Oil prices retreat, but set for fourth week of gains

Oil prices retreat, but set for fourth week of gains

London : Oil prices fell yesterday after hitting a three-year high over $70 a barrel the previous day, but remained on track to post a fourth straight week of gains.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 traded 20 cents lower at $69.06 a barrel at 1129 GMT. The contract broke above $70 on Thursday for the first time since December 2014.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $63.34 a barrel, down 46 cents. WTI the day before rose to its strongest since late 2014 at $64.77.

“It is remarkable to see that most market analysts believe that prices have rallied too far since consensus forecasts are significantly lower than the current spot prices,” Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro, said in a note.

“On the other hand, most investors are still positioned to benefit from further price gains,” he said.

Analysts and traders have warned about the risk of a price correction since the start of 2018, but they say overall market conditions remain strong, mainly due to output cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia.

In addition to the OPEC and non-OPEC production cuts of 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) that are due to last until the end of 2018, oil prices have found support from eight consecutive weeks of U.S. crude inventory drops.

U.S. commercial crude stocks C-STK-T-EIA fell by almost 5 million barrels in the week to Jan. 5, to 419.5 million barrels. That was slightly below the five-year average of just over 420 million barrels, the target for OPEC and others cutting output.

Relatively weak Chinese December oil data weighed on prices, traders and analysts said. China’s crude imports in December fell 9 percent month-on-month to 33.7 million tonnes, or 7.97 million bpd, customs data showed.

“The end-of-year decline is highly counter-seasonal, being the first m-o-m decline in December in at least five years,” analysts at Vienna-based consultancy JBC Energy wrote.

This has contributed to a fall in Singapore refinery profit margins DUB-SIN-REF to below $6 per barrel this month, their lowest seasonal level in five years, leading some refiners to scale down crude runs.

An expected rise in U.S. oil production C-OUT-T-EIA to above 10 million bpd from 9.5 million bpd now has also weighed.

A market survey of more than 1,000 energy professionals conducted by Reuters in January showed crude price expectations in a range of $60 to $70 per barrel for 2018.




AirAsia announces $30bn deal for 100 Airbus planes

AirAsia announces $30bn deal for 100 Airbus planes

Sepang : Malaysian budget airline AirAsia announced a $30 billion order for 100 Airbus A330neo long-haul planes on Thursday as it sets its sights on European routes.  The first delivery of the passenger jets will arrive towards the end of 2019 and will allo

Alphabet to deploy balloon Internet in Kenya

Alphabet to deploy balloon Internet in Kenya

Nairobi : Alphabet Inc’s Loon said yesterday it would deploy its system of balloons to beam high-speed Internet access with Telkom Kenya from next year to cover rural and suburban populations, marking its first commercial deal in Africa. Known as Project Loon,

Trump slams record EU fine against Google

Trump slams record EU fine against Google

Washington : President Donald Trump lashed out yesterday after Brussels hit US tech giant Google with a record fine, and warned he would no longer allow Europe to take “advantage” of the United States. “I told you so! The European Union just slapped

50 years after Concorde, US start-up eyes supersonic

50 years after Concorde, US start-up eyes supersonic

Weybridge : Luxury air travel faster than the speed of sound: A US start-up is aiming to revive commercial supersonic flight 50 years after the ill-fated Concorde first took to the skies. Blake Scholl, the former Amazon staffer who co-founded Boom Supersonic, delivered the pledge this wee

Google breaks own record

Google breaks own record

Brussels : The European Union slapped Google with a huge 4.34-billion-euro fine for abusing the dominance of its Android operating system yesterday in the biggest antitrust penalty in the bloc’s history. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the US tech giant illegally

NBB profit up 15.9pc at BD 36.79 m in first half

NBB profit up 15.9pc at BD 36.79 m in first half

Manama : National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) has reported a net profit of BD 36.79 million ($ 97.85 million) for the first half of 2018, an increase of 15.9pc as compared to the same period last year. In the year ago period, net income was BD 31.74m ($ 84.41m). Earnings per share (EPS) was 26.

Uber faces Federal probe over alleged gender bias

Uber faces Federal probe over alleged gender bias

San Francisco : Uber is facing a federal investigation on alleged discrimination against women working at the smartphone-summoned ride service, a source familiar with the matter said Monday. The US Equal Opportunity Commission began the probe in August of last year f


First man to open Venice Film Festival

First man to open Venice Film Festival

Los Angeles : Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelles space race drama “First Man” will open the 75th annual Venice International Film Festival on August 29. This will mark the second opening-night Venice bow for Chazelle. His previous film, “La La Land,” kicked

AirAsia announces $30bn deal for 100 Airbus planes

AirAsia announces $30bn deal for 100 Airbus planes

Sepang : Malaysian budget airline AirAsia announced a $30 billion order for 100 Airbus A330neo long-haul planes on Thursday as it sets its sights on European routes.  The first delivery of the passenger jets will arrive towards the end of 2019 and will allo

Women fly against cockpit prejudices

Women fly against cockpit prejudices

Farnborough : When a stricken Southwest Airlines jet was expertly landed after an emergency descent in April, saving 148 lives, it was a surprise to some that a woman was at the controls. Role models remain f

Alphabet to deploy balloon Internet in Kenya

Alphabet to deploy balloon Internet in Kenya

Nairobi : Alphabet Inc’s Loon said yesterday it would deploy its system of balloons to beam high-speed Internet access with Telkom Kenya from next year to cover rural and suburban populations, marking its first commercial deal in Africa. Known as Project Loon,

Trump slams record EU fine against Google

Trump slams record EU fine against Google

Washington : President Donald Trump lashed out yesterday after Brussels hit US tech giant Google with a record fine, and warned he would no longer allow Europe to take “advantage” of the United States. “I told you so! The European Union just slapped

Promoting Islamic way of life, Al Zayani style

Promoting Islamic way of life, Al Zayani style

Yousif Al Zayani, a social activist and the custodian of Yousif Sami AlZayani Mosque in Hamala, has embarked on a mission to encourage Muslim foreign workers to adopt Islamic way of life, offering attractive rewards. Al Zayani told Tribune yesterday that he organises numerous programmes t

Mangroves tours to Tubli Bay launched

Mangroves tours to Tubli Bay launched

Public can now visit and enjoy a view of the mangrove forest and marine biotope at Tubli Bay as Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) has launched tours to the eco-tourism spot. BTEA in collaboration with the Supreme Council for Environment, announced the launch of mangrove tours to Tu

Paycheck impact on govt expenses dropped slightly

Paycheck impact on govt expenses dropped slightly

While salaries continue to dominate the actual expenditures of government entities in the Kingdom, a Civil Service Bureau report has said it has recorded a 3.5 per cent decline in this regard from 2016. The report, based on inputs from 47 government entities during the last two years, sai

Factory selling expired chocolates shut-down

Factory selling expired chocolates shut-down

A private chocolate factory has been shut down for using expired ingredients in its product line, said the Public Prosecution in a statement. The move followed a complaint received by the police following which the Public Prosecution notified the Public Health Department to inspect and se

Man Jailed for forging medical certificate

Man Jailed for forging medical certificate

Frustration over a 13-day waiting period to obtain a medical certificate has landed a Bahraini man in jail for three years, as he instead resorted to creating a fake certificate. The 30-year-old man, according to court files, decided to go for fake certificates as he grew impatient over t

Jailed for attacking Jau prison guards

Jailed for attacking Jau prison guards

The High Criminal Court handed down a man a jail term of one-year for attacking two prison guards in the Jau Prison. The suspect, during a hearing, told the court that he got provoked when the guards denied him entry into his cell as wanted to pray. The incident, accordi