Counting the Cost

Game of oil: Behind the OPEC deal

OPEC member nations have agreed to cut oil production, but how will the deal affect the global economy?

For the first time in eight years, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has decided to cut its oil production. 

A deal to remove around 1.2 million barrels of oil per day from global oil supplies was signed in Vienna. The oil market has been in the grip of its worst downturn in a generation, and before the meeting skeptics had said that the cartel had lost credibility. So when the deal struck, the price of brent crude surged, and OPEC demonstrated that it still had the power to move the market. But can the pact restore OPEC’s credibility?

The deal also signals a major U-turn by Saudi Arabia, the largest OPEC producer: the kingdom agreed to take the biggest hit to its output, trying to drive up the price of crude.

So who stands to gain from the deal? Who is paying the price as the game of oil changes for its biggest players? And what does it mean for OPEC, non-OPEC and US shale oil producers?

Giacomo Luciani, professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, looks at the issues behind the OPEC deal and explains how the global pool of oil in storage will also play a key role in determining where prices are headed from here.

Also on this episode of Counting the Cost:

The Trump trade: November’s big market moves have implications for the rest of the world. We take a look at Donald Trump’s economic policies and the impact on the global bond market. Jameel Ahmad, vice president of development and chief market analyst with London-based Forextime, examines how global money flows are shifting and what it all means for the man on the street. We also look at the Hollywood producer behind the movie Suicide Squad who has been named US treasury secretary – Steven Mnuchin.

Philip Morris to give up cigarettes? In an interview, the CEO of Philip Morris International said that he wants the company eventually to give up cigarettes. However, that statement was made on the same day the company launched a new e-cigarette product in the UK, which it hopes to market as a “healthier” cigarette.

Nestle’s “top-secret” discovery: Scientists of the world’s largest processed food and drinks company, Nestle, claimed to have discovered a top-secret process to reduce sugar content in chocolate. The confectionary maker is about to file a patent for what it says is a first for the industry.

After a damning report on child labour in Indonesia’s palm oil industry, Amnesty International is demanding firms such as Nestle tell its customers if its products have links to a palm oil producer operating in Indonesia.

A trip to Timbuktu: Situated at the edge of the Sahara, historically the city of Timbuktu was a famed final trading stop before the vast ocean of desert, and a trip to Timbuktu used to be on the to-do list for tourists to northern Mali. But since the takeover of northern Mali by armed groups and the French intervention, the country’s tourist numbers have dwindled, as Mohamed Vall reports.

Bicycles making a comeback in China: Bicycles used to be the main mode of transport in China, but fell out of favour when car ownership surged as people became wealthier. In the city of Hangzhou, however, Adrian Brown looks at how attitudes are changing and pedal-powered bikes are regaining popularity.