Tuesday, December 10, 2019

International Monetary Fund News

Oil Traders Bet on Economic Upswing in 2020

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Crude oil traders are betting the market will tighten significantly next year, even as the major statistical agencies predict production will outstrip consumption and oil inventories will rise.Most of the divergence can be explained by differing assumptions about global growth in 2020.The International Energy Agency (IEA), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are all projecting that the oil market will be in surplus…

Ecuador to Quit OPEC in 2020

Ecuador, one of the smallest members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said on Tuesday it will leave the 14-nation bloc from Jan. 1 due to fiscal problems.The Andean nation is attempting to increase crude production to raise more income and has on multiple occasions broken its output quota fixed by OPEC."The decision is based on the issues and internal challenges that the country must take on related to fiscal sustainability," the energy ministry said in a statement…

Petronas Signs Offshore Deal with Gabon

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Malaysian oil and gas company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has signed an agreement with Gabon for two exploration permits after the African country enacted a new oil law last month.A Bloomberg report quoted Noel Mboumba, Gabon’s petroleum minister saying that the deal follows the enactment of a revised hydrocarbons code last month, made with the support of the International Monetary Fund.The new code is more fiscally attractive than the previous one, the statement said citing Mboumba…

Oil Slips from Five-Month High

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Oil slipped from a five-month high above $71 a barrel on Tuesday as Russian comments signalling the possible easing of a supply-cutting deal with OPEC countered concern that violence in Libya could further tighten global markets.Supply curbs led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have underpinned a more than 30 percent rally this year for Brent crude, despite downward pressure from fears of an economic slowdown and weaker demand.Brent, the global benchmark, rose to $71.34 a barrel, the highest since November, but by 1349 GMT was down 59 cents at $70.51. U.S.

Argentina's Energy Chief Quits

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Argentina's energy secretary resigned on Friday, the government said in a statement, less than 24 hours after news leaked that the administration of President Mauricio Macri plans to increase electricity prices by an average 35 percent next year.Higher power bills are sure to be unpopular as they would hit families already struggling with 47 percent inflation and a shrinking economy that has caused job losses and an increase in poverty.The statement announcing Energy Secretary Javier Iguacel was stepping down gave no reason for his resignation.

Oil Prices Rise as Iranian Crude Exports Fall

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Oil prices rose on Tuesday on growing evidence of falling crude exports from Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer, before the imposition of new U.S. sanctions and a partial shutdown in the Gulf of Mexico because of Hurricane Michael.Benchmark Brent crude jumped by $1.13 a barrel to a high of $85.04 before easing back to $84.56, up 65 cents, by 1330 GMT. Brent hit a four-year high of $86.74 last week but slipped as low as $82.66 on Monday.U.S. light crude was up 40 cents at $74.69."The oil market mood is exceptionally bullish, with fears growing that the U.S.

Oil Prices Rise After U.S. Crude Inventories Fall

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Oil prices rose for a second day on Wednesday after data showed U.S. crude inventories fell more than expected, easing worries about oversupply that have dragged on markets in recent weeks.Brent crude was up 40 cents, or 0.55 percent, at $73.84 a barrel by 1310 GMT, after gaining 0.5 percent on Tuesday. U.S. light crude was 20 cents higher at $68.72, having risen nearly 1 percent in the previous session.U.S. crude and fuel stockpiles fell more than expected last week, industry group the…

ENI on Track to Double Ghana's Gas Output

(File photo: Eni)

Italy's ENI is on track to deliver the first gas from its Ghana operations next month, with output rising to 180 million cubic feet per day by year end, enough to more than double national output, officials told Reuters on Friday.ENI, which began oil production from a 45,000 barrel-per-day reserves a year ago, will start pumping natural gas on June 26 from its Sankofa reserves in a second phase of the company's $7.9 billion Offshore Cape Three Point project."We are on track and working full speed to deliver this month," an ENI source told Reuters, declining to be named until an official announcement.

Brent Crude Nears $70 on OPEC Cuts, Demand

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UBS sees upside for demand growth in 2018. Reuters survey shows strong compliance with output cuts. Brent oil prices held near $70 per barrel, supported by strong compliance with output cuts by OPEC and its ally Russia, as well as expectations for strong demand growth in 2018. Brent futures, the global benchmark, were down 8 cents at $69.57 a barrel by 1104 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 4 cents at $65.84 a barrel. "The OPEC/non-OPEC production and U.S. tight oil have justifiably been a focus this year.

Greece Sets Deadline for DESFA Gas Grid Sale

Greece's privatisation agency (HRADF) has pushed back to Feb. 16 the deadline to submit binding offers for a 66 percent stake in natural gas grid operator DESFA, sources close to the process said on Wednesday. Interested investors had sought an extension from a previous Dec. 22 deadline, expecting HRADF to give them a new date in February. One of the sources said HRADF set the date at a board meeting last month. HRADF had earlier identified the two investor groups qualified to proceed…

Congo Republic Pledges to Reform State Oil Firm as Seeks Bailout

Congo Republic plans to replace the board of directors and appoint an audit committee at state oil company SNPC, as it strives to improve accountability and convince international lenders to bail out the country. SNPC, which holds equity in fields operated by Italy's ENI and France's Total, has been dogged by allegations of corruption and mismanagement, and the government on Wednesday criticised the "dysfunction" of its current set-up. The reform plans come as the government is negotiating…

Oil Rises, but Doubts Swirl on Sustainability

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Barclays raises Q1 2018 Brent forecast to $56 per barrel, but says Q2 2018 prices to fall back to $48 per barrel. Oil prices rose for a third day on Wednesday as OPEC said the market was gradually tightening after years of oversupply, but the 2018 outlook was less certain. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were trading at $56.80 per barrel at 1129 GMT, up 19 cents. Brent closed 2 percent higher the previous day. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $51.31 a barrel, up 39 cents from their last settlement. WTI also closed 2 percent higher on Tuesday.

Egyptian Students Produce Fuel from Used Car Tires

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A group of Egyptian students have built a machine they say can produce fuel from worn-out vehicle tires, after big rises in energy prices as part of recent economic reforms. The device heats the tires until they reach evaporation point. The vapor then enters a condenser. The product is "very similar in properties to pure diesel and the carbon or black coal is just left inside the container," said Mohamed Saeed Ali, one of 12 students who worked on the machine as a graduation project. The students are currently searching for investors for their project.

The waning power of the petrodollar: McGeever

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When the Federal Reserve begins reducing its holdings of U.S. Treasuries as expected later this year, some of the most consistent buyers of U.S. bonds over the last 15 years may be less than willing to fill the breach. Before the financial crisis, the flow of "petrodollars" was one of the most powerful forces driving the U.S. bond market and the dollar, as oil exporters invested their booming trade surpluses into Treasuries. But that flow isn't what it once was, and may be about to dry up further.

Saudi Arabia Eases Austerity Just as Oil Prices Decline

Saudi Arabia’s decision to reverse some of last year’s austerity measures coincides with a renewed decline in oil prices and complicates the financial and economic outlook for the kingdom. All allowances, bonuses and financial benefits for civil servants and military personnel cancelled, amended or suspended in September 2016 have been restored and backdated by a royal decree issued by King Salman ("Saudi Arabia slashes ministers' pay, cuts public sector bonuses", Reuters, Sept. 26, 2016).

Mongolia Coal Export Earnings Surge after N.Korea Ban

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Mongolia's coal export earnings surged nearly fivefold in the first five months of the year, according to official data, with the country taking advantage of sanctions on North Korea to boost deliveries to China, its major customer. Cash-strapped Mongolia was forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund for support this year following a collapse in foreign investment, declining commodity prices and a downturn in coal demand. But it is now reaping the benefits of a ban on exports from North Korea, which has forced China to find alternative coal suppliers.

Ghana oil importers say government owes them $384 mln

Ghana's domestic oil importers said on Friday they may take legal action against the government to recover interest on an outstanding debt of $384 million that presents an early headache for the incoming government. The debt was accumulated mainly between 2013 and 2015 when Ghana's cedi currency halved in value against the dollar, hitting importers who buy oil products on international markets in dollars but sell them in cedis to consumers at home. The gap between the contract price the…

OPEC Reaches First Deal to Cut Oil Output Since 2008

OPEC agreed on Wednesday to cut its oil output for the first time since 2008, with the group's leader Saudi Arabia softening its stance on arch-rival Iran amid mounting pressure from low oil prices. Two sources in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said the group would reduce output to 32.5 million barrels per day from current production of 33.24 million bpd. How much each country will produce is to be decided at the next formal meeting of OPEC in November, when an invitation to join cuts could also be extended to non-OPEC countries such as Russia, sources said.

Algeria plans Bank Privatisations as oil money dries up

Algeria plans to allow its dominant state banks to list on the local stock exchange to help develop its financial markets and diversify sources of funding after the oil price slide, a senior financial official said. The plan will open the door for foreign investors to acquire controlling stakes in banks, reversing a rule requiring Algerian firms to keep a majority shareholding in any partnership with foreigners, the official told Reuters. Algeria's six government-run banks account for most of the sector's assets.

Passing Energy Bills, Ukrainian MPs Clear Path for New EU Loan

The Ukrainian parliament passed two bills on Thursday aimed at prising open the domestic energy distribution market to more competition, a reform demanded by the European Union in exchange for a 600-million-euro ($674.10 million) loan. The first bill will allow more companies to compete in the local distribution market - at present controlled by regional monopolies. The second measure creates an independent electricity commission responsible for setting power tariffs. Ukraine must adopt a series of reforms to secure tranches of aid money from its various international donors…