Deeper oil supply cut ‘an option,’ says OPEC chief

Oil prices have failed to gain a lasting boost from supply disruptions this year, including the attack on the Saudi Aramco oil installations in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
Updated 10 October 2019

Deeper oil supply cut ‘an option,’ says OPEC chief

  • Slowing global growth raises prospect of long-term production cutbacks ahead of policy summit

LONDON: A deeper cut in oil supplies is among options for OPEC and its allies to consider in December, its secretary general said on Thursday as the producer group’s forecasts pointed to slower global growth and lower demand next year.

OPEC, Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, have since January implemented a deal to cut oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day to support the market. The pact runs to March 2020 and the producers meet to set policy on Dec. 5-6.

“The conference will take appropriate, strong, positive decisions that will set us on the path of heightened and sustained stability for 2020,” Mohammad Barkindo said at a briefing in London.

“All options are open,” he said, when asked about the prospect of a deeper oil supply cut.

Oil prices have failed to gain a lasting boost from supply disruptions this year, including the attack last month on Saudi Arabian oil installations that briefly shut down more than half of production in the world’s top exporter.

HIGHLIGHTS

• OPEC, allies meet on Dec. 5-6 in Vienna.

• Options on the table include deeper oil supply cut.

• December meeting likely to set policy for 2020.

Brent crude was trading near $58 a barrel, down from a 2019 high near $75 in April. Concern about weaker economies and demand due to uncertainties such as Brexit and the US-China trade dispute have overshadowed lower supply.

While the last meetings of OPEC and its allies in July decided on supply for the next nine months, the next meeting in Vienna will likely take a longer view.

“We will be faced with real data for 2020 that will enable us to review the current arrangement and come up with a decision that probably will cover the whole of the year,” Barkindo said.

OPEC separately released its October monthly oil market report on Thursday in which it trimmed its forecast for world economic growth in 2020 to 3 percent from 3.1 percent, saying “it seems increasingly likely that the slowing growth momentum in the US will carry over to 2020.”

Barkindo sounded a more upbeat tone, saying data was preliminary and could surprise to the upside.

In a forecast that could press the case for further supply restraint, OPEC predicts a drop in demand for OPEC crude next year due to higher supply from rivals such as the US.


Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

Updated 15 November 2019

Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

  • Over-allocation options could take the total value to more than $13 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade
  • Alibaba Chief Executive Officer said the group wanted to participate in Hong Kong’s future

HONG KONG: Chinese technology giant Alibaba on Friday confirmed plans to list in Hong Kong in what it called a $13 billion vote of confidence in the turbulent city’s markets and a step forward in its plans to go global.
The enormous IPO, which Hong Kong had lobbied for, will come as a boost for authorities wrestling with pro-democracy protests that have tarnished the financial hub’s image for order and security and hammered its stock market.
Alibaba will offer 500 million shares at a maximum of HK$188 apiece to retail investors, the company said. The number eight is considered auspicious in China.
Over-allocation options could take the total value to more than $13 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade after insurance giant AIA raised $20.5 billion in 2010.
Alibaba had planned to list in the summer but called it off owing to the city’s long-running pro-democracy protests and the China-US trade war. The US and China are now working on sealing a partial trade deal.
Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Chief Executive Officer, said the group wanted to “contribute, in our small way, and participate in the future of Hong Kong.”
“During this time of ongoing change, we continue to believe that the future of Hong Kong remains bright,” he said.
The firm’s shares are already traded in New York. A second listing in Hong Kong is expected to curry favor with Beijing, which has sought to encourage its current and future big tech firms to list nearer to home after the loss of companies such as Baidu to Wall Street.
In the statement, Zhang said that when Alibaba went public in 2014 it “missed out on Hong Kong with regret.”
Mainland authorities have also stepped up moves to attract such listings, including launching a new technology board in Shanghai in July.
The listing comes after the city’s exchange tweaked the rules to allow double listings, while Chief Executive Carrie Lam had also been pushing Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma to sell shares in the city.
“The listing in Hong Kong will allow more of the company’s users and stakeholders in the Alibaba digital economy across Asia to invest and participate in Alibaba’s growth,” the company said.
It has long been expected to launch a multibillion-dollar stock listing in Hong Kong but appeared to postpone the offering because of political and economic turmoil.
Hong Kong’s key Hang Seng Index rose 0.48 percent in morning trading following the announcement
Chinese shoppers set new records for spending on Monday’s annual 24-hour “Singles’ Day” buying spree, despite an economic slowdown in the country and the worries over the US trade war.
It said consumers spent $38.3 billion on its platforms over that stretch, up 26 percent from the previous all-time high mark set last year.
Alibaba also said it saw record amounts of cross-border sales, underlining its plans to expand globally.
“Globalization is the future of Alibaba Group. We firmly believe the marriage of digital technology and commerce will bring about unprecedented change that will not be limited by borders,” Zhang said.