Taking back control

Opec used the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) meeting in Jeddah today to make a few things clear. It took back control, in the parlance of our time, of the message.

An observer this week may have been misled into thinking that Opec’s work was done. Various reports suggested the organisation’s attention was drifting away from the business of rebalancing the market and onto the bounteous rewards that come with higher prices. Today the organisation’s big hitters – among them Opec president Suhail Mohamed Faraj al-Mazrouei and Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih – lined up to rebut any suggestion of distraction. The latter, in fact, was strident in his insistence that the song remains the same.

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Opec, non-Opec — time to grasp the nettle

Opec and the IEA last week concurred that OECD commercial stocks are closing in on the five-year moving average adopted as a proxy for market balance by participants in the Opec and non-Opec output restraint deal.

The magic number may be hit in May, the IEA said. The timing of the market reports just days ahead of this week’s joint ministerial monitoring committee (JMMC) meeting in Jeddah, and the tentative May date just a few short weeks ahead of the full ministerial meeting in Vienna, puts cutting countries on the spot.

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Hard exit, soft exit

Hard Brexit, Soft Brexit, fudged Brexit – the UK population daily endures the obfuscations and mutual denunciations of a political class unable or unwilling to formulate an exit strategy from the EU. And the mode of exit – crashing out or conscious uncoupling — may well determine the economic impact of the divorce.

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