- Nissan Boss Carlos Ghosn Arrested Over ‘Misconduct’
Carlos Ghosn, the chairman of Japanese car giant Nissan, has been arrested over claims of financial misconduct.
Mr Ghosn, a towering figure in the car industry, will be sacked from the firm after a board meeting on Thursday, the firm’s chief executive said.
He has been accused of “significant acts of misconduct”, including under-reporting his pay package and personal use of company assets.
The firm said it was unable to give further details on the offences.
Nissan confirmed Mr Ghosn’s arrest, but Japanese prosecutors have yet to comment.
It said it had been conducting an internal investigation for several months, prompted by a whistleblower.
According to Japanese media reports, which have not been confirmed, he under-reported an amount totalling 5bn yen ($44m; £34m) over a five-year period from 2011.
From 2010, Japanese firms have been required to disclose the salaries of executives who earn more than 100m yen.
‘Despair, indignation and resentment’
“On behalf of the company I would like to offer my apologies,” Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa said at a news conference.
“I feel despair, indignation and resentment.
“As the details are disclosed I believe that people will feel the same way as I feel today,” he added.
Mr Saikawa said Nissan would now try to “stabilise the situation, and normalise day-to-day operations” for staff and business partners.
The carmaker added that it had been providing information to the Japanese Public Prosecutors Office and would continue to do so.
Nissan said it also planned to oust senior executive Greg Kelly, who had been “deeply involved” in the misconduct.
As well as being chairman of Nissan – whose car plant in Sunderland is the UK’s largest – Mr Ghosn is also chairman and chief executive of Renault and chairman of Mitsubishi Motors.
In addition, he is chairman and chief executive of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors strategic alliance. Shares in Renault fell sharply after the news, dropping almost 13%.
Oil Prices Recover Slightly Amidst Demand Concerns in U.S. and China
Oil Prices Continue Slide as Market Skepticism Grows Over OPEC+ Cuts
Global oil markets witnessed a continued decline on Wednesday as investors assessed the impact of extended OPEC+ cuts against a backdrop of diminishing demand prospects in China.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, declined by 63 cents to $76.57 a barrel while U.S. WTI crude oil lost 58 cents to $71.74 a barrel.
Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, agreed to maintain voluntary output cuts of approximately 2.2 million barrels per day through the first quarter of 2024.
Despite this effort to tighten supply, market sentiment remains unresponsive.
“The decision to further reduce output from January failed to stimulate the market, and the recent, seemingly coordinated, assurances from Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend the constraints beyond 1Q 2024 or even deepen the cuts if needed have also fallen to deaf ears,” noted PVM analyst Tamas Varga.
Adding to the unease, Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut its official selling price (OSP) for flagship Arab Light to Asia in January for the first time in seven months raises concerns about the struggling demand for oil.
Amid the market turmoil, concerns over China’s economic health cast a shadow, potentially limiting fuel demand in the world’s second-largest oil consumer.
Moody’s recent decision to lower China’s A1 rating outlook from stable to negative further contributes to the apprehension.
Analysts will closely watch China’s preliminary trade data, including crude oil import figures, set to be released on Thursday.
The outcome will provide insights into the trajectory of China’s refinery runs, with expectations leaning towards a decline in November.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia has added an extra layer of complexity to the oil market dynamics.
Discussions centered around the cooperation between Russia, the UAE, and OPEC+ in major oil and gas projects, highlighting the intricate geopolitical factors influencing oil prices.
U.S. Crude Production Hits Another Record, Posing Challenges for OPEC
U.S. crude oil production reached a new record in September, surging by 224,000 barrels per day to 13.24 million barrels per day.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a consecutive monthly increase, adding 342,000 barrels per day over the previous three months, marking an annualized growth rate of 11%.
The surge in domestic production has led to a buildup of crude inventories and a softening of prices, challenging OPEC⁺ efforts to stabilize the market.
Despite a decrease in the number of active drilling rigs over the past year, U.S. production continues to rise.
This growth is attributed to enhanced drilling efficiency, with producers focusing on promising sites and drilling longer horizontal well sections to maximize contact with oil-bearing rock.
While OPEC⁺ production cuts have stabilized prices at relatively high levels, U.S. producers are benefiting from this stability.
The current strategy seems to embrace non-OPEC non-shale (NONS) producers, similar to how North Sea producers did in the 1980s.
Saudi Arabia, along with its OPEC⁺ partners, is resuming its role as a swing producer, balancing the market by adjusting its output.
Despite OPEC’s inability to formally collaborate with U.S. shale producers due to antitrust laws, efforts are made to include other NONS producers like Brazil in the coordination system.
This outreach aligns with the historical pattern of embracing rival producers to maintain control over a significant share of global production.
In contrast, U.S. gas production hit a seasonal record high in September, reaching 3,126 billion cubic feet.
However, unlike crude, there are signs that gas production growth is slowing due to very low prices and the absence of a swing producer.
Gas production increased by only 1.8% in September 2023 compared to the same month the previous year.
While the gas market is in the process of rebalancing, excess inventories may persist, keeping prices low.
The impact of a strengthening El Niño in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean could further influence temperatures and reduce nationwide heating demand, impacting gas prices in the coming months.
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