Lebanon seeks fuel imports from Kuwait

Kuwait is seeking to bolster its own finances amid low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic. (File/AFP)
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Updated 14 July 2020

Lebanon seeks fuel imports from Kuwait

  • Lebanon’s internal security chief said he had discussed the matter with Kuwaiti officials during a visit

KUWAIT: Lebanon wants to negotiate fuel imports with Kuwait to help Beirut cope with an economic and financial crisis, Lebanon’s internal security chief said in remarks published on Tuesday.
Abbas Ibrahim told Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai he had discussed the matter with Kuwaiti officials during a visit to the oil-exporting Gulf Arab state this week along with other “shared ideas” that could help alleviate Lebanon’s crisis.
“We want to purchase 100% of our requirements from Kuwait without going through agents or companies looking to make a profit ... this is a purely commercial matter and I hope there will be no obstacles to it,” Al Rai quoted Ibrahim as saying.
He said the request would be raised to Kuwait’s ruler.
Lebanon is suffering a dire financial crisis and hard currency liquidity crunch. The Lebanese pound has lost some 80% of its value since October.
There was no immediate comment from Kuwaiti officials on the request. Abbas, in the newspaper interview, declined to elaborate on what other assistance Lebanon may have sought.
Gulf states have long channelled funds into Lebanon’s fragile economy but are alarmed by the rising influence of Hezbollah, a powerful group backed by their arch-rival Iran.
They appear loath now to help ease Beirut’s worst financial crisis in decades, with a senior official in the United Arab Emirates last month saying Lebanon was paying the price of deteriorating ties with wealthy Gulf Arab neighbors.
Kuwait is seeking to bolster its own finances amid low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic, and has been rapidly depleting its General Reserves Fund to plug a budget deficit.
Another leading Kuwaiti newspaper, Al Qabas, quoted sources as saying it would be difficult for Kuwait at this time to consider supporting Lebanon through a central bank deposit.


Oil climbs on positive China data, hopes for US stimulus package

Updated 11 August 2020

Oil climbs on positive China data, hopes for US stimulus package

  • Iraq to deepen supply cuts in August and September; China’s factory deflation slows in July

LONDON: Oil rose on Monday, supported by an improvement in Chinese factory data, rising energy demand and hopes for an agreement in the United States on more coronavirus-related economic stimulus.

Brent crude rose 75 cents, or 1.7. percent, to $45.15 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) US crude was up 94 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $41.16 a barrel.

Saudi Arabian Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said on Sunday that he sees oil demand rebounding in Asia as economies gradually open up.

China’s factory deflation eased in July, driven by a rise in global oil prices and as industrial activity climbed back toward pre-coronavirus levels, adding to signs of recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.

“With oil demand still slowly grinding higher, and oil supply in check due to the OPEC+ production cut deal and prices too low to incentivise strong production growth in the United States, the oil market remains undersupplied,” UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo said.

Iraq said on Friday it would cut its oil output by a further 400,000 barrels per day in August and September to compensate for its overproduction in the past three months.

The move would help it comply with its share of cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, a grouping known as OPEC+.

“This would send out a strong signal to the oil market on various levels. That said, this would also require the international companies operating in Iraq to join in with the cuts,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.

Prices also found some support after US President Donald Trump said US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, wanted to meet with him to make a deal on coronavirus-related economic relief.

The talks between Democrats and members of Republican Trump’s administration broke down last week.

“The longer this drags on, the worse it is for the demand scenario,” said Michael McCarthy, market strategist at CMC Markets and Stockbroking.

However, uncertainty over rising tensions between the United States and China put some pressure on prices. Trump signed two executive orders banning WeChat and TikTok in 45 days’ time while announcing sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials.

Markets will now keep an eye on a China-US meeting on trade scheduled for this weekend.