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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery plunged $4.62 to $41.28 on the New York Merc, while Brent for May lost $4.72 to $45.27 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $13.90 to WTI, down from a discount of $13.86. Natural gas for April lost six cents to $1.71. The TSX energy index lost 7.16 points to close at 101.96.
Oil prices suffered their steepest one-day percentage drop in 11 years as OPEC failed to reach an agreement on deeper production cut with the wider, informal cohort known as OPEC+. At yesterday's OPEC-only meeting, the cartel conditionally agreed to temporarily deepen the existing cuts by 1.5 million barrels a day, with OPEC members shouldering one million and non-OPEC members, led by Russia, shouldering 500,000. Russia has now rejected this proposal and said it would agree only to extending the existing cuts once they expire at the end of this month. This was not good enough for OPEC and the meeting ended without an agreement on cuts or extensions. "From April 1, neither OPEC or non-OPEC have restrictions," Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters as he left the meeting (quoted in Reuters). The apparent collapse of the three-year OPEC+ alliance could see Saudi Arabia, which has long borne the brunt of the cuts, raise its production to full levels. Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman declined to say whether the kingdom has any such plans, telling reporters today, "I will keep you wondering."
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