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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery lost 10 cents to $58.33 on the New York Merc, while Brent for February added 39 cents to $63.39 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $21.16 to WTI, unchanged. Natural gas for January added three cents to $2.43. The TSX energy index lost a fraction to close at 130.57.
Oil prices had a choppy day as traders awaited the outcome of the widely anticipated OPEC meeting today in Vienna. The meeting culminated with OPEC and its Russia-led allies -- known collectively as OPEC+ -- reportedly agreeing to one of the steepest production cuts this decade. The existing cuts of 1.2 million barrels a day are due to expire in March. A panel of energy ministers, including those from Saudi Arabia and Russia, recommended today that OPEC+ deepen the cuts to 1.7 million barrels a day (equal to nearly 2 per cent of the global supply). This is a change in position for Russia, which had previously opposed larger cuts. Saudi Arabia had been pushing harder for cuts to support its continuing IPO process for state oil company Saudi Aramco. (As an aside, the IPO will officially be the largest in history. The shares were priced today at 32 riyals or about $8.53 (U.S.), with a 1.5-per-cent stake on offer, for a total IPO value of $25.6-billion (U.S.) -- surpassing Alibaba's $25-billion (U.S.) IPO in 2014. The total implied value of Aramco is $1.7-trillion (U.S.). For some context, Microsoft is worth about $1.1-trillion (U.S.) and Apple is approaching $1.2-trillion (U.S.).)
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