Oil prices see small decrease at week beginning May 6

             By Gulsen Cagatay

ANKARA (AA) – Oil prices opened with some losses on Monday due to U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement of tariffs increase on Chinese goods ahead of the U.S. scheduled talks with China this week.

At the start of the year, Trump threatened to increase the tariffs, but the U.S. postponed that decision after China and the U.S. agreed to sit down for trade talks.

However, on Sunday Trump announced that tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, which had an original tariff rate of 10%, would more than double to 25% on Friday.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $69.74 per barrel, while American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) amounted to $60.45 at 06.56 GMT on Monday.

On Friday, oil prices opened with some gains to recover from a sudden dive on Thursday, caused by an unexpected increase in U.S. crude oil inventories and with crude production hitting an all-time high.

Brent crude plummeted 2.5% on Thursday to close at $70.34 per barrel, but recovered by 0.22% to trade at $70.50 a barrel at 0630 GMT on Friday. WTI was at $61.75 per barrel at the same time early Friday.

Meanwhile, the number of U.S. oil rigs increased to 807 for the week ending May 3, up by two over the previous week, according to data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on Friday. Despite this increase, oil prices rose on Friday on strong U.S. employment data.

Oil price up with US likely statement on Iran sanctions

             By Gulsen Cagatay<br>

ANKARA (AA) – International benchmark increased to $73.62 per barrel on Monday at 0650 GMT while American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose to $65.44 a barrel.

The U.S. oil rig decline supported higher crude oil prices on Thursday, April 18, which represented the end of last week's trading since European and U.S. markets closed to observe the Good Friday holiday.

The number of oil rigs in the U.S., which indicates the short-term oil production in the country, was down eight to 925 for the week ending April 18, oilfield services company Baker Hughes said Thursday.

Brent oil ended Thursday at $71.95 per barrel — up 0.46% for the day, and WTI closed the day with a 0.38% gain at $64 a barrel.

Crude oil prices were slightly up during the week with declines in U.S. crude oil inventories and production, in addition to the possibility that OPEC and Russia could ramp up their production in the second half of 2019.

Brent crude posted a 0.5% increase for the week, while WTI gained 0.2% to end last week.

U.S. Secretary of the State Mike Pompeo plans to announce on Monday that the administration will no longer renew Iran sanctions' waivers upon their expiration on May 2. The eight countries that the waivers apply to are Turkey, Japan, South Korea, China, India, Taiwan, Italy and Greece.

In May 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from a nuclear deal, which was signed in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany).

Last year, following the sanctions announcement, the Trump administration granted waivers to eight countries including China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, the U.A.E. Japan and Taiwan — the top importers of Iran's oil.

UPDATE – Turkey: Consumer confidence up 6.9% in April

UPDATES WITH MORE DETAILS

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – Turkish consumers' confidence in the economy rose by 6.9% in April, the country's statistical authority announced Monday.

The consumer confidence index stood at 63.5 this month, up over four points compared to March.

The index value is jointly calculated by TurkStat and the Central Bank of Turkey through measurement of consumer tendencies.

In 2018, the index value hovered between 72.7 and 57.6 — the highest posted in July and the lowest in October.

On nearly 20 economic and financial criteria, consumers’ assessments and expectations for the next 12 months are measured in monthly tendency surveys.

The index is calculated from the survey results on a range of 0-200, with above 100 indicating an optimistic outlook, and below 100 a pessimistic outlook.

In April, the index for general economic situation expectations stood at 82.4, surging 4.8% from 78.6 in March.

"The financial situation expectation of household index — 78.3 in March — increased by 5.1% to 82.2 in April," TurkStat said.

Consumers' tendency to save money for the next 12-month period climbed 18.3%, to 26 in April versus 22 in March.

"The number of people unemployed expectation index, which was 58.9 in March, increased by 7.8% to 63.5 in April," the institute said.

The country's statistical authority will release the next survey results on May 21.

Pakistan’s finance minister announces to step down

                                          By Aamir Latif</p>    <p>KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar Thursday said he was going to resign, amid growing criticism on his economic policies.</p>    <p>Umar, who has long been under severe criticism from opposition parties for his “poor” economic policies that have resulted in a record inflation and price-hike in recent months, announced the much-expected decision in a Twitter post.</p>    <p>“As part of cabinet reshuffle, PM [prime minister] desired that I take the energy ministry portfolio instead of finance. However, I have obtained his consent not to take any cabinet position. I strongly believe that Imran Khan is the best hope for Pakistan and Insha Allah will make a naya [new] Pakistan”, Umar said.</p>    <p>His announcement came at a time when cash-strapped Pakistan is looking for an IMF bailout package to prop up the country’s ailing economy, mainly the foreign reserves.</p>    <p>However, it is not clear whether Umar has officially submitted a resignation, and whether it has been accepted.</p>    <p>Shaukat Tareen, a former finance minister, is expected to be appointed as advisor to prime minister on finance, a portfolio equivalent to finance minister, a government source told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.</p>    <p>Pakistan has recently obtained aid and loan packages to the tune of $14 billion from its longtime allies -- Saudi Arabia, UAE and China -- to solidify its decreasing foreign reserves.

UPDATE 2 – Turkey to focus on structural reform: Treasury minister

             UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS BY TREASURY MINISTER; ADDS DETAILS; REVISED DECK, EDITS THROUGHOUT</p>  <p>By Muhammed Ali Gurtas and Tuba Sahin</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey will focus on structural reforms to achieve the target of a greater and more powerful economy, the treasury and finance minister said Wednesday.</p>  <p>&quot;This transformation and reform process will decisively continue in a four-and-a-half-year period without elections,&quot; said Berat Albayrak.</p>  <p>Speaking at a news conference to announce the government's action plan, Albayrak said the financial sector prioritized a new set of structural reforms for 2019.</p>  <p>&quot;Strengthening state-run lenders' capital structure will be our first step,&quot; he said, adding that the Treasury will issue 28 billion Turkish lira worth (around $5 billion) of government debt securities to make state banks' balance sheets robust.</p>  <p>Albayrak said efforts in coordination with the banking watchdog and banking association are continuing to support private lenders' capital structure.</p>  <p>A new individual pension system according to citizens' income level will be determined in the days to come, he said.</p>  <p>&quot;We prioritize creating an effective and healthy saving system, starting from the state to individuals, to eliminate fragilities in the economy.</p>  <p>&quot;In the next five years, funds accumulated in the new retirement system will exceed 10% of the country's gross domestic product,&quot; Albayrak said.</p>  <p>He added that Turkey will also take steps in the real sector to ensure the healthy working of the financial sector.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>- Banks and agriculture</p>  <p>As of February a total of 50 state/private/foreign lenders -- including deposit banks, participation banks, and development and investment banks -- are active in Turkey.</p>  <p>Measuring the health of loans, the ratio of non-performing loans to total cash loans -- the lower the better -- was 4.11% in February, versus 2.92% in the same month last year.</p>  <p>Touching on consumer prices, Albayrak said the National Unity in Agriculture project will be most important reform to combat food inflation.</p>  <p>&quot;In May, this comprehensive strategy will be unveiled by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry,&quot; he said.</p>  <p>As of March, Turkey's annual inflation rate was 19.71%, up slightly from 19.67% in February. </p>  <p>Over the last decade, annual inflation saw its lowest level at 3.99% in March 2011, while it peaked at 25.24% in October 2018.</p>  <p>Under Turkey's new economic program announced last September, the country's inflation rate target is 15.9% this year, 9.8% next year, and 6.0% in 2021.</p>  <p>Albayrak also said a greenhouse corporation will be established to work as a balance element in the fresh fruits and vegetables sector.</p>  <p>&quot;At a first stage, a technological greenhouse will be built on some 2,000 hectares by this corporation in 2019,&quot; he said, aiming to meet 25% of the country's total greenhouse production in the long-run.</p>  <p>Meanwhile, red meat price stability will be supported by “a sheep and goat farming move,” Albayrak said.</p>  <p>&quot;Turkey's stock of sheep and goats will reach 100 million within four years thanks to government incentives.”</p>  <p>According to official figures, the number of ovine animals surged 4.1% to 46.1 million heads last year.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>- Taxes</p>  <p>The treasury minister also said a new tax system will be introduced this year.</p>  <p>&quot;Turkey will gradually reduce tax exemptions and cut corporate income taxes in the new system,&quot; </p>  <p>He pledged to cut indirect taxes to boost the share of direct taxes and ensure a fairer system.</p>  <p>Touting Turkey's geographical location, Albayrak said the Turkiye Wealth Fund and relevant institutions are working on a logistics master plan to make the country a regional hub for international trade.</p>  <p>The fund, established in 2016, holds all or part of the shares of several Turkish companies such as flag carrier Turkish Airlines, telecommunications giant Turk Telekom, state lenders Ziraat Bankasi and Halkbank, oil company Turkish Petroleum, and stock market Borsa Istanbul.</p>  <p>Albayrak said the government will announce a master plan in September at the latest to boost the country's tourism revenues and attract more visitors.</p>  <p>With this plan, Turkey will hit $70 billions in income while welcoming 70 million tourists over the next four years, he added. </p>  <p>The country's tourism revenues in 2018 totaled $29.5 billion, up 12.3% year-on-year, according to official figures.</p>  <p>Turkey welcomed 45.6 million visitors last year -- 85.4% foreign and 14.6% representing Turkish citizens living abroad.</p>  <p> </p>  <p> 

UPDATE – Turkey to focus on structural reform: Treasury minister

             UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS BY TREASURY MINISTER; ADDS DETAILS</p>    <p>By Muhammed Ali Gurtas and Tuba Sahin</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey will focus on structural reforms to achieve the target of becoming greater and more powerful economy, the treasury and finance minister said Wednesday.</p>    <p>&quot;This transformation and reform process will decisively continue in a four-and-a-half-year period with no election,&quot; Berat Albayrak said. </p>    <p>Speaking at a news conference to announce the government's action plan, Albayrak said the financial sector prioritized a new set of structural reforms for 2019.</p>    <p>&quot;Strengthening state-run lenders' capital structure will be our first step,&quot; he said, adding that the Treasury will issue 28-billion Turkish lira worth (around $5 billion) government debt securities to make state banks' balance sheets robust.</p>    <p>Albayrak said studies in coordination with the banking watchdog and banking association are continuing to support private lenders' capital structure.</p>    <p>The minister noted that a new individual pension system according to citizens' income level will be determined in the upcoming period.</p>    <p>&quot;We give priority to create an effective and healthy saving system, starting from state to individuals, to eliminate fragilities in economy.</p>    <p>&quot;In the next five years, funds accumulated in the new retirement system will exceed 10% of the country's gross domestic product,&quot; Albayrak said.</p>    <p>He added that Turkey will also take steps in real sector to ensure healthy working of financial sector.</p>  <p> A total of 50 state/private/foreign lenders -- including deposit banks, participation banks, and development and investment banks -- conducted banking activities in Turkey as of February.</p>    <p>Measuring the health of loans, the ratio of non-performing loans to total cash loans -- the lower the better -- was 4.11% in February, versus 2.92% in the same month last year.</p>    <p>Also touching on consumer prices, Albayrak said the National Unity in Agriculture project will be most important reform to combat food inflation.</p>    <p>&quot;In May, this comprehensive strategy will be unveiled by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry,&quot; he said.</p>  <p>As of March, Turkey's annual inflation rate was 19.71%, slightly up from 19.67% in February. </p>  <p>Over the last decade, annual inflation saw its lowest level at 3.99% in March 2011, while it peaked at 25.24% in October 2018.</p>    <p>Under Turkey's new economic program announced last September, the country's inflation rate target is 15.9% this year, 9.8% next year, and 6.0% in 2021.</p>    <p>Albayrak also said a greenhouse corporation will be established to work as a balance element in fresh vegetables and fruits market. </p>    <p>&quot;At the first stage, a technologic greenhouse will be built on some 2,000 hectares by this corporation in 2019,&quot; he said, aiming to meet 25% of the country's total greenhouse production in the long-run.</p>    <p>Meanwhile, red meat price stability will be supported by “sheep and goat farming move,” Albayrak said.</p>    <p>&quot;Turkey's stock of sheep and goats will reach 100 million within four years thanks to the government incentives.”</p>    <p>According to the official figures, the number of ovine animals surged 4.1% to 46.1 million heads last year.

Global oil supply falls in March 2019

             By Gulsen Cagatay

ANKARA (AA) – Global oil supply has decreased in March 2019 by 0.14 million barrels per day (mb/d) month on month (m-o-m) to average 99.26 mb/d, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) showed on Wednesday.

OPEC's monthly oil market report said that for March 2019, OPEC crude oil production decreased by 534,000 b/d to average 30.02 mb/d, according to secondary sources.

However, non-OPEC supply, including OPEC natural gas liquids (NGLs), increased by 0.39 mb/d m-o-m to average 69.24 mb/d, up by 2.67 mb/d year y-o-y.

According to OPEC's report, the share of OPEC crude oil in total global production declined by 0.5% m-o-m to 30.2% in March 2019.

Furthermore, the report affirmed that in 2019, demand for OPEC crude is forecast at 30.3 mb/d, around 1.1 mb/d lower than the estimated 2018 level.

"Global oil demand in 2019 is revised downward by 30 thousand b/d from 1.24 mb/d to around 1.21 mb/d compared with last month’s projection, and this is due to slower-than-expected economic activity compared with the expectations of a month earlier. As a result, total world demand for the year is now expected to reach 99.91 mb/d and exceed the 100 mb/d threshold during the second half of 2019," the report showed.

According to the report, total non-OPEC supply in 2019 is now forecast to average 64.54 mb/d, with the U.S., Brazil, the U.K., Australia and Ghana being the major contributors to growth, while Mexico, Kazakhstan, Norway, Indonesia and Vietnam are projected to see the largest declines.

"The global economic growth projection remains estimated at 3.6% for 2018, while for 2019 it is revised slightly downward to 3.2% from the 3.3% projected last month. The main downward revisions are made for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development economies," OPEC stated.

Global Wind Energy Council sees steady growth till 2023

             By Gulsen Cagatay

ANKARA (AA) – The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) expects an addition of 5 gigawatts (GW) on average to reach 55 GW of new onshore and offshore wind installations up to 2023, according to GWEC report on Thursday.

Last year, the wind industry worldwide added a total of 51.3 gigawatts, the report showed, consistent with annual installations topping 50 GW since 2014 despite fluctuations in some markets.

Globally, installed capacity reached 591.54 GW as at the end of 2018. Global onshore wind capacity reached 568.40 GW while offshore wind capacity totaled 23.14 GW, the report said.

The Global Wind Energy Council's Market Intelligence platform, which provides a series of insights and data-based analysis for wind energy statistics, country profiles, market outlooks and policy updates for key wind energy markets, estimates that wind energy growth will come from developing markets in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and South-East Asia.

"Mature markets in Asia, Europe and North America will continue with stable volumes," the report stated.

Global energy demand hits fastest pace this decade: IEA

                              By Gulsen Cagatay

ANKARA (AA) – Energy demand worldwide reached its fastest pace this decade and saw a 2.3 percent growth last year, driven by a robust global economy and stronger heating and cooling demand in some regions, according to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) report on Tuesday.

The IEA’s Global Energy & carbon dioxide (CO2) Status Report said higher electricity demand was responsible for over half of the growth in energy demand.

Oil demand rose by 1.3 percent in 2018, led by strong growth in the United States, the report showed. "The United States and China showed the largest overall growth, while demand fell in Japan and Korea and was stagnant in Europe."

Natural gas consumption grew by an estimated 4.6 percent, its largest increase since 2010 when gas demand bounced back from the global financial crisis.

"Coal demand grew for a second year, but its role in the global mix continued to decline. Last year's 0.7 percent increase was significantly slower than the 4.5 percent annual growth rate seen in the period 2000-10," the report indicated.

Renewables increased by 4 percent, accounting for almost one-quarter of global energy demand growth. The power sector led the gains, with renewables-based electricity generation increasing at the fastest pace this decade.

– Energy consumption grows

Energy consumption worldwide grew by 2.3 percent in 2018, nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010, driven by a robust global economy as well as higher heating and cooling needs in some parts of the world.

As a result of higher energy consumption, global energy-related CO2 emissions increased to 33.1 gigatonnes of CO2, up by 1.7 percent on an annual basis, the report said.

In addition, coal-fired power generation continues to be the single largest emitter, accounting for 30 percent of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

"Higher energy demand was propelled by a global economy that expanded by 3.7 percent in 2018, a higher pace than the average annual growth of 3.5 percent seen since 2010. China, the United States, and India together accounted for nearly 70 percent of the rise in energy demand," the report said.

– Electricity as fuel of the future

According to IEA, electricity continues to position itself as the fuel of the future, with global electricity demand growing by 4 percent in 2018 to more than 23,000 terawatts-hours (TWh).

This rapid growth is pushing electricity towards a 20 percent share in total final consumption of energy.

"Increasing power generation was responsible for half of the growth in primary energy demand. Renewables were a major contributor to this power generation expansion, accounting for nearly half of electricity demand growth. China remains the leader in renewables, both for wind and solar, followed by Europe and the United States," the IEA stated.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director said in the report that last year can also be considered another golden year for gas, which accounted for almost half the growth in global energy demand.

"But despite major growth in renewables, global emissions are still rising, demonstrating once again that more urgent action is needed on all fronts — developing all clean energy solutions, curbing emissions, and spurring investments and innovation, including in carbon capture, utilization and storage," Birol concluded.