank pivot. The index has gained 1.9 percent so far in the week and is on pace for its best weekly performance since late July.

Meanwhile, data showed German retail sales fell more than expected in August, while industrial production contracted as supply bottlenecks remain due to pandemic-related distortions and the war in Ukraine.

Among stocks, European chipmakers fell after South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and US chipmaker AMD signalled the chip slump could be much worse than expected.

Infineon, BE Semiconductor, Soitec , Nordic Semiconductor, ASML, STMicroelectronics and ASMI dipped between 1.6 percent and 2.9 percent, dragging down the broader tech sector by 1.7 percent.

Adidas lost 2.8 percent after the German sporting goods maker put under review its business partnership with rapper and fashion designer Kanye West.

Renault jumped 3.7 percent to top the STOXX 600 index after ODDO BHF upgraded the French carmaker’s stock.

Credit Suisse rose 3.3 percent after the lender said it would buy back up to 3 billion Swiss francs ($3 billion) of senior debt securities, making a show of strength as it seeks to reassure investors after a tumultuous week. 


Diriyah Gate, National Housing Co. join efforts to enhance Saudi housing sector

Diriyah Gate, National Housing Co. join efforts to enhance Saudi housing sector
Updated 07 October 2022

Diriyah Gate, National Housing Co. join efforts to enhance Saudi housing sector

Diriyah Gate, National Housing Co. join efforts to enhance Saudi housing sector

RIYADH: Diriyah Gate Development Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi National Housing Co. to enhance cooperation in common areas that serve the housing sector.

Through this deal, Diriyah and NHC aim to elevate quality of life, improve the urban landscape, and provide designs models that are compatible with the urban code of Wadi Hanifa — a valley in Riyadh — and its tributaries, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The deal also aims at supporting the integration of efforts to increase the supply of designs for beneficiaries of NHC's services within Diriyah authority’s supervisory scope, based on the importance of coordination between them and seeking to expand areas of cooperation, which include initiatives, workshops, joint projects, exchange of data, experiences and statistics between the two parties.

Diriyah CEO Jerry Inzerillo stressed the importance of the MoU, as it includes holding a workshop entitled 'Design Studio', as well as NHC's notification to the authority of all its initiatives within the supervisory scope of the authority.

Workshops will be held by the authority regarding participation in the initiatives to explain the urban code of Wadi Hanifa, Inzerillo said.

The cooperation includes allocating a page on the company’s Sakani platform for beneficiaries of residential villa models within the supervisory scope of Diriyah under the title ‘Engineering designs compatible with the Wadi Hanifa code and its tributaries’, with the ability to display the designs of the authority on the Sakani platform through the same page, in addition to Diriyah platforms, NHC CEO Mohammad Albuty said.


Oil steady as focus turns to US economic data

Oil steady as focus turns to US economic data
Updated 07 October 2022

Oil steady as focus turns to US economic data

Oil steady as focus turns to US economic data

REUTERS: Oil prices steadied on Friday ahead of key US economic data after rising over 1 percent in the last session on cuts to OPEC+ production targets.

Brent crude futures slipped 11 cents to $94.31 a barrel by 0339 GMT. WTI crude futures were down 5 cents to $88.40 a barrel, after earlier hitting $89.37 per barrel, the highest since Sept. 14.

A stronger dollar added pressure on oil prices amid a chorus of hawkish Federal Reserve speakers signaling further aggressive central bank policy tightening.

Fed officials showed no intention of backing down from the most aggressive rate hike campaign in decades, with Fed Governor Lisa Cook, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari all stressing that the

inflation fight was ongoing and they were not prepared to change course.

Markets are keenly watching the US nonfarm payrolls report due later on Friday, with economists forecasting 250,000 jobs to have been added last month, compared with 315,000 in August.

“Oil is leaking lower in Asia, which is not so unusual after a big run-up heading into the weekend, especially against rising US yields and a stronger dollar providing the downdraft and triggering some pre-weekend and pre-nonfarm payroll profit-taking,” Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management said in a note.

However, both benchmarks were headed for weekly gains, fueled by production cut announcement by OPEC+.

The cut from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, together known as OPEC+, is the largest reduction since 2020 and comes ahead of a European Union embargo on Russian oil. The decision would squeeze supplies in an already tight market, adding to inflation.

“Market sentiment was already bearish in anticipation of a weakening global economy, and this decision should further tighten the market,” analysts at ANZ Research said in a note.

Tightening monetary policy and China’s ongoing COVID-related movement restrictions mean global demand growth is expected to come under pressure, ANZ added.

US President Joe Biden expressed disappointment on Thursday over OPEC+’s plans and he and officials said the United States was looking at all possible alternatives to keep prices from rising.

Some of those options include releasing more oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve or exploring a curb on energy exports by US companies.