Asia Business

Sudan doesn't have foreign reserves to protect value of the pound -prime minister

09h28 Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Tuesday that his country does not have foreign currency to protect the value of the pound and that there is a "structural deficiency."  Full story

Thailand's $105 bln budget faces further delay

16h38 Thailand's 3.2 trillion baht ($105.40 billion) budget for the current fiscal year, aimed at reviving a flagging economy, faces further delay as lawmakers seek a court ruling on the validity of the parliament vote. . .  Full story

Facing economic crisis, Lebanon's government weighs options

16h26 Lebanon's Hezbollah-backed government will walk a political tightrope as it moves to urgently secure foreign funding to ward off financial collapse and could look to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance.. . .  Full story

Mumbai bets on all-night shopping to lift India's economy

16h22 Residents of Mumbai will be able to shop and dine out until dawn from late this month as the Indian city plans to lift restrictions on retail trading hours in order to boost the. . .  Full story

Indonesia's Bumi eyes $1 bln-plus coal gasification plant amid debt settlement

15h58 Indonesia's PT Bumi Resources is looking into building a coal gasification plant potentially worth more than $1 billion, a director said on Wednesday, noting such a move would support Indonesian plans to reduce its reliance. . .  Full story

Insurer Marsh sees demand spike for political violence cover in the Gulf

15h24 Marsh, one of the world's largest insurance brokers and risk advisers, has seen a spike in clients' enquiries for political violence cover in the Gulf after attacks on tankers and oil installations rattled the region. . .  Full story

Singapore starts screening all China flights, warns against Wuhan travel to deter coronavirus

14h34 Singapore on Wednesday started screening all passengers arriving on flights from China to avoid transmission of the flu-like coronavirus, and advised travellers against non-essential travel to Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the. . .  Full story

First Abu Dhabi Bank in talks to buy Egyptian unit of Lebanon's Bank Audi - sources

14h33 United Arab Emirates'(UAE) largest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) is in talks to potentially acquire the Egyptian subsidiary of Lebanon's Bank Audi, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.. . .  Full story

Lebanon should restructure Eurobonds, seek IMF help - ex-minister

13h48 Lebanon should restructure its Eurobonds, including a $1.2 billion issue maturing in March, and secure a multi-billion dollar IMF bailout to stave off economic meltdown, its former labour minister said.. . .  Full story

Grab, Razer, AirAsia exploring bids for Malaysia digital bank licence -sources

13h16 Ride-hailing group Grab, gaming firm Razer, AirAsia, telecoms firm Axiata and lender CIMB are among companies looking to apply for digital banking licences in Malaysia, sources told Reuters.. . .  Full story

Asia Distillates-Weak demand, ample supply push gasoil cracks to over 2-1/2 year low

13h03 Asian refining margins for 10 ppm gasoil plunged on Wednesday to their weakest since mid-2017, while cash premiums for the transportation fuel lingered near their lowest levels in over a month.. . .  Full story

SE Asia Stocks-Most tepid amid virus outbreak; Malaysia stumbles on warning

12h48 Most Southeast Asian markets were subdued on Wednesday ahead of a World Health Organisation meeting on a virus outbreak in China - the region's biggest trading partner, while Malaysian stocks dropped after the central. . .  Full story

Turkish bank probe casts wide net over trading -sources

12h35 Turkish competition officials made surprise visits to several private, state and foreign banks late on Friday to analyse computers as they opened a wide-ranging probe of trading in the financial sector, according to three bankers.. . .  Full story

Desert locust invasion spares India a big hit

12h19 India has been able to bring swarms of desert locusts under control in two key oilseed producing states and authorities are now trying to assess crop damage, officials said on Wednesday.. . .  Full story

Adani Power drives 21% jump in Indian utilities' coal imports in 2019

12h03 Indian utilities' coal imports jumped 21% last year, rebounding after a three-year slide mainly due to increased purchases by an Adani Power plant in western India, government data showed on Wednesday.. . .  Full story

Brazil to start discussions on joining OPEC in July -energy minister

11h22 Brazil will start discussions on joining the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries during a visit to Saudi Arabia in July, its energy minister Bento Albuquerque said on Wednesday.. . .  Full story

Malaysia's cuts rates in surprise move, warns risks remain

10h58 Malaysia's central bank surprised markets by cutting its benchmark interest rate on Wednesday, calling it a pre-emptive move to ensure the country's improving growth trend continues.. . .  Full story

China's Vital Materials emerges as mystery buyer of Fanya minor metal stocks

10h55 Vital Materials Co, the world's biggest minor metals producer, said it has bought several batches of inventory previously held by China's Fanya Metal Exchange, including around five years' global supply of indium, in online auctions.. . .  Full story

China stocks rebound, yuan steady as Beijing calms jitters over virus outbreak

10h50 The Chinese stock market reversed early losses to end higher on Wednesday, as Beijing vowed to contain a virus outbreak that has killed nine and infected 440 in the country.. . .  Full story

Japan cuts capex view on sluggish global demand but says economy recovering

10h19 Japan's government cut its assessment of capital spending in January for the first time in eight months due to softer global demand but said its overall view of the economy was unchanged from December.. . .  Full story

Japan shares claw back coronavirus-related losses, investors await earnings

09h20 Japanese shares staged a modest rebound on Wednesday, as earlier investor panic about the coronavirus in China abated, although hygeine-related firms remained in demand and pressure on the tourism sector persisted.. . .  Full story

China stocks rebound as Beijing calms jitters over virus outbreak

09h18 The Chinese stock market reversed early losses to end higher on Wednesday, as Beijing vowed to contain the new, spreading virus which has killed nine and infected 440 in the country.. . .  Full story

Saudi Arabia raises $5 bln as bond investors brush off Gulf jitters

08h14 Saudi Arabia has raised $5 billion in bonds after receiving around $20 billion in orders, a sign that an escalation in geopolitical tensions in the Gulf has not deterred investors looking for high. . .  Full story

Gulf economies to pick up this year following spending spree

08h05 Economic growth in the Gulf will pick up this year and next, helped by Saudi Arabia's investment programme and Expo 2020 in Dubai, although the region will continue to feel the impact of oil. . .  Full story

Philippines revises down Q3 GDP growth to 6.0% y/y

07h45 Philippine economic growth in the third quarter of 2019 was revised to 6.0% from 6.2%, the statistics agency said on Wednesday.. . .  Full story

JGBs little changed amid China virus fears

07h39 Japanese government bond (JGB) prices were little changed on Wednesday as investors were assessing the developments surrounding the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China.. . .  Full story

China stocks off 2020 lows as Beijing calms nerves over virus outbreak

07h27 Shares fell and safe-haven assets surged in China on Wednesday as the death toll from a virus outbreak rose, knocking confidence, though officials vowed to step up efforts to contain the crisis.. . .  Full story

Many of China's provinces cut 2020 GDP growth targets despite easing trade tension

06h44 About two-thirds of China's provinces, regions and municipalities have cut their 2020 growth targets from last year, despite easing trade tensions with the United States.. . .  Full story

Thai Dec exports fall 1.28% y/y, better than forecast

06h10 Thailand's customs-cleared exports in December dropped 1.28% from a year earlier, after declining 7.39% in the previous month, the commerce ministry said on Wednesday. December's figures came in slightly better than. . .  Full story

Malaysia's Dec CPI rises 1.0% y/y, in line with forecast

06h00 Malaysia's December consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.0% from a year earlier, as expected, driven by expansion in all but two sectors tracked by the index, government data showed on Wednesday.. . .  Full story

Thai Dec domestic car sales slump 21.4% y/y - industries federation

05h30 Domestic car sales in Thailand contracted for a seventh straight month in December, sliding 21.4% from a year earlier to 89,285 vehicles, hit by tougher lending by banks, the Federation of Thai Industries said. . .  Full story

China stocks sink to 2020 low as Wuhan virus spreads

04h45 The Chinese stock market fell to its lowest level so far this year on Wednesday, battered by fears over the spread of a new virus that has killed nine people so far.. . .  Full story

Japan shares claw back earlier virus-related losses but worries persist

04h23 Japanese shares made modest gains on Wednesday, as earlier investor panic about the coronavirus in China abated, although hygeine-related firms remained in demand and pressure on the tourism sector persisted.. . .  Full story

Chinese treasury futures rise on investor worries over China virus

04h13 Chinese government bond futures rose in early trade on Wednesday due to rising investor worries over the spread of a new strain of virus and its possible consequences.. . .  Full story

China biotech, drug firms warn of risks as stocks surge on virus-linked buying

03h42 Chinese biotech firms and drug makers warned of investment risk after their shares surged on feverish buying as a result of the Wuhan coronavirus, which has now infected more than 300 people.. . .  Full story

S.Korea posts slowest annual GDP growth since financial crisis

03h25 South Korea's government spending surge helped the economy post its fastest quarterly growth in more than two years but sagging exports and global trade tensions pulled the annual reading to its lowest level since 2009.. . .  Full story

S.Korea warns spread of coronavirus may hurt private consumption

02h53 A Bank of Korea official on Wednesday said worries over the spread of a virus that emerged in central China may impact domestic consumer spending.. . .  Full story

EXCLUSIVE-Receding risks may give BOJ room to tweak forward guidance

01h00 The Bank of Japan could consider watering down later this year its commitment to keep or cut its rock-bottom interest rates, if pessimism over the global outlook continues to recede, sources say.. . .  Full story

Saudi energy minister welcomes Russia's Novak reappointment

21/01 Saudi Arabia's energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said he welcomes the reappointment of Alexander Novak as Russia's energy minister adding it was important for Saudi and Russian cooperation within the OPEC+ group.. . .  Full story

Russia's Potanin buys partner's stake in copper and gold mine near China

21/01 Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin has bought his partner Grigory Berezkin's stake in the Bystrinsky mine in Russia's Far East, representatives for the two businessmen said on Tuesday.. . .  Full story

Uzbekistan to phase out state cotton trading monopoly

21/01 Uzbekistan will gradually reduce the state's role in cotton and wheat trading, opening up opportunities for private companies in Central Asia's most populous nation and one of the world's top cotton producers, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. . .  Full story

Bahrain's GFH sets yield for $300 mln 5-year sukuk at 7.5%

21/01 Bahrain-based GFH Financial Group set the yield on Tuesday for its $300 million five-year sukuk, or Islamic bonds, at 7.5%, a document from one of the banks arranging the deal showed.. . .  Full story

S.Korea's T'Way Air halts launch of Wuhan flights over virus concerns

21/01 South Korean budget airline T'way Air has postponed Tuesday's scheduled launch of a new route to the Chinese city of Wuhan because of rising concern over the spread of a new coronavirus, a company. . .  Full story

China's gold consumption falls on high prices, economic slowdown

21/01 China's gold consumption fell for the first time in three years in 2019, figures released by its industry association showed on Tuesday, as high prices and an economic slowdown hit buying in the world's. . .  Full story

BOJ raises growth forecast, signals status quo on policy outlook

21/01 The Bank of Japan nudged up its economic growth forecasts on Tuesday and was cautiously optimistic about the global outlook, though it said ongoing risks meant it was far to soon to consider scaling. . .  Full story

Dubai state fund chief to chair developer Nakheel

21/01 The chief executive of Dubai's state fund, Mohammed al-Shaibani, has been appointed chairman of Nakheel, the state property developer said on Tuesday, replacing Ali Rashid Lootah, who oversaw the firm during a debt restructuring a. . .  Full story

Asia Distillates-Jet fuel cash premiums surge to 20-month high

21/01 Asia's cash premiums for jet fuel rose for a fourth consecutive session on Tuesday, climbing to their highest in more than 1-1/2 years, as aviation demand picks up ahead of a peak travelling. . .  Full story

SE Asia Stocks-Singapore drops on China virus scare, Philippines extends losses

21/01 Singapore's benchmark index fell on Tuesday, tracking broader Asian markets, as a virus outbreak in China took a toll on risk appetite, while Philippines was hit by losses in the financial sector.. . .  Full story

Receding risks may give BOJ room to tweak forward guidance

21/01 The Bank of Japan could consider watering down later this year its commitment to keep or cut its rock-bottom interest rates, if pessimism over the global outlook continues to recede, sources say.. . .  Full story

Saudi Arabia begins sale of triple-tranche dollar bond

21/01 Saudi Arabia has launched the sale of U.S. dollar denominated bonds with maturities of seven, 12 and 35 years, a document showed, tapping international investors as part of plans to raise $32 billion worth. . .  Full story

Palm oil production, price outlook for 2020

21/01 Following are the results of a Reuters poll on palm oil's 2020 production and its benchmark prices on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange. For a related story,. . .  Full story

Palm oil prices to climb 17.9% in 2020 on tight supplies, biodiesel programmes

21/01 Average palm oil prices will surge 17.9% this year, a Reuters poll of industry participants showed, as reduced output in the first half of the year and higher biodiesel consumption in top producers Indonesia and. . .  Full story

Taiwan Q4 GDP expands at strongest rate since mid-2018

21/01 Taiwan's economy grew at the fastest pace in one-and-a-half years in the fourth quarter of 2019 as a recovery in electronics demand boosted the island's manufacturers amid easing concerns over a U.S.-China trade war.. . .  Full story

Barclays raises 2020 oil demand forecast on expected global economic recovery

21/01 Barclays on Tuesday forecast 2020 oil demand to rise by 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd), up from growth of 900,000 bpd in 2019, and an increase of 50,000 bpd from its earlier forecast,. . .  Full story

Japan activist investor Murakami makes hostile bid for ex-Toshiba unit

21/01 Japan's most prominent activist investor launched an up to $235 million hostile bid on Tuesday for control of Toshiba Machine Co Ltd, ignoring a threat by the former Toshiba Corp unit to implement defence measures. . .  Full story

BOJ Governor Kuroda's comments at news conference

21/01 The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady and nudged up its economic growth forecasts on Tuesday, as the government's stimulus package and receding pessimism over the global outlook took some pressure off the. . .  Full story

Nikkei slumps on China virus fears; airlines slide, mask makers rally

21/01 Japanese shares dropped on Tuesday, as investors were gripped by fears that an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China could potentially disrupt an improving economic backdrop following a U.S.-China trade deal.. . .  Full story

China's Baoshang Bank to be taken over by local govts, state firms

21/01 China's troubled Baoshang Bank will be taken over by local governments and a group of state firms, a central bank official with direct knowledge of the matter said, as Beijing looks to shore up. . .  Full story

JGBs gain as China virus anxiety grips investors

21/01 Japanese government bond prices gained on Tuesday, as risk sentiment soured on worries that a new virus strain in China that has quickly spread to other countries could disrupt the region's economy.. . .  Full story

China's 2019 FDI up 5.8%, outbound investment slumps

21/01 Foreign direct investment (FDI) in China in 2019 grew the most in two years, though outbound investment declined amid continuing capital controls.. . .  Full story

Nikkei edges down; China virus fears hit airlines

21/01 Japanese shares dropped on Tuesday, with airlines leading the decline as an outbreak of a new coronavirus has spread to more Chinese cities, stoking fears of a wider epidemic that could hamper the economic. . .  Full story

China stocks dip on virus fears before week-long holiday

21/01 Chinese blue-chip stocks shed 1% in early trade on Tuesday after the country confirmed the first person-to-person spread of a new virus, which has killed four people so far.. . .  Full story

S.Korea Jan 1-20 exports post smallest decline in a year as chip sales recover

21/01 South Korea's exports in the first 20 days of January fell 0.2% from a year earlier, marking the smallest decline in about a year on better chip sales, data from the Korea Customs Service. . .  Full story

Japan may delay process for picking casino host cities - media

21/01 The Japanese government is considering delaying the process for selecting casino host cities amid a bribery scandal that has seen the arrest of a ruling-party lawmaker, the Asahi and other local media reported on Tuesday.. . .  Full story

Chinese beef importers seek to renegotiate prices for Brazilian shipments -report

21/01 Chinese beef importers are seeking to renegotiate prices previously agreed when they closed deals to buy dozens of shipments from Brazil because values are too high, according to a report in the online. . .  Full story

BOJ to hold fire on receding pessimism over global outlook

20/01 The Bank of Japan is set to keep monetary policy steady and signal its cautious optimism over the global outlook on Tuesday, reinforcing market expectations that the rising cost of prolonged easing will keep. . .  Full story

Sudanese pound falls to record low on black market

20/01 Sudan's pound fell to a record low on the black market, traders said on Monday.. . .  Full story

Malaysia open to Davos talks with India amid palm oil spat

20/01 Malaysia's trade minister is open to meeting his Indian counterpart at the World Economic Forum gathering this week, his ministry said on Monday, after New Delhi said no such encounter was possible amid a. . .  Full story

Hedge funds sell oil as doubts about economy resurface: Kemp

20/01 Hedge funds turned heavy sellers of petroleum last week as the threat of conflict in the Middle East receded and was replaced by renewed concerns about the health of the global economy.. . .  Full story

Asia Distillates-Gasoil cash premiums edge lower, front-month spread widens

20/01 Asia's cash premiums for 10 ppm gasoil edged lower on Monday, hurt by weaker deals in the physical market, but the front-month spread for the transportation fuel widened its backwardation amid expectations for. . .  Full story

SE Asia Stocks-Philippines at lowest close in 3 mths on real estate, infra stocks

20/01 Philippine stocks dropped over 2% to their lowest close in over three months, hurt by losses in the real estate and infrastructure sectors, while banking shares dragged down the Thai index.. . .  Full story

Philippines sweetens rules on REITs with lower public float, tax perks

20/01 Philippine real estate investment trust (REIT) companies will be allowed to maintain control of their firms and enjoy tax breaks under revised government rules to attract fresh capital to sustain property market growth, authorities said. . .  Full story

Taiwan Dec export orders rebound, but 2019 fall worst in a decade

20/01 Taiwan's export orders in December rose for the first time in 14 months, boosted by a pick-up in global demand for electronics amid easing trade tensions between the United States and China.. . .  Full story

Hong Kong stocks fall ahead of Chinese New Year on weak sentiment

20/01 Hong Kong shares fell on Monday, led by consumer stocks, reflecting pessimism toward the local economy as the city's tourism industry reels under the impact of prolonged anti-government protests. ** Contributing to the sluggishness in. . .  Full story

Thai eases housing loan rules to help home buyers

20/01 Thailand's central bank has further relaxed mortgage lending rules to help home buyers, a deputy governor said on Monday, after tighter rules were imposed last year to rein in bad debt.. . .  Full story

China revises up GDP growth for 2014-2018, on track to double economy

20/01 China has revised up its economic growth by 0.1 percentage points each year between 2014 and 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics said, making it easier for Beijing to fulfil its goal of. . .  Full story

Indonesia unions hold protests over planned labour reform

20/01 Several thousand Indonesian workers held a rally on Monday outside parliament to protest against planned changes to labour laws as part of government reforms aimed at creating jobs and boosting investment in Southeast Asia's biggest. . .  Full story

China stocks end higher, tourism shares tumble as coronavirus spreads

20/01 China stocks closed higher on Monday following signs that the economy may be stabilizing, and as hopes rose for more stimulus measures to aid growth.. . .  Full story

Nikkei inches up to 15-month high, take-over bids energise constructors

20/01 Japanese shares edged higher to 15-month highs on Monday on strong U.S. housing data and investor optimism after last week's U.S.-China trade deal, with take-over bids boosting some in the construction and machine sector.. . .  Full story

JGBs slightly weaker, super-long yields at 2-month high

20/01 Prices of most Japanese government bonds (JGBs) fell on Monday, with yields on long-dated bonds rising to two-month highs after an auction of 20-year JGBs last week, while investors also awaited remarks from Bank. . .  Full story

Malaysia's seen standing pat, saving ammunition for later

20/01 Malaysia's central bank is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a policy review on Wednesday, a Reuters poll showed, saving its ammunition for use during a possible slowdown in economic growth later. . .  Full story

Singapore's Olam divides businesses into two units, eyes listings

20/01 Commodity trader Olam International said on Monday it is dividing its portfolio of diverse products into two new operating businesses, with an intention to potentially spin out each unit and list them separately.. . .  Full story

China stocks rise on signs of steadying economy, Hong Kong dips

20/01 China stocks rose on Monday on signs of a stabilizing domestic economy and increasing expectations of government stimulus to aid growth, while Hong Kong shares dipped.. . .  Full story

China confident of stabilising industrial growth in 2020

20/01 China is confident of maintaining steady industrial growth this year despite big pressures on the sector, underpinned by tax cuts and broad policy support, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Wei said on Monday.. . .  Full story

As China seeks to spark night economy, on-demand chauffeurs for drunk drivers see surge

20/01 It was freezing and the streets were slick as substitute driver Liu Pengfei bade farewell to his mother, wife and son before riding into Beijing on his tiny scooter.. . .  Full story

Chinese investors dump tourism stocks, chase drugmakers as coronavirus spreads

20/01 Chinese investors dumped tourism stocks and bought drugmakers and facial mask producers as coronavirus spread to more cities, raising concerns of its containment and clouding travel plans of millions of Chinese for the Lunar New. . .  Full story

Tokyo Steel to hold product prices steady for 4th straight month

20/01 Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co Ltd said on Monday it would keep steel product prices unchanged for a fourth straight month in February, as it awaited confirmation that a recovery in steel markets would continue both. . .  Full story

Majority say BOJ's negative rate policy has not boosted economy, prices

20/01 The Bank of Japan's negative interest rate policy has had little positive impact on the economy and prices, over half of economists surveyed by Reuters said.. . .  Full story

China agriculture minister urges authorities to prevent recurrence of African swine fever

20/01 China's agriculture minister urged authorities to prevent a recurrence in African swine fever outbreaks, according to a statement on the ministry's website on Monday.. . .  Full story

Nikkei gains but market optimism tested by valuations

20/01 Japanese shares edged higher on Monday, due to strong U.S. housing data and investor optimism following last week's U.S.-China trade deal, though the market's valuations are getting stretched.. . .  Full story

China keeps lending benchmark LPR steady for second straight month in Jan

20/01 China kept its lending benchmark rate steady for the second month in a row on Monday, after the central bank left borrowing costs of medium-term loans unchanged earlier this month.. . .  Full story

Fanya indium stockpile sold to Kunming Rongke for $416 mln in China auction

20/01 A vast stockpile of the indium formerly held by China's Fanya Metal Exchange was sold on Saturday, in a second attempt, as Kunming Rongke New Materials bid around $416 million for the hoard.. . .  Full story

No pigging out on pork delicacies for China this Lunar New Year

20/01 For Xu, a mother and wife from central China, losing her family's entire pig herd to African swine fever almost meant not serving the cured pork, known as la rou, and dried sausage central. . .  Full story

Qatar to build solar power plant with Total and Marubeni

19/01 Qatar has signed an agreement with France's Total and Japan's Marubeni to build a solar power project with capacity of about 800 megawatts (MW), Qatar's energy minister said on Sunday.. . .  Full story

Libya summit calls for all parties to refrain from oil hostilities

19/01 A summit in Germany bringing together foreign powers backing rival camps in Libya has called for all parties to refrain from hostilities against oil facilities, a draft of the final communique showed on Sunday.. . .  Full story

U.N. envoy hopes for, but cannot predict, speedy reopening of Libya oil ports

18/01 The United Nations envoy to Libya said on Saturday he hoped but "could not predict" whether eastern oil ports shut ahead of a Berlin summit aimed at reaching a truce in Libya would be. . .  Full story

Quake strikes west of Abepura, Indonesia- USGS

18/01 A magnitude-six earthquake struck 141 km west of the Indonesian city of Abepura on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.. . .  Full story

U.N. Libya mission "deeply concerned" over disruption in oil production, urges restraint

18/01 The United Nations mission in Libya said on Saturday it was deeply concerned over efforts to disrupt oil production in the country and urged all sides to exercise restraint.. . .  Full story

To defuse palm row, Davos diplomacy likely between India, Malaysia

18/01 Trade ministers from India and Malaysia are likely to meet on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos next week amid a palm oil spat between the two countries, a. . .  Full story

Eastern Libya halts more than half the country's oil output

18/01 Eastern Libya ports controlled by commander Khalifa Haftar, who is trying to seize the capital Tripoli, are shutting down oil exports, slashing national crude output by more than half and ramping up tensions ahead of. . .  Full story