THE PRIME Minister has said his personal finances have taken a hit during the covid19 period.
He was speaking on Monday during a media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's.
While speaking about the state of the country's energy industry Dr Rowley recalled that on Thursday night he looked at statements of two of his long-time, best savings accounts and one had declined 40 per cent and the other 39 per cent.
"Now I'm not getting any younger," he said, "so I don't have the opportunity to save all over again. So I have to just hold the fort and hope that the markets turn around. And I hope to see that over time these mutual funds would have better value."
He explained that the asset base in the international market had fallen in value because of the condition of the market.
"So if you ask me how much I was worth in January and I told you, on those accounts I am 40 per cent down now, having not done a thing except being a victim of international conditions."
He said Point Lisas (which has seen a number of plants closed) was experiencing a bit of fallout from the international market. He reported that gas supply has remained relatively steady, was up to about 3.6 bcf (billion cubic feet) per day and in the last report he saw it was about 3.1.
He said one of the major users of gas at Point Lisas is the methanol business, but because of the effect of covid19 on the world travel market, both in the air and on the roads, the demand for fuel has been considerably reduced. He added that some methanol producers have had to cut back on production firstly because the market had become so soft and secondly because it had reached the point where there were no buyers.
"We are just at the mercy of the international market."
He said TT has made considerable progress in the area of contracts and there were adjustments in the gas pricing when the international market started to fall apart. "I have heard it said that because of our gas price, that made us uneconomic. That is just tomfoolery. What has happened is that the market has changed considerably, subsequent to the coming of the contracts. And the upstream is just adjusting to meet the conditions of the downstreamers. Even if you have the gas to give them, internationally, offtake markets have put pressure on Point Lisas."
He saidthe LNG business is still going on at virtually high levels, though the LNG price has dropped. He added that the users of LNG have reduced considerably, including the Chinese market, one of the main drivers of the international market.
"So when we see contraction in the Chinese market and projections for any further decline in the Chinese market, that is very bad news for us."
Rowley said in terms of demand for LNG worldwide there would continue to be an oversupply which would drive the price down, while in TT there were both price and volume issues."So we are going through a particularly difficult period. But it is an experience that we just have to stay the course, make sensible decisions and hope that at the end of it we come out with our lives in order."