The $40 per barrel level for West Texas Intermediate crude oil could trigger an uptick in activity among some oil market players, an informed market-watcher told Rigzone. Keep reading to learn about what specific activity could be on the rise, along with other developments to watch for this week in the oil market.
Tom Seng, Director – School of Energy Economics, Policy and Commerce, University of Tulsa’s Collins College of Business: Large U.S. oil producers, such as ConocoPhillips, have announced that they will begin to bring back oil production that was shut-in due to lower prices. Look for mergers and acquisitions activity to start to increase if prices can stabilize at or above the $40 level. The “bottom-feeders” who have waited to buy really “cheap” assets will have to contend with higher valuations now.
Tom Curran, Senior Energy Services and Equipment Analyst in Equity Research, B. Riley FBR, Inc.: Come 1 p.m. Eastern time on each of the next two Fridays, our attention will be fixated on the Baker Hughes rig count site. The weekly U.S. active frac spread count troughed at 45 in mid-May, pivoted into an uptrend, surging by 33 units to 78 as of June 19, 2020, and has vacillated in the 70s since, according to Primary Vision. Given our industry recovery thesis – which is that operators would first restart shut-in production and increase DUC (drilled but uncompleted) well executions, then pick up new well drilling, which should see a slower rise than completion activity – we believe a definitive floor is imminent for the weekly Baker Hughes U.S. land drilling rig count. In fact, a bottoming process may already be underway. The count’s downtrend has significantly decelerated since early June. For the last three weekly measures, Baker has reported 255, 254 and 251.
Barani Krishnan, Senior Commodities Analyst at Investing.com: Expect all eyes to be on virus stats for the coming week or two. Regardless of what the Trump administration says or wants us to think, the pandemic will decide the course of oil demand and the economy – not the other way around.
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Canadian manufacturing sales post record 20.7% gain in June – BNN
OTTAWA – Canadian manufacturing sales climbed a record 20.7 per cent in June to $48.7 billion as production returned following widespread shutdowns earlier in the year, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
The increase was led by the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts industries and followed a revised gain of 11.6 per cent in May, up from an initial reading of 10.7 per cent for that month.
Economists on average had expected an increase of 16.4 per cent for June, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.
Royal Bank senior economist Nathan Janzen said much of the initial recovery in manufacturing sales to-date, as in the broader economy and labour markets, is due to its return from unprecedented declines in April.
“Beyond this initial bounce, the pace of recovery will still likely moderate,” Janzen wrote in a brief report.
“The near-term bounce-back in economic activity has been encouraging, but the economy is still operating well below capacity, and very likely still will be at the end of the year.
In volume terms, manufacturing sales increased 18.4 per cent in June.
Sales in the transportation equipment industry more than doubled to $8.8 billion in June as most factories in the automotive sector returned to full production following shutdowns earlier in the pandemic.
Sales in the petroleum and coal product industry also rose by 31.5 per cent to $3.3 billion in June due to higher prices and volumes as refineries ramped up production.
Despite the gains, total manufacturing sales in June were 13.2 per cent below their pre-pandemic level in February.
Manufacturing sales in the second quarter totalled $125.3 billion, down from $162.4 billion in the first quarter of the year, record 22.8 per cent drop.
Statistics Canada said the total for the second quarter was the lowest since the third quarter of 2009 toward the end of the financial crisis.
In volume terms, manufacturing sales fell 20.5 per cent in the second quarter.
Competition Bureau investigates Amazon.ca – CBC.ca
Canada’s Competition Bureau has launched an investigation into online selling powerhouse Amazon.ca to examine whether the website’s U.S. owners are “impacting competition to the detriment of consumers and companies that do business in Canada.”
The competition watchdog said in a release Friday that while its probe is ongoing and stressed that “there is no conclusion of wrongdoing at this time,” the bureau is looking into whether or not the site may be engaging in anti-competitive practices, including:
- Any past or existing Amazon policies that may impact third-party sellers’ willingness to offer their products for sale at a lower price on other retail channels, such as their own websites or other online marketplaces;
- The ability of third-party sellers to succeed on Amazon’s marketplace without using its “Fulfilment By Amazon” service or advertising on Amazon.ca.
- Any efforts or strategies by Amazon that may influence consumers to purchase products it offers for sale over those offered by competing sellers.
While Amazon sells millions of items itself, it also acts as a conduit for sales of products from other businesses that Amazon doesn’t have in stock, in exchange for a cut of every sale in the process.
In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for Amazon said “we are co-operating with the Competition Bureau’s review and continue to work hard to support small and medium sized businesses who sell in our Canadian store — and help them grow.”
The bureau is asking any person or business that has conducted sales via Amazon.ca to contact them if they have any insights into the issues it is investigating. While personal information must be disclosed, the bureau is promising confidentiality.
Online sales booming
Online shopping has boomed during the the era of COVID-19, with Statistics Canada recently reporting that Canadians spent almost $4 billion at online retailers in May, double the amount they spent in February before the pandemic began, and more than double the amount they were spending online a year ago.
That figure does not include sales on Amazon.ca since the data agency does not consider Amazon to be a retailer because it does not have physical locations in Canada.
From Statistics Canada’s perspective, sales on Amazon.ca are recorded as wholesale sales.
The section of Canada’s Competition Act that the bureau is investigating deals with something known as “abuse of dominance” and if the bureau finds any evidence of it, it has the power to impose a penalty of $10 million for the first instance, followed by $15 million for any subsequent instances.
TikTok and its employees prepare to fight Trump over app ban – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Matt O’Brien, The Associated Press
Published Thursday, August 13, 2020 2:45PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 13, 2020 4:29PM EDT
TikTok and its U.S. employees are planning to take President Donald Trump’s administration to court over his sweeping order to ban the popular video app, according to a lawyer preparing one of the lawsuits.
The employees’ legal challenge to Trump’s executive order will be separate from a pending lawsuit from the company that owns the app, though both will argue that the order is unconstitutional, said Mike Godwin, an internet policy lawyer representing the employees.
Trump last week ordered sweeping but vague bans on dealings with the Chinese owners of TikTok and messaging app WeChat, saying they are a threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy and the economy. The TikTok order would take effect in September, but it remains unclear what it will mean for the apps’ 100 million U.S. users, many of them teenagers or young adults who use it to post and watch short-form videos.
It’s also unclear if it will make it illegal for TikTok to pay its roughly 1,500 workers in the U.S., which is why some of them came to Godwin for help, he said. The order would prohibit “any transaction by any person” with TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance.
“Employees correctly recognize that their jobs are in danger and their payment is in danger right now,” Godwin said.
TikTok declined to comment on pending legal actions. It said in a statement Friday that it was “shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process.”
The Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution safeguard life, liberty and property from arbitrary government action lacking “due process of law.”
Microsoft is in talks to buy parts of TikTok, in a potential sale that’s being forced under Trump’s threat of a ban.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Trump’s TikTok and WeChat orders Thursday, telling reporters he was exercising his emergency authority under a 1977 law enabling the president to regulate international commerce to address unusual threats.
“The administration is committed to protecting the American people from all cyber threats and these apps collect significant amounts of private data on users,” said McEnany, adding that the Chinese government can access and use such data.
TikTok said it spent nearly a year trying to engage in “good faith” with the U.S. government to address these concerns.
“What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses,” the company’s statement said.
Godwin said he was retained by Patrick Ryan, who joined TikTok from Google earlier this year as a technical program manager. Ryan posted a public fundraising pitch on GoFundMe this week to raise money for attorneys who can “fight this unconstitutional taking.”
“This is unprecedented,” Ryan wrote. “And it’s frankly really uncool.”
Unlike other Chinese tech companies targeted by Trump, such as telecom giant Huawei, TikTok’s widespread popularity among Americans adds a layer of complexity to its legal and political challenges. The looming ban has annoyed TikTok users, some of them Trump supporters like Pam Graef of Metairie, Louisiana.
The 53-year-old fitness instructor found nearly instant TikTok fame after downloading the app this summer and posting a video of herself dancing frenetically in a kitchen as someone pretending to be her embarrassed daughter shouts that she’s doing it wrong. The video has nearly 3.5 million views.
“I don’t want it to be banned. It’s just a blast,” Graef said. “It’s a way for me to promote my virtual training and virtual classes.”
She said Trump won’t lose her vote over this, but she doesn’t understand all the fuss about the app’s Chinese ownership. “What are they gaining by spying on us?” Graef said. “We’re just doing stupid videos and having fun.”
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that, until late last year, the TikTok app was able to track users of Android phones without their consent by collecting unique phone identifiers in a way that skirted privacy safeguards set by Google. TikTok responded that the technique it used is a common way to prevent fraud and said it no longer collects the unique identifier.
The company has repeatedly said that the way it collects data is typical for thousands of mobile apps. “We have made clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request,” said its statement last week.
Trump’s actions follow the lead of India, which has expressed similar security concerns and earlier this summer banned TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps amid a military standoff between the two countries.
Godwin said the employees’ legal challenge will be focused on worker rights, not on the national security claims underlying Trump’s order.
The civil rights lawyer, known in early internet culture for coining “Godwin’s law,” which posits that all online debates will eventually devolve into the use of Nazi analogies, said employees can’t afford to wait.
“We have to proceed very quickly,” he said Thursday. “If we wait around for the order to be enforced, which it will be on September 20, then the workers will lose their chances to be paid.”
Aamer Madhani contributed to this report from Washington.
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