Barclays raises oil price view, sees slow grind higher in coming months

Barclays is more bullish on the price of oil in the coming months. (Reuters)
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Updated 22 July 2021

Barclays raises oil price view, sees slow grind higher in coming months

  • Expectations that oil inventories will be tight as economies recover drove oil prices higher on Thursday, with benchmark Brent prices rising to around $72.86 a barrel

BENGALURU: The oil market’s supply and demand dynamics point to a slow grind higher in prices over the next few months, Barclays said on Thursday, as it raised its 2021 oil price forecasts by $3-5 per barrel.
Expectations that oil inventories will be tight as economies recover drove oil prices higher on Thursday, with benchmark Brent prices rising to around $72.86 a barrel.
“Oil prices could rise to $100 per barrel over the coming months if OPEC+ is too slow in bringing back supplies, given the relatively inelastic non-OPEC+ supply response,” Barclays said in a note.
“But we doubt the group would view it as an optimum outcome given the potential for significant demand erosion and political considerations,” it added.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, a group known as OPEC+, has agreed to increase oil supply from August by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) each month until the end of the year.
While it expects cooperation among OPEC+ members to continue, Barclays said it does not anticipate OPEC+ will be able to limit supply growth to 400,000 bpd a month beyond 2021 if Iranian supplies increase significantly on a potential nuclear deal.
The British bank sees Brent crude prices averaging $69 per barrel this year, up from $66 previously, and $68 in 2022 on expectation of a larger surplus.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices are forecast to average $67 a barrel this year, up from $62 previously, and to average $65 next year.
Barclays said that while the spread of coronavirus variants posed a risk to the pace of the demand recovery, its impact would be far less than at the start of the year primarily due to vaccinations.
“A scenario in which slower demand recovery threatens to derail the progress on inventory normalization could be managed by OPEC+ slowing down its tapering.”


Sipchem begins hydrogen supply to Aramco firm

Updated 1 min 20 sec ago

Sipchem begins hydrogen supply to Aramco firm

RIYADH: Sahara International Petrochemical Co. on Monday began supplying hydrogen to Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Co., Argaam reported citing the company’s bourse filing.

The company attributed the delay in completing the project to the coronavirus pandemic, which further delayed the process of receiving equipment, thus resulting in productivity loss in construction.

The financial impact of this agreement will reflect on the company’s fourth quarter of 2021 financial results.

The agreement will enhance Sipchem’s presence as a reliable supplier in hydrogen production and open up many areas for the company in the gas industry.

According to data compiled by Argaam, Sipchem signed in May 2019 an agreement with SASREF to supply hydrogen gas for a period of 20 years.


Saudi Arabia extends period to correct ownership details

Updated 27 September 2021

Saudi Arabia extends period to correct ownership details

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce on Sunday extended the corrective period for violators of the Kingdom’s anti-concealment law until Feb. 16, 2022.

Failure to comply with the local law will result in penalties of up to SR5 million ($1.3 million) and jail term.

Status correction requests can be submitted electronically via mc.gov.sa.

The National Program for Combating Commercial Concealment, also known as Tasattur, the initiative aims to combat all types of commercial concealment by enforcing a number of measures and actions, including a gradual requirement for all business outlets to use electronic payment systems in their trade activities.

The program’s key mission is to regulate financial transactions and eliminate the illegal remittances.


Saudi mining portal received 4,073 license applications since launch

Updated 25 September 2021

Saudi mining portal received 4,073 license applications since launch

  • The Kingdom plans to launch a comprehensive geological survey to map the country’s mining potential

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has received 4,073 applications through its online portal since it was launched earlier this year, it said in a statement on Saturday.

The ministry has issued 1,092 licenses to investors seeking opportunities in the Kingdom’s mining sector, and is processing a further 1,446, it said.

The sector is witnessing a rapid transformation and attracting investors from around the globe since the launch of a new mining law earlier this year.

According to geological surveys dating back 80 years, the Kingdom has an estimated reserve of untapped mining potential valued at $1.3 trillion.

Saudi Arabia’s mining industry has already attracted some major foreign investors. American industrial corporation Alcoa has a 25.1 percent stake in two companies, Ma’aden Bauxite and Alumina and Ma’aden Aluminum, as part of $10.8 billion joint venture with the Saudi Arabian Mining Co., Ma’aden, located in Ras Al-Khair Industrial City in the Eastern Province.

The Kingdom plans to launch a comprehensive geological survey to map the country’s mining potential.

The five-year program will conduct geophysical and geochemical surveys and create detailed mapping of more than 700,000 sq. km of the mineral-rich Arabian Shield area in Saudi Arabia.

The Vision 2030 reform plan identified the mining sector as a potential third pillar of the Kingdom’s industrial growth, alongside petroleum and petrochemicals. The country is investing SR14 billion to develop the sector.

About $45 billion in private and public sector investments have gone into the mining sector over the past decade, mainly in phosphate and aluminum production.

The Kingdom also plans to auction two major mining licenses in 2022 for commodities including gold, copper and zinc, as the Kingdom aims to triple the mining sector’s contribution to the national gross domestic product to SR240 billion ($64 billion) and double the number of jobs to 470,000 by 2030.


Egypt extends natural gas exploration auctions to end of September

Updated 25 September 2021

Egypt extends natural gas exploration auctions to end of September

  • Nine new exploration licence awards announced

CAIRO: Nine international natural gas exploration auctions that were announced in March have been extended until the end of September, said the Magdy Galal, chairman of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company.

Galal also announced that nine new natural gas exploration agreements have been signed with international companies, bringing the total number to 44. The new exploration licenses will lead to investment of nearly $1 billion with signature grants amounting to $24 million, he said during the company’s general assembly headed by the Minister of Petroleum.

Last year witnessed eight new discoveries of natural gas, two discoveries in the Mediterranean and six in the Western Desert, adding an estimated 600 billion cubic feet of new reserves.

Four projects were implemented for the development and production of gas from the discovered fields with investments of more than $4 billion, and 15 new wells were placed on the gas production map, with an average daily production of 1.4 billion cubic feet of gas and more than 25,000 barrels of condensate.

The total average production of natural gas amounted to more than 6.8 billion cubic feet, covering the entire needs of the local market. The average daily local consumption of natural gas amounted to more than 6 billion cubic feet.

The electricity sector consumed the most gas, accounting for more than 60 percent of production, followed by the industrial sector with more than 22 percent and the petrochemical and gas derivatives industry with about 11 percent. Domestic home and vehicle use took and 6 percent.

Exports of natural gas were made to Jordan through pipelines, and liquefied natural gas has been exported to global markets with a total of 71 shipments from the Idku and Damietta facilities.

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China crypto crackdown reveals scale of digital yuan ambitions

Updated 25 September 2021

China crypto crackdown reveals scale of digital yuan ambitions

  • All crypto trading and mining deemed illegal in China
  • China's central bank digital currency could launch as soon as 2022

LONDON: If there’s one thing the Chinese Communist Party likes it is control.

A raft of edicts from President Xi Jinping this year have asserted the government’s control over ever larger swathes of the Chinese economy and the everyday life of Chinese people.

The financial cost of these measures is difficult to accurately gauge, but billions of dollars have been wiped off the value of tech companies, including Alibaba, Didi and Tencent, following a squeeze on their activities, including limits on how long children can spend playing online games.

There have been considerable financial costs too from China’s crypto crackdown, which intensified yesterday with a blanket ban on all crypto transactions and mining. Ten agencies, including the central bank, financial, securities and foreign exchange regulators, vowed to work together to root out “illegal” cryptocurrency activity, the first time the Beijing-based regulators have joined forces to explicitly ban all cryptocurrency-related activity.

That represents a major escalation from May this year, when China banned financial institutions and payment companies from providing services related to cryptocurrency transactions. It had issued similar bans in 2013 and 2017.

Despite an initial drop in the value of cryptocurrencies on Friday, they stabilized on Saturday and most analysts don’t see the measures having a long-term effect on the value of crypto assets.

“For the institutional crypto industry, it won’t change much as those who could leave already left and those who couldn’t have either closed or gone under the radar,” said George Zarya, CEO at digital asset prime brokerage and exchange BEQUANT. “The retail market most likely has gone under the radar and will continue to support market volumes.”

The biggest financial cost is to Chinese businesses involved in trading and mining cryptocurrencies.

Virtual currency mining had been big business in China before May, accounting for more than half the world’s crypto supply, but miners have been moving overseas.

“[China] will now lose around $6 billion worth of annual mining revenue, all of which will flow to the remaining global mining regions,” said Christopher Bendiksen, head of research at digital asset manager CoinShares, citing Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States as beneficiaries.

Crypto exchanges OKEx and Huobi, which originated in China but are now based overseas, are likely to be the worst affected since they still have some China users, analysts said. Tokens associated with the two exchanges plunged over 20 percent on Friday.

Despite all this disruption and loss of wealth, there is a major upside for China.

The Chinese government has repeatedly raised concerns that cryptocurrency speculation could disrupt the country’s economic and financial order, one of Beijing’s top priorities.

Most of all, cryptocurrencies are a threat to China’s sovereign digital yuan, which is at an advanced pilot stage. The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, plans an official launch of the digital yuan as soon as 2022, following testing at the Winter Olympics.

Widespread use of the digital yuan would give Chinese policy makers greater visibility into how money flows around China’s economy.

This would help them track any illicit flows of funds, such as money laundering or terrorist financing, and it would also allow them to experiment by targeting monetary policy interventions on specific economic classes, regions or other groups.

However, by killing off independent cryptocurrencies, China closes off a huge area of financial innovation and risks reducing the dynamism of its economy in the future.