IMF SELLS MONEY
The International Monetary Fund said it was encouraged by the efforts of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab oil exporters to repair damage to their state finances as low crude prices slash export revenues.
"I do see in a number of countries action to address the budget deficit," Masood Ahmed, director of the IMF's Middle East and central Asia department, said in an interview. "That gives us encouragement and comfort."
He was speaking hours before Saudi Arabia's government was due to announce on Monday a sweeping plan to ensure its economy could survive an era of cheap oil, including spending cuts, tax rises and policies to expand the private sector.
Ahmed said that judging from details of the Saudi plan revealed so far, it appeared "ambitious and comprehensive". The scale of the plan "measures up to the challenge facing the economy", he said.
Six months ago the IMF warned that budget reforms being considered by most of the Middle East's oil exporters were likely to be inadequate, and that countries risked running through their financial reserves.
"Apart from Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, under current policies, countries would run out of buffers in less than five years because of large fiscal deficits," the IMF said in a report at that time.
Its latest report on the region, published on Monday, did not repeat that warning, though it said countries still needed to do more to cut budget deficits, rebuild their financial reserves and save enough money for future generations.
Ahmed said Gulf states would still face difficult decisions in carrying out budget reform plans on a sustained basis, and in trying to create millions of jobs for growing populations while reducing the dependence of their economies on oil.
The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is heading for a protracted economic slowdown because of the austerity policies needed to curb budget deficits, the IMF report said.
The non-oil part of the GCC economy is projected to grow an average 3-1/4 percent annually over the next five years, well below a rate of 7-3/4 percent between 2006 and 2015, it said.
Assuming oil prices stay low in coming years, the fiscal deficits of the GCC and Algeria will total almost $900 billion between 2016 and 2021, the IMF calculated.
"Algeria, Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia will become significant debtors over this period as their financing needs are expected to exceed their current liquid financial buffers," it said.
|December, 15, 13:20:00|
|December, 15, 13:15:00|
|December, 15, 13:10:00|
|December, 15, 13:05:00|
|December, 15, 13:00:00|
|December, 15, 12:55:00|
LUKOIL - The plan is based on the conservative $50 per barrel oil price scenario. Sustainable hydrocarbon production growth is planned in the Upstream business segment along with the growth in the share of high-margin projects in the overall production. In the Downstream business segment, the focus is on the improvement of operating efficiency and selective investment projects targeted at the enhancement of product slate.
BP - BP will acquire on completion a 43% equity share in Lightsource for a total consideration of $200 million, paid over three years. The great majority of this investment will fund Lightsource’s worldwide growth pipeline. The company will be renamed Lightsource BP and BP will have two seats on the board of directors.
REUTERS - Brent crude was up 69 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $64.03 a barrel by 0743 GMT. It had settled down $1.35, or 2.1 percent, on Tuesday on a wave of profit-taking after news of a key North Sea pipeline shutdown helped send the global benchmark above $65 for the first time since mid-2015. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 45 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $57.59 a barrel.
ROSATOM - On December 10, 2017, the construction start ceremony took place at the Akkuyu NPP site under a limited construction licence issued by the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK). Director General of the ROSATOM Alexey Likhachev, and First Deputy Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Turkish Republic, Fatih Donmez, took part in the ceremony.