Oil Edges Lower As Saudi Crude Exports Fall, U.S. Cuts Drill Rigs
Published 2015-07-20 08:00:53| Amwal Al Ghad English
Oil prices edged lower on Monday as data showed Saudi Arabian exports fell to the lowest in five months despite record output, while a resurgence in U.S. drilling activity seen earlier this month seemed to fizzle out. Both international and U.S. crude futures posted their third consecutive weekly losses last week on expectations of increased exports from Iran following a deal to ease sanctions against the OPEC producer. Brent September crude was 14 cents lower at $56.96 a barrel by 0708 GMT. The benchmark fell nearly 3 percent last week and more than 10 percent for the month. U.S. crude futures, also known as West Texas Intermediate (WTI), were down 7 cents at $50.82 on Monday, after falling more than 3 percent last week and more than 14 percent in July. The August contract expires on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports fell in May to their lowest since December, with official data showing daily shipments stood at 6.935 million barrels a day (bpd) compared with 7.737 million bpd in April.
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Prime Minister - Sherif Ismail Sherif Ismail, a career engineering technocrat with no history of membership in political parties, was sworn in as Egypt's new prime minister before President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi Saturday morning. Ismail, who avoids media spotlight and rarely speaks in public on his political views, replaces Ibrahim Mahlab as prime minister. The new PM brought 16 new faces into the cabinet, retained 17 Mahlab picks, and merged or abolished some ministries bringing the total of portfolios to 33 down from Mahlab's 34. Ismail, who was born in 1955, graduated from the Faculty of Engineering at Ain Shams University in 1978. He worked briefly for the multinational oil company Mobil, before joining the Egyptian state-owned company Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries (Enppi) in 1979. Ismail served as minister of petroleum under Ibrahim Mahlab since 2014.
Gold on Monday retained gains from its biggest daily jump in nearly nine months as weak U.S. jobs data eased fears the Federal Reserve would hike rates this year. Spot gold was little changed at $1,136.60 an ounce by 0325 GMT. The metal had gained 2.2 percent on Friday, its biggest one-day rise since Jan. 15. Data on Friday showed U.S. employers slammed the brakes on hiring over the last two months. Nonfarm payrolls rose by only 142,000 last month, below economist expectations of 203,000. Gold, which had been weighed down all year by expectations the U.S. central bank could soon raise rates, rallied as the dollar fell. The metal is still down nearly 4 percent this year. "The Fed is extremely unlikely to begin policy normalisation as soon as this month and December is looking tenuous too," ANZ analysts said, referring to the remaining two policy meets scheduled for this year. The Fed had refrained from raising rates at its last policy meeting in September, citing weakness in the global economy and volatility in financial markets. Higher rates would dent demand for non-interest-paying gold, while boosting the dollar. "We think gold's recent resilience is due in large part to growing expectations that the U.S. economy, in conjunction with that of China's, may now be slowing, perhaps persuading the Fed to defer from raising rates just yet," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir. Silver had also rallied with gold, gaining 5.4 percent on Friday, its sharpest rise since December, 2014. On Monday, the metal rose to its highest in two weeks at $15.35, before ticking lower. Platinum was trading up 0.6 percent at $910.50, after hitting a near-seven-year-low of $888 in the previous session. Platinum has been hit after revelations last month that Volkswagen falsified U.S. vehicle emission tests, which some believe could affect demand for diesel cars. Platinum is widely used in auto catalysts, particularly for diesel engines. Palladium rose to $708 on Monday, its highest since June, boosted by hopes that demand for gasoline cars, where the metal is used in catalysts, could increase. Hedge funds and money managers increased bullish bets in COMEX gold futures and options to a four-week high but cut a silver net long position in the week to Sept. 29, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.
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