Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Opec mulls oil cut extension; Older working women number doubles; World's youngest new billionaires

1 Opec mulls oil cut extension (Khaleej Times) Opec oil producers increasingly favour extending beyond June a pact on reducing crude supply to balance the market, sources within the group said, although Russia and other non-members need to remain part of the initiative.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is curbing its output by about 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from January 1 for six months, the first reduction in eight years. Russia and other non-Opec producers agreed to cut half as much.

The deal has lifted oil prices, but inventories in industrial nations are rising and higher returns have encouraged US companies to pump more. A growing number of Opec officials believe it may take longer than six months to reduce stocks.

The group wants stocks in the industrialised world to fall to the average of the past five years. According to the most recent data, for January, inventories of crude and refined products stood 278 million barrels above this level.

Five other Opec sources said it was increasingly clear that the market needed more than six months to stabilise but added that all producers - in Opec plus non-members - had to agree. Opec next meets to decide output policy on May 25 in Vienna. There will also be a gathering in May of Opec and non-Opec producers.

Russia, the largest of the 11 outside producers working with Opec, has not publicly said whether it supports extending the supply cut, but is wary about the revival of US shale output due to higher oil prices. The revival of shale oil production - whose growth added to the oversupply that battered oil prices in mid-2014 - has restrained the rally this year and may worry Opec leaders.

2 Older working women number doubles (Simon Gompertz on BBC) The proportion of women working into their 70s in the UK has doubled in the last four years and is starting to catch up with men. Analysis of official data reveals that 5.6% of women only stopped working after the age of 70 in 2012. This had risen to 11.3% in 2016.

Worries over pension income and a motivation to stay active have pushed up working ages. An estimated 15.5% of men stopped work in their 70s in 2016. Changing laws and workplace regulations, such as the end to age discrimination and the right to request flexible hours, have also helped people to work for longer as longevity increases.

An estimated 150,000 women in the UK are working into their early 70s. Women tend to have much smaller sums invested in private pensions, so have less to supplement their income in later life.

3 World’s youngest new billionaires (David Curran in San Francisco Chronicle) There are 195 new names on Forbes' 2017 list of the world's billionaires, and the youngest newcomers are two brothers working in San Francisco. Ireland natives John and Patrick Collison, aged 26 and 28 respectively, are the co-founders of online payments firm Stripe.

With his $1.1 billion net worth, John Collison actually becomes Forbes' youngest self-made billionaire. He dethrones Snapchat's Evan Spiegel, who's also 26 but is a couple of months older than Collison. Snapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy joins the Collison brothers and Spiegel as the only self-made billionaires under 30 on the Forbes list.

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