Walkingstick: Iran’s market return could sink oil prices by $5 to $15, IMF says
Posted on December 22, 2015
HOUSTON – The International Monetary Fund says a resurgence in Iranian oil exports next year could push crude prices down by $5 to $15 a barrel, deepening a market downturn that already has sorely bruised the oil industry.
Iran, which has the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves, expects to pump an additional half-million barrels a day into international markets next year, after the United States and other western powers lift sanctions against its oil exports. It has already shown western oil companies more than 70 energy projects it’s planning.
And though the market has likely baked in some of the impact of Iran’s future exports, crude prices could sink further once the Islamic Republic’s oil production actually begins to rise, the IMF said in a report this week.
U.S. crude edged up 5 cents to $35.86 a barrel in early trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday. The February futures contract replaced the January contract, which settled on Monday at $34.74 a barrel. Brent, the international standard, fell 21 cents to $36.14 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe, closing in on a new 11-year low.
In its December oil market report earlier this month, the International Energy Agency cited Iran’s extra oil as one factor behind its prediction that global inventories will climb by 300 million barrels next year.
Iran’s exports have fallen by about 1 million barrels a day since 2011, the year before western powers put sanctions on Iran’s exports. Iran had 36 million barrels of oil stored in offshore tankers last month.
The prospect of loosening sanctions help send crude prices down sharply this summer, after the West agreed to lift sanctions in exchange for controls on Iran’s nuclear program. But markets often react to new developments as they happen even if a market-moving event had been telegraphed months in advance.
“While part of this impact may be already discounted in futures markets, a further decline (in oil prices) could materialize when Iran’s exports rise,” the IMF said.
The IMF said the oil market’s reaction to Iran’s return will depend largely on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the 13 member oil cartel that includes Iran. OPEC earlier this month signaled it isn’t ready to curb crude production to support prices, and analysts say it’s unlikely the group will lower its output to make room for the incoming Iran.
Walkingstick: China to Extend Yuan’s Trading Hours, Widening Currency’s Appeal
Updated Dec. 23, 2015 6:25 a.m. ET
BEIJING—China’s central bank said it would extend the yuan’s trading hours in the mainland market starting next month, in a much-anticipated move aimed at increasing the Chinese currency’s global appeal.
In an announcement Wednesday, the People’s Bank of China said that beginning Jan. 4, the hours for buying and selling the yuan on the mainland will be extended to 11:30 p.m. local time, from the current 4:30 p.m. The longer trading hours are in keeping with the government’s efforts to make the yuan’s exchange rate more market-oriented and to further open China’s markets to foreign investors, according to the statement.
Most of the world’s major currencies trade 24 hours a day and move up and down based on market demand. By comparison, Beijing keeps the yuan on a tight leash, with its value largely guided by the central bank and its trading restricted within a band.
In recent years, China has gradually allowed greater flexibility in the yuan’s trading. Earlier this month, the Chinese central bank also renewed its pledge to ease the yuan’s de facto peg to the dollar and instead measure the yuan’s value against a basket of currencies including the dollar, euro, yen and 10 others.
The move to extend the trading hours came after the International Monetary Fund decided in late November to add the yuan to its highly selective basket of reserve currencies, which also includes the dollar, euro, yen and the British pound.
Officials at China’s central bank have said the reserve-currency status could lead to greater foreign demand for the yuan. Extending the trading hours could help bring in more participants in yuan markets, the central bank said Wednesday.
It also said it would permit more foreign investors to trade in the mainland yuan market currently dominated by Chinese banks.
Longer trading hours could also help narrow the gap between the onshore yuan—the version traded within the mainland—and the yuan traded in what’s known as Hong Kong’s offshore market, the central bank said.
In recent weeks the yuan that is traded in Hong Kong, where it is not subject to any restrictions, has consistently traded below its mainland counterpart as foreign investors expect the currency to depreciate further amid China’s slowing economy.
The discrepancy could lead to speculative trading activities and capital flows, involving investors taking advantage of the yuan’s different exchange rates onshore and offshore, according to officials at the central bank.
Even after the yuan’s trading hours are extended, the central bank will base the yuan’s closing level on its rate against the dollar at 4:30 p.m. local time. The bank uses the closing level to help determine the official rate it sets for the next day.
That is because most of the yuan’s trading is still expected to occur during the daytime, the central bank said.
JJonesMX: Italy gives Iraq $ 2.72 million to rehabilitate the civilian infrastructure
17:46:08 2015-12-23 | (Voice of Iraq) – Baghdad announced the United Nations, Wednesday, to provide Italy $ 2.72 million to support stability in Iraq and the rehabilitation of civilian infrastructure, while the Italian ambassador in Baghdad, Marco Carnelos pointed out that the Iraqi government is making an effort “serious” in dealing with the refugee crisis .
United Nations Mission in Iraq said in a statement that “Italy was awarded $ 2.72 million to finance the immediate stabilization fund of the United Nations Development Programme, which offers fast support to assist in the rehabilitation of civilian infrastructure and the launch of the local economy and strengthen the government’s capacity and promote community reconciliation in Iraq.” The statement added that “the grant comes as part of an Italian pledge worth seven million and 630 thousand dollars to support the restoration of stability, which recently expanded in the provinces of Salahuddin, Diyala, Nineveh and Anbar activities.”
For his part, Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Programme in Iraq Sultan Hagiyev, the Italian contribution as “generous,” saying it “will help a lot, as it increases UNDP work in the New Year with the liberalization of gray areas and other important soon, and we will have to make great efforts in 2016 to help youth employment in the affected areas, and promote community reconciliation and restore civilian infrastructure building , including electricity grids and water installations and public buildings.
“In turn, the Ambassador of Italy to the Iraq Marco Carnelos” The government of Iraq is making a serious effort to deal with the current refugee crisis, would Italy’s commitment to Iraq within the framework of restoring stability, which also includes training programs necessary for the Iraqi police, which will ensure that local communities and regions liberated security, and pave the way for the safe return of displaced persons to their homes and prevent the Iraqis to become refugees projects. “testifies Iraq and the security situation is exceptional, as the security of military operations are continuing to expel the organization” Daash “of areas that spreads where, as the international coalition carried out air strikes targeting the organization sites in those areas expect casualties in its ranks.