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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery plunged $1.09 to $21.51 on the New York Merc, while Brent for May lost $1.41 to $24.93 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $16.25 to WTI, down from a discount of $16.55. Natural gas for April lost one cent to $1.63. The TSX energy index lost 4.82 points to close at 46.52.
As the world waits to see who will blink first in the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, today brought glimmers of an answer. The head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund, Kirill Dmitriev, told Reuters that Russia is willing to consider a new OPEC+ deal to balance oil markets as long as other countries join in. "Joint actions by countries are needed to restore the [global] economy," he said. He added that such actions "are possible in [the] OPEC+ deal's framework."
Mr. Dmitriev, along with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, were the country's chief negotiators in the current OPEC+ production-cutting pact, which expires next Tuesday, March 31. On March 6, Russia refused to accept any deepening or extensions of this pact, leading Saudi Arabia to take a scorched-earth approach and throw open its taps on March 8. Oil prices have since halved. Russia's economy has not been immune to this collapse, and now the country seems willing to resume negotiations, though it apparently wants to save face by insisting that some new faces come to the table too. Mr. Dmitriev did not specify which new countries he wants to see or how much production they should cut.
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