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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery lost $3.56 to $59.34 on the New York Merc, while Brent for November lost $4.47 to $64.55 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $13.75 to WTI, unchanged. Natural gas for October lost one cent to $2.67. The TSX energy index lost 3.30 points to close at 144.51.
Oil prices had a rocky day as opinions jockeyed for dominance on how, and how quickly, Saudi Arabia will deal with Saturday's drone attacks on its oil facilities. Saudi and U.S. officials have pointed the finger at Iran, which denies any involvement. Military responses are reportedly under consideration. The attacks shut down crude production of about 5.7 million barrels a day, equal to about half of Saudi Arabia's total production and 5 per cent of global supply. The immediate consensus among analysts and speculators was that the country would need two to three months to restore full production. (For example, the analysts at Scotia Capital reckoned that Saudi Arabia will be able to restore three million barrels a day after one week and a further one million barrels a day in the second week, reaching normal levels in late November to early December.) This morning, however, two sources told Reuters that production would be fully restored in a mere two to three weeks. In fact, according to one of the sources -- described by Reuters as "a top Saudi official briefed on the progress [of restoring production] -- Saudi Arabia is already close to restoring 70 per cent of the lost output.
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