EconSource: Oil Halts Advance as Saudis Pump at Record Before OPEC Meeting

Oil halted a two-day advance as Saudi Arabia maintained record crude output in May before the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets this week to discuss its production policy. Oil’s recovery from a six-year low in January is stalling amid speculation a global glut will persist. OPEC is likely maintain its collective output at 30 million barrels per day when it meets on June 5, as the group sticks with its strategy of favoring market share over prices. While OPEC has traditionally slashed production to raise prices when the market was soft, Saudi Arabia, the group’s largest oil producer, is now less concerned about the price of crude oil and more concerned about delivering fuel to its growing economy. [Bloomberg, Reuters, NYT, 5/31/2015]

Libya calls on world to protect oil fields from ISIS
Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tobruk has called for outside help in combating the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), warning that the group’s capture of a key coastal airport endangered nearby oil terminals. The eastern government, in a statement on its official Facebook page, called on the international community to “supply arms to its forces to fight [ISIS] plans to seize oil fields to fund its operations.” ISIS took control of the airport in Sirte after forces from the rival Tripoli-based government withdrew last week. [AFP, 5/30/2015]

World Bank to grant $600 million to Egyptian SMEs
The World Bank announced that it will provide $600 million to fund small and micro-enterprises in Egypt. Sahar Nasr, a lead financial economist in Bank’s Finance and Private Sector Development Department, said the funds will contribute to projects executed with Egypt’s Social Fund for Development (SFD) and will aim to create jobs and control the unemployment rate among youth. Nasr added that the project will also work to encourage financial institutions to support small and micro-enterprises. Meanwhile, the SFD said its funding for small and micro-enterprises reached about $235 million at the end of May. [DNE, 5/30/2015]

Prices hit all-time record in violence-stricken Yemen
Fuel and supply prices in Yemen soared last month amid ongoing violence and a blockade on the country’s ports, which has affected all imports into the country. The Studies and Economic Media Center (SEMC) said in a report that the price of petrol rose by 700 percent and the price of diesel by around 450 percent as a lack of fuel persists. Meanwhile, the black market has flourished in the face of a power vacuum, leading to product monopoly and price manipulation, the report said. In surveyed conflict cities, the prices of other key supplies, such as food, have increased by around 60 percent. [Yemen Post, 5/30/2015]

Iraq begins heavy oil exports after complaints about quality
Iraq is set to increase oil exports after starting a new grade of crude to quell customer complaints about the quality of its oil. The Basrah Heavy crude will be exported for the first time starting today, shipped from the south on the Persian Gulf, Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said. Orders for this month total 850,000 barrels a day, he added. Iraq previously sold only Basrah Light grade and had to give discounts of as much as $3 a barrel because it was not clear how much of the oil was heavy or light. Selling two grades will allow Iraq to better guarantee the quality of the two blends and get the most value for its exports. [Bloomberg, 6/1/2015]

Also of interest
OPEC oil output in May reaches highest since 2012 | Reuters
As Saudi bourse opens to foreigners, debt market beckons | Reuters
With oil low, wealthy Abu Dhabi tightens belt a notch | Reuters
Qatar land price surge threatens property profitability | Reuters
Egypt signs exploration deal with Italy’s Eni worth $2 billion | Reuters
Egypt money supply up 16.5 percent | Reuters
Eastern Libyan Hariga port to export 1.7 million barrels of crude | Reuters
Libya’s El Feel oilfield still closed due to strike | Reuters
Iraq’s May oil exports rise to record average 3.145 million bpd | Reuters