Crude drops as trade war rumbles on and output swells

An oil terminal in Novorossiysk, Russia. Oil prices fell by 2 percent on Tuesday, weighed down by rising OPEC and Russian oil output. (Reuters)
Updated 04 September 2019

Crude drops as trade war rumbles on and output swells

LONDON: Oil prices fell by 2 percent on Tuesday, weighed down by rising OPEC and Russian oil output as well as the protracted US-China trade dispute that has dragged on the global economy. US crude was down $1.26 at $53.84 a barrel while Brent crude was down 96 cents at $57.70 in
afternoon trade.

The US this week imposed 15 percent tariffs on Chinese goods and China began to impose new duties on a $75 billion target list in a trade war that has rumbled on for more than a year. Though the trade conflict has intensified, US President Donald Trump said both sides would meet for talks this month.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s economy expanded less than expected in the second quarter, with exports revised down in the face of the US-China dispute, central bank data showed on Tuesday.

FASTFACT

Russian oil production in August rose to 11.294 million barrels per day (bpd) hitting its highest since March.

A move on Sunday by Argentina to impose capital controls also cast a spotlight on emerging market risks. “Oil will struggle to make substantial headway topside this week with no progress on trade talks or meetings even, soft data from Asia and a possible cracking of OPEC’s resolve to control production,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Output OPEC rose in August for the first month this year as higher supply from Iraq and Nigeria outweighed restraint by Saudi Arabia and losses caused by US sanctions on Iran. Russian oil production in August rose to 11.294 million barrels per day (bpd), topping the rate cap pledged by Moscow in a pact with other producers and hitting its highest since March, data showed on Monday.

“What’s bad for the outlook for global growth is bad for oil at the moment and only big draws in inventories can delay that drift lower,” said Greg McKenna, strategist at McKenna Macro.


Nissan’s new CEO willing to be fired if no turnaround at Japanese giant

Updated 18 February 2020

Nissan’s new CEO willing to be fired if no turnaround at Japanese giant

  • Makoto Uchida, who took over the top job in December, put his job on the line at the automaker’s shareholders’ meeting
  • Uchida pleaded with shareholders to be patient while he comes up with a plan by May to recover from crumbling profits

YOKOHAMA: Nissan’s new chief executive said on Tuesday he would accept being fired if he fails to turn around Japan’s second biggest automaker which is grappling with plunging sales in the aftermath of the scandal surrounding ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn.
Makoto Uchida, who took over the top job in December, put his job on the line at the automaker’s shareholders’ meeting, where he faced demands ranging from cutting executive pay to offering a bounty to bring Ghosn back to Japan after he fled to Lebanon.
Nissan’s worsening performance has heaped pressure on Uchida, formerly Nissan’s China chief who became its third CEO since September, to come up with aggressive steps to revive the company.
On Tuesday, Uchida, who was repeatedly heckled by shareholders, said he was ready to face dismissal if he failed to improve profitability at the company, which is on course to post its worst annual operating profit in 11 years.
“We will make sure that we steer the company in an effective way so that it is visible in the eyes of viewers. I will commit to this: if the circumstances remain uncertain you can fire me immediately,” he said.
Uchida, 53, did not give a timeframe for improving Nissan’s performance.
The new boss must prove to the board he can accelerate cost-cutting and rebuild profits at the 86-year-old Japanese giant, and that he has the right strategy to repair its partnership with France’s Renault, sources have told Reuters.
Uchida pleaded with shareholders to be patient while he comes up with a plan by May to recover from crumbling profits and a corporate shake-up following Ghosn’s arrest in Japan in late 2018 over financial misconduct charges.
“If you can be patient a little bit longer, on a day-to-day basis you will be able to sense we are changing,” he said.
Ahead of the meeting, some shareholders demanded more clarity about Uchida’s plan.
“I just want to know what the plan for recovery is. At the moment, the share price has dropped again, and the value of the company has plummeted,” said a 70-year-old former employee who owns shares in the company.
“If this is the situation, part of me thinks that we would be better off with Ghosn ... If we don’t get a clearer vision of the path the company is taking, it will be a worry.”
Nissan’s shares are trading around their lowest level in more than a decade following its latest earnings.
Last week, Nissan cut its dividend outlook to its lowest since the 2011 financial year, after dwindling car sales drove the company to post its first quarterly net loss in nearly a decade.
Shareholders gathered at the extraordinary meeting in Yokohama to vote in new directors including Uchida and Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta.
Their appointments highlight a changing of the guard at Nissan, as shareholders were also voting on motions for former company stalwarts, CEO Hiroto Saikawa and COO Yashuhiro Yamauchi, to leave their board director positions.