year

FILE PHOTO: Papua New Guinea's then Prime Minister Peter O'Neill makes an address to the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia
FILE PHOTO: Papua New Guinea’s then Prime Minister Peter O’Neill makes an address to the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia November 29, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne/File Photo

May 27, 2019

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Political turmoil in Papua New Guinea threatened to delay a $13 billion plan to double the country’s gas exports, sending shares in one of the project’s partners, Oil Search Ltd, down nearly 4% on Monday.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said on Sunday he would resign after weeks of high-level defections from the ruling party. Sir Julius Chan, twice a former premier, would take over as the government’s leader, O’Neill said.

Political instability is not unusual in Papua New Guinea and has not held back mining and energy investments in the resource-rich country, however protests over benefits failing to reach rural areas have dogged the government and project owners.

It was not clear whether Chan could command a majority in parliament when it resumes on Tuesday.

“We will not choose him. It’s a really bad choice,” opposition lawmaker Allan Bird told Reuters in a text message.

“We want a complete break from O’Neill (and) Chan is just a proxy for O’Neill,” he said.

Chan said on Monday he had been approached by both the government and the opposition to take the role.

“This is not a position I am seeking,” he said in a statement. “However, I love Papua New Guinea, and there is a desperate need right now to unite the country … and to make the wealth of this country work to the benefit of the people of this country.”

O’Neill had resisted calls to resign for weeks but his opponents said on Friday they had rallied enough support in parliament to oust him over a range of grievances, including a gas deal agreed in April with France’s Total SA.

The deal with Total set the terms for developing the Elk and Antelope gas fields, which will feed two new liquefied natural gas (LNG) production units at the PNG LNG plant, run by ExxonMobil Corp.

At the same time, ExxonMobil and its partners are planning to build a third new unit at the PNG plant, to be partly fed by another new gas field, P’nyang.

Credit Suisse analyst Saul Kavonic said the political upheaval could put pressure on the government to negotiate tough terms for the P’nyang gas agreement, which is yet to be finalised, and affect talks on development costs.

“Both these factors heighten the risk of delay,” he said in a note to clients.

Any delays in the P’nyang agreement could hold up a final investment decision on the PNG LNG expansion, which is set to double the plant’s capacity to 16 million tonnes a year.

The uncertainty sent shares in Oil Search, a partner in PNG LNG and Papua LNG, down as much as 3.9% in early trading on Monday. Energy stocks rose 0.6%.

ExxonMobil and its partners had hoped to begin basic engineering planning for the expansion by mid-2019 and make a final investment decision in 2020.

They are racing against projects in Mozambique, Qatar, North America and Australia to produce LNG from the expansion by 2024 to fill an expected gap in the global LNG market. ExxonMobil and Total both have LNG projects elsewhere that could take priority if PNG politics delays them, Kavonic said.

RBC analyst Ben Wilson said he did not think a final investment decision in 2020 was at risk yet and played down the threat that the PNG opposition would seek to renegotiate the LNG agreement.

“Sanctity of contract is critical to ongoing investment in PNG and to the success of future potential sovereign bond issuances,” Wilson said.

Total and Oil Search representatives were not immediately available to comment.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook and Sonali Paul; Editing by Paul Tait)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei
FILE PHOTO: A worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

May 27, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Profits earned by China’s industrial companies contracted in April after a sharp rebound in the previous month, adding to concerns about the already slowing economy in the wake of a recent escalation in Sino-U.S. trade tensions.

Profits in April dropped 3.7% year-on-year to 515.4 billion yuan ($74.80 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website on Monday, compared with a 13.9% surge in March.

For the first four months of 2019, industrial profits dropped 3.4% on an annual basis to 1.81 trillion yuan.

Industrial firms’ liabilities grew 5.5% from a year earlier to 63.87 trillion yuan by end-April, compared with a 6.5% rise at the end of the first quarter.

The data covers large companies with annual revenues of more than 20 million yuan from their main operations.

($1 = 6.8907 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei
FILE PHOTO: A worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

May 27, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Profits earned by China’s industrial companies contracted in April after a sharp rebound in the previous month, adding to concerns about the already slowing economy in the wake of a recent escalation in Sino-U.S. trade tensions.

Profits in April dropped 3.7% year-on-year to 515.4 billion yuan ($74.80 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website on Monday, compared with a 13.9% surge in March.

For the first four months of 2019, industrial profits dropped 3.4% on an annual basis to 1.81 trillion yuan.

Industrial firms’ liabilities grew 5.5% from a year earlier to 63.87 trillion yuan by end-April, compared with a 6.5% rise at the end of the first quarter.

The data covers large companies with annual revenues of more than 20 million yuan from their main operations.

($1 = 6.8907 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei
FILE PHOTO: A worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

May 27, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Profits earned by China’s industrial companies contracted in April after a sharp rebound in the previous month, adding to concerns about the already slowing economy in the wake of a recent escalation in Sino-U.S. trade tensions.

Profits in April dropped 3.7% year-on-year to 515.4 billion yuan ($74.80 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website on Monday, compared with a 13.9% surge in March.

For the first four months of 2019, industrial profits dropped 3.4% on an annual basis to 1.81 trillion yuan.

Industrial firms’ liabilities grew 5.5% from a year earlier to 63.87 trillion yuan by end-April, compared with a 6.5% rise at the end of the first quarter.

The data covers large companies with annual revenues of more than 20 million yuan from their main operations.

($1 = 6.8907 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland
FILE PHOTO:Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland in Sydney, Australia, May 19, 2019. AAP Image/Joel Carrett/via REUTERS

May 27, 2019

By Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit the Solomon Islands next week, two sources familiar with the plans said on Monday, as Western nations seek to rein in China’s influence on the tiny Pacific island.

With the United States and its allies keen to ensure China does not increase its foothold in the Pacific, protecting diplomatic recognition for self-ruled Taiwan has emerged as a flashpoint in regional ties.

“China is the Solomon Islands’ largest trading partner and this is adding a lot of pressure on lawmakers to switch allegiances,” said Jonathan Pryke, Pacific Islands program director at the think-tank, the Lowy Institute.

The Solomon Islands is one of a handful of Pacific countries to recognize Taiwan, a policy now in question after recent elections. China views as Taiwan as a renegade province with no right to state-to-state ties.

On Friday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would help Pacific countries in the face of China’s attempts to influence them.

Those remarks threaten to inflame tension between the U.S. and China already heated by their trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

Morrison’s first overseas trip since winning re-election this month will also be the first time an Australian prime minister has visited the Solomon Islands since 2008.

SOFT POWER

Australia and China have been vying for influence in sparsely populated Pacific island countries that control vast swathes of resource-rich oceans.

Keen to undercut China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Australia has directed ever larger amounts of its foreign aid to the region.

In 2018, Australia said it would spend $139 million to develop undersea internet cable links to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, amid national security concerns about China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

That year, Australia became the first country to ban the world’s largest maker of telecom network gear from its nascent broadband network, a step the United States followed this year by effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with Huawei.

In November, Australia offered Pacific countries up to A$3 billion in grants and cheap loans in build infrastructure, as Morrison declared the region was “our patch”.

Australia has won favor through its spending commitments but its support of its dominant coal industry is a sore point for many in the region.

“There is little doubt that many Pacific islands will have been unhappy with the re-election of Morrison,” said Peter Chen, a political science professor at the University of Sydney. “He will need to find common ground to repair that relationship.”

($1=1.4438 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland
FILE PHOTO:Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland in Sydney, Australia, May 19, 2019. AAP Image/Joel Carrett/via REUTERS

May 27, 2019

By Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit the Solomon Islands next week, two sources familiar with the plans said on Monday, as Western nations seek to rein in China’s influence on the tiny Pacific island.

With the United States and its allies keen to ensure China does not increase its foothold in the Pacific, protecting diplomatic recognition for self-ruled Taiwan has emerged as a flashpoint in regional ties.

“China is the Solomon Islands’ largest trading partner and this is adding a lot of pressure on lawmakers to switch allegiances,” said Jonathan Pryke, Pacific Islands program director at the think-tank, the Lowy Institute.

The Solomon Islands is one of a handful of Pacific countries to recognize Taiwan, a policy now in question after recent elections. China views as Taiwan as a renegade province with no right to state-to-state ties.

On Friday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would help Pacific countries in the face of China’s attempts to influence them.

Those remarks threaten to inflame tension between the U.S. and China already heated by their trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

Morrison’s first overseas trip since winning re-election this month will also be the first time an Australian prime minister has visited the Solomon Islands since 2008.

SOFT POWER

Australia and China have been vying for influence in sparsely populated Pacific island countries that control vast swathes of resource-rich oceans.

Keen to undercut China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Australia has directed ever larger amounts of its foreign aid to the region.

In 2018, Australia said it would spend $139 million to develop undersea internet cable links to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, amid national security concerns about China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

That year, Australia became the first country to ban the world’s largest maker of telecom network gear from its nascent broadband network, a step the United States followed this year by effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with Huawei.

In November, Australia offered Pacific countries up to A$3 billion in grants and cheap loans in build infrastructure, as Morrison declared the region was “our patch”.

Australia has won favor through its spending commitments but its support of its dominant coal industry is a sore point for many in the region.

“There is little doubt that many Pacific islands will have been unhappy with the re-election of Morrison,” said Peter Chen, a political science professor at the University of Sydney. “He will need to find common ground to repair that relationship.”

($1=1.4438 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland
FILE PHOTO:Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland in Sydney, Australia, May 19, 2019. AAP Image/Joel Carrett/via REUTERS

May 27, 2019

By Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit the Solomon Islands next week, two sources familiar with the plans said on Monday, as Western nations seek to rein in China’s influence on the tiny Pacific island.

With the United States and its allies keen to ensure China does not increase its foothold in the Pacific, protecting diplomatic recognition for self-ruled Taiwan has emerged as a flashpoint in regional ties.

“China is the Solomon Islands’ largest trading partner and this is adding a lot of pressure on lawmakers to switch allegiances,” said Jonathan Pryke, Pacific Islands program director at the think-tank, the Lowy Institute.

The Solomon Islands is one of a handful of Pacific countries to recognize Taiwan, a policy now in question after recent elections. China views as Taiwan as a renegade province with no right to state-to-state ties.

On Friday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would help Pacific countries in the face of China’s attempts to influence them.

Those remarks threaten to inflame tension between the U.S. and China already heated by their trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

Morrison’s first overseas trip since winning re-election this month will also be the first time an Australian prime minister has visited the Solomon Islands since 2008.

SOFT POWER

Australia and China have been vying for influence in sparsely populated Pacific island countries that control vast swathes of resource-rich oceans.

Keen to undercut China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Australia has directed ever larger amounts of its foreign aid to the region.

In 2018, Australia said it would spend $139 million to develop undersea internet cable links to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, amid national security concerns about China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

That year, Australia became the first country to ban the world’s largest maker of telecom network gear from its nascent broadband network, a step the United States followed this year by effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with Huawei.

In November, Australia offered Pacific countries up to A$3 billion in grants and cheap loans in build infrastructure, as Morrison declared the region was “our patch”.

Australia has won favor through its spending commitments but its support of its dominant coal industry is a sore point for many in the region.

“There is little doubt that many Pacific islands will have been unhappy with the re-election of Morrison,” said Peter Chen, a political science professor at the University of Sydney. “He will need to find common ground to repair that relationship.”

($1=1.4438 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Newcastle United v Leicester City
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Premier League – Newcastle United v Leicester City – St James’ Park, Newcastle, Britain – September 29, 2018 Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley REUTERS/Scott Heppell

May 27, 2019

(Reuters) – Mike Ashley has agreed to sell Newcastle United to Abu Dhabi’s billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan for 350 million pounds ($445.24 million), the Sun reported late on Sunday.

The contracts between Ashley and Sheikh Khaled have been signed and submitted to the Premier League, according to the report.

Ashley, who bought a controlling stake in the Premier League club in 2007, has in the past tried to sell the club.

Ashley, who owns British sportswear retailer Sports Direct International Plc said last October that he had not received any acceptable offers for Newcastle, a year after he officially put the club up for sale, but told Sky News in December that talks on a deal had made promising progress.

Any potential buyer of the club must be able to provide transfer funds, he had said at the time.

Sheikh Khaled, the cousin of Manchester City owner and Arab billionaire Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, previously failed in his bid to buy Liverpool Football Club for 2 billion pounds last year, the Daily Mail has previously reported.

Sheikh Khaled is also the founder of Bin Zayed Group, a leading conglomerate with diverse business interests in the local and international markets.

Newcastle United, the Premier League and the Bin Zayed Group did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comments.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An oil well pump jack is seen at an oil field supply yard near Denver
FILE PHOTO: An oil well pump jack is seen at an oil field supply yard near Denver, Colorado, U.S., February 2, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

May 27, 2019

By Henning Gloystein

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Monday as ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC kept markets relatively tight, but Brent remained below $70 per barrel on concerns over an ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

Front-month Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $69.10 per barrel at 0021 GMT, up 41 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 10 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $58.73 per barrel.

“The relative strength of the very short end of the curve likely reflects the market pricing in a known variable of lower supplies from OPEC+,” said Edward Bell, commodity analyst at Emirates NBD bank.

A group of producers led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), known as OPEC+, has been withholding supply since the start of the year to tighten the market and prop up prices.

But Monday’s gain could not make up for falls last week, when both crude futures contracts registered their biggest price declines this year amid concerns that the Sino-American trade dispute could accelerate a global economic slowdown.

Money managers cut their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to May 21, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

“Some signs of low confidence are creeping into positioning data,” Bell said.

In oil futures markets, the trade war effect is better seen beyond the spot market.

“The impact from a trade war is a more medium- to long-term issue and Dec. spreads weakened sharply over the last week,” he said.

Beyond financial markets, there are also signs on the ground of a slowdown in oil demand growth.

China’s automobile sales, a key driver of global oil demand growth, will reach around 28.1 million units this year, unchanged from levels seen in 2018, when the country’s auto market contracted for the first time in more than two decades, state news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday.

The outlook for flat car sales may be too optimistic still, as monthly sales have so far declined for 10 consecutive months.

A bright spot for carmakers, although not for the oil industry, is that sales of new energy vehicles are likely to grow by about 27 percent to hit 1.6 million units, from 1.26 units in 2018, the report said.

(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Richard Pullin)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Newly manufactured cars are seen at the automobile terminal in the port of Dalian
FILE PHOTO: Newly manufactured cars are seen at the automobile terminal in the port of Dalian, Liaoning province, China July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

May 26, 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s automobile sales will reach around 28.1 million units this year, unchanged from 2018 levels, state news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday.

Citing a report jointly released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers and other parties, Xinhua said that sales of passenger units will be about 23.7 million units, a level also similar to that of last year.

Sales of new energy vehicles, however, are likely to remain buoyant and grow about 27 percent to hit 1.6 million units from 1.26 units in 2018, the report said.

The country’s auto market contracted last year for the first time in more than two decades due to softer domestic demand and a trade war with the United States. Monthly sales have so far declined for 10 consecutive months.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN


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