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OPEC says high prices to dampen pace of oil demand recovery

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November 11, 2021

By Alex Lawler

LONDON (Reuters) – OPEC on Thursday cut its world oil demand forecast for the last quarter of 2021 as high energy prices curb the recovery from COVID-19, delaying the timeline for a return to pre-pandemic levels of oil use until later in 2022.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in a monthly report also raised its supply forecast from U.S. shale producers next year, a potential headwind to the efforts of the group and its allies, known as OPEC+, to balance the market.

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OPEC said it expects oil demand to average 99.49 million barrels per day (bpd) in the fourth quarter of 2021, down 330,000 bpd from last month’s forecast. The year’s demand growth forecast was trimmed by 160,000 bpd to 5.65 million bpd.

“A slowdown in the pace of recovery in the fourth quarter of 2021 is now assumed due to elevated energy prices,” OPEC said in the report. OPEC also cited slower-than-expected demand in China and India for the downward revision.

Oil has risen to a three-year high above $86 a barrel this year as OPEC+ only gradually ramps up supplies and demand rises, boosting pump prices to the highest in years in some markets. Natural gas, power and coal prices have also soared.

Governments, companies and traders are closely monitoring the speed with which demand recovers. A slower pace could ease upward pressure on prices and bolster the view that the impact of the pandemic will curb demand for good.

OPEC now sees world consumption surpassing the 100 million bpd mark in the third quarter of 2022, three months later than forecast last month. On an annual basis according to OPEC, the world last used over 100 million bpd of oil in 2019.

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The producer group stuck to its forecast that demand will rise by 4.15 million bpd next year. This will take consumption to an average of 100.6 million bpd, above the 2019 level.

Oil was little changed just below $83 a barrel after the report was released, up from an earlier decline.

SHALE REBOUND SEEN

The report also showed higher output from OPEC and forecast more supplies from U.S. shale producers in 2022.

OPEC+ is gradually unwinding record output cuts put in place last year. In July, the group agreed to gradually boost output by 400,000 bpd a month from August.

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The report showed OPEC output rose in October by 220,000 bpd to 27.45 million bpd with top producer Saudi Arabia providing half the increase. Four of the 13 OPEC members pumped less due to a lack of capacity.

OPEC sees output of U.S. tight oil, another term for shale, rising by 610,000 bpd in 2022, up 200,000 bpd from last month’s forecast, after a contraction this year, as higher prices prompt more investment.

Still, OPEC left its growth forecast for 2022 non-OPEC overall supply steady due to downward revisons in other producers.

With lower demand now seen, OPEC expects the world to need 28.7 million bpd from its members in 2022, down 100,000 bpd from last month but still allowing for higher OPEC production.

(Reporting by Alex Lawler; Editing by Jan Harvey, Elaine Hardcastle)

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U.S. stock futures, oil regain some ground after Omicron battering

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November 29, 2021

By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian markets regained a little composure on Monday as investors settled in for a few weeks of uncertainty on whether the Omicron variant would really derail economic recoveries and the tightening plans of some central banks.

Oil prices also bounced $3 a barrel to recoup some of Friday’s shellacking, while the safe haven yen took a breather after its run higher.

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The new variant of concern was found as far afield as Canada and Australia as more countries imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off.

Britain called an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday to discuss developments on the virus, although a South African doctor who had treated cases said symptoms of Omicron were so far mild.

“There is a lot we don’t know about Omicron, but markets have been forced to reassess the global growth outlook until we know more,” said Rodrigo Catril, a market strategist at NAB.

“Pfizer expects to know within two weeks if Omicron is resistant to its current vaccine, others suggest it may take several weeks. Until then markets are likely to remain jittery.”

Trading was erratic early on Monday but there were signs of stabilisation as S&P 500 futures added 0.8% and Nasdaq futures 0.9%.

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Both indices suffered their sharpest fall in months on Friday with travel and airline stocks hit particularly hard.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.1% but was off early lows. Likewise, Japan’s Nikkei pared early losses to be down 0.9%.

Bonds gave back some of their gains, with Treasury futures down 11 ticks. The market had rallied sharply as investors priced in the risk of a slower start to rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve, and less tightening by some other central banks.

Two-year Treasury yields edged up to 0.55%, after falling 14 basis points on Friday in the biggest drop since March last year. Fed fund futures had pushed the first rate rise out by a month or so.

The shift in expectations undermined the U.S. dollar, to the benefit of the safe haven Japanese yen and Swiss franc.

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Early Monday the dollar had steadied somewhat at 113.81 yen, after sliding 1.7% on Friday. The dollar index held at 96.190, after Friday’s 0.7% drop.

The euro paused at $1.1294, following its rally from $1.1203 late last week.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde put a brave face on the latest virus scare, saying the euro zone was better equipped to face the economic impact of a new wave of COVID-19 infections or the Omicron variant.

The economic diary is also busy this week with China’s manufacturing PMIs on Tuesday to offer another update on the health of the Asian giant. The U.S. ISM survey of factories is out on Wednesday, ahead of payrolls on Friday.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speak before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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In commodity markets, oil prices bounced after suffering their largest one-day drop since April 2020 on Friday.

“The move all but guarantees the OPEC+ alliance will suspend its scheduled increase for January at its meeting on 2 December,” wrote analyst at ANZ in a note.

“Such headwinds are the reason it’s been only gradually raising output in recent months, despite demand rebounding strongly.”

Brent rebounded 3.9% to $75.57 a barrel, while U.S. crude rose 4.5% to $71.24.

Gold has so far found little in the way of safe haven demand, leaving it stuck at $1,791 an ounce.

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(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Richard Pullin & Shri Navaratnam)

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Nissan Motor to spend $17.6 billion to accelerate electrification

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November 29, 2021

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co said on Monday it will spend 2 trillion yen ($17.59 billion) over the next five years to accelerate vehicle electrification as it bets tighter carbon emission restrictions will spur demand for electric cars and hybrids.

Japan’s No. 3 car maker will introduce 23 electrified vehicles by 2030, including 15 electric vehicles (EV), and plans to introduce all solid-state batteries by March 2029, it said in a statement.

Nissan’s deeper push into battery-powered cars comes as consumer demand for such vehicles grows in key auto markets such as China and the United States and as its competitors release new electric vehicles.

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Although still only a small portion of vehicles on the road, global electric car registrations in 2020 grew 41% even as the overall car market contracted by almost a sixth, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Nissan, like other Japanese car makers, however, has yet to commit to completely abandoning fossil-fuel vehicles.

At the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow this month, major car makers, including General Motors and Ford Motor Co, signed on to a declaration that committed them to phase out fossil fuel vehicles by 2040.

($1 = 113.7000 yen)

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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Shares of Macau casino operator Suncity suspended -HKEX

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November 29, 2021

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Shares of Suncity Group Holdings Ltd were suspended on Monday after its chief executive was believed to be among 11 people arrested by Macau authorities on Sunday over alleged links to cross-border gambling and money laundering.

The South China Morning Post reported that Macau police said on Sunday a 47-year-old businessman surnamed Chau was among those arrested. Alvin Chau is head of Suncity.

Suncity could not be reached for comment. Shares of the company last closed at HK$0.255.

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(Reporting By Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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