Monday, 18 February 2019
Indian Oil Corp, the country’s top refiner, has signed its first annual deal to buy U.S. oil, paying about 1.5 billion dollars for 60,000 barrels a day in the year to March 2020 to diversify its crude sources, its chairman said on Monday.
IOC is the first Indian state refiner to buy U.S. oil under an annual contract, in a deal that will also help boost trade between New Delhi and Washington.
The company has previously purchased U.S. oil from spot markets and signed a mini-term deal in August to buy 6 million barrels of U.S. oil between November and January.
IOC chairman Sanjiv Singh said the annual contract will begin from April. He declined to give the name of the seller or pricing details, citing confidentiality.
A trade source, who is not authorized to speak to media, said IOC has signed the deal with Norwegian oil company Equinor.
Equinor, which has set up an office in New Delhi to support oil marketing and trading, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Indian Oil buys about 75 per cent of its oil needs through long-term deals, mostly with OPEC nations.
The term deal will help cut IOC’s dependence on OPEC crude, said Sri Paravaikkarasu, head of east of Suez oil for consultants FGE in Singapore.
“Lots of geopolitical issues are going around. We expect lots of volume going away from Venezuela, west Africa and Iran, so it makes sense to have guaranteed term supplies from the U.S., where crude production is increasing,” she said.
“There is a push for diversification everywhere. South Korea is giving a freight rebate for non-Middle East crude imports,” she added.
India and the United States, which have developed close political and security ties, are also looking to develop bilateral trade, which stood at 126 billion dollars in 2017 but is widely seen to be performing well below its potential.
The two countries have set up seven groups of chief executives with top U.S. and Indian firms to boost bilateral trade in areas including energy.
Last week India’s top gas importer Petronet LNG signed an initial deal to invest and buy LNG from Tellurian Inc’s proposed Driftwood project in Louisiana in the United States.
Published in Business

Oil traded near the highest level since November on optimism the U.S. and China can reach a trade deal and as an outage at the world’s largest offshore field in Saudi Arabia signaled tightening supply.

Futures in New York rose as much as 1 percent after advancing 5.4 percent last week. President Donald Trump said talks with China were “very productive” as his team returned from Beijing and readied for another round of discussions in Washington this week, raising hopes that a trade war between the world’s largest economies will ease. The Saudis, meanwhile, were said to be repairing a damaged power cable that’s curbed output at the Safaniyah field.

WTI climbs to the highest level in three months

Crude’s surged about 24 percent this year as Saudi Arabia and Russia pledged to expand their output cuts, easing concerns that record U.S. production would result in a global glut. More supply is being threatened because of American sanctions against Venezuela and Iran. Reports that the U.S. and China had reached consensus in principle on the main topics in their negotiations further helped boost investors’ risk appetite.

“Markets are astonished by the amount of production cuts and the further reductions Saudi plans to make,” said Howie Lee, a Singapore-based economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. “Even though there was no conclusive trade deal from Beijing, the already bullish oil market took no news as good news.”

West Texas Intermediate for March delivery rose as much as 54 cents to $56.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and traded 49 cents higher at $56.08 at 7:34 a.m. in London. Transactions will be booked Tuesday for settlement because of the U.S. President’s Day holiday. Prices last week posted their biggest gain in more than a month.

Brent for April settlement was at $66.65 a barrel, up 40 cents, on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It gained 6.7 percent last week. The global benchmark crude’s premium over WTI for the same month narrowed to $10.19, after widening to the biggest spread in more than three months on Friday.

Also Read: Trump, Xi Hail Progress in Trade Talks as Tariff Deadline Nears

Conciliatory signals from the world’s two biggest economies are calming fears Washington will ratchet up tariffs before a March 1 deadline. “Big progress being made on soooo many different fronts!,” Trump said on Twitter Sunday.

Worries about the trade war worsening a global slowdown are receding at a time when OPEC and its allies are accelerating their implementation of the oil-production cuts agreed in December. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reported a strong start to the latest round of supply reductions, with the Saudis pledging to cut beyond agreed levels.

The impact of the outage at Safaniyah, which has the capacity to pump 1.2 million to 1.5 million barrels of mostly heavy-sour crude a day, could be damped as seasonal refinery maintenance works across Asia and the U.S. typically peak around now. Saudi Arabian Oil Co. said in statement that all its facilities were “safe and normal,” without elaborating on the situation at Safaniyah.


- Bloomberg

Published in Engineering
British lawmakers on Monday accused Facebook of “intentionally and knowingly” violating data privacy and anti-competition laws as they called for social media companies to assume clear legal liabilities for content shared on their platforms.
Facebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company.
“Social media companies cannot hide behind the claim of being merely a platform.
“It cannot maintain that they have no responsibility themselves in regulating the content of their sites,’’ a major report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee released on Monday.
The committee, which reviewed a trove of internal Facebook emails, accused the tech giant of being “willing to override its users’ privacy settings in order to transfer data to some app developers.’’
The lawmakers also accused chief executive Mark Zuckerberg of showing “contempt” of the British parliament by choosing not to appear before the committee nor “respond personally to any of our invitations.”
The committee called for the establishment of a compulsory code of ethics overseen by an independent regulator to draw a rulebook of acceptable and unacceptable behaviours on social media.
“The process should establish clear, legal liability for tech companies to act against agreed harmful and illegal content on their platform,’’ the report said.
The regulator should have the ability to launch legal proceedings “with the prospect of large fines being administered” for non-complying companies.
The committee also called for electoral law to be changed “to reflect changes in campaigning techniques” and for “absolute transparency of online political campaigning.”
Published in World
A branch of Nigeria’s ruling party, Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC), has said that Nigerians should not think about having an election on Saturday except its candidates in Rivers State are included on the ballot papers.
Director of Strategic Communications for the Tonye Cole Campaign Organization, Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill, gave the warning on Sunday in a statement he made available to Ripples Nigeria entitled, “Unless we’re on the ballot, the election won’t hold”. He added that he could “still see disaster come Saturday.”
Princewill while reacting to the postponement of the elections nationwide said that he stood by the statements from Festus Keyamo and Garba Shehu, which alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had collaborated with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to shift the polls date.
INEC had rescheduled the Presidential and National Assembly elections few hours before its commencement from earlier date of February 16 to February 23.
APC, following court judgments, has no candidate vying for position in all elections; Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship and state House of Assembly.
However, the Rivers APC chieftain said the delay not only “exposed the state governor, Nyesom Wike and the PDP’s unholy alliance with INEC, but showed the whole world that injustice to one was a delay for us all because they (PDP and INEC) have offended God.”
He outlined steps Rivers APC had taken to be fairly relisted on the ballot, including the contempt of court proceedings served on INEC, vowing that if APC Rivers State is still “treated with disdain, the said election will still not hold.”
He said, “Even though the postponement of the elections did not come to me as a total surprise, I was still expecting the INEC chairman to stubbornly push on and try to force through the elections regardless. I still see disaster come Saturday. Unless we’re on the ballot, the election won’t be smooth anywhere. The God of Rivers state wants justice and He will get it. We have not even had so much as an explanation from INEC.”
He alleged that the INEC chairman, who was once a subordinate to Wike when the governor was supervising Minister of Education under Jonathan, may have skeletons in his TETFUND closet, alluding that could be reason the former is scared he could be exposed by Governor Wike.
“I had continued to maintain that Wike had since penetrated the judiciary, our security agencies and civil society with our money. Now it appears that the electoral umpire too is no longer immune to the Wike virus too. All dealing with him, do need to be made aware, your temporary high will eventually be replaced by very permanent lows. I’ve seen people vomiting ill gotten wealth to then return it to the treasury. I’ve seen men and women lose their jobs for Wike. It’s not a very pleasant sight. We have two appeal court orders and one Supreme Court judgment in our favour. But if you listen to the Wike paid media, you will think that we lost. Money talks,” Princewill said
On the February 16 postponement, he thanked God for allegedly exposing Wike’s plans to use violence, technology and bribery to find his way, saying that his strategy was predicted, suspected and expected, but now it has been confirmed.
“Wike only has one strategy. Pay for the courts. Pay for the noise. Pay for violence. Pay-pay-pay. If only he had applied this to staff salaries, pensions and our scholars who are abroad, maybe the race would have been tighter. As it is now, even PDP want to get rid of him, if only Tonye Cole’s name and the names of all our other candidates are on the ballot. Wike knows this. This is why he will do anything to prevent it. It’s an exercise in futility for him. We will overcome,” he said.
Published in World
Monday, 18 February 2019 09:32

Dollar weakens against peers

The dollar fell versus a basket of its peers on Monday as rising expectations of a U.S.-Sino trade deal led investors to shift away from the safety of the greenback into riskier assets.
Both the U.S. and China reported progress in five days of negotiations in Beijing last week, although the White House said much work remains to be done to force changes in Chinese trade behaviour.
Negotiations will continue next week in Washington as investors hope for an end to the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
“Trade is the big focus for the markets…with talks shifting from Beijing to Washington, we could get more news flow,” said Michael McCarthy, chief markets strategist at CMC Markets.
“I expect the euro to remain under pressure this week while dollar and yen could also fall if we see risk-aversion based on negative trade news flow.”
The Aussie gained 0.2 per cent to 0.7154 dollar, after firming 0.48 per cent on Friday on hopes of a U.S.-China trade breakthrough. The kiwi dollar gained around 0.3 per cent on the dollar to 0.6886 dollar.
In Asia, the yen was steady versus the greenback at 110.53.
The escalating trade dispute between the world’s largest economies have kept markets highly volatile since last year.
U.S. duties on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports are set to rise from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.
This happens if no deal is reached by March 1 to address U.S. demands that China curb forced technology transfers and better enforce intellectual property rights.
The dollar index, a gauge of its value versus six major peers, was down by 0.16 per cent at 96.74.
The index has gained 1.2 per cent so far this month in spite of weaker-than-expected U.S. data as well as a more cautious Federal Reserve, which is widely expected to keep rates steady this year due to a slowdown in growth and muted inflation.
The dollar index has gained mainly because of the euro, which has around 58 per cent weightage in the index.
The single currency was up 0.2 per cent at 1.1317 dollar in early Asian trade, after two straight weeks of losses.
Notwithstanding Monday’s gains, traders are betting on a weaker euro in the coming months as they expect the European Central Bank to keep its monetary policy accommodative due to low growth in the common area, tepid inflation and political uncertainties.
Published in Bank & Finance

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is not seeking to buy English Premier League (EPL) clubside Manchester United, the kingdom’s media minister said on Monday, News reports.

While denying reports to that effect, the minister, Turki al-Shabanah, added that there had only been a meeting with the Saudi wealth fund regarding sponsorship.

Reports that Mohammed Bin Salman intends to buy the club are “completely false”, Shabanah, wrote on social network Twitter.

He was reacting to reports that the crown prince had sought to tempt the Glazer family to cede control of the club.

“Manchester United held a meeting with PIF Saudi to discuss (a) sponsorship opportunity,” Shabanah said, adding that no deal materialised.

On Sunday, the British newspaper, the Sun, said the crown prince was in a £3.8-billion ($4.9-billion) take-over bid for one of football’s most popular clubs.

The paper said a bid was first submitted in October.

It added that the fallout from the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s embassy in Istanbul however put the “skids” on a potential offer.


Source: The Routers

Published in World

The son of Mozambique's former President Armando Guebuza has been arrested in a legal crackdown on suspects linked to a $2-billion government debt scandal, AFP reports.

AFP is quoting local media and judiciary sources as saying that Ndabi Guebuza, the oldest of Guebuza's four children, was picked up from his home in the capital Maputo. Local media reports that he was arrested in connection with a government debt which plunged the country into its worst financial crisis.



Published in Economy

Zimbabwe's government has shelved plans to fully join the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) so that it could find space to stabilise local industry which is struggling to produce enough quality goods to compete outside.

This was revealed by Industry and Commerce Ministry's director of International Trade, Beatrice Mutetwa while addressing parliamentarians last week.

"We have requested for time out of the ACFTA because our local industry is not producing enough to be able to compete with other countries.

"We have requested for between 13 to 15 years and thereafter, we will be able to compete with our continental counterparts," she said.

Mutetwa said Zimbabwe was in a peculiar position and needed to work towards achieving an even landscape. This, she said, was unlike the current situation which only makes the country a market place because it lacked locally manufactured products.

"We need to focus on the industry pillar and infrastructure because we cannot just open up our markets without looking at the supply side. Otherwise we may end up becoming a market for others," Mutetwa said.

Member countries are requested to open up 90 percent of their markets but Zimbabwe had only offered up 85 percent as considerations are still being made on how the key sectors like tourism and mining will be protected.

ACFTA is the brainchild of the African Union and was initiated in 2012 with the objective of establishing a single trading bloc which enjoys lowered trade barriers across the continent.

The organ will take advantage of the existing regional blocs like SADC which will eventually be unified in the creation of the free trade area.

It is set to bring together the continent's 55 nations, creating a total 1 billion customers for Africa's goods and services through a lucrative $3.4 trillion Gross Domestic Product.

The initiative also seeks to accelerate trade between African nations as opposed to the current scenario where intra-continental trade is at its lowest.


- New Zimbabwe

Published in Business
  1. Opinions and Analysis


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