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KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Energy shipping firm MISC Bhd’s first-quarter (Q1) net profit jumped by 64.4 per cent year-on-year to RM510.50 million, buoyed by improved freight rates as well as gains of RM41.2 million from a business acquisition and a…
PETALING JAYA: MISC Bhd’s net profit for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019 jumped 64.4% to RM510.50 million from RM310.60 million a year ago, underpinned by higher contribution from the liquefied natural gas (LNG) and petroleum segments.
Its revenue of RM2.28 billion was 12.7% higher than RM2.02 billion in the previous year’s corresponding quarter.
The group has approved an interim dividend of 7 sen per share for the quarter under review amounting to RM312.5 million, payable on June 25.
MISC said petroleum tanker earnings are expected to continue to trend downward in the first half of the year on the back of persistent tonnage oversupply, seasonal factors and oil supply cuts.
“While 2019 as a whole is expected to be a better year for the tanker sector than 2018, continued OPEC-led oil production cuts and the end of Iran oil waivers by the US are a concern as these may affect shipping volumes. Over the longer term, growth in tonne-miles that is driven by higher exports from the Atlantic region to Asia suggests a more robust outlook in charter rates,” the group said.
In the LNG shipping segment, spot charter rates have eased off in Q1 2019 on the back of diminishing winter demand and new tonnage delivery, after a historical winter peak towards the end of 2018. In the second half of 2019, tanker deliveries are expected to slow and new liquefaction capacity will likely help keep rates afloat.
Two new LNG carriers have joined MISC’s fleet at the end of 2018 and early 2019, providing a source of income growth for the segment. These additions and the existing portfolio of long term charters that are in place will underwrite a steady performance for MISC’s LNG business for the year.
MISC said the offshore segment continues to be supported by healthy activities in oil and gas exploration and production.
“Our existing portfolio of long term contracts will also continue to support the stable financial performance of the offshore business segment.”
The heavy engineering segment is expecting to see more dry docking activities at its yard in view of encouraging growth in global sea trade. As more orders for LNG repairs have been received compared to last year, MISC said the segment is positive in maintaining the current level of marine repair activities for this year.
“As the industry outlook continues to be challenging in the current financial year, the heavy engineering segment remains cautious and committed to replenishing its order book, not only from the domestic market but also various geographical areas,” MISC said.
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SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on Wednesday as U.S. sanctions against crude exporters Iran and Venezuela as well as ongoing supply cuts by producers have left markets relatively tight just as crude imports to China rose to a record for April.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.90 per barrel at 0451 GMT on Wednesday, 80 cents, or 0.8 percent, above their last settlement.
Brent crude oil futures were at $70.29 per barrel, 41 cents, or 0.6 percent, above their last close.
With U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela in place, analysts said global oil markets remained tight.
“The tight and price-supportive fundamental outlook has not gone away,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Denmark’s Saxo Bank.
China’s crude oil imports in April rose a record for the month of 10.64 million barrels per day (bpd), according to data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs released on Wednesday. That is an 11 percent rise from the same month last year. The country is the world’s largest oil importer.
China’s imports during the first four months of the year averaged around 10.03 million bpd, up 8.9 percent from the same period a year earlier, the data showed.
China’s surging oil demand comes as supply is tight.
The United States reimposed sanctions on Iran in November last year, demanding all countries stop importing oil from the country.
Iran has said it will defy the sanctions and continue to export oil.
Most analysts expect its crude export to fall to little more than 500,000 bpd, down from around 1 million bpd in April, as governments largely bow to U.S. pressure.
Washington has also slapped sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports, further disrupting crude supply.
The sanctions come amid already tight supply as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been withholding output since the start of the year in order to prop up prices.
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de-facto leader, would increase its oil production to meet needs arising from sanctions on Iran.
OPEC is due to meet in June at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, to decide its output policy for the rest of the year.
Wednesday’s firmer prices partly reversed the price declines earlier this week, which were triggered by announcements from Washington that the United States would this Friday further hike import tariffs on Chinese goods.
“Intensifying trade tensions are raising question on … oil demand prospects,” ANZ bank said on Wednesday.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Tuesday cut its 2019 world oil demand growth forecast by 20,000 bpd to 1.38 million bpd.
A surge in U.S. oil production may also soon ease global supply concerns.
U.S. crude oil production is expected to average 12.45 million bpd this year, up from the current 12.3 million bpd, which is already a record, the EIA said.
For 2020, the EIA forecast U.S. output will average 13.38 million bpd, making the United States the world’s biggest oil producer ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia. – Reuters