Oil prices fall but losses limited by Brexit deal hopes

Oil prices fell at news of increases in US inventories but were revived by the announcement by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, of a deal with the EU. Shutterstock, (Reuters)
Updated 18 October 2019

Oil prices fall but losses limited by Brexit deal hopes

  • US retail sales in September fell for the first time in seven months adding to economy fears

LONDON: Oil prices fell on Thursday as industry data showed a larger than expected increase in US inventories but losses were limited after Britain and the EU announced they had reached a deal on Brexit.

Global benchmark Brent crude was down 37 cents at $59.05 in afternoon London trade while US WTI crude was also down 37 cents, at $52.99.

US crude inventories soared by 10.5 million barrels to 432.5 million barrels in the week to Oct. 11, the American Petroleum Institute’s weekly report showed, ahead of official government stocks data.

Analysts had estimated US crude inventories rose by 2.8 million barrels last week.

“US sanctions imposed on Chinese shipping company COSCO are seriously denting demand for imported crude ... This has a profound impact on US crude oil inventories as reflected in last night’s API report,” said Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates.

“US refinery maintenance is not helping to reverse the current trend and further builds in US crude oil inventories can be expected in the next few weeks.”

The US imposed sanctions on COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) and subsidiary COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman & Ship Management for allegedly carrying Iranian oil.

Adding to concerns about the global economy — and therefore oil demand — data from the US showed retail sales in September fell for the first time in seven months. Earlier data showed a moderation in job growth and services sector activity.

Nevertheless, Brexit developments helped limit oil’s decline. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain and the EU had agreed a “great” new deal and urged lawmakers to approve it when they meet for a special session at the weekend.

Analysts have said any agreement that avoids a no-deal Brexit should boost economic growth and oil demand.

However, the Northern Irish party whose support Johnson needs to help ratify any agreement, has said that it refused to support the pact.

Hopes of a potential US-China trade deal also supported oil. The commerce ministry in Beijing said China hoped to reach a phased agreement with Washington as early as possible.

But the German government has lowered its 2020 forecast for economic growth to 1 percent from 1.5 percent, the economy ministry said. It said Germany, Europe’s largest economy, was not facing a crisis. 


China was largest recipient of FDI in 2020 — UNCTAD report

In this Jan. 25, 2020, file photo, an ambulance drives across a nearly empty bridge in Wuhan, China, after the city was placed under a 76-day lockdown amid a rising COVID-19 outbreak. China managed to place the contagion under control early while other countries continue to suffer from the pandemic one year after. (Chinatopix via AP, File)
Updated 25 January 2021

China was largest recipient of FDI in 2020 — UNCTAD report

  • China’s $163 billion in inflows last year, compared to $134 billion attracted by the US
  • In 2019, the US had received $251 billion in inflows and China received $140 billion

China was the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in 2020 as the coronavirus outbreak spread across the world during the course of the year, with the Chinese economy having brought in $163 billion in inflows.
China’s $163 billion in inflows last year, compared to $134 billion attracted by the United States, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report released on Sunday.
In 2019, the United States had received $251 billion in inflows and China received $140 billion.
China’s economy picked up speed in the fourth quarter, with growth beating expectations as it ended a rough coronavirus-striken 2020 in remarkably good shape and remained poised to expand further this year even as the global pandemic rages unabated.
China’s gross domestic product grew 2.3% in 2020, official data showed last week, making China the only major economy in the world to avoid a contraction last year.
The world’s second-largest economy has surprised many with the speed of its recovery from the coronavirus jolt, especially as policymakers have also had to navigate tense US-China relations on trade and other fronts.
Overall, global FDI had collapsed in 2020, falling by 42% to an estimated $859 billion, from $1.5 trillion in 2019, according to the UNCTAD report.
“FDI finished 2020 more than 30% below the trough after the global financial crisis in 2009,” the UNCTAD said on Sunday.
FDI flows fell by 37% in Latin American and the Caribbean, by 18% in Africa, and by 4% in developing Asia, the report added.
East Asia accounted for a third of global FDI in 2020, while FDI flows to developed countries fell by 69%.