WEEKLY OIL REPORT
OCTOBER 30, 2020

INDEX

PRICE

The month of October is closing1with strong losses: the Brent and WTI markers were quoted at $37.38 and $35.31 per barrel, upholding an unstable behavior with a downward trend.

OIL PRICE BEHAVIOR
BRENT AND WTI
(October 2020)

Source: Bloomberg data; Own Elaboration.

Prices are reacting downwards due to the expansion of COVID-19 in the U.S. –which has not yet managed to emerge from the “first wave” of the pandemic– as well as to the unexpected impact of the violent growth of the “second wave” of COVID-19 in the major economies of Europe, which are returning to restrictions on movement and economic activity, all of which is distancing the prospects of recovery for both the economy and the demand towards the end of this year.

On the other hand, the unexpected ceasefire agreement in Libya2that took place last October 23rd and the lifting of the blockade on oil production, has allowed the country’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) to lift the “force majeure“3and restart its exports, increasing the supply of crude oil on October 27th by 690,000 barrels a day.

These events, and the increase4in oil inventories, especially in the Cushing of Oklahoma, place the oil market once again in the scenario of “over-supply” of crude oil that characterized the first quarter of the year, which casts doubts on the decision of OPEC+ to “make more flexible” the production cuts as of last August and for January 2021.

The behavior of prices after the August “relaxation”.

After the collapse of the oil market due to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of the year, oil began since May a sustained recovery of its prices with the coming into effect of the OPEC+ cuts; this trend continued until August, when the “flexibilization”/“relaxation” of the same coming into effect.

PRICE OF OIL
(January – October 2020)

Source: Bloomberg data; Own Elaboration.

From May to mid-August prices remained high and reached5their highest price of the year on August 17th, due to the 9 million barrel a day cut agreed by OPEC+, as well as the high level of compliance.

However, as a result of the internal needs and pressures of the member countries, as of August the production cut is made more flexible by 2 million barrels per day, under the premise that from the second half of the year on, the pandemic originated by COVID-19 would be controlled enough to allow the lifting of movement restrictions until a vaccine was available and, consequently, to achieve a recovery of the economy and oil demand that would support the price as of the third and fourth quarters of the year.

This premise was only fulfilled in Asia, where –after controlling the spread of the virus– the Chinese economy had a modest recovery, which sustained the demand of the region.

However, the magnitude and expansion of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the inability of authorities to contain the pandemic have dramatically impacted the world’s leading economy.

Regarding Europe, the expansion of the pandemic was brought under control at the end of the second quarter of the year, allowing the lifting of the restrictions during the summer, thus stopping the fall of the economy and creating the expectation of a recovery for the third and fourth quarters of this year. However, starting in September and particularly in October, the “second wave” of the COVID-19 hit the main European economies again, especially those of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, which slowed down the stabilization process achieved in August by returning to the restrictions on mobility, so it is estimated that the process of economic recovery and demand will occur in 2021, later than expected by the various analysts and institutions.

Although the oil market reacted positively to OPEC+’s intervention by reducing its supply of crude oil –which made it possible to halt the fall in prices observed in March and April– no recovery of the economy or of the demand for oil can be seen in the short term; that is why oil prices, after their recovery in May, have decreased again since August.

At the end of October, the Brent and WTI quotations have suffered a loss of 24 and 20 dollars per barrel when compared to the beginning of the year, which represents a loss of 36% and 33% of their value, respectively.

Prices in September and October have been marked by instability, fluctuating with a downward trend, coinciding with the relaxation of OPEC+ cuts and the capacity of other producers –especially the United States, Canada and Norway– to stop the fall in their production, stabilize or achieve increases.

This downward price trend continues, despite the fact that the hurricane season has affected the drilling infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico in September and October, with the passage of Hurricanes Laura and Marco in September, and Hurricanes Sally, Delta and Zeta in October, which forced authorities to suspend production activities, resulting in an accumulated loss, as of October 29th, of approximately 33.1 million barrels, according to data from the U.S. Office of Environmental Safety and Compliance (BSEE)6. These impacts have supported the price of oil, especially WTI, preventing a more pronounced decline.

October, “second wave” and Libya; Prices down.

Oil prices continued to show a downward trend during October, after having recovered from September’s losses.

On September 27th, the Brent and WTI markers were at 42.43 and 40.60 dollars per barrel, respectively; then they suffered a drop of 7% and 8% and were quoted on October 2nd at 39.27 and 37.25 dollars per barrel, respectively.

As of October 2nd, prices were supported by the effects of Hurricanes Sally and Delta in the Gulf of Mexico and also by the expectations created in the market because of the upcoming elections in the U.S., to be quoted on October 14th at $ 43.16 a barrel for the Brent and October 19 at $ 41.46 a barrel for the WTI.

Then both scores fell again, until this Friday’s quotes. A drop of 15% and 16% for Brent and WTI, respectively, compared to their highest prices of the month.

BRENT PRICES
(September-October 2020)

Source: Bloomberg data; Own Elaboration.

WTI PRICES
(September-October 2020)

Source: Bloomberg data; Own elaboration.

As it can be seen, the unstable behavior of the prices has the characteristic “saw” shape, fluctuating within the price band reached from June between 38 and 43 dollars a barrel, to now be located in a band that fluctuates between 36 and 43 dollars a barrel.

As we have indicated in previous Oil Reports, despite the great effort made by the OPEC+ countries to reduce the supply of oil, this is not enough to stabilize the market, as demand continues to be extraordinarily affected by the fall in the world economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, an effect that extends beyond what was initially foreseen.

The premise of demand recovery for the 3rd and 4th quarters of this year, which supported OPEC+’s decision to make production cuts more flexible starting August has not been fulfilled, except in China. On the contrary, with the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. and the “second wave” hitting Europe, the possibilities of recovery of the economy during the last two quarters of the year as expected are far away.

According to OPEC’s analysis, in its October MOMR, it is estimated that the economy’s recovery will be more delayed and that the effects of COVID-19 on demand will extend throughout 2021, even if the vaccine is obtained.

The uncertainty regarding the prolongation of the pandemic and the recovery of the demand, the high levels of inventories and the greater supply of oil, place the market in a structure of contango and super contango, remaining at the current levels until the end of the year in the best scenario.

This market situation will probably force the OPEC+ countries to review their policy of flexible production cuts initiated in August, especially with regard to January 2021, when, according to the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) agreements7, oil production is planned to increase by 1.9 million barrels per day compared to the 7.7 million barrel per day cut that has been in effect since August.

OPEC Basket

OPEC crude basket reflects an unstable behavior, similar to the Brent and WTI markers, which reflects significant falls in its price during September (from $46 a barrel to $39 a barrel) due to the effect of the relaxation of the OPEC+ cuts. In October it recovered its value to fluctuate again around 41 dollars a barrel, quoted8on October 29th at 37.12 dollars a barrel.

PRICE OF THE OPEP BASKET
(September-October 2020)

Source: Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries

Future Prices

According to the EIA’s report “This Week in Petroleum”9, dated October 28th, 2020, the reduction in global demand for oil will continue to strengthen the structure of contango and, in turn, to drive the increase in global oil stocks.

Futures prices have increased during October, according to the same EIA report, closing WTI contracts, as of October 27th, between $39.57 and $40.46 per barrel.

The price differential between the Brent and WTI has narrowed considerably, according to the EIA’s “Short-Term Energy Outlook” report (STEO)10, reaching on October 27tha minimum of $1.73 per barrel for the last four months, in addition to the narrowest differential since 2016.

PRODUCTION

World crude oil production increased by 0.7% month-on-month in September, according to preliminary data published by OPEC in its monthly report for October11, for a total of 85.55 million barrels of oil per day, meaning a drop of 8.73 million barrels per day, or 9.26%, compared to a production of 94.28 million barrels per day in January 2020.

WORLD PRODUCTION AND OPEP+
(January-September 2020)

Source: Own elaboration, with data from the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report, October 2020, and S&P Global Platts.

The impact of OPEC+ cuts introduced in May and the relaxation of these measures three months later can be seen. OPEC+ countries contribute to a total production of 36.82 million barrels of oil per day, equivalent to 43% of the world’s production, being, without a doubt, the “swift producers” of the world oil market. Their decision to regulate production is definitely the decisive factor impacting world oil supply.

With a 4.3% drop in the world’s economy, a demand level of 91 million barrels a day, and the “second wave” of COVID-19, OPEC+ countries must closely monitor market fundamentals in view of an increase in world oil supply due to the recovery of production in the U.S. and the easing of the OPEC+ cuts implemented last August and scheduled again for January 2021.

At the OPEC+ ministerial videoconference12held on October 19th, after confirming the compliance with the production cut agreements, the ministers maintained a flexible policy with regards to making cuts –an increase of 1.9 million barrels of oil per day by January 2021, which would place the new OPEC+ cut level at 5.8 million barrels per day.

However, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak was cautious and recognized13how difficult it is to bring the recovery in oil demand to the levels seen prior to the pandemic crisis and the uncertainty about how to achieve that recovery.

OPEC+ announced that at the next full meeting on November 30th the agreement cuts, which are scheduled for 2021, will be reviewed14.

For its part, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warns15that the market would have difficulty in “absorbing” an increase in production.

The EIA, in its “Short-Term Energy Outlook” (STEO) report from October 6th, forecasts16a production of 98.83 million barrels of oil per day by 2021, a difference of more than one million barrels from the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) projection of 97.2 million barrels per day17.

OPEC

OPEC production for September was 24.1 million barrels of oil per day, representing 28.2% of world oil production and maintaining August levels, according to data from secondary sources published in OPEC’s October MOMR18.

OPEC PRODUCTION
(According to secondary sources, September 2020)

Source: OPEC’s “Monthly Oil Market Report”, October 2020.

OPEC DoC+ countries

OPEC-10, the 10 countries part of the organization that are signatories of the OPEC+ DoC agreement and that are participating in the production cuts –Angola, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Congo, United Arab Emirates, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Kuwait and Nigeria– make for a joint production of 21.6 million barrels of oil per day, which represents 89.6% of OPEC and 58.7% of OPEC+.

For their part, the Persian Gulf monarchies and Iraq, with 17,476 million barrels a day, represent 72.5% of the OPEC production, 81% of OPEC-10, and 47.5% of the OPEC+ production.

Although the total OPEC production has remained the same since August, the United Arab Emirates, which had an overproduction of 115 thousand barrels that month, cut their production by 239 thousand barrels per day in September, with an additional cut of 57 thousand barrels per day from their production cut quota, to compensate for the excess produced in August.

Saudi Arabia slightly increased its production in the same period, approaching 9 million barrels of oil per day. The production of the rest of the OPEC-10 countries has remained the same since August.

Countries not participating in OPEC+ cuts

The countries that do not participate in the OPEC+ cuts: Iran, Libya, and Venezuela, make for a joint production of 2.5 million barrels a day, 10.37% of the Organization’s total production; of this volume, Iran produces 1.96 million barrels a day, 78.4%.

Iran.

U.S. sanctions continue to affect Iran’s oil production, which has fallen from 3.55 million barrels a day in 2018 to 1.96 million barrels a day this past September, a fall of 1.59 million barrels a day, or 44.77%, in two years.

The possible victory of the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, in the next elections for the U.S. presidency, has the market in the expectation that the new administration, among other decisions to be made in the international arena, will resume19the commitments made by President Barack Obama’s administration regarding the nuclear agreements made with Iran in 2015 in the UN Security Council. This would mean lifting the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration against Iran, which would eventually allow the Persian country’s oil production to return to the 3.5 million barrels of its 2018 levels.

Venezuela

With 383,000 barrels per day in September, oil production in Venezuela (a founding member of OPEC), continues to be affected by the serious problems caused by the mismanagement of the company as well as by the operational collapse brought on by the subsequent interventions and political purges executed by the government. Compared to 2013, when production was at 3,015 million barrels per day, oil production in Venezuela has fallen by 88% (a loss of 2,632,000 barrels per day). The current production is equivalent to what the country had 90 years ago, in 1930.

The collapse of the Venezuelan oil industry is one of the fundamental reasons for the deep political, economic, and social crisis in the country, as oil income, which in 2013 represented 96% of the national income, has plummeted, plunging 96.2% of the population into poverty levels and the whole country into a deep instability, with severe problems related to the legitimacy of the government and its institutions, and a general collapse of the State preventing any possibility of recovery in the short term.

Libya

With a production of 156 thousand barrels per day, Libya experienced a 33.34% increase in its production compared to August. The country has seen its oil production affected by the foreign military intervention20of 2011 and the civil war that has kept the North African country in a permanent armed confrontation.

In January 2020, the forces of the Libyan National Army, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, imposed a blockade21on the oil fields and terminals of the country, causing a fall in oil production from 1,097 million barrels a day in December 2019 to 104 thousand barrels a day in August 2020.

In June, the parties in the conflict announced from Sochi, Russia, a ceasefire agreement. On October 23rd, the National Army of Libya, the Eastern Parliament, and the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), signed22in Geneva a permanent ceasefire agreement, with the mediation of the UN, thus lifting the blockade on oil activity that had been imposed by the National Liberation Army since early 2020, providing security guarantees to the National Oil and Gas Corporation (NOC) of Libya that oil activities and operations would be resumed.

On October 11th, the NOC announced23the reactivation of the Al Sharara field, the largest in Libya and inactive since February 2020, with a production capacity of 300 thousand barrels of oil per day.

By September 21st, the Libyan National Liberation Army (LNA) had already allowed the opening of the Marsa El Hariga, Brega, and Zueitina terminals, and improved security at the Zueitna Oil Company fields, which allowed production to be resumed24.

On October 29th, several news agencies reported that Libya had been able to bring its production up to 680,000 barrels per day25.

COLLAPSE OF OIL PRODUCTION IN LIBYA
(January-September 2020)

Source: Bloomberg.

If Libya managed to recover and take its production levels back to those it had in January 2020, it would add 1 million barrels a day to the world’s oil production. This possibility has already been reflected by the market through the weakening of the prices, given the fragility of the current oil demand.

RANKING OF THE OPEC COUNTRIES
(September 2020)

Source: Own elaboration with data from OPEC MOMR, October 2020.

Non-OPEC countries

The 9 Non-OPEC producing countries, signatories to the OPEC+ DoC agreement and participating in the production cuts –Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Oman, Russia, Sudan and South Sudan– account for 12.72 million barrels of oil per day26, which is 34.5% of OPEC+’s production.

PRODUCTION NON-OPEC COUNTRIES SIGNING THE OPEC+ DoC AGREEMENT
(September 2020)

Source: Own Elaboration, with data from the Ministry of Energy of Russia and S&P Global Platts.

With Mexico’s withdrawal from the OPEC+ production cuts agreement in July, the production of the Russian Federation takes 71.7% of the total production of the Non-OPEC countries participating in the cuts agreement.

In practical terms, this situation makes the OPEC+ agreement an agreement between Russia and Saudi Arabia, given the specific weight of both producers, who together produce 18.08 million barrels per day, 49% of OPEC+’s total production volume.

Russia

Data from the Russian Ministry of Energy27show that crude oil production increased by 50,000 barrels per day between August and September, to record 9.12 million barrels per day of oil, more than 100,000 barrels above its production cut-off quota28.

In a statement made on October 22nd, President Vladimir Putin reiterated29his support for OPEC+’s efforts to improve the current market situation, and said he would support keeping the cuts unchanged, should the demand situation worsen.

According to preliminary data from the EIA in the STEO report30, as of October 6th, Russian oil production for the third quarter was 9.08 million barrels per day, estimating an average of 9.63 million barrels per day for the year-end.

This figure is not far from the one published in the OPEC MOMR in October, which places Russia’s production in September at 9.19 million barrels of oil per day –a drop of 9% compared to 2019– and forecasts a recovery for 2021 with a production of 9.6 million barrels of oil per day.

RUSSIA’S OIL PRODUCTION
(September 2019 – September 2020)

Source: Own Elaboration, with data from the Ministry of Energy of Russia, September 2020..

Mexico

Mexico’s production in September31was 1,643 million barrels of oil per day, an increase of 0.7% with respect to August. Mexico’s oil production has been affected since 2016, and has been falling until dropping to historical levels in 2020, mainly due to the depletion of the Cantarell field32and the failure of the Energy Reform33of 2013, which modified articles 26, 27 and 28 of the Mexican Constitution in order to allow the private sector to have participation in oil activities, which were 100% under the control of the Mexican State before the reform.

When the “Energy Reform” took place, Mexican production was at 2.5 million barrels per day. By 2018, when Andrés Manuel López Obrador/AMLO is elected president, oil production was at 1.85 million barrels days, with the state-owned oil company (PEMEX) assuming debts due to the drop in its production, the loss of an important part of the internal market, the lack of commitment in the disbursement of private investment approved in 2016 and the effects of this year’s COVID-19.

AMLO has stated his intention to resort to a new constitutional reform34to reverse the “Energy Reform” in order to strengthen PEMEX. On July 22nd, the Mexican President announced35that he will stop granting permits or concessions to individuals in the energy sector.

USA

According to EIA data36, as of October 28th U.S. oil production rose to 11.1 million barrels of oil per day, its highest level in 14 weeks. However, the average oil production for October was 10.6 million barrels per day, a reduction of 3% from the September average.

Production in the U.S. has been affected since August by the hurricane season. In October, Hurricanes Delta37and Zeta38 hit the Gulf of Mexico area as far as Louisiana, causing the shutdown of offshore production operations.

By October 29th, the Gulf of Mexico area had stopped producing 16.1 million barrels of oil during the whole month, as a result of hurricanes; of this amount, 12.05 million were affected by Hurricane Delta and 4.05 million by Hurricane Zeta, affecting October production by more than 500 thousand barrels of oil per day.

DELTA HURRICANE: AFFECTING PRODUCTION IN THE GULF OF MEXICO
(October 6th to 16th, 2020)

Source: Own Elaboration, with data of the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

By the week of October 2nd, 2020, U.S. oil production had continued the recovery shown on September 11th, reaching 11 million barrels of oil per day.

Then, in the week of October 16th, production registered 9.9 million barrels per day, a weekly drop of 6%, according to the weekly EIA report of October 21st, affected by the impact of Hurricane Delta.

As of October 23rd, U.S. production has registered a drop of 2 million barrels of oil per day in the last 7 months, after reaching 13 million barrels per day in March 2020, its historical production record.

The EIA forecasts39that U.S. production will not exceed 11 million barrels per day during the last quarter of 2020, and will remain around that figure in 2021. The United States has maintained production above 10 million barrels per day of oil since April 2018, due to the increase of 7 million barrels per day of shale oil, which represents 63% of U.S. production in 2019, according to EIA data.

U.S. WEEKLY OIL PRODUCTION
(2015-2020)

Source: Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

US Drilling Activity

In relation to the activity of drills in the extraction, the figures provided by Baker Hughes40show that the progressive increase in the number of drills continues during this month: from 189 in the week of October 2nd (6 drills more than the previous figure), to 193 in the week of the 9th, to 205 in the week of the 16th, and to 211 in the week of October 23rd. The number of drills had not exceeded 200 since early June this year; however, there is still a long way to go from the 683 drills in mid-March, before the pandemic.

DRILLING ACTIVITY IN THE U.S.
(March-October 2020)

Source: Baker Hughes

Most of the drills in operation are in the Permian shale oil basin. In this regard, and taking into consideration the sensitivity of the business to oil prices, and the “trio of challenges: cash shortages, cancellation of new wells and natural depletion of existing ones“41, it can be expected “a difficult, long and difficult road” for the shale industry to return to the record levels of production that contributed to placing the United States at the head of oil producers.

As a result, the sector is experiencing mergers and reshaping, reflected in the recent purchases42of the companies Parsley Energy Inc., by Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Concho Resources Inc. by ConocoPhillips, thus creating “one of the largest producers in the Permian Basin“.

SHALE OIL PRODUCER RANKING
IN USA

Source: Bloomberg

ECONOMY

COVID-19: “Second Wave”

On Friday, October 30th, there were 45.3 million registered infections worldwide43; the number of deaths continues to increase to 1.18 million deaths44, and more than 30 million people have recovered45.

The country with the highest number of cases is the United States, with 9 million infections and more than 229,000 deaths46, followed by India, with 8 million cases and 121,000 deaths47, and Brazil, with more than 5.5 million cases and a cumulative total of more than 159,000 deaths48. Russia has 1.6 million infections, while Colombia, Argentina and Spain have more than 1 million contagions.

Since September, Europe has been hit by the “second wave” of the COVID-19, with an exponential increase of cases in Spain, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Czech Republic49; although the increase of infections has reached the levels of April, the number of deaths is five times less, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which has pointed out Europe again as “the epicenter of the pandemic“.

European governments are returning to partial restrictions on economic activity and movement, trying to contain the infections and to avoid a total blockade of activities, as it happened during the first months of the year. The “second wave” of COVID-19 has meant a setback in the efforts and expectations of economic recovery.

While U.S. authorities have been unable to control the spread of the “first wave of the virus”, as thirty-four states reported an increase in new cases of COVID-19 for at least two consecutive weeks50, and nine of them showed increases ranging between 30% and 66% in one week.

The efforts of the world’s leading economy to overcome COVID-19 have been unsuccessful and have been marked by the inconsistency of the administration’s response and the political debate in the face of the elections, where, on the one hand, the need to protect the population is debated, but on the other hand, the electoral imperative to recover the economy and employment, both of which have been drastically affected by the pandemic, is imposed.

However, the region that has been the most affected by the coronavirus continues to be Latin America and the Caribbean51, “where more than 379,000 people lost their lives and almost 10.5 million have been infected“52. The region lacks a common health or economic policy to deal with the pandemic; on the contrary, two of the region’s most important economies, Brazil and Mexico, have chosen to do little or nothing to protect their populations so as not to affect their economies; being this an unnecessary effort, as the economic impact is global.

CORONAVIRUS CASES BY GEOGRAPHICAL REGION (March-October 2020)

Source: Johns Hopkins University; NPR

The only region that has been able to contain the advance of the COVID-19 and reduce its expansion has been Asia, which, under the leadership of China, has shown signs of recovery in the economy and the demand for oil.

Vaccines

The pharmaceutical corporation Johnson & Johnson, which had begun the final stage of its study in September, announced53 in mid-October that it was suspending testing after the “unexplained illness” of one of the volunteers.

On the other hand, the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca restarted54its tests in Brazil, Japan and the United Kingdom, but the death of one of the Brazilian volunteers, on October 20th, generated uncertainty again. China55, Germany56and Russia57 have reported on the testing of their vaccine prototypes on volunteers.

According to the WHO, there are more than 300 vaccines in development; 40 of which are being tested in humans and 9 have reached phase three of clinical trials58; however, the current situation seems to indicate that these vaccines will be available worldwide by 2021, once their effectiveness and effects on patients have been confirmed.

Expectations of the Global Economy

OPEC’s monthly report, published on October 13th, reiterated59that “economies that were able to implement effective measures to contain COVID-19 in the first half of 2020, in combination with strong stimulus measures” have done better in their economic performance and, in this regard, the Organization is revising its growth forecasts upwards for the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and China, while estimating downwards those of certain emerging and developing economies. As for the global calculation, OPEC estimates that economic growth for 2020 will contract by 4.1% year-on-year, without taking into account the effect that uncertainty may cause because of events such as “the trajectory of the pandemic in the short term, the elections in the US, the Brexit and the current geopolitical tensions“.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its World Economic Outlook report60, published on October 1st, projects a 4.4% contraction in the economy this year, with China’s economy recovering faster than expected.

For the IMF, the GDP recovery in year 2021 would be 5.2% and, although positive, it would represent only 0.6% above the 2019 figure. The report warns that the pandemic “will reverse the progress made since the 1990s in reducing poverty, and will increase inequality“.

Regarding the OECD61, in declarations at the World Economic Forum on October 16th, it modified its forecast of a contraction of world GDP from 6% to 4.5% in 2020; while the president of the World Bank, David Malpass, pointed out62in mid-October that “developments point to a more superficial recession in the advanced economies and a more robust recovery than estimated in China. However, in most other emerging and developing economies the recession has been much deeper –and the recovery later– than estimated in June“.

Foreign Debt and COVID-19

The G-20 Finance Ministers confirmed63, at their meeting on October 14th, their commitment to the implementation of the G-20 and Paris Club’s Debt Service Deferral Initiative (DSDI) in deferring $5 billion in official debt payments to 43 countries that requested it, so as to finance economic, social and health measures to respond to the pandemic.

Developing countries will be required to pay $130 billion in debt service this year, and there will be “an increase in the global deficit and public debt, which the IMF estimates at -13.9% and 101% of world GDP by 2020 [respectively]. An increase of 10 and almost 20 percentage points over 2019“64.

In Latin America, according to the Inter-American Development Bank65, the average debt reached 58% of the regional GDP at the beginning of 2020 and, taking into account the effects of COVID-19, could reach 75% in the next 18 months.

In sub-Saharan Africa66, the situation was already complicated before the pandemic –with the debt burden growing by 150%, some $583 billion, between 2008 and 2018– and with 34 countries already in default; Africa’s financial needs67would be $100 billion per year for a period of 3 years.

Soy Rafael Ramírez, ing y politico vzlano, Min. de Petróleo y Presidente de PDVSA 2002–2014. Ex-Embajador ante la ONU. Visita mi blog https://www.rafaelramirez.