GULF

 

Sep 02 - 08, 2002

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

OAPEC CALLS FOR EFFORTS TO STABILISE MARKET

Arab oil producers have urged independent crude exporters to ally with Opec in its ongoing campaign to stabilise prices and ensure global economic growth which will be beneficial to all.

The Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (Oapec), which groups 10 key regional crude suppliers, said Opec took the right decision to freeze its current output ceiling until next month, when its oil ministers are due to meet to review production.

In its latest monthly bulletin, Kuwait-based Oapec said any new decision by the 11-nation Opec at its September 19 meeting in Osaka, Japan, would be intended to stabilise prices at $22-28.

"We hope that the major producers outside Opec will exert efforts to stabilise the oil market and keep prices within a reasonable band so they do not collapse," it said.

"Let us be optimistic and say that the spirit of responsibility shown by Opec and the encouraging cooperation of non-Opec producers will help stabilise the oil market.

"Opec's decision should be an incentive for non-Opec producers to enhance their coordination with Opec. The building of constructive dialogue and cooperation ties between oil producers, whether in Opec or not, and also between producers and consumers is the only sure way of maintaining market stability and placing the world economy on the way towards growth."

Gulf oil experts said any increase depended on reports by Opec's secretariat about global oil demand and supply during the last quarter, when consumption recovers after a few months of seasonal summer lull.

According to independent estimates, global demand is forecast to grow by between 1.5-2 million barrels per day next year on the back of an expected economic growth of three per cent in the second half of this year and 2003.

PRESSURE GROWS ON US AND IRAQ AMID FEAR OF STRIKE

Muslim and European states kept up pressure on Washington to avert an attack on Iraq but U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney brushed aside their concerns and hammered home the case for preemptive action.

Islamic countries said an attack, which Washington says is justified by President Saddam Hussein's development of weapons of mass destruction and links with terrorism, could unleash fresh turmoil by widening a gulf between Muslims and the West.

European countries put the emphasis on resuming U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq ordered after the 1991 Gulf War, but, in a subtle shift led by Belgium, they reminded Iraq to abide by U.N. resolutions or risk the consequences.

Some analysts say U.S. allies in Europe, which have long expressed concerns over possible U.S. action, may now be turning to the United Nations to get political cover for eventually falling in behind an American war on Iraq.

French President Jacques Chirac warned strongly against a U.S. go-it-alone attack, but sources close to him said concerns that Baghdad might build weapons of mass destruction meant the U.N. Security Council might ultimately agree to use force.

Iraq joined the debate Thursday by saying there was no point in allowing U.N. weapons inspectors back into the country, because an "insane, criminal" U.S. administration was determined to attack and oust Saddam Hussein.

Cheney, speaking to Korean War veterans in San Antonio, Texas, repeated charges from Monday that the Iraqi leader posed a "mortal danger" to the United States.

ARAB OIL WEALTH HITS HIGHEST LEVEL AT 650B BARRELS

Heavy investment and the development of new exploration and drilling technology have boosted proven Arab oil wealth to its highest level of more than 650 billion barrels at the end of 2001 despite a steady increase in production, according to official figures.

In 2001 alone, the recoverable crude reserves in the Arab region gained around 4 billion barrels following new discoveries in the Gulf and Libya and the deployment of new technology that can hunt hydrocarbon in deeper layers.

Over the past decade, a period characterised by violent oil market fluctuations, Arab oil resources have climbed by around 11 billion barrels as they stood at 640 billion in 1991.

The increase occurred although Arab nations produced a cumulative 87 billion barrels during that period, at an average 20 million barrels per day.

Figures by the Kuwaiti-based Organisation Of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (Oapec), which groups 10 key regional oil producers, showed the total Arab proven crude reserves grew by 0.6 per cent to 650.8 billion barrels at the end of 2001 from 2000.

SAUDI SEIZES $26M OF EU GOODS

Saudi Arabia has reportedly seized food and drink imports worth $26m since it imposed a ban on some goods from the European Union in late July.

The Saudi trade ministry banned all carbonated soft drinks and chicken meat from the EU on the grounds they may carry a risk of causing cancer or impotence in men.

Commerce Minister Osama Faqih ordered the suspension after health reports indicated the meat and drink may contain hormones that are harmful to humans.

But the ban has angered Saudi soft drinks importers who are lobbying hard to have it withdrawn, according to local press reports.

Saudi importers have asked for a meeting with the head of the national laboratory service in charge of testing the seized products, the Ozak newspaper reported.

Some products have turned out to contain the hormones, the paper said.

ISRAELI ARMY KILLS PALESTINIANS IN GAZA

Israeli tank fire killed four members of a Palestinian family in the Gaza Strip, drawing vows of revenge from Hamas militants and fraying a security deal meant to lay the groundwork for a ceasefire.

Israeli Defence Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer expressed regret for the army's killing of "Palestinian innocents" in an assault after midnight on the coastal village of Sheikh Ijleen and demanded the army investigate.

The attack killed a mother, two of her sons and their cousin as they slept in an outdoor courtyard of their home. The rounds sprayed thousands of dart-like flechettes, doctors said.

GOVERNMENT REVENUES DROP 8.6 PC IN 2001

The total revenues in the consolidated government finance account dropped by 8.6 per cent in 2001 to reach Dh68 billion compared to Dh74.4 billion in 2000 due to a decrease in oil and gas exports' earnings which ensued from declining oil prices, said the Central Bank's annual report.

The deficit widened by 166.1 per cent to reach Dh25.8 billion in 2001 against a deficit of Dh9.7 billion the previous year.

On the revenues side, tax revenues (customs duties and other charges) increased in 2001 by 33.1 per cent to reach Dh9.8 billion, forming 14.4 per cent of total revenues.

The increase mainly occurred in other tax revenues which rose by Dh2.4 billion (42.4 per cent). Likewise, customs revenue grew by Dh67 million (3.8 per cent) in 2001 to reach Dh1.8 billion.

Non-tax revenues decreased by 13.2 per cent in 2001, reaching Dh58.2 billion against Dh67.0 billion in 2000, forming 85.6 per cent of total revenues in 2001 after forming 90.1 per cent of total revenues in 2000.

UAE OFFERS $1M FOR ANY PIONEERING WORK

The UAE delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development shored up their support of the summit's aims and agenda by offering $1 million to any pioneering work that emerges from the 10-day global meet under way in South Africa.

At a press conference at the Sandton Convention Centre, Dr Essa Abdul Latif of the Zayed International Prize for the Environment announced the offer after encouraging entrants from all over the world for the second cycle of the Zayed Prize.

CHILLER MANUFACTURING PLANT

A new Dh3.5 million chiller plant is being constructed in Al Quoz by Geo Electricals. The company has bought a 30,000 sq.ft. piece of land for the plant and manufacturing is expected to begin within a few months, owner of the company said.

BURJUMAN PROJECT

ETA-Melco Elevator Co. said its has won a contract to install 129 Mitsubishi units comprising 65 elevators and 64 escalators, plus a refurbishment package for the BurJuman expansion project in Dubai.

The value of the contract is about Dh40 million, according to M.J. Mohammed Iqbal, ETA-Melco senior manager.

INFORMATION PAPER

The information paper on the licensing norms for institutions in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has been hailed not only for its content and vision, but also for the speed by which it has been prepared.

UAE'S BOP SURPLUS DIPS TO DH1.78B IN '01

The UAE's overall surplus in the balance of payments (BoP) dropped last year to Dh1.78 billion from Dh10.41 billion in 2000 a fall of almost 83 per cent mainly due to the decline in flows within the net foreign assets of the Central Bank in 2001.

The UAE's surplus in the trade balance as well as current account balance has come down in 2001 due to lower crude oil exports and higher commodity imports, the Central Bank's annual report released showed preliminary data as showing.

The surplus in the trade balance decreased from Dh54.4 billion in 2000 to Dh38.2 billion in 2001, a drop of 29.9 per cent, a result of the marked decline in value of exports of the hydrocarbon sector on the one hand, and a substantial increase in commodity imports, on the other.

65-STOREY COMPLEX MAY ADORN DUBAI

A 65-storey building, billed to be the tallest residential property in Dubai, is likely to be built on Sheikh Zayed Road.

The project is being developed by Dubai International Real Estate, which is building a number of residential and leisure properties in the city.

Known as The Tower, the project is in the planning stage. Construction work is expected to begin some time next year, said representatives of the owners.

MIDEAST CRUDES WEAK

The Asian market for Middle East crudes stayed weak, as regional refinery run cuts raised fears of slumping demand for spot crude supplies.

Even news that key buyer Taiwan state-owned Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC) had awarded a very large crude carrier (VLCC) of Oman crude in its October tender failed to revive the market.

Traders said CPC bought via tender a VLCC of Oman at a discount of 10 to 12 cents a barrel to the Oman Ministry of Oil and Gas (MOG) price, in line with a spot Oman deal done between traders on Tuesday at MOG minus 10 cents.

The latest discounts are the deepest achieved for October Oman so far, and compares to an Oman trade last week at a firm MOG plus three cents a barrel.

OIL PRODUCTS STORAGE FACILITY

Saudi Arabia has launched an oil products storage facility near the Red Sea city of Jeddah with a gasoline storage capacity of 945,000 barrels, industry sources said.

The underground facility is part of a project launched by state-owned oil conglomerate Saudi Aramco in the 1990s to create several storage units that would allow the kingdom to maintain sufficient oil product reserves for emergencies, Reuters reports from Dubai. The sources did not give the cost of the project, but said it was hundreds of millions of dollars.

US WARNS IRAN OVER AL-QAEDA

Washington has again warned Iran against harbouring members of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

The new warning came after Tehran denied a US newspaper report that two key members of al-Qaeda were living on its territory along with dozens of fighters.

SAUDI FIRMS 'PLAN BAGHDAD TRADE EXPO'

Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to hold its first trade fair in Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War.

Firms in the medical equipment, food processing, electrical and textiles sectors will send representatives to Baghdad, a report in the Saudi-based Arab News quoted an Iraqi trade ministry official as saying.

PALESTINIAN JOBLESSNESS RISES

One third of Palestinian workers are unemployed, according to the latest figures from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

The news comes as international donors are growing increasingly worried about the collapsing economy of the Palestinian territories.