Nov 12 - 18, 2001
OPEC to slash output in November
The world's top oil producer Saudi Arabia and two other Gulf
nations announced Saturday that OPEC will shortly reduce production in order to
push prices up.
Non-OPEC Oman said there was a need to reduce "current
(global) production" by at least one million barrels a day in order to
boost the price of a barrel to 25 dollars from current 19 to 20 dollar level.
"We (OPEC) have already reduced our production three
times. I cannot see what prevents us from doing it again in order to preserve
the price band" of 22 to 28 dollars per barrel, Saudi Oil Minister Ali
"OPEC will take all necessary measures to maintain the
band," he added, at the end of a meeting with his counterparts Obeid Al-Nassiri
from fellow OPEC member UAE, and Mohammad bin Hamad Al-Romhi of independent
Nuaimi said global oil supply was excessive and, asked if
this meant the oil cartel was going to reduce production or, instead, decide to
tighten members' compliance with their quotas, he replied "All of the
"There is an agreement in principle to change the
production ceiling," added United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Obeid al-Nasseri
at a press conference.
Romhi said a "one million bpd (cut) would be a good
start, from current production." The Middle East Economic Survey (MEES)
reported Saturday that a proposal to cut output by 750,000 to one million bpd
will be on the agenda of the November 14 ministerial meeting of OPEC.
Oil prices struggle as market shrugs at OPEC overtures
Oil prices struggled to hold recent gains on Tuesday as the
market shrugged at a grand meeting of oil producers in Vienna that produced no
concrete deal to rescue prices.
A barrel of Brent North Sea crude for December delivery stood
at 21.05 dollars, from 21.02 dollars at the close on Monday.
The New York light sweet crude December contract shed 15
cents to 22.00 dollars a barrel.
Many analysts believe the oil price, which has persisted in a
22-28 dollar range for much of the past year, could trend lower and average
below 20 dollars in the coming year because of a collapse in demand.
Experts at a two-day London conference on the future of the
oil industry following last month's terrorist attacks on the United States
agreed that demand would remain frail and supply plentiful in the coming months.
"The oil market was in trouble before September 11
because of economic weakening, but certainly September 11 made it worse,
particularly the demand side," said David Knapp, a senior editor at the
Energy Intelligence Group.
"The disruption of supply just hasn't happened," he
said, adding "if it did it could be offset — Saudi Arabia and others
could just add oil." Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Organisation of
Petroleum Exporting Countries are mulling what to do about supply as a result of
the slump in prices, which have fallen around 25 per cent since September 11.
Saudi does not back US war on Afghanistan
Saudi Arabia, Washington's main Gulf ally, does not back
US-led strikes on Afghanistan, Interior Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz
said Wednesday, ahead of a visit to the kingdom by British Prime Minister Tony
Blair aimed at shoring up support for the anti-terror campaign.
"No, the kingdom is not backing (the strikes) in the
real term of the word," the prince said, quoted in Al-Riyadh newspaper.
"The kingdom only has a position" on the
anti-terror campaign, he said, without elaborating.
The US-led coalition should work to avoid bombing innocent
civilians and concentrate strikes on terrorists, the minister said after
arriving back in Riyadh from a meeting of Gulf Arab interior ministers in
Oil imports from Iraq in 2002
Jordan will need to increase its oil imports from Iraq for
the year 2002, Jordanian Energy Minister Mohammad Batayneh said Tuesday before
leaving for Baghdad.
"The Jordanian-Iraqi oil protocol for the year 2002 will
increase by five to 10 per cent, given Jordan's growth in oil demand,"
Batayneh said, quoted by the official Petra news agency ahead of his departure
to Iraq for a visit of several days.
"My visit to Baghdad will be based on this matter,"
the minister said before adding that "the Jordanian and Iraqi parties are
already agreed on the main lines of the new oil project for the year 2002."
Iraq supplies Jordan with all its oil.
Hundreds of European firms will take part in the Baghdad
international trade fair opening on Thursday in the biggest turnout since a UN
embargo was imposed on Iraq 11 years ago, organizers said Sunday.
"The number of participants will exceed that in
2000," when 1,554 firms from 45 countries displayed their wares at the
Baghdad fair, said Fawzi Hussein Dhaher, head of the Iraqi Fairs Association.
France will lead participants from the European Union, with
104 French firms due to exhibit their products at the fair, which will last 14
days starting November 1 instead of the usual 10 days in previous years, a
diplomatic source said.
Dubai motor show
Leading tyre manufacturers from around the world will be
exhibiting at the Motor Parts & Accessories show to be held along with the
6th Middle East International Motor Show at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC)
from November 8 - 12, 2001.
The world's leading tyre companies including Pirelli,
Bridgestone, Firestone, Ohitsu and Falken will be exhibiting at the Middle East
International Motor Show.
Pirelli the US $3 billion Italian tyre major with a
significant presence in the Middle East for over the past 20 years will launch
its P6 and P7 high performance tyres at the Motor Show. The P6 and P7 are the
new 'Safety Generation' performance tyres designed to equip a range of vehicles
from high-class saloons to the latest generation sports cars.
Jordan industrial delegation
Iraqi Minister of Trade Mohammad Mahdi Saleh, Saturday ,
affirmed Iraq's close and strong relations with Jordan.
Iraq stands by Jordan with all its capabilities and always
feels optimistic on its relations with Jordan , said Saleh in an exclusive
statement to Petra following his meeting with a Jordanian economic delegation
currently on a visit to Baghdad. "Iraq looks forward to having broader and
more comprehensive relations with Jordan," he added.
He said trade contracts reached with Jordan this year under
the memo of understanding with the UN amounted to $800 mln and with $450 mln
trade protocol between the two countries, the trade volume has come up to $1.25
billion excluding Iraqi private sector's imports from Jordan.
Arab Bank stocks boost Amman market
Blue chip Arab Bank, which represents 52 per cent of market
capitalisation, buoyed Jordan's stock exchange which led Arab markets in a mixed
week, Bakheet Financial Advisors (BFA) said Saturday.
The Amman stock exchange index closed the week ending Friday
at 161.83 points, up 4.8 per cent on the previous seven days.
Five more markets were up on the week but six others fell,
The Kuwait Stock Exchange made solid gains to close at
1,650.50 points, up 1.5 per cent from last week, and Lebanon's BLOM recorded the
same percentage rise to close at 411.01 points, boosted by market leader Solidere.
Islamic banks in Bahrain, which operate according to strict
Islamic regulations, have no links whatsoever with terrorist groups, Bahrain
Islamic Bank (BIB) chief executive Abdul-Latif Janahia said on Tuesday.
Janahi said Islamic banks and financial houses are under
strict supervision of the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA), the central bank, which
bans dealing with suspect groups or individuals.
"We are convinced that Islamic banks in the Gulf have no
direct or indirect links with the terrorist groups," said Janahi, who is
also a member of Bahrain-based General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial
"The American list (of suspects) does not include any
Islamic bank or any Islamic financial house," he told Reuters.
Gulf Air announced Sunday it is scaling back operations in a
fight for survival amid the global downturn in the aviation industry.
"In the wake of the dramatic downturn in international
air travel, Gulf Air ... is reviewing its options for action to preserve its
operations in the immediate future," president and chief executive Ibrahim
Al Hamer said.
"Our present plan is to reduce our fleet from 30 to 26
aircraft during 2002," he said in a statement.
The number of passengers Gulf Air carried fell six per cent
in September and more than 20 per cent in the first two weeks of October,
compared to the same periods in 2000.
Profits of Saudi industrial giant decline 37%
The Saudi Basic Industries Co. (SABIC) said Sunday it posted
a net profit of 501 million dollars in the first nine months of this year, a
plunge of 37 per cent from the same period last year.
SABIC deputy chairman and managing director Mohammad Al-Madi
attributed the decline to "lower prices and the increased cost of raw
materials." Additional costs covering loans from the Saudi General
Investment Fund also impacted on the results, he added.
The corporation's sales in the first nine months rose to 6.1
billion dollars compared to 5.66 billion in 2000. Total production in the first
nine months was 26.3 million tons, an increase of 27 per cent over the same
period last year. Sales reached 20.6 million tons, also an increase of 27 per
Sharon offers talks on his terms
Israel said Jamil Jadallah was planning a major attack,
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has indicated he will accept negotiations
with the Palestinians but insists he will lead them himself.
He was speaking ahead of an expected meeting between the
Israeli foreign minister and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and just before a
visit to the region by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"Myself, I am going to lead all the negotiations, I
really believe in that," Mr Sharon told leaders of the World Jewish
Congress in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
UNHCR head arrives in Iran
The head of the United Nations refugee agency, Ruud Lubbers,
has arrived in Iran on the second leg of a tour of Afghanistan's neighbours to
try to persuade them to open their borders to Afghan refugees.