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Saudi Arabia may raise Nov official crude prices for Asia

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(Last Updated On: October 3, 2022)

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may raise prices for most crude grades it sells to Asia in November on expectations for demand recovery and Chinese refineries to increase output following the issuance of new product export quotas.

The November official selling prices (OSP) for flagship Arab Light crude may rise by 25 cents a barrel, according to the median of the responses of five refining sources surveyed by Reuters on Sept. 29-30.

“Oil demand is expected to improve, which we can see from current market structure,” said one respondent.

The backwardation in the Dubai market structure widened during trading last month, implying that demand for crude in the near-term is rising. The premium for front-month Dubai over the price for the third-month averaged $5.36 a barrel in September, up from $5.07 in August.

The market also expects China, the world’s biggest crude importer, to increase purchases as Beijing has issued a fresh round of refined product export quotas, totalling 15 million tonnes. That could encourage Chinese refineries to lift their crude buying to ramp up fuel output.

Refining margins for gasoline and diesel plunged on China’s new export quotas as a flood of refined products would knock down the prices of the products.

“That’s a reason why we forecast the official prices for lighter crude grades to only see a small hike,” said another respondent.

The respondents polled by Reuters assess the price increase for Arab Medium and Arab Heavy to be larger than Arab Light, as the refining margins, also known as cracks, for fuel oil are performing better than the light- and middle-distillate products , .

China issued 1.75 million tonnes of export quotas for low-sulphur fuel oil, compared to 13.25 million tonnes for other products in the recent round.

OPEC+ will consider an oil output cut of more than a million barrels per day (bpd) during their monthly meeting this week, in what would be the biggest move yet since the COVID-19 pandemic to address oil market weakness.

Benchmark oil prices have fallen by more than 30% since March.

Saudi crude OSPs are around the fifth of each month, and set the trend for Iranian, Kuwaiti and Iraqi prices, affecting more than 9 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude bound for Asia.

Saudi Aramco sets its crude prices based on recommendations from customers and after calculating the change in the value of its oil over the past month, based on yields and product prices.

Saudi Aramco officials as a matter of policy do not comment on the kingdom’s monthly OSPs.

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Kabul hosts major domestic and international expo

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2022)

In order to increase investment and support for the country’s domestic business sector, the first Imam Abu Hanifa National and International Expo was officially opened in Kabul on Thursday.

Attending the opening were senior Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials and representatives of domestic and foreign businesses.

The expos will run for seven days, and over 600 local and foreign exhibitors are displaying their products.

In a voice message marking the opening of the event, the IEA’s supreme leader Mawlavi Haibatullah Akhundzada called on investors in Afghanistan to not rely on foreign aid and instead grow the country’s economy.

“The economy of a country is built when its people work together and do not rely on foreign aid,” said Akhundzada in the voice message.

Abdul Salam Hanafi, the second Deputy Prime Minister of the IEA, said security has returned to the country which has created opportunities for investment. He also said the IEA supports the country’s manufacturing sector.

Hanafi added that if national businessmen are asked for bribes by officials in government offices, they have the right to complain and that corrupt staff will be dealt with.

“No one in government can bribe a national businessman. We are ready to prosecute any government official who asks for a bribe from a national businessman according to Islamic principles,” he said.

Nooruddin Azizi, Minister of Industry and Commerce, also said that supporting domestic production is vital for the economy of a country.

“We should all support domestic products not only in words but also in actions,” he said.

The spokesman of the Islamic Emirate pointed out at the event that in holding the expo, Afghanistan has taken a step towards self-sufficiency and the goal of the Islamic Emirate is to grow the country’s economy following the withdrawal of the American military.

He considers the performance of traders, investors and the Chamber of Commerce to be effective in attracting domestic and international investors in Afghanistan.

“At the moment, domestic and foreign investors have a good opportunity to come and invest in different fields in Afghanistan,” said Zabihullah Mujahid.

In addition, Chamber of Commerce and Investment officials expressed hope that the expo can provide an opportunity for Afghan businessmen to communicate with foreign businessmen.

The expo meanwhile was rolled out without foreign aid.

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IEA minister meets with head of TAPI project

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) minister of mines and petroleum met with the executive director of the TAPI project, Mohammad Murad Amanov, in Kabul and said the project was important on a number of levels including that of job creation.

The minister, Sheikh Shahabuddin Delawar, stated in the meeting that the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project was one of the country’s major socio-economic projects.

He said not only will the roll out of the project provide job opportunities but it will also encourage investment.

“Since Afghanistan is in a good security situation, we should utilize this opportunity and start the practical work of the TAPI project as soon as possible with the cooperation of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan,” he added.

Speaking about the plans and progress of the project, Amanov said that Turkmenistan is striving to start work on the TAPI pipeline as soon as possible.

He said that he will soon announce a specific plan on the construction of gas distribution reserves in Herat.

TAPI project will transfer Turkmen gas to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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Afghanistan urges China to speed up efforts for opening of Silk Route

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(Last Updated On: November 28, 2022)

Industry and commerce minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Monday called on Beijing to speed up its efforts for reopening of the Silk Road trade route.

Minister Nooruddin Azizi said that the Wakhan Corridor or the Silk Road can increase the level of trade between the two countries and become a reliable route for the transit of goods.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has announced its preparations for the opening of this corridor and asks the respsected authorities of the People’s Republic of China to speed up the process of opening this route,” Azizi said.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in nearly 150 countries and international organizations. It seeks to rekindle ancient Silk Road trade routes linking China with Europe and Africa

In September, Afghan Minister of Industry and Commerce said that Afghanistan should be included in the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure project, which is a central part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

“In talks we had with China, it was mentioned that we should partner with China in the Belt and Road Initiative and China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor and other programs that China has at the international level,” Nooruddin Azizi said in an interview with China’s CGTN.

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