A general view shows a meeting of Gulf states’ oil ministers in Doha yesterday. — AFP
A general view shows a meeting of Gulf states’ oil ministers in Doha yesterday. — AFP

DOHA: Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed Al-Sada said yesterday that a proposal by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to hold a summit for oil producers to support sagging prices is under consideration. “The (Venezuelan) president has proposed a summit meeting and this was announced. Now, various countries are studying the proposal,” Sada told reporters after a meeting for Gulf oil ministers. “Whether OPEC and non-OPEC producers agree to such a proposal remains to be seen,” the Qatari minister said without explaining if the Gulf ministers reviewed the issue during their one-day meeting in the Qatari capital.

Gulf energy producers will continue to invest to maintain stable energy supplies, Qatar’s Oil Minister Mohammed Al-Sada said in Doha yesterday ahead of a meeting of Gulf states’ oil ministers. “The world knows very well that the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are its trusted partner that will spare no efforts or investments … to secure a stable source of energy to push the wheel of the global economy, and we will remain on this path God willing,” he told reporters. Venezuela, an OPEC member that relies heavily on oil revenues, has been trying hard to persuade oil producers to cut production to boost oil prices which plunged about 60 percent since June last year.

Last week, Maduro visited Qatar and China, where he held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss ways to stabilize oil prices. Maduro also travelled to Moscow in January as part of a tour in which he discussed plunging oil prices with oil-producing nations including Algeria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

Sada said oil ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council states reviewed during the meeting prices of oil products amid reports the GCC states may unify fuel prices. He did not say if the ministers made a decision on the issue. At the opening of the meeting, the Qatari minister said the GCC states would remain the trusted partner as a reliable source for energy to ensure stability of the global energy market. GCC states-Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates-together pump about 18 million barrels per day.

Oil prices rise
Oil prices rose yesterday ahead of weekly US stocks data, despite fresh signs of an economic slowdown in China and Japan. Crude prices have fallen more than 3 percent this week on persistent worries over global demand and a supply glut. Benchmark crude futures nevertheless posted modest gains ahead of the US Department of Energy (DoE) oil stocks report at 1500 GMT, which is expected to show a rise, according to a Reuters survey. Brent crude futures rose 29 cents to $47.87 per barrel by 1115 GMT. US crude futures were up 45 cents at $44.60 a barrel. “A lot of this rally will be profit-taking ahead of the DoE numbers,” said Hamza Khan, commodities analyst at Netherlands-based ING Financial Markets. “The stage is set for a recovery but as long as we keep getting disappointing numbers out of China it will weigh and delay a recovery,” Khan said.

Japan’s core machinery orders fell 3.6 percent in July, data showed yesterday, much worse than a 3.7 percent increase expected by economists. In Asia’s biggest economy, China, the producer price index fell 5.9 percent in August from the same period last year, its 42nd consecutive month of decline and the biggest drop since the depths of the global financial crisis in late 2009.

Car sales in China fell 3.0 percent in August from a year earlier to 1.7 million vehicles, the fifth straight monthly drop as the country’s slowest economic expansion in 25 years wiped out growth in the world’s top auto market. ANZ bank said global growth for 2016 and 2017 would hold around 3.5 percent, revised down from the 4 percent it had previously forecast. Oil prices have fallen over 50 percent since June 2014 as soaring output clashed with slowing economies in Asia, the main growth engine for commodities in recent years. The fall was compounded after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, decided last November to keep output high to defend market share. — Agencies