Despite the meltdown in oil, prices are more likely to rise than to fall further because of geopolitical instability, an industry consultant tells CNBC.
Mining giant Rio Tinto is looking to slash hundreds of jobs as a new round of cost cutting gets underway. Iron ore managers have reportedly begun cutting dozens of positions at the company's Pilbara operations in Western Australia as part of a process unions fear will leave up to 800 employees out of work. Workers in the Pilbara are worried the axe will fall on hundreds of jobs over the coming weeks and have called for the company to release details of any layoffs. The losses may not be confined to Western Australia as plunging commodity prices increase the urgency of cost cutting across the company's global operations.
Fortescue Metals Group is bolstering its balance sheet and wooing investors by refinancing $US2.5 billion ($A3.2 billion) of debt. Fortescue will launch a senior secured debt issue that will push back the date at which its large debt pile matures. "The refinancing will extend Fortescue's debt maturity profile while maintaining flexibility and minimising interest cost," Mr Power said.
Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at noon on Thursday: FMG - FORTESCUE METALS GROUP - steady at $2.29 Fortescue Metals Group is bolstering its balance sheet by refinancing $US2.5 billion ...
Solar energy investments have taken a battering during the past year, despite plummeting oil prices. The average share price drop for global solar panel manufacturers is even more severe than the fall ...
Oil prices climbed Thursday as Libyan unrest offset a jump in US crude stockpiles, analysts said. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in April added 59 cents to $52.12 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for April also gained 59 cents to $61.14 a barrel approaching midday in London. The US Department of Energy (DoE) on Wednesday said commercial crude inventories jumped by 10.3 million barrels in the week February 27, higher than analyst forecasts.
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Fears of a fall in iron ore prices are hitting the big miners and weighing on the share market. Shares in BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are almost two per cent lower as the World Bank predicts an iron ore glut will last another two years. "I would say that is the biggest driver," Morgans private client adviser Alistair McCorquodale said. Rio Tinto was down $1.13 at $61.27 and BHP had dropped 51.5 cents to $32.795.
Iron ore miner Fortescue is shoring up its balance sheet by refinancing $US2.5 billion ($A3.20 billion) of debt. Investors have welcomed the company's announcement on Thursday to launch a senior secured debt issue as part of an effort to push back the date at which its large debt pile matures. Fortescue also intends to extend the maturity on an existing $US4.9 billion senior secured credit facility to ensure the majority of its debt matures after 2021. "The refinancing will extend Fortescue's debt maturity profile while maintaining flexibility and minimising interest cost," chief executive Nev Power said.
Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals is looking to refinance $US2.5 billion ($A3.20 billion) of its debt. The company has launched a senior secured debt issue as part of an effort to push back the date at which its large debt pile matures. Fortescue said it also intends to extend the maturity on an existing $US4.9 billion senior secured credit facility to ensure the majority of its debt matures after 2021. "The refinancing will extend Fortescue's debt maturity profile while maintaining flexibility and minimising interest cost," chief executive Nev Power said.
Oil prices sank along with the euro after the European Central Bank forecast that the eurozone would continue to contract next year and only return to growth in 2014.
Azerbaijan has had to make a "modest" cut to the nearly one billion euros ($1.1 billion) operating budget to run the first European Games which start in 100 days, a top organizer said Wednesday. The fall in the price of oil, which the country's economy relies upon, has led to a 34 percent fall in Azerbaijan's currency, the manat, as it prepares for the invasion of 6,000 athletes for the 16-day event which starts on June 12. "We had a certain degree of rationalisation in our expenses, but it had only a modest effect on the budget reduction," Games chief operating officer Simon Clegg said, giving an operating budget of about 975 million euros. "We still have significant work to do, but I am very confident," said Clegg, who played a pivotal role in London winning the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games.
With Brazil's Supreme Court set to grill a clutch of politicians, a snowballing multibillion-dollar graft scandal enveloping state oil giant Petrobras threatens to tear apart the ruling coalition. President Dilma Rousseff won re-election just four months ago, her top priority the revitalization of a flailing economy hamstrung by four straight years of low growth. The investigation into allegations that dozens of politicians and businessmen received kickbacks on inflated Petrobras contracts has fingered two key members of the centrist PMDB, whose support is key in Congress for the PT. Congress president and senator Renan Calheiros and his PMDB colleague Eduardo Cunha both feature among politicians allegedly involved in the kickbacks scheme, according to media reports.
US oil prices rallied Wednesday despite a larger-than expected jump in the country's crude stockpiles last week, which hit a new record high. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in April climbed $1.01 to $51.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The US Department of Energy (DoE) said commercial crude inventories jumped by 10.3 million barrels in the week February 27.
Fuel prices are likely to rise during the next 12 months, while financial markets will provide an even rockier ride for investors, according to the latest Bankrate Economic Indicator, a quarterly survey of top economists. On average, the experts expect oil prices to rebound a bit from their recent low levels. "Excess inventories have depressed the current price, but once inventories have declined to more normal levels, the price should be somewhat higher than today," says William Poole, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Viewed together, the economists' forecasts call for solid hiring that will help drive the unemployment rate down and spark greater growth in wages.
Oil prices fell Wednesday as US official data showed that the country's crude stockpiles rose stronger than expected last week. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in April fell 34 cents to $50.18 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for April slipped 63 cents to stand at $60.39 a barrel in late London deals. The US Department of Energy said commercial crude inventories jumped by 10.3 million barrels last week.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said on Wednesday his country would seek to join Azerbaijan's new Southern Corridor to transit Caspian gas to Europe. After talks with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliev in Sofia, Borisov said Bulgaria wants "to unfreeze the Nabucco project, or rather its part starting from the TANAP (pipeline that runs through Turkey) and Nabucco-West through Bulgaria". The Nabucco-West pipeline is meant to get gas from the huge Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan via the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) through Turkey and transit it on to Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria.
Russia does not want to sink Ukraine's economy, as shown by its willingness to continue selling gas to the country, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said Wednesday. "Ukraine is in a very, very difficult situation," she told MSNBC television. "I think Russia doesn't want Ukraine to collapse, because I don't think it would be in its interest.
Russia's state-controlled energy giant Rosneft said Wednesday its annual net profit for 2014 was down by nearly 10 percent after Russia's economy took a battering from plunging oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. Rosneft said its net profit last year was 350 billion rubles ($5.63 billion according to the current exchange rate), a decline of 9.8 percent from its 2013 net profit of 388 billion rubles. The result was actually better than expected, as analysts had predicted Rosneft's 2014 profits would be around 331 billion rubles, Interfax news agency reported. Rosneft is blacklisted by the United States and the European Union as part of sanctions against Moscow for its role in the Ukraine crisis.
Oil prices were mixed Wednesday before the release of a key US supply report and as dealers eyed escalating violence in crude producer Libya, analysts said. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for April delivery gained 25 cents to $50.77 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for April fell 48 cents to stand at $60.54 a barrel in London afternoon deals. Tetsu Emori, commodity fund manager with Astmax Investments in Tokyo, said the official US stockpiles report for last week was set to show an increase in crude reserves, indicating weak demand in the world's biggest economy.
Geoscience Australia last year discovered three dining table-sized rocks jutting out of the water on North Scott Reef and Seringapatam Reef off the Kimberley coast, prompting maritime boundaries in the area to be redrawn as they are technically considered islands. Petroleum title legislation that passed in the lower house of federal parliament on Tuesday confirmed WA owned 65 per cent of the Torosa gas field beneath the rocks. The federal government previously said WA owned five per cent, but Premier Colin Barnett believed it was more like 15 per cent. "But we take a conservative view that over 20 years, royalties for Western Australia will be about $2.5 billion," he said.
US oil giant ExxonMobil said Wednesday it would reduce investment spending by nearly 12 percent this year in response to lower crude-oil prices, but projected higher production. Exxon Mobil Corp. told analysts in New York that it planned capital spending of about $34 billion in 2015, down from $38.5 billion in 2014. Crude oil prices have dropped more than 50 percent since last June, pushing energy companies and their contractors to cut back spending. Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil chairman and chief executive, noted the cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry.
US oil giant ExxonMobil said Wednesday it would reduce investment spending by nearly 12 percent this year in response to lower crude-oil prices. Exxon Mobil Corp. told analysts in New York that it planned capital spending of about $34 billion in 2015, down from $38.5 billion in 2014. For 2016 and 2017, investments, including on exploration for oil and gas, were projected at around $34 billion annually, said the world's largest publicly traded oil and gas company. Crude oil prices have dropped more than 50 percent since last June, pushing energy companies and their contractors to cut back spending.
Qatar's economy is predicted to grow by seven per cent in 2015, as it forges ahead with huge infrastructure investment despite the slump in oil prices, leading economists said Wednesday. The Qatar National Bank's "Economic Insight" predicted even higher growth rates of 7.5 percent for 2016 and 7.9 percent for 2017 in the gas-rich Gulf state. "Qatar is well-positioned to withstand the temporary decline in oil prices due to its strong macroeconomic fundamentals," the QNB report said. "With substantial financial resources, Qatar has ample external and fiscal buffers to continue implementing its ambitious investment programme.
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A prosecutor in Brazil has asked the Supreme Court to investigate 54 politicians over a massive graft case that has rocked Petrobras, the South American nation's largest corporation. "There have been 28 requests for new investigation files... which involve 54 politicians who have immunity," a spokesman for the top prosecutor told AFP Tuesday, referring to the growing scandal which has touched President Dilma Rousseff's government. The names of those who will be placed under investigation if the court gives the go-ahead will not be revealed for the time being as the politicians have immunity -- although prosecutor general Rodrigo Janot has asked for that to be lifted. The scandal, which investigators have dubbed Operation Car Wash, concerns a huge kickbacks scandal estimated at some $3.8 billion at state-owned oil giant Petrobras.