Monday, May 15, 2017

Russia, Saudi Arabia back oil cut extension; On uninhabited island, 38m pieces of plastic wastes; UAE millennials 'not saving enough'

1 Russia, Saudi Arabia back oil cut extension (San Francisco Chronicle) Russia and Saudi Arabia have said they want to extend oil production cuts through the first quarter of 2018, in a move the two major producers say would support the market price.

Oil prices rose on the announcement that the countries want to extend the deal, which encompasses both nations in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and some non-OPEC countries like Russia.

Russia and Saudi Arabia will now hold consultations with other producers "with the aim of achieving complete consensus" on the extended production cuts before the scheduled OPEC meeting May 25 in Vienna.

In late November, OPEC agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels a day, the first such reduction agreement since 2008. The following month, 11 non-OPEC oil-producing countries pledged to cut another 558,000 barrels a day, bringing the overall reduction to 1.8 million barrels a day.

Oil producers have been trying to boost prices, as crude futures trade around $50 a barrel, less than half their level from early 2014, though above the low of below $30 in early 2015. The joint announcement by Russia and Saudi Arabia chimes with a statement by major producers Iraq and Algeria, which argued for extending the cuts through the end of the year.

2 On uninhabited island, 38m pieces of plastic wastes (Elle Hunt in The Guardian) One of the world’s most remote places, an uninhabited coral atoll, is also one of its most polluted. Henderson Island, a tiny landmass in the eastern South Pacific, has been found by marine scientists to have the highest density of anthropogenic debris recorded anywhere in the world, with 99.8% of the pollution plastic.

The nearly 18 tonnes of plastic piling up on an island that is otherwise mostly untouched by humans have been pointed to as evidence of the catastrophic, “grotesque” extent of marine plastic pollution. Nearly 38m pieces of plastic were estimated to be on Henderson by researchers from the University of Tasmania and the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, weighing a combined 17.6 tonnes.

The majority of the debris – approximately 68% – was not even visible, with as many as 4,500 items per square metre buried to a depth of 10cm. About 13,000 new items were washing up daily. Jennifer Lavers, of the University of Tasmania’s institute for marine and Antarctic studies, said the sheer volume of plastic pollution on Henderson had defied her expectations.

The largest of the four islands of the Pitcairn Island group, Henderson Island is a Unesco World Heritage Listed site and one of the few atolls in the world whose ecology has been practically untouched by humans. Lavers said her findings had proved to her nowhere was safe from plastic pollution. “All corners of the globe are already being impacted.”

3 UAE millennials ‘not saving enough’ (Rohma Sadaqat in Khaleej Times) A combination of complex economic conditions, rising bills when it comes to starting a family and increasing pressure to support their older relatives has put millennials in a tough spot when it comes to saving for their retirement.

A new study has shown that the majority of millennials in the UAE still haven't started saving for their retirement. However, they are also the generation that is the most concerned about the issues that they will face, should they run out of funds during their retirement.

New research from HSBC shows that 51 per cent of working age people across the country agree that millennials have experienced weaker economic growth than previous generations, a perception in line with the global average which stands at 53 per cent.

More worryingly, the research showed that 53 per cent of people in the UAE believe that millennials are paying for the economic consequences of the previous generations. As many as 41 per cent of millennials have not started saving for their retirement, compared to 35 per cent of Generation X and 29 per cent of baby boomers.

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