FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, file photo, a flame burns at the Shell Deer Park oil refinery in Deer Park, Texas. The price of crude oil barely moved in 2017, and energy companies faded after a big gain the year before. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
The IEA anticipated US sanctions to drive Iranian barrels out of the market. Photo: AP 

Brent set to climb to $80 levels despite slump



Brent's steepest decline in two years in terms of one-day percentages is out of sync with market fundamentals, said analysts who expect the benchmark to climb to $80 levels for the rest of the year.

"The current reduction from $78 to $75 per barrel is really just part of the 'normal' oil market swings," said Spencer Welch, oil markets and downstream director at London-based IHS Markit.

"Through [the third quarter] we don’t expect the crude price to fall much more, it is more likely to go back up and might even get to $80 per barrel again. The market is tight, spare production capacity is limited and therefore the oil market is exposed to the risk of any unexpected supply disruption," he added.

On Wednesday, Brent, the benchmark for light, sweet crude declined by 6.9 per cent to end at $73.40 per barrel, the biggest decline in two years, after trending largely upward for the much of the first half of the year. US crude meanwhile also fell five per cent to reach $70.38 per barrel - its worst one-day decline in a year.

Rising tension between the US and China as well as the lifting of the force majeure by Libya's National Oil Company is likely to allow recovery of crude production by 500,000 barrels per day over the coming weeks, UBS said in a research note.

The Swiss investment bank maintains a bullish outlook for Brent, expecting it to climb to $85 per barrel over the next three and 12-month period.

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Read more:

Oil tops $79 a barrel and may hit $85 as supply falls and demand rises

Libya's crude production slumps more than 50% since February, NOC says

Oil set for best weekly winning streak since 2011 after hitting the $80 mark

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"We think the price drop is out of whack with the fundamental reality of low spare capacity globally and Iranian output set to decline considerably, which should keep the oil market vulnerable to additional supply disruptions in the months ahead," the bank said on Thursday.

Zurich-based UBS noted, however, that contrary to market expectations of the US mellowing its approach regarding sanctions over Iran, it observed no shift in policy with respect to the Islamic Republic.

"In our view, the administration still wants to see a sharp decline in Iranian oil exports by the end of the year," the bank said.

Worsening of the ongoing trade war between the US and China could weigh on oil demand, it added, saying the market remained "very sensitive" to supply news with disruptions likely to impact low spare capacity further.

Brent's recent fall was largely due to Libyan supplies hitting the market, said Mr Welch. Libyan production being offline had earlier been one of the causes for rallies in the oil market.

"At the end of June Opec [and allies] announced an extra 1 million bpd of crude onto the market from July. What happened to price? It went up, why because of US sanctions on Iran and supply disruptions taking 800,000 bpd of Libyan exports off the market. The recent fall is because Libyan crude loadings are increasing again," said Mr Welch.

David Haye record

Total fights: 32
Wins: 28
Wins by KO: 26
Losses: 4

MATCH INFO

Manchester United 2 (Heaton (og) 42', Lindelof 64')

Aston Villa 2 (Grealish 11', Mings 66')

FA Cup semi-final draw

Coventry City v Manchester United 

Manchester City v Chelsea

- Games to be played at Wembley Stadium on weekend of April 20/21. 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Sri Lanka-India Test series schedule

1st Test July 26-30 in Galle

2nd Test August 3-7 in Colombo

3rd Test August 12-16 in Pallekele

How to play the stock market recovery in 2021?

If you are looking to build your long-term wealth in 2021 and beyond, the stock market is still the best place to do it as equities powered on despite the pandemic.

Investing in individual stocks is not for everyone and most private investors should stick to mutual funds and ETFs, but there are some thrilling opportunities for those who understand the risks.

Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, says the 20 best-performing US and European stocks have delivered an average return year-to-date of 148 per cent, measured in local currency terms.

Online marketplace Etsy was the best performer with a return of 330.6 per cent, followed by communications software company Sinch (315.4 per cent), online supermarket HelloFresh (232.8 per cent) and fuel cells specialist NEL (191.7 per cent).

Mr Garnry says digital companies benefited from the lockdown, while green energy firms flew as efforts to combat climate change were ramped up, helped in part by the European Union’s green deal. 

Electric car company Tesla would be on the list if it had been part of the S&P 500 Index, but it only joined on December 21. “Tesla has become one of the most valuable companies in the world this year as demand for electric vehicles has grown dramatically,” Mr Garnry says.

By contrast, the 20 worst-performing European stocks fell 54 per cent on average, with European banks hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic, while cruise liners and airline stocks suffered due to travel restrictions.

As demand for energy fell, the oil and gas industry had a tough year, too.

Mr Garnry says the biggest story this year was the “absolute crunch” in so-called value stocks, companies that trade at low valuations compared to their earnings and growth potential.

He says they are “heavily tilted towards financials, miners, energy, utilities and industrials, which have all been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic”. “The last year saw these cheap stocks become cheaper and expensive stocks have become more expensive.” 

This has triggered excited talk about the “great value rotation” but Mr Garnry remains sceptical. “We need to see a breakout of interest rates combined with higher inflation before we join the crowd.”

Always remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Last year’s winners often turn out to be this year’s losers, and vice-versa.

JOKE'S ON YOU

Google wasn't new to busting out April Fool's jokes: before the Gmail "prank", it tricked users with mind-reading MentalPlex responses and said well-fed pigeons were running its search engine operations .

In subsequent years, they announced home internet services through your toilet with its "patented GFlush system", made us believe the Moon's surface was made of cheese and unveiled a dating service in which they called founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page "Stanford PhD wannabes ".

But Gmail was all too real, purportedly inspired by one – a single – Google user complaining about the "poor quality of existing email services" and born "millions of M&Ms later".

Super Saturday race card

4pm: Mahab Al Shimaal Group 3 | US$350,000 | (Dirt) | 1,200m
4.35pm: Al Bastakiya Listed | $300,000 | (D) | 1,900m
5.10pm: Nad Al Sheba Turf Group 3 | $350,000 | (Turf) | 1,200m
5.45pm: Burj Nahaar Group 3 | $350,000 | (D) | 1,600m
6.20pm: Dubai City of Gold Group 2 | $300,000 | (T) | 2,410m
6.55pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 Group 1 | $600,000 | (D) | 2,000m
7.30pm: Jebel Hatta Group 1 | $400,000 | (T) | 1,800m

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

The bio

Favourite food: Japanese

Favourite car: Lamborghini

Favourite hobby: Football

Favourite quote: If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough

Favourite country: UAE

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

RECORD BREAKER

Youngest debutant for Barcelona: 15 years and 290 days v Real Betis
Youngest La Liga starter in the 21st century: 16 years and 38 days v Cadiz
Youngest player to register an assist in La Liga in the 21st century: 16 years and 45 days v Villarreal
Youngest debutant for Spain: 16 years and 57 days v Georgia
Youngest goalscorer for Spain: 16 years and 57 days
Youngest player to score in a Euro qualifier: 16 years and 57 days


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