"There is a possibility once exports are
normalized, volumes to Japan or the Far East will increase,"
Yoshinobu Satomi, assistant general manager of the crude oil trading at
Tokyo based Mitsubishi Corporation, which has a contract to buy Iraqi oil,
was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. Japanese refiners and traders were not
allowed to trade directly with Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War because of
sanctions. Now they are reportedly renewing links with SOMO.
Sales of Basrah Light which competes against Arabian
Light Crude have reportedly picked up because of the price factor. SOMO
has been selling the Basrah Light for September at 60 cents a barrel less
than the Saudi Aramco's Arabian Light Crude. Some refiners in Asia,
including India's Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation,
Reliance Industries Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corporation, are already
buying Basrah Light directly from SOMO. Japan's Itochu Corporation is
among the traders that are buying Iraqi oil for resale to the Asian
Mitsubishi, Japan's largest trading company, recently
sold Basrah Light cargoes for October loading to two refiners in Japan.
Chinese trader Sinochem was reported to have sold as much as four million
barrels of Iraqi oil to Taiwan's state-owned Chinese Petroleum Corporation
for deliveries in October and November. Basrah Light was last sold to
Taiwan in March, traders were quoted as saying by the industry press.
ARAB ECONOMIES 'MUST REFORM'
Arab countries urgently need to reform their
institutions if they are to achieve sufficient growth to fight mounting
unemployment, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned. Over the
past 20 years, economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa has
lagged most international averages, and rapidly growing populations have
resulted in ever greater numbers out of work.
This problem — which is contributing to the region's
political instability — has become more critical since the security
situation deteriorated after September 11, 2001. In a series of new
reports, the IMF recommends that Arab governments liberalise their
economies, improve the quality of government, reduce their dependence on
oil revenues, and invest money in education. The bulk of the IMF's
concerns are laid out in a chapter of its next World Economic Outlook,
which was published especially on 11 September.
The chapter follows a series of discussion papers, in
which the Fund has pored over the often neglected subject of the Middle
East's economies. Traditionally, Arab economies generally highly
restricted, reliant on energy exports and determinedly self-sufficient —
have evolved at a different pace either from developed countries or the
developing world. Between 1980 and 2001, the Middle East and North Africa
region grew at an annual average of 3.1%, compared with 3.4% for
developing countries as a whole, and 6.4% for dynamic south-east Asia. A
large part of this is down to oil, which did not bring in foreign money as
quickly as the region's governments hoped, and which squeezed out other
possibly more fruitful forms of industry.
DUBAL FOR RESOLVING EU TRADE ISSUES AT CANCUN
Creation of a duty-free aluminium market will stimulate
global consumption patterns, and encourage the growth of the Gulf's
aluminium industry, both upstream and downstream, according to Sheikh
Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of
Finance and Industry. "It is not only about improving Dubal's access
to key markets such as the EU," Sheikh Hamdan, who is also chairman
of Dubai Aluminium Co. (Dubal), added. Sheikh Hamdan's statement comes in
time for the latest round of WTO ministerial talks in Cancun, Mexico.
Dubal has been quite active in pressing for the need to
remove tariffs on primary aluminium, particularly the 6 per cent duty
imposed by the EU on imports of primary aluminium.It has called on the WTO
to "respect the commitment of the Doha Ministerial Declaration and
Agenda, in particular by abolishing duties on raw materials and primary
products within the deadline of this round — by the end of 2004."
SHARJAH FIRM IN $1.2B DEAL
A $1.2 billion contract was signed recently between the
Offices of Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Qassimi and ADZ Trading company
for the purchase of crude oil and oil products from Russia.
The joint venture deal envisages intial yearly export
of 150,000 to 300,000 tonnes of this crude to Europen countries.
"This will eventually open way to the markets in the US and
Mexico," said Omar A. Yousddouf, head of the petroleum division of
the Offices of Sheikh Ahmed.
The contract is for five years. It was signed by Sheikh
Ahmed bin Saqr Al Qassimi, vice chairman of the company and Corrado D.
Corneo, second secretary and head of the economic department at the
consulate of Latvia. Peter Zeman, honorary consul of Latvia in the Czech
Republic was also present.
MINISTRY BANS IMPORT OF LIVE ANIMALS, FARM MATERIALS
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has imposed a
ban on a range of imported agricultural materials and live animals, in a
bid to prevent the spread of diseases in the country.Customs officers in
Abu Dhabi have been notified of updated restrictions via a memorandum from
the undersecretary of the ministry, Engineer Rashid Khalfan Al Shariqi.
It included the list of prohibited items, including
various food products, certain live animals as well as some fertilisers,
fodder, and veterinary medicines.Eng Al Shariqi explained that the import
of live animals and animal products is subject to specific rules which
vary according to the type of animal in question.
PALESTINIANS RALLY FOR DEFIANT ARAFAT
Palestinians have reacted angrily to the news that the
Israeli Government has decided in principle to expel Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat from the West Bank. In a show of support, huge crowds
gathered at the compound of his battered headquarters in the West Bank
town of Ramallah, and there were similar scenes in the Gaza Strip where
thousands took to the streets.
The Palestinian Prime Minister-designate, Ahmed Qurei,
reacted to the news by announcing he was suspending his bid to form a new
government, saying that Israel's decision threatened the stability of the
entire region. The decision to expel Mr Arafat was announced after an
Israeli security cabinet meeting to consider a response to suicide
bombings that killed 15 people in Israel.
UN TO VOTE ON LIBYA SANCTIONS
The United Nations Security Council is expected to vote
later on Friday to lift sanctions against Libya. France, which had earlier
threatened to block the resolution, says it will now vote in favour of
lifting sanctions. It comes after Libya agreed to increase compensations
payments to relatives of those who died when a French airliner was bombed
over Africa in 1989.
ARAB STATES TAKE NEW IRAQ ABOARD
Iraq's US-appointed caretaker government has formally
joined the Arab League, filling the vacancy left by the fall of Saddam
Hussein's regime. It was a "major political achievement for the
Governing Council [GC]", said Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari after
attending his first ministerial meeting in Cairo.
The League, which acts as a forum for states in the
region, decided after a lengthy debate to allow the GC to represent Iraq
for a period of one year. Mr Zebari stressed that the GC plans to hold
free elections in the middle of 2004 in order to create a permanent
BUSH URGES UN ACTION ON IRAQ
US President George W Bush has called on members of the
United Nations Security Council to act quickly and approve a new
resolution on Iraq. Bush last week called on members to avoid past
disputes about the war and "move forward". The US has called for
a new resolution that would authorise a multinational force in Iraq. But
France and Germany — which opposed going to war — want to give the UN
a larger role in Iraq's future than Washington appears willing to allow.
MORE SHOTS AT UK IRAN EMBASSY
British Embassy officials have protested to the Iranian
Government over a further shooting incident outside their embassy in the
Iranian capital of Tehran. Three or four shots were fired from the street
at the building last week, an embassy spokesman said. No bullet marks have
been discovered on the building but the officials believe the embassy had
been deliberately targeted.
IRAN PLANS TERROR FUND FREEZE
Iran has announced plans for legislation to let it
freeze terrorist-linked assets in line with its United Nations
responsibilities. If — as expected — the bill is ratified by
parliament and by the hard-line Guardian Council, it will make Iran a
member of the International Convention for the Suppression of the
Financing of Terrorism, which was created in 1999 and came into force in
HAMAS LEADER ESCAPES ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT
An Israeli warplane narrowly failed to assassinate a
Hamas leader but killed his son and a bodyguard in Gaza, a day after two
Palestinian suicide bombers killed 15 people in Israel.The missile strike
flattened the two-storey home of Mahmoud Al Zahar, co-founder of the group
and one of its top political officials. Al Zahar, 58, was standing inside
his house when the missile hit and was thrown by the force of the
explosion, witnesses said. He sustained only light injuries to his head
and back but his wife was seriously hurt, medics said.
MORE FOREIGN BANKS MAY OPEN BRANCHES
The UAE reversed a long standing policy and declared
its readiness to allow the operation of more foreign banks on a reciprocal
basis.The decision by the Central Bank came just a week before the meeting
of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Dubai and
reflects the country's ongoing trend to tear down investment barriers and
open up its economy.
DIB OFFERS UP TO 80PC ISLAMIC MORTGAGES
Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) will offer Islamic mortgages
of up to 80 per cent of the value of the property in the Matal Al Qamar
residential project, the bank's first real estate project in Lebanon.The
bank launched an exclusive exhibition recently in Dubai to showcase the
project. The sales centre and exhibition was inaugurated by Dr Mohammed
Khalfan bin Kharbash, UAE Minister of State for Finance and Industry and
chairman of DIB in the presence of Humaid bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister
for Water and Electricity.
EBB, FLOW OF TRADE UNIONS
The UAE's national labour union draft law has been in
the pipeline for several years and is due to be approved by the cabinet in
DDF EYES DH1.25B IN SALES
Dubai Duty Free (DDF) eyes Dh1.25 billion in sales by
the end of the current year, achieving a 18 per cent growth over its last
years annual sales, said Colm McLoughlin, DDF managing director.
IRAQ TO BOOST EXPORTS TO 1M BPD BY OCTOBER
Iraq is planning to increase its oil export to one
million barrels per day by October 2003 and hope to raise it further to
its Opec share of 3 million barrels per day by end of March 2004.Thamir A.
Al Ghadhban, chief executive at Iraq's Ministry of Oil, told that the
restoration of oil pipelines and enough power for the refineries would
help in getting the exports back to the original level soon. Currently,
the oil exports of Iraq is at 900,000 bpd. With Al Amyr Terminal
operational with 400,000 barrels per day of capacity, Iraq will soon be
able to achieve the export level of one million bpd.
Iraq will not compromise its hydrocarbon resources to
generate revenue for the country says Thamir A. Al Ghadhban, chief
executive at the Oil Ministry of Iraq.In his address to the Middle East
Petroleum and Gas Conference (MPGC-2003), he said Iraq knows the value of
oil for its people and would not compromise on this front.
GULF CRUDES STEADY
The market for Middle East crude grades was steady in
light trading recently as most buyers were not ready to start buying for
their November requirements.November Oman was nominally quoted at MOG plus
six to 12 cents per barrel, mostly steady. December Oman was notionally
assessed at MOG plus seven to 13 cents.