Iraqi oil minister says OPEC deal will help to stabilize oil market

Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban speaks to the media at the ministry's headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq October 31, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 11 July 2019
0

Iraqi oil minister says OPEC deal will help to stabilize oil market

  • Baghdad studies contingency plans to deal with possible disruption, including new export routes

BAGHDAD: An agreement between OPEC and its allies to extend oil output cuts until the end of March 2020 will lower inventories, help stabilise the market and address price volatility, Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban said on Wednesday.
Asked about OPEC’s position on prices, Ghadhban said the general view was that $70 per barrel or higher was acceptable, adding that the producer group sought prices that were fair to consumers and producers alike. Brent oil is currently near $65.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers led by Russia agreed earlier this month to prolong oil output cuts, seeking to prop up the price of crude as the global economy weakens and U.S. production soars.
Iraq hopes navigation in the Strait of Hormuz will remain open and uninterrupted, said Ghadhban, who was speaking on the sidelines of an energy conference in Baghdad.
“No fewer than 18 million barrels pass through the strait every day ... the region needs to remain stable,” he said.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday that any disruption to oil exports through the Strait of Hormuz would be a “major obstacle” for the economy of Iraq, which has few oil export outlets.
The Iraqi government was studying contingency plans to deal with possible disruption, including alternative routes for oil exports, Abdul Mahdi said.
A vital shipping route linking Middle East oil producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond, the Strait of Hormuz has been at the heart of regional tensions for decades.
Recent months have seen a bout of instability in the region, with six tankers attacked since May amid escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Decoder

Strait of Hormuz

The Strait of Hormuz is a vital shipping route linking Middle East oil producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.


IMF says Pakistan needs to mobilize tax revenue, cut debt

Updated 22 July 2019
0

IMF says Pakistan needs to mobilize tax revenue, cut debt

  • Khan’s government faces mounting pressure as rising prices and tough austerity policies

WASHINGTON: Pakistan needs to mobilize domestic tax revenue to ensure funds for social and development programs, while reducing debt, the acting director of the International Monetary Fund said on Sunday after a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The two officials discussed recent economic developments and implementation of Pakistan’s IMF-supported economic reforms, which are aimed at stabilizing the economy, strengthening institutions and paving the way for sustainable and balanced growth, David Lipton said in a statement.
Khan’s government faces mounting pressure as rising prices and tough austerity policies under Pakistan’s latest bailout from the IMF are squeezing the middle class that helped carry it to power.
Lipton said the IMF and other international partners were working closely with the Pakistani government to support implementation of the reforms.
“I highlighted the need to mobilize domestic tax revenue now and on into the future to provide reliably for needed social and development spending, while placing debt on a firm downward trend,” Lipton said in a statement after the meeting.
Khan, who arrived in Washington on Sunday, is due to meet with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday. Trump is likely to press Khan for help on ending the war in Afghanistan and fighting militants.
Last year, Trump cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in security assistance to Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of offering “nothing but lies and deceit” while giving safe haven to terrorists, a charge angrily rejected by Islamabad.
In recent years, import-led consumption has propped up growth in Pakistan and helped hide the problems of an economy riddled with inefficiency and without a strong export base.
But Khan’s government, like many of its predecessors, has been forced to turn to the IMF to prevent a balance-of-payments crisis.
Economic growth, which reached 5.5% in the fiscal year to June 2018, is expected to slow to 2.4% this financial year, according to IMF estimates, barely enough to keep pace with the growth in a population that now numbers 208 million.