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Wednesday, 05 August 20
SLUMP IN OIL REVENUE CHALLENGES MIDDLE EAST OIL EXPORTERS - INTERMODAL
Intermodal logoThe Covid-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences on the global capital markets. Despite the US government’s efforts for a quick and decisive response to Covid-19, unemployment rates rocketed to unprecedented figures. This was a key contributor to the near one-third shrinkage of the economy. Driving restrictions within the US and the decline in countrywide GDP have adversely affected gasoline and oil demand throughout the nation. 
 
Being one of the most predominant global crude oil consumers, South Korea has seen its exports plummet to significant lows. This is likely to cause a nationwide recession which will further reduce global demand for oil. Chinese oil demand has gradually softened thus reducing the price per oil barrel in Asia. At the same time, derivative markets which add value to North Sea crude oil grades, are in a frail state.
 
The oil consumption outlook does not appear to be any better in Europe, with Finnish refiner Neste Oyj predicting that demand for oil products will remain “severely reduced” in the third quarter. Despite the recent historic deal between OPEC+ nations to cut global oil output, crude oil remains priced at around $40/barrel. Energy analyst C. Markits predicts an average price of $43/barrel for Brent in July; this figure may rise to $50 by December provided that oil demand will begin to recover. However, this is just one of many highly speculative scenarios.
 
The IMF argues that plunging crude prices coupled with global production cuts are expected to significantly affect oil exporters in the Middle East and North Africa. Combined oil income for these exporting regions is projected to decrease by $270 billion y-o-y from 2019. According to S&P Global Ratings, country members of the Gulf Cooperation Council are set to accumulate a combined $490 billion in government deficits between 2020 and 2023.
 
Responses to the economic shock
Saudi Arabia tripled its VAT in the past month in an effort to reverse the deficit and revive its economy. This is expected to reduce its deficit by $27 billion. At the same time, the government announced the suspension of cost-of-living allowances for its employees. Additionally, several governmental operational and capital expenditures will either be cancelled, extended, or postponed whereas major projects will materialize under strictly reduced provisions. Saudi Arabia plans to privatize state-held assets in healthcare, education and water utility sectors to raise additional funds. Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan argued at a Bloomberg forum that Arabian exporters could receive billions from such privatizations over the next five years. 
 
Kuwait - which is one of the world’s wealthiest countries - is also facing a severe budget crunch. After having a running deficit that could reach 40 per cent of its economy this year, the Kuwaiti Finance Ministry is seeking permission from parliament to tap global debt markets for as much as $65 billion. However, Kuwait’s options are limited. The General Reserve Fund has been used aggressively in recent months. This has left its liquid assets in a vulnerable state and they could be further depleted within the current fiscal year, or by April 2021.
By Apostolos Rompopoulos
Tanker Chartering
 
Compiled by:
Intermodal Research & Valuations


Analysts:
Ms Eva Tzima

Mr.George Panagopoulos


Disclaimer and legal disclosure: For any further queries please do not hesitate to contact our Research & Valuations Department. The information contained in this report has been obtained from various sources, as reported in the market. Intermodal Shipbrokers Co. believes such information to be factual and reliable without making guarantees regarding its accuracy or completeness. Whilst every care has been taken in the production of the above review, no liability can be accepted for any loss or damage incurred in any way whatsoever by any person who may seek to rely on the information and views contained in this material. This report is being produced for the internal use of the intended recipients only and no reproducing is allowed, without the prior written authorization of Intermodal Shipbrokers Co.
 
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