Disinvestment: Narendra Modi government eyes Rs 18,000 cr from PSU buybacks

After raising a major chunk of disinvestment revenue from buybacks of shares by PSUs in 2016-17, the Centre may tap the route equally aggressively in the next fiscal as well, with a plan to raise at least R18,000 crore or 25% of overall disinvestment revenue estimate of R72,500 crore for the year. According to sources, the government has lined up a clutch of PSUs that will opt for buying back their own shares in 2017-18.

On May 27, 2016, the Centre had issued a capital restructuring order mandating every central PSU with a net worth above R2,000 crore and cash and bank balance of over R1,000 crore to exercise the option to buy back a portion of their shares with effect from 2016-17. The move, aimed at nudging the PSUs to utilise their idle cash to reward shareholders, has turned out to be a money spinner for the shareholders, particularly the government.

After the government mandated cash-rich PSUs to undertake buybacks like their private sector peers, the Centre is in the process garnering a record R19,500 crore or 43% of R45,500 crore disinvestment revenue estimate in 2016-17 from buybacks of seven PSUs including Coal India, Nalco, NMDC and NHPC.


Apart from the PSUs mentioned in the chart, separately, four Coal India subsidiaries have announced buyback of shares worth R5,060 crore, nearly 80% of which (R4,000 crore) will accrue to the Centre as dividend early next year, the sources added.

The government owns about 80% in the coal miner. On Monday, Coal India announced an interim dividend of R18.75 per share for 2016-17, down from R27.40 a year earlier, and the payout will cost the company R11,640 crore, according to Bloomberg.

While PSUs with significant capex plans can seek a waiver from buybacks, over a dozen PSUs qualify as per the criteria for buybacks. These also include ONGC, Power Grid, REC, SJVN and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, but these companies might not exercise the option in 2017-18.

The companies are usually asked to buy back shares to the extent they can by the amount equivalent to 25% of the aggregate of their fully paid-up share capital and free reserves. At end-March 2015, central PSUs had surplus cash of about R2.55 lakh crore.

The government is of the view that buybacks improve financial parameters of the firms and, thereby, investor interest in them, as the firms would cancel the shares bought from shareholders, enabling them to tap the market for funds when needed.

The government has set 2017-18 divestment target at R72,500 crore, a 60% jump from the estimate of R45,500 crore in 2016-17. Apart from buybacks of PSUs, sale of the government’s SUUTI stakes and further pruning of Centre’s stakes in certain big PSUs like NMDC and Nalco, IPOs of PSUs and a proposed new PSU ETF are expected to boost the disinvestment revenue next year.

Union Budget 2017 provides leeway to increase power demand, wanting in tackling stressed assets: Experts

The problem of subdued power demand ailing the thermal as well as renewable energy sectors was addressed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget proposals for fiscal 2017-18 on February 1, but there is no “direct, head-on tackling of stressed power assets”, experts say. Jaitley said the country was well on its way to achieving 100 per cent village electrification by May 1, 2018, and proposed an increased allocation of Rs 4,814 crore under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana in 2017-18.

The government has sustained its focus on infrastructure spending, which is budgeted at Rs 3.96 trillion ( billion) in 2017-18, an increase of 10.5 per cent over the previous fiscal. (Reuters)

“The progress towards 100 per cent rural electrification target by May 2018, as announced in the budget for the previous financial year, is on track and thus a higher level of funding support in the current budget is likely to gradually improve the energy demand, and the PLF (Plant Load Factor) levels for power generation entities to some extent,” Sabyasachi Majumdar, Group Head, Corporate Sector Ratings at ICRA, told IANS.

The government has sustained its focus on infrastructure spending, which is budgeted at Rs 3.96 trillion ($59 billion) in 2017-18, an increase of 10.5 per cent over the previous fiscal.

Allocations for power in the latest budget shows an increase of 51 percent, while that for road transport, railways and shipping have gone up by 31 per cent, 19 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively. These measures are expected to trigger higher industrial activity, thus translating into greater demand for industrial power.

“Moreover, an increased allocation for the infrastructure segment is likely to result in an increase in energy demand from the industrial sector, which has shown subdued demand in the past two-three years,” he added.

However, according to a report prepared by ratings agency Crisil, overall infrastructure investments will take longer to pick up, especially given the private sector’s inability to invest due to below-expectation performance.

“Investments have been steadily falling — to 29 percent of GDP in fiscal 2016-17 from 34 per cent in fiscal 2011-12,” the report said.

Interestingly, no specific measures have been highlighted in the budget to address the issue of stressed power assets.

“We would have been heartened to see a direct head-on tackling of stressed power assets. The latest Economic Survey ignited hopes by talking about a very innovative solution by creating a Public Asset Rehabilitation Agency (PARA).

“However, while the Finance Minister talked about recapitalising the banks to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore, the Budget was silent about a direct measure to address this big challenge facing the (power) sector. Maybe, we may see a post-budget follow-on around PARA,” KPMG (India) Partner and Head of Energy and Natural Resources Manish Aggarwal told IANS.

On the positive side, halving of the basic customs duty on LNG from five per cent to 2.5 per cent would support stranded gas power plants. It would also help ease FDI regulations with the proposed abolition of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and extension of concessional withholding tax on ECBs (external commercial borrowings), enabling foreign investors to pump money into the energy sector, he said.

The Budget has also outlined measures to support the development of solar capacity such as taking up the second phase of Solar Park development for an additional 20,000 MW capacity and the plan for installation of 1,000 MW of solar capacity at railway stations.

“While these measures would support off-take from solar power, they would affect the demand for thermal power generation to some extent,” Majumdar said.

The Make in India programme in the solar sector, which was being affected by imports of cheap Chinese modules, has also got a fillip.

The significant rise in allocation under the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS) and the Electronics Development Fund (EDF), which provides capital subsidy of up to 25 per cent, is expected to benefit major domestic solar cell and module manufacturers, as well as foreign players planning to set up their manufacturing base in India, the Crisil report said.

However, Vinay Rustagi, Managing Director of solar consulting firm Bridge To India, said the 10-year tax holiday and GBI (generation-based incentive) for the wind sector, as expected, have been phased out.

“Reduction in corporate tax rates and MAT (minimum alternative tax) credit extension will help small- and medium-sized businesses. There is also some rationalisation of duty structure for components used in manufacturing solar modules to help domestic manufacturers,” Rustagi told IANS.

The experts said there was no big bang or material announcement in the budget.

“We wanted the Budget to address the issues of curtailments and payment delays that have increased substantially over the last one year for the renewable sector. A limited play guarantee fund only for renewables that can take care of payment delays to independent power producers beyond a defined timeframe of say three months would have gone a long way to get an exponential jump in investments from overseas investors, as well as domestic players,” Aggarwal said.

“We are disappointed that there is no funding set aside for new transmission schemes or any skilling and customer education initiatives,” Rustagi added.

Union Budget 2017: 4 things that can impact your savings and increase tax liability

  1. The government in the current budget announced an additional surcharge of 10% for salaried employees who are earning more than Rs 50 lakh and less than Rs 1 crore.
 Budget 2017, budget, arun jaitley, finance bill, savings, employees, income tax department, income tax act

Although the Budget 2017 was pro-poor and some tax sops were also announced keeping in mind the middle class, but still a few amendments will have a negative impact on people after the changes become effective within a few months. For instance, they will increase the tax liability of the rich people.

In his budget speech, the FM had said, “The present burden of taxation is mainly on honest taxpayers and salaried employees.” Keeping this in view, he tried to disperse the tax liability on everyone so that there is a uniformity in paying tax amongst all.

Introduction of additional Surcharge of 10%

The government in the current budget announced an additional surcharge of 10% for salaried employees who are earning more than Rs 50 lakh and less than Rs 1 crore. The taxpayers whose taxable income falls between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore will not benefit much because the imposition of a surcharge of 10% will not only wipe away the benefit of Rs 12,500, but also it will impose an additional tax burden on such taxpayers.

Reduction in rebate limit under Section 87A

Reduction in rebate from Rs 5000 to Rs 2500 under Section 87A has a slightly negative impact where the eligibility limit has been reduced up to 50%. Moreover, the taxable salary limit for claiming such deduction has also decreased from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh.

Now, taxpayers who are earning taxable income between Rs 2.50 lakh and Rs 3.50 lakh will get a rebate of Rs 2,500 only under section 87A as against the earlier rebate of Rs 5,000 for the taxpayers whose taxable income was up to Rs 5 lakh.

Restriction on set off of loss being capped on the higher side

In the Budget 2017, section 71 of the Act relates to set-off of loss from one head against income from another. To have best practices, it is proposed to insert sub-section (3A) in the current section to provide that “set-off of loss under the head “Income from house property” against any other head of income shall be restricted to Rs 2 lakh for any assessment year,” as per the Finance Bill 2017.

One the biggest negative impacts will now be held against set off of loss for Income from House Property which now has been capped at Rs 2 lakh per F.Y with effect from 1st April 2018. Your income tax liability may increase because of this capping. Keeping other factors constant, suppose you are earning a rental income of Rs 2 lakh and paying interest of Rs 7 lakh towards the loan, this will result in loss of Income from House Property of Rs 5 lakh. Earlier, you could have set off the entire amount against income from the other heads.

Methods of Increasing HGH Levels

This is the 21st century going on. Everyone is occupied and everyone wants to get an edge over others. At the same time, individuals are too occupied in their day to day lives to make a big deal about the issues in their growth. Everyone wants to be in the best physical shape that is conceivable to take on this focused world. The main advantages of this increasing hgh levels is that you can increase your sexual performance. The other important advantage of increasing hgh level is that the thickness of the bone is also increased vastly. Presently, we will discover as to what are the various techniques for benefits for muscle growth.

Image result for Methods of Increasing HGH Levels

The above all else thing is to change the eating routine. Your eating routine must not contain food things that are rich in sugar or glycerol. To put it plainly, totally avoid sugary food things. Do an occasional fasting once in seven days. This can increase the hgh levels in the body. In this way, changing your eating regimen is said to be a decent technique for increasing hgh levels. Amid the fasting time frame, make beyond any doubt that you consume food things which are rich in amino acid content. This is because amino acid can vastly enhance hgh levels in your body amid the fasting time frame when your stomach is eager.

Consume food things that are rich in L-arginine. These chemical mixes tend to put more weight on the pituitary gland. As we as a whole know, pituitary gland increases the tallness. It creates some acid which will help the bones to increase the tallness. Along these lines, if our body has more amount of L-arginine, then the pituitary gland is stimulated and the fancied tallness can be reached. In addition to L-arginine, niacin can also increase hgh levels significantly in our body.

In addition to these eating routine changes, it is also important that you do some physical activities. If we do a great deal of physical activities like playing or running or skipping, then the chances of getting to be distinctly taller are enhanced significantly. No wonder athletes and sportsmen are tall when compared to individuals who don’t play much. Swimming is a decent work out. If you wish to wind up distinctly taller, it is better to do a great deal of physical activities rather than rely on upon tablets and pills as they don’t really work. Running and weight lifting are also all that could possibly be needed. Keep in mind that a decent eating routine took after by a pleasant practice plan would accomplish all that anyone could need to increase your stature. These physical activities can smolder fat and by buring fat, your hgh levels are helped and hence increases your chances of getting to be distinctly tall.

Try not to exaggerate more than it is necessary. Take after a strict eating regimen plan and practice plan. By running hard for seven days, you are not going to see immediate outcomes. In this way, take after a strict plan and tend to its calendar and the outcomes would be obvious in the days to take after.

Take Raspberry Ketones at Breakfast to burn fat

If you are interested in losing weight then you must consider listening to what the dietician says first. Raspberry ketones are the best options for the breakfast as per the nutrition and diet experts. Stats are proving the merits of the raspberry ketones. Those who are interested in putting on muscles through intense workouts today are considering the raspberry ketones for their breakfast.

Image result for Take Raspberry Ketones at Breakfast to burn fat

  1. Over one million packets sold so far
  2. Incredible formula that is the US patented
  3. Powerful to burn fat

Yes, the raspberry ketones are nutrition rich. There are health and fitness aspirants. Take raspberry ketones at breakfast is the advice of the experts today. So, by all means,  you got to decide first on whether you are  interested in enjoying overweight issues or  you are interested in enjoying the pleasant lifestyle that is good to offer you the top class flexibility to enjoy bending, curving, jumping, sitting for long hours and so on. Intake is the reason here.

Therefore, adjusting and adapting to the conditions accordingly is the special ability of our body. We need to make sure that the robust intestines are well maintained in the long run, by ideally and optimally using the internal organs with the wise advises coming in from various authentic sources today. Medical professionals are ready to offer you guidance in that way. There are doctors who are so keen to come forward with awarded tips to the diabetes patients to help them cut down weight with ease. There are physicians who go out of the way to help some people cut down weight by following some strange but useful practices.

Raspberry ketones for breakfast

There can be prescriptions done to the individuals who have cirrhosis or do not have compensated cirrhosis; or even with some decompensated cirrhosis. In the last case, you can be using the drug along with the ribavirin. There are some side effects in using this drug too. Take raspberry ketones at breakfast to boost your energy levels

Minor side effects in some cases

        Headaches can happen

        Some might experience mild fatigue

        there can be low blood iron (anemia)

The optimal dosage allowed is just a single tablet of four hundred milligrams of sofosbuvir and hundred milligrams of velpatasvir. It is taken orally. Daily one tablet will do wonders. You can have it with food or even without food as you please to do so. The drugs react with rifampin. Take raspberry ketones at breakfast routinely to make sure that you burn fat. The mycobacterium growth in the body is what the drug reacts within particular to combat against the attack, efficiently and successfully.

Clinical Trials Experience

Remember, the clinical trials are meant to be done in varied conditions. The adverse reactions that are observed will vary in the clinical trials conducted under different sets of criteria. Without telling the doctors about all the supplements and the other medications that you use, it is not possible to avoid the raspberry ketones Side Effects. The drug can actively react with H2-receptor antagonists, St. John’s worth, antacids, anticonvulsants, carbamazepine, or topotecan, or HIV antiretrovirals, and the proton-pump inhibitors too. Therefore, you have to tell the medications that you take in addition to the raspberry ketones to the doctors before they prescribe you the drug to be cautious about the raspberry ketones Side Effects. Use it regularly as per the prescription to lose weight now.

Gold inches up as dollar eases, Fed rate hike prospects weigh

Image result for Gold inches up as dollar eases, Fed rate hike prospects weigh(Reuters) – Gold rose on Tuesday as the dollar eased from nine-month highs but an increasing probability of a U.S. interest rate hike kept a lid on prices.

The metal is highly sensitive to rising rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets while boosting the dollar.

Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,269.05 an ounce at 0915 GMT. It has traded in a narrow $6.60 per ounce range for the past five sessions.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, slipped 0.1 percent to 98.68, after hitting a nine-month high on Monday.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.4 percent at $1,267 an ounce.

“What has been interesting in gold recently has been the rise in the dollar but we seem to have found a new level for the dollar and so you see gold stabilising,” Danske Bank senior analyst Jens Pedersen said.

“We need to monitor economic data ahead of the Fed’s decision because it’s an ongoing battle between the hawks and the doves right now and also how to interpret the data.”

Chicago Fed President, Charles Evans, said on Monday the U.S. central bank will raise its policy rate three more times by the end of next year, if inflation expectations and the labour market continue to improve.

A Markit survey of U.S. manufacturing climbed to a one-year top of 53.2, while business activity in Europe expanded at the fastest pace this year so far in October.

In technicals, support for gold appears to be between $1,250 and $1,260, which restricts downside moves, MKS Pamp said in a note.

“With the market pricing in a 70 percent chance of a U.S. rate rise this December it is difficult to see the yellow metal pulling too far away from these levels over the short term,” the precious metals trader added.

Silver was up 0.9 percent at $17.71 an ounce. It touched a more than two-week high of $17.88 in the previous session.

Platinum was up about 1.5 percent at $950.75 an ounce, while palladium was up 1.2 percent at $638.50.

ChemChina ready for concessions to clinch delayed Syngenta deal in 2017 – source

Image result for ChemChina ready for concessions to clinch delayed Syngenta deal in 2017 - sourceBEIJING/ZURICH (Reuters) – State-owned Chinese chemicals group ChemChina is ready to offer more concessions to win European Union antitrust approval for its $43 billion bid for Swiss pesticide and seed group Syngenta, a source with direct knowledge of the process said.

Clinching China’s biggest-ever foreign acquisition is taking longer than planned amid a flurry of deals in the agriculture sector that Syngenta, the world’s biggest pesticides maker, said on Tuesday had swamped competition watchdogs.

Syngenta expects the transaction to close around the end of March 2017, rather than this year as first planned, but insisted it would go ahead despite increased scrutiny by watchdogs gauging the impact of big deals on farmers and consumers.

Syngenta’s deal with ChemChina is one of two under EU scrutiny, while another mega deal involving Bayer and Monsanto is expected to land on the regulator’s desk in coming months.

Bayer and Monsanto have not formally requested EU approval but the European Commission has to consider this deal as well when assessing the ChemChina and Syngenta linkup, and another deal involving DuPont and Dow Chemical, to take into account the changing landscape, said an EU official.

Syngenta stock plunged more than 9 percent on Monday after a European Commission spokesman said the companies had not offered concessions to get the deal through, raising concerns about the likelihood of a longer, full investigation.

ChemChina submitted a proposal to the Commission in September, including a plan to divest some $20 million worth of assets from its agrichemical subsidiary Adama Agricultural Solutions, the Beijing-based source told Reuters.

But the Commission raised “a more detailed menu of possible remedies” last week, said the source, who declined to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

ChemChina is ready to cooperate fully with the Commission and come up with a satisfactory solution, the source added.

A ChemChina spokesman was not immediately available.

The Commission sometimes opens a full investigation to get a better understanding of complex takeovers, whereby some are eventually cleared with no or minor concessions, though this is probably not the case for ChemChina because of the wave of consolidation moves and the diverse interests involved.


Regulatory scrutiny over the ChemChina-Syngenta deal comes as global agricultural chemicals makers bulk up to better compete with each other.

Dow Chemical and DuPont plan a $130 billion merger, while Bayer aims to buy Monsanto for $66 billion.

Syngenta Chief Executive Erik Fyrwald told Reuters he expected the EU anti-trust watchdog to take its regulatory review of the ChemChina deal to a second phase once the Oct. 28 deadline for fast-track approval passes.

“I think it is likely and we are expecting it, but it is not certain,” Fyrwald said. “The process was going along and then on Sept. 14 … the Bayer and Monsanto deal was announced, since then in both the U.S. and the EU there has been a very large escalation in data requests and questions.”

The Commission declined comment.

Fyrwald dismissed suggestions that the deal could be complicated by a possible merger of ChemChina and Sinochem.

“We talk to ChemChina regularly on a range of issues … and they have repeatedly assured us that they are not in any discussions about merging with Sinochem,” he said.

Fyrwald declined to comment on the regulatory impact of the other two big deals in the pipeline. “But I can tell you that the regulators are taking a very close look at everything.”

Syngenta reported third-quarter sales of $2.5 billion, down 3 percent year-on-year at constant exchange rates. The average forecast from analysts polled by Reuters was for sales to ease 0.5 percent.

Syngenta stock rose 1.8 percent to 404.70 Swiss francs by 0930 GMT, still well below the ChemChina offer price of $465 in cash per share plus a 5 Swiss franc special dividend, worth a total of around 467 francs.

Liberum analysts, who rate Syngenta “buy”, valued Syngenta at 357 francs per share should the deal not go through. ChemChina’s offer also includes a break fee of $3 billion, or 32 francs per share, for an overall fair value of 389 francs, they wrote in a note.

(Additional reporting by Oliver Hirt in Zurich and Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; Editing by David Holmes)

Nordea chairman says merger with ABN Amro would create “fine bank”

Members of the media surround Bjorn Wahlroos as he arrives at a meeting in Helsinki, Finland April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva/FilesHELSINKI (Reuters) – A merger between Sweden’s Nordea and Dutch state-owned lender ABN Amro would make “a pretty fine bank,” and early talks may continue after a March 2017 election in the Netherlands, Nordea chairman Bjorn Wahlroos said on Saturday.

In an interview with Finnish public broadcaster YLE, Wahlroos confirmed he had recently discussed a possible merger with representatives from the Dutch finance ministry and the Netherlands Financial Investments (NLFI), the state agency that holds a majority of ABN shares.

“It was a very preliminary contact … at the moment it looks like (talks) will not go forward until the Dutch parliamentary election,” Wahlroos said, referring to a March 2017 general election.

“I believe it is quite clear that due to the elections, there is not much enthusiasm right now for a larger project in the government level,” he added.

Following local media reports on Nordea’s approach earlier this month, ABN and the Dutch government said they were not looking for a buyer.

Wahlroos, who is also chairman at financial holding company Sampo and paper maker UPM-Kymmene, said Nordea was keen to expand its operations after investing more than one billion euros in information technology infrastructure.

He added that ABN would “fit together well” with Nordea, the Nordic region’s largest bank.

“The Netherlands is a very Scandinavian-type of country in many ways, open, liberal, market-oriented… (the combined bank) would be a pretty fine bank.”

Wahlroos said he had also suggested to the Dutch that the combined company’s headquarters could move from Sweden to the Netherlands.

Panel fails to finalise rates for GST

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A council of finance ministers from India’s union and state governments on Wednesday failed to finalise the main rate of the goods and services tax and will again meet next month, raising concerns that the new sales tax might miss April’s deadline.

Union and state finance officials met for two days in New Delhi to resolve their differences over the rates as well as the administration of the tax. They will again meet on Nov. 3-4.

While the meetings could not break the deadlock, the contours of the discussions suggested India might end up with a tax structure with multiple rates.

Experts say that the best taxes have to be low, flat rates and few exemptions and warn that the proposed GST for India may – due to its relative complexity – deter compliance in a country where many businesses are skilled at minimising their taxes.

“Having more rates will complicate the situation,” said M.S. Mani, senior director at Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP, adding uniform rate in states would simplify current tax structure.

The new tax is a signature reform of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that is aimed at making India an investor friendly destination. The measure would harmonise a slew of federal and state levies.

Supporters say the rollout of the new tax would boost the country’s economic growth by as much as 70 basis points. But a compromise-ridden tax threatens to rob any potential gains.

At the meeting, some states sought to impose a surcharge of tax on luxury products such as sparkling water and tobacco products to keep lower rates on essential food items, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac told reporters.

But the union government did not support the proposal, saying it would have a cascading impact, a senior Finance Ministry official told reporters after the meeting.

The ministry has proposed four tax rates, with the highest at 26 percent for about 20-25 percent of taxable items. Other slabs included 12 percent for food and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), and 4 percent for precious metals like gold.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, remained optimistic that the November meeting would resolve the differences, paving the way for the tax’s implementation from April 1.

To hit that timeline, union and state lawmakers need to pass key bills in this calendar year, and even then there will be a race against time to set up IT systems and ensure millions of businesses are ready to file returns online.

U.S. crude hits 15-month highs after big drawdown

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said crude stocks fell 5.2 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 14. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the EIA to report a crude build of 2.7 million barrels. [EIA/S]

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude’s front-month contract rose $1.39, or 2.7 percent, to $51.68 a barrel by 11:26 a.m. EDT (1526 GMT). It hit $51.93 earlier, its highest since July 2015. WTI’s more active second-month hit 5-month highs.

Brent, the international benchmark for crude, was up $1.21, or 2.3 percent, to $52.89 per barrel. It earlier hit$53.14.

It is common for crude stocks to build at this time of year as refineries go into maintenance, turning out less gasoline and other fuel products. Refinery runs have fallen since the start of September, reaching 88 percent of capacity last week.

The EIA data also cited lower crude imports as a factor for the inventory drop. U.S. crude imports slid by 912,000 barrels per day last week to 6.47 million bpd, the lowest since November 2015.

“The report was bullish due to the large drop in crude oil inventories,” said John Kilduff, partner at New York energy hedge fund Again Capital.

Still, a surprisingly large build of 2.5 million barrels in gasoline stocks that contrasted with analysts’ expectations for a 1.3 million-barrel drop meant a less rosy outlook for oil for some.

“So, while the headline number was bullish, we wouldn’t call it extremely bullish given the large gasoline build,” said Tariq Zahir, a trader in timespreads of WTI at Tyche Capital Advisors in New York.

Also supporting oil was evidence of declining production in China and optimism that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will secure an output cut at its meeting next month.

Oil prices have risen more than 15 percent over the past three weeks after OPEC announced plans to remove some 700,000 barrels per day of production from a global crude glut of 1.0 million-1.5 million bpd estimated by analysts.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday he was planning to meet his Saudi Arabia counterpart this weekend to discuss coordination of actions to support the market. OPEC itself meets Nov. 30 to finalize the output cuts.

(Additional reporting by Amanda Cooper in LONDON and Henning Gloystein in SINGAPORE; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and David Gregorio)