Global Business Daily: OPEC warning, China's digital money lottery, driverless taxis
Patrick Atack in London
"We've reached peak oil demand … that very much reflects a European outlook."
That's the view of Ellen Wald, an oil industry expert and commentator, who spoke to CGTN Europe about OPEC's new report, which suggests fuel demand will "top out" in 2040.
Staying with Europe, several European central banks have published guidance on how governments and mints should develop digital currencies. It doesn't look like the end of cash just yet, though, as "coexistence" with hard currency is one of the key points.
In the U.S., the trend toward electric driverless cars has taken another step forwards, with Google's parent company Alphabet confirming its Waymo ride-hailing service would provide attendant-free cars for customers across a 160 kilometer area of Arizona.
Finally, although many of us have taken solace in pets during the pandemic and some of us have even taken the opportunity to adopt a new feline or canine friend, that hasn't been the happy story for all animals. In fact, the number of rescues in the UK has got so bad, the Royal Society for the Protection and Care of Animals has issued a new warning: "Pet's are for life, not just lockdown." To learn more, watch today's video.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is due to release its latest analysis of the UK's economy, and it could be tough reading for a government trying to address the twin challenges of COVID-19 and Brexit. The Paris think tank, which analyzes the economic output of its 36 member countries to promote better cooperation and improve the speed of development, has already repeatedly expressed concern about the effects of COVID-19 on the UK economy. In June, it predicted that Britain would suffer the worst coronavirus-inflicted economic damage of any country in the developed world, with an 11.5 percent slump in GDP.
Global oil demand is expected to plateau and possibly decline within the next 20 years, according to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which says the pandemic will have a lasting impact on consumer behavior. While oil use to fuel cars, trucks and industry will rebound as economies recover, OPEC said future growth may be offset by factors such as a post-pandemic shift to home working, as well as efficiency improvements and a shift to electric vehicles.
The city of Shenzhen in China is launching a pilot program with the People's Bank of China to distribute a total of $1.4 million in digital renminbi (RMB) to the public to stimulate consumption as well as to test the digital currency. The pilot will be funded by Shenzhen's Luohu District, and the money will be distributed equally to 50,000 recipients through a lottery. Residents can use the money at 3,389 designated merchants, including restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, metro stations, department stores, and other businesses in Luohu District next week.
Apple said it would extend free Apple TV+ subscriptions, which were set to end within the next three months, through to February 2021. The company had sold a one-year free subscription to its video-streaming service, which was begun in November 2019 with shows such as Oprah's Book Club and The Morning Show offered with the purchase of an Apple product.
Hurricane Delta crossed the Gulf of Mexico, halting most of the region's offshore oil output after energy companies shut wells, pulled staff from offshore platforms and began securing coastal processing plants. Oil producers withdrew workers from 279 offshore facilities and moved 15 drilling rigs away from Delta's winds.
The move towards digital currency took a step forward today, as seven central banks and the Bank for International Settlements published guiding principles and requirements for monetary systems considering the innovation. These include: "Coexistence with cash and other types of money in a flexible and innovative payment system" and promotion of "innovation and efficiency."
Alphabet's Waymo driverless car venture is set to expand its "robo-taxi ride hailing" service in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. Some Waymo vehicles will still have an attendant on board, but the company aims to expand its fully automated service across a 160 kilometer area of the city.
The Turkish government has raised the cost of borrowing the country's currency, the lira, by swapping it with foreign currency. The move comes as the lira continued its historic slump – it's fallen in value by at least 25 percent this year already. Increasing the interest rate on swaps by 1.5 percent led to a fast but small jump of 0.4 percent for the lira.
Carsten Knobel, CEO of Henkel, the firm behind Persil washing powder and other household brands, warned the effects of a second lockdown in Europe would be a "harder" hit than the first period earlier in 2020. Henkel is based in Germany, and Knobel praised the Berlin government for its reaction to the pandemic.
WarnerMedia is planning job cuts amid a restructuring, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The report said roles at the company's ventures, including Warner Bros Studios and TV channels including HBO, TBS and TNT are under threat. It follows cuts to its on-demand streaming service HBO Max, which led to the exit of at least two high-profile executives.
EWM Group in the UK has appointed administrators, putting at least 24,000 staff at retail brands such as Edinburgh Woollen Mills and Peacock's at risk. "Through this process I hope and believe we will be able to secure the best future for our businesses, but there will inevitably be significant cuts and closures as we work our way through this," CEO Steve Simpson said.
Danish jeweller Pandora is looking bullishly towards the fourth quarter, after strong sales – especially on its ecommerce site – increased by as much as 89 percent in the third quarter. It has therefore raised its full-year profit expectation by around two percent.
WATCH: When people go back to work, their priorities change and newly adopted pets can be at risk of ending up in a shelter because of the lack of time and commitment from their owners.
Ellen Wald is president of Transversal Consulting, an energy consulting firm based in the U.S.. She joined CGTN Europe from her home in Florida to discuss the latest OPEC report on the state of the oil industry.
What has been the reaction from the oil markets and buyers to this report from OPEC, the oil producers?
What's interesting is that basically oil has remained within this very narrow band, worth about $40-a-barrel for the past several months. And there's been very little movement. So essentially that in and of itself is a reaction overall to the fact that demand has really been not as good as had been forecast.
It seems we've been warned of this notion of "peak oil" for some time – and again today – do you think it really is here this time?
BP recently issued an outlook saying basically, we've already reached peak oil demand and it's all downhill from there. And that very much reflects a European outlook and the fact that a lot of governments are offering a lot of incentives to move away from fossil fuel production altogether.
So I think you do have to take a lot of these with a grain of salt. OPEC, for the first time really, has issued a forecast that they think we'll see peak oil demand in 2040. And I do think that reflects the needs of a lot of these big national oil companies that do want to prepare for the future recovery of the sector.
With the coronavirus in mind, how realistic do you think this OPEC forecast is?
Well, one of things that OPEC is really taking into consideration is this move towards working from home and telecommuting. I do think they're seeing that it's going to be a quite a bit of a longer time period before we see a return to air travel. A lot of the more prominent OPEC ministers have been very taken with the idea of holding meetings via teleconference and the like. But I do think that once this has passed, and it will pass, there will be a desire to meet again in person and to resume global travel.