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Energy Summary for July 31, 2020

2020-07-31 20:21 ET - Market Summary

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by Stockwatch Business Reporter

West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery added 35 cents to $40.27 on the New York Merc, while Brent for September added 36 cents to $43.30 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $10.15 to WTI, unchanged. Natural gas for September lost three cents to $1.80. The TSX energy index lost 1.70 points to close at 74.88.

The oil patch was in a downbeat mood heading into the long weekend. Today marks the last day before OPEC+ is scheduled to roll back its production cuts, effectively adding up to two million barrels a day to the market. The rollback was designed to coincide with improving fuel demand, but there are signs that the recovery is slackening amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, this earnings season has been rough at best, and today brought no relief as two U.S. supermajors -- Exxon and Chevron -- announced larger quarterly losses than analysts were expecting. Exxon lost $1.1-billion (U.S.), its second quarterly loss in a row. (It had previously not reported any quarterly losses since 1999.) Chevron posted a loss of $8.3-billion (U.S.) as it fully erased the value of its Venezuelan operations. Both companies are continuing to slash spending in a bid to protect their prized dividends. They are the only two energy "dividend aristocrats," a term for companies that have hiked their dividends every year for at least 25 years.

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