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Oil hits two-year high as doubts gather over Iran’s market return | Business and Economy News

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Brent futures hit their highest in two years while West Texas Intermediate rose to a level unseen in almost three years.

Oil prices kept climbing on Wednesday on signs of strong fuel demand in some economies, while the possibility of Iranian oil returning to global markets was cast in doubt after the United States secretary of state said sanctions against Tehran were not likely to be lifted.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures were up 44 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $72.66 a barrel at 13:38 GMT, having earlier hit  $72.83, the highest since May 2019.

United States benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were 30 cents higher, or 0.4 percent, at $70.35 a barrel. Earlier, they touched $70.62, the highest since October 2018.

“The supercharged multi-year oil prices are a reflection of the improved oil demand sentiment, and along with it, the expectation that crude and products inventories will significantly be reduced in the second half of 2021 as a post-pandemic new normal of oil consumption sets in,” Rystad Energy’s Oil Markets Analyst Louise Dickson said in a Wednesday note.

American drivers are hitting the road again as COVID-19 restrictions are rolled back and vaccination campaigns ramp up – catalysing crude demand.

“In the US, demand for gasoline and diesel is increasing ahead of the summer driving season, which this year is getting an extra boost of momentum as it coincides with the successful vaccination campaign that has allowed the economy to open up and oil demand to tick higher,” Dickson added.

On Tuesday, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast fuel consumption growth this year in the US, the world’s biggest oil user, would be 1.49 million barrels per day (bpd), up from a previous forecast of 1.39 million bpd.

In another bullish sign, industry data showed US crude oil inventories fell last week.

Price gains had been capped in recent weeks as oil investors had been assuming that sanctions against Iranian exports would be lifted and oil supply would increase this year as Tehran’s talks with the US on reviving the Iran-nuclear pact, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), progressed.

But on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cast doubt over the prospects for imminent relief for Iran’s oil sector after he told a US Senate committee: “I would anticipate that even in the event of a return to compliance with the JCPOA, hundreds of sanctions will remain in place, including sanctions imposed by the [President Donald] Trump administration. If they are not inconsistent with the JCPOA, they will remain unless and until Iran’s behavior changes.”

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a grouping known as OPEC+, has not indicated whether it will stick to supply restraints beyond July.

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo has recently said that OPEC+ foresees inventories falling further in the coming months.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Covid-19: Gov’t to Take Final Decision Remitting Relief Cash On Wednesday

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Government is on Wednesday expected to come out with modalities on how it will transmit cash to vulnerable Ugandans who have been greatly affect by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Information Dr. Chris Baryomunsi told reporters today, “The Committee has been working out details. At eleven which is one hour ago, the National Task Force should have started meeting and receiving reports and one of the reports it will receive is a report from this sub-committee (Finance),” Baryomunsi revealed.

“And the discussions must be going on; actually from here I will just match to that meeting. So those details on how it will be worked out have been discussed to the committee and now the committee is reporting to the main task force so that the final decision is taken and then we shall communicate to Ugandans on how much, how we shall do it and when does it start,” he added.

Unlike the March – June 2020 lock down where food rations were disbursed, Baryomunsi explained that their sudden change of mind was informed by encumbrances they faced last year.

Joyce Sebugwawo reacting during the interaction on Wednesday

“The whole of it, we found it a little bit complex and problematic. And if we took that direction for 42 days it may not easily succeed to reach out to these vulnerable people when we go out to give physical food. The procurement processes, checking the quality of food and all those bottlenecks,” he pointed out.

While addressing members of the fourth estate on Monday, Mpuuga who also doubles as Nyendo-Mukungwe Member of Parliament (MP) pointed an accusatory finger at unnamed officials for embezzling Covid funds close to Ushs 11 trillion during the first wave.

He also opposed direct remittance of money saying this might further spur corruption.

When asked why the Government had delayed to purchase radio sets as promised, Baryomunsi admitted that they had dropped the idea hoping that school going children would resume normal studies.

However, with the disease showing no signs of subsiding, he said that they will treat the matter with the urgency it deserves.

The post Covid-19: Gov’t to Take Final Decision Remitting Relief Cash On Wednesday first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Agreement in principle reached over Suez Canal ship | Business and Economy News

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Ever Given container ship has been anchored since it was dislodged on March 29 after blocking the crucial waterway.

A representative for the owners and insurers of a giant cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March said on Wednesday an agreement in principle was reached in a compensation dispute with the canal authority.

Work was under way to finalise a signed settlement agreement as soon as possible and arrangements for the release of the Ever Given vessel would be made after formalities had been dealt with, Faz Peermohamed of Stann Marine said in a statement.

The Ever Given container ship has been anchored in a lake between two stretches of the canal since it was dislodged on March 29. It had been grounded across the canal for six days, blocking hundreds of ships and disrupting global trade.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) demanded $916m in compensation to cover salvage efforts, reputational damage and lost revenue before publicly lowering the request to $550m.

The Ever Given’s Japanese owners, Shoei Kisen, and its insurers have disputed the claim and the ship’s detention under an Egyptian court order.

SCA lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr on Sunday told a court hearing over the ship’s detention that the vessel’s owners had presented a new compensation offer and negotiations were continuing.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Bahrain says it invited Qatar twice for bilateral talks | GCC News

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Bahrain foreign ministry says invitations sent ‘in an attempt to move forward in strengthening the process of joint Gulf cooperation’.

Bahrain’s foreign ministry said it has sent two invitations to Qatar asking for its neighbouring Gulf state to send a delegation for bilateral talks in order to “settle outstanding issues”.

Quoting the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, the foreign ministry on Tuesday “affirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain hopes that the State of Qatar will take into account in its foreign policy the unity of the Gulf”.

According to the press release, Bahrain sent the invitations “in an attempt to move forward in strengthening the process of joint Gulf cooperation”.

“The Minister further highlighted that unity among the member states of the GCC is a popular demand for all its people, which was stipulated in the Al-Ula summit statement.”

In February, Bahrain said it had sent an initial invitation to Qatar the previous month but there had been no response.

According to a report by Doha News, Qatar delayed its response because the invite was carried through a “media announcement”, GCC Secretary-General Nayef Falah Mubarak al-Hajraf had told Bahraini foreign minister al-Zayani.

 

Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, broke off diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in June 2017 over claims it was too close to Iran and backed hardline groups, allegations Qatar has always firmly denied.

But earlier this year, the blockading countries agreed to restore ties in a summit hosted by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the desert city of al-Ula, following a flurry of diplomatic activity by the administration of former US President Donald Trump.

Qatar, which is hosting the football World Cup next year, emerged from the regional spat largely unscathed and resolute in the face of the assault.

It rejected the quartet’s demands, which included that it shut down the Al Jazeera Media Network and expel a small contingency of Turkish troops from its territory.

Since then, Riyadh and Cairo have acted to rebuild ties with Doha and all but Bahrain have restored trade and travel links with Doha.

A month prior to the signing of the al-Ula declaration, Qatar reported airspace violations by four Bahraini fighter jets to the United Nations Security Council and the secretary-general of the United Nations.

The letter expressed Qatar’s strong condemnation of actions which it perceived as a violation of its sovereignty and regional security, adding that these violations were blatantly inconsistent with Bahrain’s obligations under international law.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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