Oil Updates — Crude down; Japan considering timing and method of Russian oil embargo; Repairs continue at Exxon’s Montana refinery

Oil Updates — Crude down; Japan considering timing and method of Russian oil embargo; Repairs continue at Exxon’s Montana refinery
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Updated 10 May 2022

Oil Updates — Crude down; Japan considering timing and method of Russian oil embargo; Repairs continue at Exxon’s Montana refinery

Oil Updates — Crude down; Japan considering timing and method of Russian oil embargo; Repairs continue at Exxon’s Montana refinery

RIYADH: Oil prices tumbled more than 1 percent Tuesday, extending the previous day’s steep declines as coronavirus lockdowns in top oil importer China, a strong dollar and growing recession risks fed worries about the outlook for global demand.

Brent crude fell $1.31, or 1.2 percent, to $104.63 at 0216 GMT after slipping to as low as $103.19.

US West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.25, or 1.2 percent, to $101.84 a barrel after hitting an intraday low of $100.44.

Japan to decide Russia oil embargo timing

Japan will decide the timing and method of a Russian oil embargo while considering actual conditions, its industry minister said on Tuesday, after Japan agreed on a ban with other Group of Seven nations to counter Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

To help secure a stable global supply of energy, the US has a major role to play as a producer of oil and natural gas, Japanese industry minister Koichi Hagiuda told a news conference.

Repairs at Exxon’s Montana refinery to continue for at least 3 weeks

Repairs to the crude distillation unit at Exxon Mobil Corp’s Billings refinery in Montana are planned to continue for at least another three weeks, said sources familiar with plant operations.

“The Billings refinery will resume full operations as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Exxon spokesperson Julie King.

The 58,000-barrels per day CDU was shut by a March 27 fire, the sources said. The CDU does the initial breakdown of crude oil into hydrocarbon feedstocks for all other production units at the refinery.

The repairs on the CDU could extend into June, the sources said.

(With input from Reuters) 


Egypt expects $8bn investments in energy sector this year, minister says 

Egypt expects $8bn investments in energy sector this year, minister says 
Updated 21 sec ago

Egypt expects $8bn investments in energy sector this year, minister says 

Egypt expects $8bn investments in energy sector this year, minister says 

RIYADH: Egypts expects that the value of investment in the energy sector would range between $7 to $8 billion during the current fiscal year, the minister of petroleum and mineral resources told Alarabiya. 

Tarek El-Molla added that the figures were under review with international companies, noting that changes in global oil prices require increased investment plans.

He said the government is currently focusing on maximizing the use of natural resources, confirming that Egypt aims to return to the oil production levels of 5 years ago.

 


UAE to build LNG plant to double its export capacity 

UAE to build LNG plant to double its export capacity 
Updated 10 min 47 sec ago

UAE to build LNG plant to double its export capacity 

UAE to build LNG plant to double its export capacity 

RIYADH: The Abu Dhabi National Co. plans to construct a new liquefied natural gas plant that would more than double its export capacity amid a growing demand. 

To be built at Fujairah, the plant will be able to produce as much as 9.6 million tons a year, Bloomberg reported. 

Currently, the UAE has three liquefaction plants with a total capacity of 5.8 million tons per annum at Das Island, located inside the Gulf. 

This comes as the UAE races to expand its exports amid a growing demand following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 


Saudi Arabia advances 40 ranks in communication infrastructure index 

Saudi Arabia advances 40 ranks in communication infrastructure index 
Updated 18 min 55 sec ago

Saudi Arabia advances 40 ranks in communication infrastructure index 

Saudi Arabia advances 40 ranks in communication infrastructure index 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has jumped 40 ranks in the communications infrastructure index, which measured the number of Internet users and mobile phones for the year 2020.

The Kingdom is now ranked 27th globally out of 193 countries, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

In the e-government development index, Saudi Arabia also witnessed progress as it advanced nine ranks.

It now ranks 43rd globally out of the 193 countries, which raises the Kingdom’s classification from high-ranking countries to very high-ranking.

The indicators are monitored by the Saudi National Center for Performance Measurement, known as Adaa, that publishes reports on the initiatives of public entities. 


Macro Snapshot — French unemployment slips to 14-year low; US retail sales increase strongly

Macro Snapshot — French unemployment slips to 14-year low; US retail sales increase strongly
Updated 17 May 2022

Macro Snapshot — French unemployment slips to 14-year low; US retail sales increase strongly

Macro Snapshot — French unemployment slips to 14-year low; US retail sales increase strongly

RIYADH: Unemployment in France and Britain fell to their lowest since 2008 and 1974 respectively, whereas the Dutch economy recorded no growth as consumption levels dropped. 

French unemployment slips

Unemployment in France dipped slightly in the first quarter to the lowest rate in 14 years, official data showed on Tuesday, giving President Emmanuel Macron a boost ahead of legislative elections.

The unemployment rate slipped to 7.3 percent from 7.4 percent in the previous three months, the INSEE statistics agency said. A Reuters poll of 10 economists had on average expected the rate to remain unchanged.

It was the lowest level of unemployment since the second quarter of 2008, apart from an anomalous, unrepresentative drop at the start of the pandemic when job seekers could not look for work during a nationwide lockdown.

Apart from during that period, unemployment has come down steadily since Macron first took office in 2017, when the jobless rate stood at 9.5 percent.

Beyond the headline decrease in joblessness, INSEE’s quarterly employment report showed that youth unemployment rose to 16.3 percent from 16.0 percent in the final quarter of last year, when it hit the lowest level since early 1981.

Meanwhile, the employment rate, the share of the workforce in work, rose to 68 percent from 67.8 percent in the previous quarter, reaching the highest level since INSEE began keeping records in 1975.

UK unemployment falls to lowest

Britain’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest since 1974 at 3.7 percent in the first three months of this year, official figures showed on Tuesday, below economists’ forecasts for it to hold steady at 3.8 percent.

Average earnings, excluding bonuses, were 4.2 percent higher than a year earlier in the three months to March, above the average forecast in a Reuters poll for wage growth to hold at 4.1 percent.

Turkish house sales rise 

Turkish house sales rose 38.8 percent in April on the year to 133,058 houses, data from the Turkish Statistical Institute showed on Tuesday, with more than double the houses sold to Russians compared to a month ago as they sought a financial haven.

Sales to foreigners rose 58.1 percent, the institute said. Russian citizens rose to the top of the list in April with 1,152 houses from 547 in March. They were followed by Iranians and Iraqis.

Wealthy Russians are pouring money into real estate in Turkey and the UAE, seeking a financial haven in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions, many property companies say. 

The data also showed April mortgaged sales rose 82.9 percent from a year earlier to 32,030, accounting for 24.1 percent of the total sales in the period.

Dutch Q1 economic growth 

Growth of the Dutch economy stalled in the first three months of 2022, as consumer and government spending dropped compared with the previous quarter, a first estimate released on Tuesday showed.

The first quarter gross domestic product was unchanged from the last three months of 2021.

Nonetheless, the eurozone’s fifth largest economy was 7 percent larger than it had been in the same period a year earlier, when demand was crippled by a broad COVID-19 lockdown.

Economists on average had expected quarterly growth of 0.2 percent.

Government spending fell 4 percent in the first quarter, while consumer spending was 0.1 percent lower.

Indonesia posts trade surplus 

Indonesia’s trade surplus jumped to its largest ever at $7.56 billion in April, as exports rose to a record high while imports grew slower than expected, data from the statistics bureau showed on Tuesday.

Indonesia, a major exporter of many commodities such as thermal coal, palm oil and nickel, has reported a trade surplus every month in the past two years, enjoying an export boom and rising prices of commodities.

A Reuters poll had expected a trade surplus of $3.25 billion for April, following a $4.53 billion surplus the previous month.

Spain’s March trade deficit soars 

Spain’s trade deficit jumped 11-fold in March compared to the same month a year earlier to €4.64 billion ($4.86 billion), the Industry Ministry said on Tuesday.

Exports rose 17 percent to €33 billion, while imports increased 32 percent to €37.3 billion, the ministry said.

India’s WPI inflation  

India’s wholesale prices accelerated at the fastest pace in at least 17 years as the Ukraine war and a weak rupee pushed up energy and raw material costs, raising risks for businesses that are unable to pass on costs.

While big retailers, food makers and consumer product companies including Hindustan Unilever, Britania and Procter & Gamble are passing along higher costs to consumers, small companies are finding it hard to raise prices, industry leaders said.

Annual wholesale price inflation, a proxy for producers’ prices, climbed to 15.08 percent in April, remaining in double-digits for the 13th month in a row, and higher than 14.48 percent forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Wholesale prices are at the highest since at least April 2005, according to Refinitiv data. Some private economists said WPI inflation in April was the highest since 1991, according to an earlier series.

Economists said that with wholesale inflation picking up along with retail inflation at 7.79 percent in April — an eight-year high — the central bank was likely to push for aggressive rate hikes to tame prices. Higher rates will pose a drag on economic growth as well, they said.

“With WPI inflation remaining solidly in double-digits, the probability of a repo hike in the June 2022 review of monetary policy has risen further,” said Aditi Nayar, chief economist at ICRA, the Indian arm of ratings agency Moody’s.

US retail sales increase 

US retail sales increased solidly in April as consumers bought motor vehicles amid an improvement in supply and frequented restaurants, showing no signs of demand letting up despite high inflation.

Retail sales rose 0.9 percent last month, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. Data for March was revised higher to show sales advancing 1.4 percent instead of 0.7 percent as previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales accelerating 0.9 percent, with estimates ranging from as low as 0.2 percent to as high as 2.0 percent. Last month’s increase reflects both strong demand and higher prices.

Retail sales are mostly goods, and are not adjusted for inflation, which appears to have peaked in April. Bars and restaurants are the only services category in the report.

 

(With input from Reuters) 


Saudi Arabia a core investment market for Middle East Venture Partners, says CEO

Saudi Arabia a core investment market for Middle East Venture Partners, says CEO
Updated 17 May 2022

Saudi Arabia a core investment market for Middle East Venture Partners, says CEO

Saudi Arabia a core investment market for Middle East Venture Partners, says CEO

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE and Egypt are the core investment markets for the Middle East Venture Partners, said Rabih Khoury, CEO of the company. 

While speaking with Arab News on the sidelines of the Arab Women Forum in Dubai on Tuesday, Khoury also shared MEVP’s plans to expand into Saudi Arabia but did not mention an exact timeline in which the company is planning to mark its presence in the Kingdom. 

“We need to expand the team, especially in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia is growing, and you need to bring in Saudis to work in the Saudi ecosystem. And also, we’re going to be launching our fourth fund, hopefully, in the third quarter of 2022,” Khoury told Arab News. 

Khoury also lauded the initiatives of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which has turned the Kingdom into an investment-friendly region. 

“Five, six years ago, when we used to go to Saudi (Arabia), there was no hope. But now, with a young Crown Prince, who really focuses on young people, enabling them, by giving an opportunity to actually build businesses based on their dreams, we see a lot of hope in the region,” added Khoury. 

Khoury also talked about the necessity of having a regional entity like the European Investment Bank in the Middle East. 

“We do not have these pan-Arab entities that will look at us as regional investors. And what we see is a bit local. So what’s happening is, local funds are getting only local support.”