China issues first batch of crude oil import quotas for 2018



China has issued crude oil import quotas totalling 121.32 million tonnes for 44 companies in its first batch of allowances for 2018, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter and documents reviewed by Reuters on Thursday. State-owned ChemChina has the largest quota at 16.67 million tonnes, followed by North Huajin Chemical Industries Group with 7.47 million tonnes, the documents showed. China's imports are expected to hit another record in 2018 as new refining capacity is brought online and Beijing allows more independent refiners to import crude, with their robust demand growth helping to support global oil prices. The total allocated volume of the first batch of quotas equates to 2.43 million barrels per day. The commerce ministry in November said it had raised the 2018 crude oil import quota for "non-state trade" to 142.42 million tonnes. The ministry said in November the quotas would be issued in batches, with the first lot based on companies' actual purchases during the January to October period this year. China's commerce ministry could not be reached for comment on the first batch of 2018 quotas. China has surpassed the United States this year to become the world's biggest importer of crude oil.

China's state planner on Friday granted another independent refiner, Jiangsu Xinhai Petrochemical Company, a preliminary crude import quota of 2.3 million tonnes for 2018, indicating it could continue to allow more companies to import crude. Beijing could also allocate more quotas to two new refineries built by Dalian Hengli Petrochemical and Zhejiang Rongsheng when they come on line next year, Chinese trade sources said. Among independent refiners, Haiyou Chemical's allocation for 2018 tripled from this year, while Shandong Wonfull Petrochemical's quota nearly doubled, according to Reuters data. Chambroad Petrochemical, Baota Petrochemical and Sinochem Hongrun can also import more crude next year. Beijing issued quotas to independent refiners for 2017 totalling 93.2 million tonnes, about 22 per cent of China's imports for the year at 421.5 million tonnes, according to Reuters data and estimates by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodities Research. Independent refiners imported about 64 million tonnes of crude in the first 11 months this year, estimates by the research team showed. State oil companies and their refining and trading subsidiaries will have a quarter of the crude import quotas for 2018, the documents showed. The quotas do not apply to China's five state-owned major oil companies such as PetroChina and Sinopec, which are allowed to import crude freely.

Tiger Stripes

Director: Amanda Nell Eu 

Stars: Zafreen Zairizal, Deena Ezral and Piqa

Rating: 4.5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

MATCH INFO

Fixture: Thailand v UAE, Tuesday, 4pm (UAE)

TV: Abu Dhabi Sports

Indika

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

'The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting up a Generation for Failure' ​​​​
Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, Penguin Randomhouse

Five expert hiking tips
  • Always check the weather forecast before setting off
  • Make sure you have plenty of water
  • Set off early to avoid sudden weather changes in the afternoon
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear
  • Take your litter home with you
School counsellors on mental well-being

Schools counsellors in Abu Dhabi have put a number of provisions in place to help support pupils returning to the classroom next week.

Many children will resume in-person lessons for the first time in 10 months and parents previously raised concerns about the long-term effects of distance learning.

Schools leaders and counsellors said extra support will be offered to anyone that needs it. Additionally, heads of years will be on hand to offer advice or coping mechanisms to ease any concerns.

“Anxiety this time round has really spiralled, more so than from the first lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Priya Mitchell, counsellor at The British School Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi.

“Some have got used to being at home don’t want to go back, while others are desperate to get back.

“We have seen an increase in depressive symptoms, especially with older pupils, and self-harm is starting younger.

“It is worrying and has taught us how important it is that we prioritise mental well-being.”

Ms Mitchell said she was liaising more with heads of year so they can support and offer advice to pupils if the demand is there.

The school will also carry out mental well-being checks so they can pick up on any behavioural patterns and put interventions in place to help pupils.

At Raha International School, the well-being team has provided parents with assessment surveys to see how they can support students at home to transition back to school.

“They have created a Well-being Resource Bank that parents have access to on information on various domains of mental health for students and families,” a team member said.

“Our pastoral team have been working with students to help ease the transition and reduce anxiety that [pupils] may experience after some have been nearly a year off campus.

"Special secondary tutorial classes have also focused on preparing students for their return; going over new guidelines, expectations and daily schedules.”

Pakistanis at the ILT20

The new UAE league has been boosted this season by the arrival of five Pakistanis, who were not released to play last year.

Shaheen Afridi (Desert Vipers)
Set for at least four matches, having arrived from New Zealand where he captained Pakistan in a series loss.

Shadab Khan (Desert Vipers)
The leg-spin bowling allrounder missed the tour of New Zealand after injuring an ankle when stepping on a ball.

Azam Khan (Desert Vipers)
Powerhouse wicketkeeper played three games for Pakistan on tour in New Zealand. He was the first Pakistani recruited to the ILT20.

Mohammed Amir (Desert Vipers)
Has made himself unavailable for national duty, meaning he will be available for the entire ILT20 campaign.

Imad Wasim (Abu Dhabi Knight Riders)
The left-handed allrounder, 35, retired from international cricket in November and was subsequently recruited by the Knight Riders.

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Results

6.30pm: The Madjani Stakes (PA) Group 3 Dh175,000 (Dirt) 1,900m

Winner: Aatebat Al Khalediah, Fernando Jara (jockey), Ali Rashid Al Raihe (trainer).

7.05pm: Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,400m

Winner: Down On Da Bayou, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer.

7.40pm: Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner: Dubai Avenue, Fernando Jara, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

8.15pm: Handicap (TB) Dh190,000 (D) 1,200m

Winner: My Catch, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

8.50pm: Dubai Creek Mile (TB) Listed Dh265,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner: Secret Ambition, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar.

9.25pm: Handicap (TB) Dh190,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner: Golden Goal, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

MATCH INFO

Chelsea 1
Alonso (62')

Huddersfield Town 1
Depoitre (50')


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