OPEC sticks to upbeat view on oil demand growth: Saudi Arabia raises output to over 11m bpd in August

Update OPEC sticks to upbeat view on oil demand growth: Saudi Arabia raises output to over 11m bpd in August
Oil use has rebounded from the lows of the pandemic, although high prices and Chinese coronavirus outbreaks have trimmed 2022 growth projections (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 13 September 2022

OPEC sticks to upbeat view on oil demand growth: Saudi Arabia raises output to over 11m bpd in August

OPEC sticks to upbeat view on oil demand growth: Saudi Arabia raises output to over 11m bpd in August

LONDON: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Tuesday stuck to its forecasts for robust global oil demand growth in 2022 and 2023 citing signs that major economies were faring better than expected despite headwinds such as surging inflation.

Oil demand will increase by 3.1 million barrels per day in 2022 and by 2.7 million bpd in 2023, unchanged from last month, OPEC said in a monthly report.

Oil use has rebounded from the lows of the pandemic, although high prices and Chinese coronavirus outbreaks have trimmed 2022 projections. The downgrades, in OPEC’s view, have delayed a recovery in oil use to above 2019 levels until 2023, it said last month.

“Oil demand in 2023 is expected to be supported by a still-solid economic performance in major consuming countries, as well as potential improvements in COVID-19 restrictions and reduced geopolitical uncertainties,” OPEC said in Tuesday’s report.

It expects world oil consumption in 2023 to average 102.73 million bpd, above the pre-pandemic rate during 2019.

Earlier this year, OPEC had forecast a move above pre-pandemic demand levels in 2022.

OPEC left its 2022 and 2023 global economic growth forecasts steady at 3.1 percent and the report pointed to signs of activity holding up, such as retail spending in the United States and Euro-zone, and stressed the potential for upside risks.

“While the US and China especially were facing challenges in the first half of 2022, their economies are very likely to recover in the second half,” the report said.

“The euro zone enjoyed an unexpectedly strong first half of 2022 despite weak sentiment and inflationary trends.”

Oil prices traded lower after the OPEC report was released, slipping below $94 a barrel.

Output boost

OPEC and allies including Russia, known as OPEC+, have this year been ramping up oil output as they look to unwind record cuts put in place in 2020 after the pandemic slashed demand.

However, OPEC+ in recent months has failed to achieve its planned output increases due to underinvestment in oilfields by some OPEC members and by losses in Russian output.

OPEC’s monthly report showed OPEC output posted a sizeable gain in August, rising by 618,000 bpd to 29.65 million bpd, although much of this was due to Libyan supply recovering from outages, according to figures from secondary sources.

Top exporter Saudi Arabia told OPEC it made a larger August boost than the secondary sources reported, raising output to just over 11 million bpd, up 236,000 bpd from July, leaving the world’s cushion of unused capacity thinner.

Saudi Arabia says it has a maximum capacity of 12 million bpd and some industry sources have questioned whether the country can pump 11 million for very long. (Reporting by Alex Lawler; editing by Jason Neely)


Saudi-Chinese relations witness ‘qualitative leap,’ says energy minister

Saudi-Chinese relations witness ‘qualitative leap,’ says energy minister
Updated 07 December 2022

Saudi-Chinese relations witness ‘qualitative leap,’ says energy minister

Saudi-Chinese relations witness ‘qualitative leap,’ says energy minister
  • China has become the top destination for Saudi oil exports
  • President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier on Wednesday as part of a three-day visit

RIYADH: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Wednesday said that relations between the Kingdom and China are witnessing a qualitative leap, reflecting the keenness of both countries’ leaderships to develop them at all levels.

In remarks to the Saudi Press Agency during the Saudi-Chinese Summit in Riyadh, Prince Abdulaziz said that the Kingdom has strong and close strategic relations with China in many fields, the most important of which is energy.

China has become the top destination for Saudi oil exports as part of the high volume of trade exchange between the two countries, with continued annual growth over the past five years, he said, adding that Saudi-Chinese energy ties include multiple joint investments.

China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier on Wednesday as part of a three-day visit to the Kingdom following an invitation by King Salman to attend the summit, which will run until Dec. 9.

Prince Abdulaziz highlighted the importance of cooperation between the two countries in maintaining stability of the global oil market, and said that the Kingdom will remain China’s credible and reliable partner in facing future energy challenges.

The minister also reviewed areas of cooperation between the Kingdom and China, mainly through projects to convert crude oil into petrochemicals, renewable energy, clean hydrogen, electricity projects and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as well as investment in integrated refining and petrochemical complexes in both countries.

He highlighted the two nations’ efforts to boost cooperation in energy supply chains by establishing a regional center in the Kingdom for Chinese factories.


Budget 2023: Saudi Arabia exceeds surplus estimate and revises up GDP forecast

Budget 2023: Saudi Arabia exceeds surplus estimate and revises up GDP forecast
Updated 07 December 2022

Budget 2023: Saudi Arabia exceeds surplus estimate and revises up GDP forecast

Budget 2023: Saudi Arabia exceeds surplus estimate and revises up GDP forecast

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has recorded a larger-then-expected budget surplus for 2022 of SR102 billion ($27.13 billion) — SR12 billion higher than previously forecast.

The surplus comes as the Kingdom's gross domestic product is also set to exceed expectations — registering growth of 8.5 percent compared with the 7.5 percent estimated in December 2021 and the 8 percent forecast in pre-Budget statement published at the end of September.

GDP growth is forecast to slow to 3.1 percent in 2023.

The revelations came as the Saudi government approved a SR1.114 trillion budget for 2023, itself expected to post a surplus of SR16 billion, Saudi media outlets reported.

The Kingdom expects revenues of SR1.13 trillion next year, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV reported. The surplus is equivalent to 0.4 percent of gross domestic product — 0.2 percentage points higher than forecast in September 

Total revenues are forecast at SR1.234 trillion for 2022, while spending is SR1.132 trillion, meaning a surplus of 2.6 percent of GDP — 0.1 percentage point higher than previously forecast.

Saudi Arabia’s inflation, which recorded 2.6 percent in 2022, is expected to fall to 2.1 percent in 2023.

This is a developing story


Saudi’s KAPSARC signs information exchange agreement with Chinese research institute

Saudi’s KAPSARC signs information exchange agreement with Chinese research institute
Updated 07 December 2022

Saudi’s KAPSARC signs information exchange agreement with Chinese research institute

Saudi’s KAPSARC signs information exchange agreement with Chinese research institute

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian think tank King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s Economics & Technology Research Institute to exchange information around energy, economics, and climate change

Under the terms of the MoU, both entities will work hand in hand in order to allow for the exchange of research and the generation of actionable insights.

Some of the fields of common interest which will be prioritized topics of research include energy, economics, climate change, sustainability, transition, productivity, hydrogen, carbon capture, among others.

The MoU falls in line with KAPSARC’s mission to utilize applied research and innovation to drive and propel the global energy sector, while the Chinese organization is affiliated with oil and gas firm China National Petroleum Corporation.

“We see a lot of common interest and alignment between China’s and Saudi Arabia's position when it comes to energy and climate. We both understand and reiterate the idea of common but differentiated responsibility when it comes to climate change,” KAPSARC’s president Fahad Alajlan said in a statement.

Through joint workshops, the exchange of ideas and insights between experts, and the creation of platforms that facilitate global cooperation and knowledge exchange, both institutions will work together on deliver research.

“As important energy producers and consumers in the world, China and Saudi Arabia play an important role in maintaining the stability of the international energy market, addressing climate change, and promoting the realization of energy green transformation goals,” added CNPC ETRI’s president Yu Guo.


Saudi bourse crashes to 19-month low, ends at 10,185 points: Closing bell

Saudi bourse crashes to 19-month low, ends at 10,185 points: Closing bell
Updated 07 December 2022

Saudi bourse crashes to 19-month low, ends at 10,185 points: Closing bell

Saudi bourse crashes to 19-month low, ends at 10,185 points: Closing bell

RIYADH: The Tadawul All Share Index collapsed on Wednesday, losing 259.13 points — or 2.48 percent — to close at 10,185.14 points. The last time the index witnessed this level was on April 26, 2021, when the market ended at 10,231.  

The advance-decline ratio took a huge hit, after 158 stocks of the listed 219 dropped while 42 gained. The total trading turnover was SR3.68 billion ($980 million) compared to Tuesday’s SR4.96 billion. 

TASI’s steep fall was driven by the banking index, which fell 448.45 points or 3.88 percent to 11,123.58. While Al Rajhi Bank tumbled 4.88 percent to close at SR74, Riyad Bank shed 4.7 percent to SR30.40. Arab National Bank slumped 4.08 percent to SR30.55. 

The other indices that boarded the southbound bandwagon were MSCI Tadawul 30 Index, which fell by 2.99 percent, Diversified Financials by 2.77 percent, Healthcare Equipment and Services by 2.72 percent and Materials by 2.42 percent.  

According to market sources, the dampened spirit among investors could be attributed to the fear of a global economic downturn. The hunch that the US Federal Reserve could increase interest rates further, following positive US services industry data released on Monday, upset the apple cart. 

The trend is contagious as Saudi Arabia, like most Gulf Cooperation Council countries, has its currency pegged to the US dollar. Therefore, any policy move of the Fed has a direct impact on the regional markets. 

The Qatari index QE General slumped 154.24 points to close at 11,463.07, while the Abu Dhabi index FTSE ADX General declined 71.61 points to end at 10,336.34.  

Back to Tadawul, the top loser of Wednesday was Tourism Enterprise Co., which slid 5.3 percent to close at SR22.90, while the top gainer was Buruj Cooperative Insurance Co. It rose 9.61 percent to end at SR16.66. 

On a positive note, on Wednesday, Scientific & Medical Equipment House Co. bagged a medical operation project tender in the medical centers affiliated with the General Department of Medical Services at a total value of SR8.71 million.  

The project will be implemented in 14 months in four affiliated medical centers across Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif and Al-Muzahimiyah. 


Saudi Arabia’s Ajex expands its logistics services to China and Middle East 

Saudi Arabia’s Ajex expands its logistics services to China and Middle East 
Updated 07 December 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Ajex expands its logistics services to China and Middle East 

Saudi Arabia’s Ajex expands its logistics services to China and Middle East 

RIYADH: Saudi firm Ajex Logistics Services has announced the launch of two new services as a part of its expansion strategy into China and the Middle East. 

The services are the AJEX international e-commerce express, known as ICX, and AJEX international express service, called IXS.  

They will provide businesses in China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain with a portfolio of express cross-border delivery services for customers.  

“Introducing ICX and IXS services in China, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain is an important enhancement to our service portfolio, driven by our customers’ requirements for speed, reliability, and transparency,” said Ajex's Chief Marketing & Experience Officer Nathalie Amiel-Ferrault.  

She added: “Saudi Arabia is the largest e-commerce market in the Middle East, and the end-consumers expect flexibility, late-night deliveries, and ease of payment, with cash-on-delivery representing more than 30 percent of e-commerce.”   

According to the report, customers will be able to send single-piece and multi-piece shipments from China to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain in four to seven days.  

Ajex is a joint venture between Ajlan & Bros Holding and SF Express. 

For Saudi Arabia, logistics is a crucial sector to achieve its goals outlined in Vision 2030, as the Kingdom is now diversifying its economy, which has been dependent on oil for several decades.  

Earlier in October, while speaking at the Supply Chain and Logistics Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Saleh Al-Jasser said that the Kingdom is working to inaugurate 59 logistic zones to bolster supply chains and logistic services.  

In June, in an exclusive interview with Arab News, Sulaiman Al-Mazroua, CEO of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, noted that the Kingdom’s logistics sector needs a huge investment combined between the government and private sector by 2030.  

He added that Saudi Arabia would provide the right business environment to attract world transportation companies to operate in the Kingdom, which will help the nation emerge as one of the world’s busiest logistics centers.