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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery edged up 39 cents to $20.48 on the New York Merc, while Brent for May lost two cents to $22.74 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $15.50 to WTI, unchanged. Natural gas for April lost five cents to $1.64. The TSX energy index added 8.06 points to close at 60.12.
Today marks the end of the first quarter of 2020, and what a hellish quarter it was, with oil benchmarks posting their steepest quarterly percentage declines on record. WTI opened at $61.60 (U.S.) on Jan. 2 and closed today at $20.48 (U.S.), a drop of 67 per cent. Brent started the year at $66.74 (U.S.) and has since dropped 66 per cent to $22.74 (U.S.). Both benchmarks plunged into the crack that started forming last month in the OPEC+ production-cutting alliance, culminating earlier this month in an out-and-out price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia -- all while a global pandemic is wreaking havoc on fuel demand. The production-cutting pact officially expires tomorrow. There were rumours today that some OPEC members might hold an emergency meeting to discuss stabilizing the market, but Saudi Arabia apparently rebuffed the idea (according to Reuters) and without its presence a meeting would have been pointless. The next firmly scheduled OPEC meeting is not until June 9.
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