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Nur Aisha Abd. Wahab


The Star Online



Oil price up after US crude stock draw, supply growth seen easing

The Star Online (14/03/2019) - NEW YORK: Oil futures rallied about 2 percent on Wednesday as U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly fell and an official forecast of crude oil supply growth from the world's top producer was revised lower.

A widespread power outage in Venezuela that has stalled crude exports from the OPEC-member nation, which has already seen reduced shipments from U.S. sanctions, helped to tighten the market.

Brent crude futures settled at US$67.55 a barrel, up 88 cents, or 1.32 percent. U.S. crude oil futures settled at $58.26 a barrel, rising $1.39 cents, or 2.44 percent.

Both benchmarks settled at their highest levels since mid-November.

U.S. crude stocks fell last week as refineries hiked output, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.

Crude inventories fell by 3.9 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 2.7 million barrels.

"With the refiners starting to slowly come out of maintenance, OPEC cuts starting to kick in, and Venezuelan supplies, you’re probably now looking at a future with more draws in the coming weeks," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. "It looks very supportive as refiners come out of maintenance.”

Other EIA data showed U.S. crude output edged down from a record high, dropping 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 12 million bpd last week.

On Tuesday, the EIA revised down its estimate for domestic crude production growth in 2019. The EIA also revised down its projected 2020 production figure.

"While the revision is small, the comforting part for bulls was that the direction of the revision was down rather than up," Harry Tchilinguirian, global oil strategist at BNP Paribas in London, told the Reuters Global Oil Forum.

Exports from Venezuela's main oil terminal have been stranded as its worst blackout on record has left parts of the country without power for roughly a week.

The terminal resumed operations by Wednesday, according to two sources and Refinitiv Eikon data, but shipments have not started up. Power has been restored to many parts of the country in recent days.

"I expect to see WTI hitting $60 a barrel in the next couple of weeks as inventories in the U.S. are impacted by the lack of Venezuelan imports," said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

Oil prices have also received support from supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, indicated it would cut April exports. Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, the previous day, said the production-curbing agreement would likely last until at least June. – Reuters

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2019/03/14/oil-up-after-us-crude-stock-draw-supply-growth-seen-easing/#jSHXgl8QTYs1AYv7.99

Ensuring oil palm smallholders MSPO-certified

Borneo Post Online (14/03/2019) - KUCHING: The Ministry of Primary Industries will work together with the Sarawak government to ensure that all oil palm smallholders in the state obtain Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification.

Its minister Teresa Kok said the certification was necessary to prove to the international market that oil palm from the country is planted using good agricultural practices.

She pointed out that besides fetching low prices, Malaysian palm oil is facing challenges from the European Union (EU).

“The government will implement MSPO certification as an initiative to help the oil palm smallholders in Sarawak, because we want to tell the world that Malaysian palm oil is from a sustainable planting source which adheres to good agricultural practices.

“And for that, the ministry is working very hard and working closely with Sarawak government to get more oil palm smallholders to have MSPO certification,” she told reporters here yesterday.

Earlier, Kok had a meeting to discuss the matter with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah at Wisma Bapa Malaysia.

She pointed out that more discussions and meetings would be held with the Sarawak government pertaining to MSPO certification for oil palm smallholders.

She also urged smallholders to have their plantation obtain the certification, adding that the government provides grants to assist them.

Kok further said that Malaysia will challenge the delegated act to be tabled in the European Parliament next month.

According to her, the whole idea of the act was to phase out palm oil from the European Union (EU) market, especially in the biodiesel sector, adding this would adversely affect the country.

She added that Sarawak, which has the largest area for oil palm, would also greatly suffer.

“So I am here to discuss with the Sarawak government on how to handle this issue as well as on some of the strategies…and for this we are working together because the state (Sarawak) has the biggest area for oil palm plantation,” she pointed out.

Kok said the meeting also discussed on the capping of oil palm plantations, adding that there would be a cabinet paper on the issue.

Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said the Sarawak government has declared two million hectares for oil palm plantation.

“We want to make it very clear here that the capping is on state land, and we are still allowing smallholders to plant oil palm because we are encouraging them to plant alternative crops as a means to get out of poverty,” he said.

Read more at https://www.theborneopost.com/2019/03/14/ensuring-oil-palm-smallholders-mspo-certified/