Profit more than doubles for Malaysia’s Petronas

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Malaysia’s state energy firm Petronas on Friday said its first quarter profits were more than twice the figure seen in the same period last year as higher oil prices buoyed revenues.

The unlisted firm, the single largest source of Malaysian government revenue and national export earnings, said currency fluctuation and increased gas production had also boosted revenues, which rose 25 percent to 61.6 billion ringgit ($14.4 billion).

This helped Petronas to post a 10.3 billion ringgit net profit for the first three months of this year, compared with 4.6 billion ringgit during the same period in 2016.

In a statement, Petronas said it was maintaining “a conservative outlook for the remainder of 2017 despite the positive results as supply and demand balances are still slow to return to a sustained equilibrium.”

Malaysia’s only Fortune 500 company saw a 12 percent rise in annual profits for 2016, after it slashed spending to offset slumping oil prices.

It reported sharp profit drops in the first two quarters of last year before recovering in the second half.

Malaysia’s economy grew at its fastest pace in two years during the first quarter, the central bank said last month, boosted by stronger domestic demand and a pick-up in exports.

Global oil prices surged above $50 a barrel for much of the early part of the year, after the OPEC cartel decided at the end of last year to reduce output over a six-month period to support prices.

They have since pared back after the cartel opted not to make further production cuts.

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