TNT – “Tidbits From TNT” Monday Morning 3-4-2024

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Tishwash:  UrgentAl-Sudani directs to reduce official working hours (by one hour) during the holy month of Ramadan

The Prime Minister, Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, directed to reduce official working hours (one hour) in all government departments during the holy month of Ramadan.

A government source said in a press statement, “Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani directed to reduce official working hours (by one hour) in all government departments during the holy month of Ramadan.”  link

Tishwash:  Integrity: We will reveal big names accused of corruption soon

The head of the Integrity Commission, Haider Hanoun, announced that the commission will reveal major names accused of corruption in the coming days, noting that the government program has given us a great moral boost in the fight against corruption.

Hanoun said, during a meeting within the activities of the Al-Rafidain Forum, that “the government program gave us a strong motivation in the field of combating corruption,” stressing that “major breakthroughs and achievements have been achieved based on the directives of the government program.”

He pointed out, “The Commission launched a campaign (Where did you get this from?), which focused on illicit gain and the sources of funds and their legitimacy. It also directed to activate the national anti-corruption strategy with the ministries, in addition to working with the private sector and civil society organizations.”

Hanoun stressed, “We achieved great achievements during the past year, achievements that the Arab and national regions could not achieve.”

He explained, “The work of the Integrity Commission is to diagnose corruption and send corruption files to the judiciary,” adding, “We have not left any case presented to the media without it being verified.”

He pointed out, “Since we assumed responsibility, we have not tolerated political pressure, and we have not responded to any political interference.”

Hanoun stressed that “government support gave space to the Integrity Commission,” noting thatthe Commission will reveal big names in the coming days.”   link 

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Tishwash:  Iraq offers itself as a bridge to connect Asia with Europe and Africa via Internet transit

The Ministry of Communications announced, on Sunday, the approval of a number of transit projects linking the continent of Asia to the continents of Europe and Africa via Iraq, as it is a shortcut and safer route in the region.

The ministry’s media said, in a statement received by Shafaq News Agency, that “in order to enhance the vision and direction of the Ministry of Communications to invest in Iraq’s geographical location in international communications traffic, the Ministry’s opinion committee approved in its 139th session a new transit project linking the continent of Asia to the continent of Europe via Iraq, passing through Turkey, while Another transit project linking the continent of Asia to the continent of Africa via Iraq via Jordan was discussed and approved.

According to the statement, Minister of Communications Hiyam Al-Yasiri affirmed “the approach of the Iraqi government and the Ministry of Communications to benefit from Iraq’s strategic location and enter it on the official global map in a way that competes with communications traffic through other international corridors.”

Al-Yasiri stated that “the diversity of transit projects will enhance Iraq’s ability to attract international companies to pass their buses through Iraqi territory as it is a shortcut and safer route in the region, as the Ministry worked to create a competitive environment and prepare the technical requirements necessary for the success of these projects and build confidence with international companies to attract them to adopt Iraq as a corridor.” For its international communications, especially with the current security challenges that the region is going through.”   link

Tishwash:  Bloomberg”: Oil is approaching its fair price and may jump to $100 per barrel

Bloomberg said in a report published today, Sunday, that Brent crude prices are close to the fair value of about $85 per barrel, while any escalation of the conflict in the Middle East may push the price to above $100, according to recent estimates issued. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, which previously estimated that the average price this year would reach $80.

The agency stated in its report that this increase is the latest, as several investment banks raised their price expectations this year, the most prominent of which was Goldman Sachs, which estimates peak prices at $87 per barrel in the summer, which is $2 more than its previous estimate.

She pointed out that oil prices have been trading in a narrow range near $80 per barrel since the beginning of 2024, as inflation in supplies from the United States and other producers compensated for OPEC+ cuts, amid fears that the conflict in the Middle East may disrupt crude shipments.

At the beginning of this year, Fitch raised its forecast for the price of Brent crude to $80 per barrel from $75 in its previous forecast, compared to an expected average of $82 in 2023.

Bloomberg Intelligence said that tensions in the Middle East and a rise in the geopolitical risk premium, with Houthi militants continuing to attack ships in the Red Sea, may have begun to slowly impact oil prices after the effects of weak economic prospects and a bleak demand picture were overtaken in the past few months.

She explained that hawkish signals from the Federal Reserve, weaker demand indicators in all major regions and declining sentiment were factors that pressured the price, despite limited supplies from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) amid continued production cuts.

Bloomberg Intelligence also indicated that its expectations for the fair value of the oil price are based on a set of variables that include – but are not limited to – geopolitical risks, inflation expectations, refining margin, inventory and sentiment.

Concerns about recession and slowing demand in the largest oil consuming countries dominated sentiment, despite the risk of further disruption to Russian flows after sanctions imposed by the European Union. Also, “near-term expectations remain unclear, although the gradual recovery in Asian consumption could boost demand and provide support for oil prices.”

It is likely that any decrease in spare production capacity – once the OPEC + alliance begins to reduce production cuts – will eventually lead to a rise in oil prices due to panic. OPEC+’s spare production capacity (including Iran) stood at about 6.4 million barrels per day in January, based on Bloomberg data. Excess production capacity is concentrated in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with many other OPEC+ members seeking to increase production when necessary. Saudi production remains at about 9 million barrels per day.

It is estimated that the oil alliance will continue to extend production cuts during the second quarter of 2024, after which they will be gradually and partially canceled starting from the third quarter. This view is in line with Bloomberg’s expectations in an attempt to avoid surpluses and support prices.  link