Oil falls 1% on weaker oil demand growth, surprise gain in US crude stocks

The US Energy Information Administration lowered its 2019 world oil demand growth forecast by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.22 million bpd. (Reuters)
Updated 12 June 2019

Oil falls 1% on weaker oil demand growth, surprise gain in US crude stocks

  • The US Energy Information Administration lowered its 2019 world oil demand growth forecast by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.22 million bpd

SEOUL: Oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Wednesday, weighed down by a weaker oil demand outlook and a rise in US crude inventories despite growing expectations of ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were down 87 cents, or 1.4 percent, at $61.42 a barrel by 0231 GMT.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 85 cents, or 1.6 percent, at $52.41 per barrel.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) cut its forecasts for 2019 world oil demand growth and US crude oil production in a monthly report released on Tuesday.
The EIA lowered its 2019 world oil demand growth forecast by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.22 million bpd and wound back its forecast for 2019 US crude production to 12.32 million bpd, 140,000 bpd less than the May forecast.
A surprise increase in US crude stockpiles also kept oil prices under pressure.
“Investors have been concerned about the recent rise in stockpiles in the US,” ANZ bank said in a note.
US crude inventories rose by 4.9 million barrels in the week ended June 7 to 482.8 million barrels, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday. That compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 481,000 barrels.
Official data from the Energy Information Administration is due at 10:30 A.M. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday.
Alongside concerns about rising supply, ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China, the world’s two biggest oil consumers, weighed on prices. US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he was holding up a trade deal with China.
“Oil prices have struggled to retain bullish gains as traders stay cautious over heightened geopolitical risks and persistent weakness in the global economic backdrop,” said Benjamin Lu, commodities analyst at Phillips Future in Singapore.
With the next meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) set for the end of June, the market is eyeing whether the world’s major oil producers would prolong their supply cuts.
OPEC, along with non-members including Russia in a group called OPEC+, have limited their oil output by 1.2 million bpd since the start of the year to prop up prices.
The Energy Minister for the United Arab Emirates Suhail Al-Mazroui said on Tuesday that OPEC members were close to reaching an agreement on continuing production cuts.
OPEC is set to meet on June 25, followed by talks with its allies led by Russia on June 26. But Russia suggested a date change to July 3 to 4, sources within the group previously told Reuters.


Indian property slump leaves beleaguered banks exposed

Updated 12 min 28 sec ago

Indian property slump leaves beleaguered banks exposed

  • While the Indian banking system could be hit by billions of dollars of additional soured debt, the cash crunch in the housing market has levied a toll in human misery

MUMBAI: India might have thought the worst of a bad loans crisis was past, but a severe cash crunch in the real estate industry could augur fresh strife for its banks. A slump in the residential property market is leaving many builders struggling to repay loans to shadow lenders — housing finance firms outside the regular banking sector that account for over half of the loans to developers.

With about $10 billion of development loans coming up for repayment in the first half of 2020, according to Fitch Rating’s Indian division, the fallout could spread to mainstream banks that have lent money to the shadow lenders or invested in their bonds.

Indian financial authorities, including the central bank and government, have said this year that the banking sector’s bad loans — totaling more than $150 billion — are on the decline for the first time in four years after ballooning during a debt crisis. But the number of property developers falling into bankruptcy has doubled during the past nine months, piling pressure on nonbanking finance companies (NBFCs), commonly known as shadow lenders.

Potential implosions of these NBFCs could expose banks, according to 12 banking and real estate sources.

A senior banking industry official, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said banks would be affected by the property cash crunch in three ways: Their lending to NBFCs, their own direct exposure to developers and also individuals who do not repay mortgages.

“It will be a triple-whammy,” he said. While the Indian banking system could be hit by billions of dollars of additional soured debt, the cash crunch in the housing market has levied a toll in human misery.

Retired Squadron Leader Krishan Mitroo has paid 90 percent of the cost of his house in Noida, northern India, to developer Jaypee, and the property was supposed to be handed over five years ago. However, Jaypee was forced to delay the project and went into insolvency in 2017.

“The project has been stuck and there is no progress at all. Even the bankruptcy court has not been able to resolve the issue so far, it is just hanging in thin air,” Mitroo said. He did not say how much money he had paid, but properties in that project range from about $56,000 to $140,000.

Several such projects are stuck across the country and buyers are waiting for new developers to take interest and complete them with the hope that their hard-earned money, which has been stuck for years, won’t be lost forever.