Dhaka, Bangladesh
Oil prices lift profit at China’s Sinopec by 40pc

Oil prices lift profit at China’s Sinopec by 40pc

SHANGHAI, Aug 28: Asia’s biggest oil refiner Sinopec said its first-half net profit jumped more than 40.1 percent thanks to a rise in oil prices and stable growth in China’s economy, which fuelled demand for its refined products, reports AFP. Sinopec—the listed unit of state-owned China Petrochemical Corp.—saw net profit surge to 27.92 billion yuan ($4.2 billion) in the January-June period, up from 19.92 billion yuan in the year-earlier period, it said in a statement late Sunday to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where it is listed. A pick-up in international oil prices boosted Sinopec’s crude business, while domestic consumption of its key refined oil products rose and demand for major chemical products grew “significantly”, it said. China registered stronger-than-expected economic growth in the first half, expanding 6.9 percent in both the first and second quarters. World oil prices have firmed up but remain half of what they were before a 2014 plunge fuelled by a supply glut, overproduction and a weak global economy. Sinopec said strong economic growth will continue to drive demand for its products in the second half and create new growth opportunities. Investors in Hong Kong seemed to ignore the figures, with shares in the firm falling 2.22 percent, having climbed over the past week in advance of the earnings announcement. But its shares in Shanghai, where it also is listed, gained 0.83 percent. Last week, Chinese oil giant PetroChina said its net profit skyrocketed more than 2,000 percent in the first half and announced it would give the entire windfall to shareholders via a cash dividend. Harvey rolled over the US Gulf Coast and slammed into Texas on Friday as a huge Category 4 hurricane, sparking floods and mass evacuations, and prompting many oil refineries and ports to shut down. US authorities said 22 percent of crude production in the Gulf of Mexico was halted, while global energy information provider S&P Global Platts said roughly 2.2 million barrels per day of refining capacity was also affected. ExxonMobil said Sunday it had closed its massive Baytown refining complex - - the second-largest in the country. In early afternoon trade in Asia, Brent crude for October was trading at $52.57 a barrel, up 16 cents or 0.31 percent. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in October was at $47.69 a barrel, down 18 cents, or 0.38 percent. The contract had closed nearly one percent higher in New York on Friday as Harvey churned inland. “Some offshore oil and gas operators evacuated platforms and rigs, although offshore production was picking up a bit Sunday, while onshore operators were shutting in what may amount to hundreds of wells in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas,” Platts said. It said however that “refiners have not reported any damage so far”. The Texas Gulf Coast is home to 4.944 million barrels per day of refining capacity, while the Louisiana Gulf Coast accounts for 3.696 million barrels per day, Platts said, citing data from the US Energy Information Administration. But analysts said sluggish global demand remained a drag on the market. “The bottom line is that for oil prices to increase significantly, global demand has to increase significantly,” Jude Clemente, principal at JTC Energy Research Associates, LLC, said in an article on Forbes. “Much higher oil demand is the holy grail for oil bulls.”

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