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Oil Markets On Edge As OPEC Meeting Approaches –



Oil Markets On Edge As OPEC+ Meeting Approaches |

Michael Kern

Michael Kern

Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at and, 

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  • Oil markets grabbed headlines this week when Brent prices rallied past $80, but with the OPEC+ meeting looming uncertainty has now taken over
  • U.S. inventories builds for the first time since late July and some OPEC members ramping up production are pressuring oil prices
  • A weakening dollar and high electricity prices, on the other hand, are giving oil bulls hope that prices could go higher still

Oil Markets On Edge As OPEC+ Meeting Approaches

After charging to $80 per barrel on Tuesday, oil prices fell back on news of inventory builds and extra supply, and now markets are nervously waiting for the OPEC+ meeting

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Oil Prices Today, Friday, October 1st, 2021 

As OPEC+ meets once again next Monday, speculation has been rife regarding the oil group’s intentions to bring more crude into the market. Whilst prices are still close to the $80 per barrel mark, with Brent trading around $78 per barrel and WTI trending around $74.5 per barrel, the first US inventory stock build since late July and news of OPEC+ laggards (Russia and Kazakhstan) ramping up supply has provided some downside for prices. At the same time, exorbitantly high gas prices driving gas-to-oil switching in Asia and the US dollar weakening are largely offsetting those factors.

Spot LNG Price Surge Continues.

Increasing purchasing activity in East Asia amid China’s power demand crunch and continuing supply tightness have pushed spot LNG prices to $34.5 per mmBtu in Asia, the highest on record.

Germany Merges Gas Trading Hubs.

Germany launched a nationwide gas trading hub called THE (Trading Hub Europe), having merged two of its hubs – Gaspool and NetConnect – to be able to compete with the Dutch TTF and British NBP.

Embattled and indebted, PEMEX Raises Oilmen Salaries.

Following a series of negotiations with its oil workers union (to which most PEMEX employees belong), the Mexican national oil company indicated it agreed to increase oil workers’ wages by 3.4% and their benefits by 1.76%, despite its debt spiraling out of control.

Albemarle Buys into China’s Processing.

US-based lithium producer Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) agreed to buy China’s Guangxi Tianyuan New Energy Materials for $200 million, a lithium converter that is on the verge of launching its 25,000 tons per annum processing plant, in a bid to increase its foothold in the world’s largest demand center.

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Russia’s LUKOIL Wants More Azerbaijan.

Longtime interested in expanding within Azerbaijan, Russia’s largest private oil producer LUKOIL (MCX:LKOH) agreed to buy a 25% stake in the Shallow Water Absheron Peninsula (SWAP) project from BP, only several weeks after the UK-based firm spudded its first exploration well at North Khali.

Wind Blows Again in the North Sea.

Despite European gas prices hitting several consecutive all-time highs and nearing €100 per MWh, coal-fired generation has decreased w-o-w in Germany as wind generation moved back into its normal range, averaging 11 GWh so far this week, a 10% increase year-on-year.

CNOOC to Boost Ownership of Buzios Field.

Brazil’s national oil companyPetrobras (NYSE:PBR) is in talks with China’s CNOOC (HK:0883) for a deal that would see the Chinese firm buy another 5% stake in the Latin American country’s second-largest Buzios field for $2.08 billion.

Guyana Court Sets Exxon Hearing Date.

Guyana’s High court has scheduled a June 2022 hearing dealing with the environmental impact of ExxonMobil’s (NYSE:XOM) production offshore Guyana, with local NGOs claiming the oil industry threatens the rights of locals to a clean environment.

Saudi Aramco Gets Footing in India’s Largest Private Refiner.

Reliance Industries (NSE:RELIANCE), operator of the world’s largest refinery in Jamnagar, India, stated the candidature of Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of Saudi Aramco, meets all regulatory criteria to become independent director, in a move that is seen as a harbinger of Aramco’s buying-in into the Indian firm’s oil-to-chemicals business.

Malaysian LNG Disrupted Again by Fire.

Malaysia’s LNG terminal in Bintulu, wielding 30 million tons of LNG per annum capacity, caught fire this week however the operator Petronas claimed operations were unaffected.

China Asks for More Russian Electricity.

Attesting to China’s ongoing issues with nationwide power cuts, Russian state-owned power company Inter RAO (MCX:IRAO) claimed it had received a request from Chinese authorities to ramp up electricity exports. The current transmission lines could be delivering up to 7 billion KWh.

Rio Tinto Still Not Progressing with Resolution Copper.

The controversial Resolution Project, a prospective copper mine in Arizona to be operated by Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) that could meet 25% of the United States’ total demand for the red metal, has still seen no progress after the company’s CEO failed to meet the head of the San Carlos Apache tribe that opposes it. Related: The Energy Crisis Is Sending Oil, Gas, And Coal Prices Soaring

BP and ENI Seek $2 Billion for Angola JV.

UK major BP (NYSE:BP) and Italian firm ENI (ETS:ENI) are seeking to raise $2 billion for their oil and gas joint venture in Angola, as both companies seek to spin off carbon-emitting subsidiaries into separate entities.

China Wants More Term LNG Deals with Qatar.

CNOOC (HKG:0883) signed a new supply deal with Qatar’s QP for a period of 15 years starting from January 2022, adding 3.5mtpa LNG to the country’s aggregate contracted volumes

Jamaica Alumina Refinery Out For At Least One Year.

The Jamalco alumina refinery, operated by Noble Group with a production capacity of 1.4 million tons per annum, will not be back until September 2022 on the back of a fire last month, putting additional pressure on aluminum prices.

By Michael Kern for 

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Tesla stock surges as Hertz orders 100,000 electric cars –



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  1. Tesla stock surges as Hertz orders 100,000 electric cars
  2. Hertz to buy 100,000 Teslas for its rental fleet by next year
  3. Tesla soars on Hertz deal  CNBC Television
  4. The Hertz-Tesla Deal Will Help Normalize Electric Cars  Bloomberg
  5. Elon Musk Makes Tesla, Hertz and Bitcoin Memes Go Up  Bloomberg
  6. View Full coverage on Google News

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UBS logs surprise 9% rise in Q3 net profit



UBS posted a 9% rise in third-quarter net profit on Tuesday, as continued trading helped the world’s largest wealth manager to its best quarterly profit since 2015.

Its third-quarter net profit of $2.279 billion far outpaced a median estimate of $1.596 billion from a poll of 23 analysts compiled by Switzerland’s largest bank.

“Our business momentum, our focus on fueling growth, on disciplined execution and on delivering our full ecosystem to clients – all of this led to another strong quarter across all of our business divisions and regions,” Chief Executive Ralph Hamers said in a statement.

In each of the last four quarters, UBS saw double-digit percent gains in net profit as buoyant markets helped it generate higher earnings off of managing money for the rich.

From July through September, favourable market conditions, and higher lending and trading amongst its wealthy clientele, unexpectedly helped raise earnings over the bumper levels reported in the third quarter of last year.


(Reporting by Oliver Hirt and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Michael Shields and Edwina Gibbs)

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Analysis: Capitol Hill drug pricing reform opponents among the biggest beneficiaries of pharma funds



Democratic Party lawmakers holding up proposed drug pricing reforms are among the largest beneficiaries of the pharmaceutical industry’s push to stave off price cuts, a Reuters analysis of public lobbying and campaign data shows.

The industry, which traditionally gives more to Republicans, channeled around 60% of donated campaign funds to Democrats this year. It has spent over $177 million on lobbying and campaign donations in 2021.

Nonprofit political action committees (PACs) run by Pfizer Inc and Amgen Inc and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) were among the biggest donors, according to political spending data from OpenSecrets, formerly the Center for Responsive Politics.

Drugmakers are seeking to block laws that would give the U.S. government authority to negotiate prices for prescription medicines. Current U.S. law bars the government’s Medicare health insurance program from negotiating drug prices directly.

Many of the Democrats opposing an ambitious drug reduction bill proposed in the House of Representatives are among some of the biggest recipients of drug manufacturer lobbying funds.

They include Senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, and Representative Scott Peters of California, OpenSecrets data covering industry donations through September of 2021 shows. In all, they have received around $1 million in pharmaceutical and health product industry donations this year.

A spokesperson for Sinema did not respond to a request for comment on the funds she has received but said the Senator supports making drugs as cheap as possible for patients.

Menendez and Peters said the donations did not influence their views. All three said they are opposed to The Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which is sponsored by Democrats in the House of Representatives and also known as H.R.3.

Menendez and Peters have advocated for alternative scaled-back drug pricing reforms that would still allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices but would lead to significantly smaller savings.

Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey, who is also one of the top recipients of drugmaker donations, voted in favor of H.R.3.

Sinema, who campaigned in 2018 on cutting drug prices, told the White House she opposes allowing Medicare to negotiate them. She received about $466,000 from the industry in 2021, according to OpenSecrets data.

Peters was the top recipient of pharmaceutical industry funds in the House this year at nearly $99,550, according to OpenSecrets data. A spokesperson said Peters was not influenced by lobbying money and opposed the proposed law to protect pharmaceutical industry jobs and innovation.

Drugmakers say the Democrats’ proposed drug price overhaul would undermine their ability to develop new medicines, an argument they have used whenever price cuts are discussed by politicians regardless of political party.

“Patients face a future with less hope under Congress’ current drug pricing plan,” PhRMA Chief Executive Steve Ubl said in an August statement in reference to the proposed law. PhRMA declined to comment on donating to key Democratic opponents of the bill.

The United States is an outlier as most other developed nations do negotiate drug prices with manufacturers.

Amgen did not immediately respond to requests for comment on its donations and Pfizer declined to comment.


President Joe Biden has vowed to cut medicine costs, in part by allowing the federal government to negotiate drug payments by Medicare, which covers Americans aged 65 and older.

But prospects for major drug pricing reforms have stalled in recent weeks amid opposition from centrist Democrats including Sinema and Peters. Negotiations are ongoing, eight Democratic staffers said.

The lawmakers’ resistance comes as 83% of Americans support allowing Medicare to negotiate medicine costs, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. The United States spends more than twice as much per person on drugs as other wealthy economies, about $1,500, for a total of around $350 billion in 2019.

“Members of Congress don’t always mirror the views of the public and the pharmaceutical industry is a powerful lobbying force,” said Larry Levitt, a health economist at Kaiser.

The healthcare industry is the second largest industry lobbying group in the United States behind the finance sector. It donated more than $600 million to politicians ahead of the 2020 elections.

The pharmaceutical industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars per year to sway federal and state policy. But current Democratic leadership has the industry concerned major reforms could actually be enacted and is working harder to offer alternatives such as reducing insurance co-pays, one industry source said. “It’s been sort of a mad scramble.”

Corporations in the United States are not permitted to make direct contributions to candidates but can give money through PACs. Most corporate PACs, including Pfizer’s and Amgen’s, are run by company managers and employees.

Democrats and some drug price experts say the Lower Drug Costs Now Act could save U.S. taxpayers and consumers billions annually with relatively minor impact on innovation.

A House Oversight and Reform Committee report showed that top drugmakers have spent around $50 billion more on share buybacks and dividends than research and development between 2016 and 2020.

Lovisa Gustafsson, a healthcare policy analyst at the Commonwealth Fund, a non-profit healthcare advocacy group, said, “There are other ways that we can incentivize innovation, aside from just paying huge margins for pharmaceutical companies.”


(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein in Washington and Carl O’Donnell in New York; Editing by Caroline Humer and Bill Berkrot)

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