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Oil prices climb after Saudi oilfield attack

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SINGAPORE- Crude oil prices rose on Monday following a weekend attack on a Saudi oil facility by Yemeni separatists and as traders looked for any signs that Sino-U.S. trade tensions could ease. But price gains were capped to some degree by an unusually downbeat OPEC report that stoked concerns about growth in oil demand.
Brent crude was up 78 cents, or about 1.3%, at $59.42 a barrel at 0621 GMT, U.S. crude was up 64 cents, or 1.2%, at $55.51 a barrel.
“Oil is benefiting from an overall optimism that we won’t see the doomsday trade war scenario and after a drone attack on oil and gas facilities in Saudi Arabia reminded markets geopolitical tensions in the Middle East are going nowhere anytime soon,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.
A drone attack by Yemen’s Houthi group on an oilfield in eastern Saudi Arabia on Saturday caused a fire at a gas plant, adding to Middle East tensions, but state-run Saudi Aramco said oil production was not affected.
Meanwhile, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said trade deputies from the United States and China would speak within 10 days and could advance negotiations over ending a trade battle between the two countries if those talks pan out.
But U.S. President Donald Trump appeared less optimistic than his aides on striking a trade deal with China, saying that while he believed Beijing was ready to come to an agreement, “I’m not ready to make a deal yet”.
Concerns about an economic recession continued to weigh on crude prices even as Trump and top White House officials dismissed concerns that U.S. economic growth may be faltering.
Elsewhere, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut its forecast for global oil demand growth in 2019 by 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.10 million bpd and indicated the market would be in slight surplus in 2020.

 

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NITI Aayog Deputy Chairman said – Reforms do not mean complete abolition of labor laws.

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Concerns have been raised by many labor organizations about changes in labor laws in many states. The NITI Aayog, while trying to clarify things in this regard, has said that the government is committed to protecting the interests of workers. NITI Aayog Deputy Chairman Rajiv Kumar said that the strength of reforms is not to abolish the labor laws altogether. 

In recent weeks, various state governments, including Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, have either amended or proposed amendments to existing labor laws. The industry has been badly affected by the restrictions imposed to prevent the corona virus. This step has been taken by the state governments to provide relief to industry and companies.

Kumar said, “It has come to my notice that the Union Ministry of Labor has tightened its stand and made it clear to the states that they cannot abolish the labor laws, because India has signed the International Labor Organization (ILO) Is in countries.

He said that it is clear that the Central Government believes that reform of labor laws does not mean abolition of labor laws. The government is committed to protecting the interests of workers. He was asked whether labor reforms could be done by states like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat without creating any kind of safety net for the workers. 

The Uttar Pradesh government recently exempted various industries from certain labor laws for three years through an ordinance. The government has taken this step to speed up the economic activity affected by the Corona virus. The Madhya Pradesh government has also changed some labor laws to encourage economic activity amid nationwide bandh. Some other states are going to take similar steps. 

On the macroeconomic situation of the country, the Deputy Chairman of NITI Aayog said that like the rest of the world, India is also facing the adverse effects of Covid-19. This epidemic has severely affected economic activity during the first two months of the current financial year. 

The Reserve Bank has said that India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate in the current financial year will be negative. To this, Kumar said that the negative growth is yet to be fully predicted. Right now, many things are unknown on the domestic and global front. 

Kumar said that the aim of the government’s Rs 20 lakh crore economic package is not just consumer demand, but to improve aggregate demand. He said that the Reserve Bank has taken several measures to increase cash in the system. The Finance Minister is also encouraging banks to increase the flow of credit. This will help increase the total demand of the economy. 

He said that it is important now that the financial sector especially banks should not avoid taking risks and increase the flow of credit to other sectors including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME). If this happens, demand will arise and we will see improvement in economic activity in the country. 

Asked whether the Reserve Bank should monetize the deficit, Kumar said that the government was considering all possible options for financing the stimulus package. On the possibility that companies exiting China may turn to India, Kumar said that if we bring the right policies to target companies, I see no reason why these companies will not come to India. 

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