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Oil Prices Stuck In Limbo As Uncertainty Mounts – OilPrice.com

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Oil Prices Stuck In Limbo As Uncertainty Mounts | OilPrice.com

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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    Oil prices are unlikely to move much higher from the current levels in the low $40s, at least not for the rest of the year, a growing number of analysts and industry professionals say.  Oil has been stuck in a narrow trading range in the low $40s more or less since July after the market began to worry that even with large supply cuts from OPEC+ and curtailments in the U.S., demand will not recover fast and strong enough to draw down the record-high inventories that had built in the second quarter.   

    This year has been a year of uncertainties on all markets, including the oil market, but it looks as if uncertainties have grown since we entered the second half of 2020, instead of abating as analysts had predicted earlier this year. 

    Uncertainties about a second wave of COVID-19 and renewed restrictions on social gatherings in several major European economies are weighing on oil market sentiment. China’s ability to continue propping up oil demand with record-high crude oil purchases is also called into question. The U.S. election is another major uncertainty and whatever the result, the markets, including the energy market, will be impacted.

    In recent weeks, uncertainties over when (if ever) oil demand will return to the pre-crisis levels have increased with demand recovery basically stalled and China appearing to slow down its oil imports.

    A lot of the major players on the oil market, including some of the largest independent oil traders such as Trafigura and Mercuria, have been bearish on oil near term, expecting global stocks to build in the fourth quarter – due to weak demand – before starting to decline. The biggest independent oil trader in the world, Vitol Group, however, was quite bullish two weeks ago. The world’s stockpiles of oil have diminished by around 300 million barrels since peaking at 1.2 billion barrels early this summer, and are expected to decline by another 250 million-300 million barrels between September and December, Vitol’s chief executive Russell Hardy told Bloomberg in mid-September.  

    Related: China’s Crude Oil Imports Are Slowing Down But another executive at Vitol, executive committee member Chris Bake, said on Gulf Intelligence’s weekly energy podcast on Sunday that demand is looking more uncertain amid a “huge amount of uncertainty” about COVID-19, economies, monetary stimulus, and oil demand. 

    “The conventional wisdom going into the fourth quarter was that things were going to improve,” Bake said, noting that “it doesn’t feel like we have a huge catalyst” for the rest of the year. 

    According to Bake, there is a “big push-pull between the demand and supply side, and the demand side right now looks very uncertain; the supply side probably will need to adjust to that.”

    The deteriorating demand outlook comes just as OPEC+ is preparing to further ease – as of January – the current production cuts, leading to speculation that the group is set for a turbulent dialogue in the fourth quarter about its supply-fixing decisions. 

    There is uncertainty about OPEC+ “holding the line without making another move,” Vitol’s Bake said on the Gulf Intelligence podcast. 

    Related: Oil Bulls Return As OPEC+ Reassures Markets

    Many economies in Europe also face increased uncertainty with surging COVID-19 cases. The City of London’s biggest employers, banks, had just started slowly returning staff to offices, encouraging employees to drive to work with cash incentives or paying their taxi fares, when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week that everyone who can, should work from home. Banks reversed plans for employees returning to the office, stricter local restrictions are imposed in some areas in the UK, and London faces a local lockdown with a possible ban on household mixing if it wants to avoid a full lockdown. France also announced stricter restrictions last week, while the Spanish capital Madrid is also tightening restrictions but stopping short of a city-wide lockdown. 

    No government in Europe is inclined to repeat a nationwide lockdown, looking to avoid another devastating economic hit, but local restrictions are already happening. 

    The uncertainty isn’t helping either consumer confidence or the economy and is stalling oil demand recovery. At the same time, supply is set to grow from Libya after a tentative truce and the re-opening of some of the ports.    

    If the huge amount of uncertainty in demand persists in the fourth quarter, the OPEC+ group may be forced to review its supply-fixing policy, potentially fracturing the alliance, again. 

    By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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      Short-video app Quibi shutting down just months after launch – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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      Tali Arbel, The Associated Press


      Published Wednesday, October 21, 2020 8:43PM EDT

      Short-video app Quibi said it is shutting down just six months after its early April launch, having struggled to find customers.

      The company said Wednesday that it would wind down its operations and plans to sell its assets. “Quibi is not succeeding,” its top executives bluntly declared in a letter posted online.

      The video platform – designed for people who were out and about to watch on their phones – was one of a slew of new streaming services started to challenge Netflix over the past few years, most of which were part of much bigger tech and entertainment companies, like Apple and Disney.

      Quibi, short for “quick bites,” raised $1.75 billion from investors including Hollywood players Disney, NBCUniversal and Viacom and its leadership were big names: entertainment industry heavyweight Jeffrey Katzenberg and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman.

      But the service struggled to reach viewers, despite a 90-day free trial, as short videos abound on the internet and the coronavirus pandemic kept many people at home. Part of the appeal of the service, which started at $5 a month, was supposed to be that you could watch short videos while out, without access to a TV. Being stuck at home made TV more desirable than watching on a phone, and Quibi only later and slowly rolled out TV options. Katzenberg blamed the pandemic for Quibi’s woes.

      Katzenberg’s connections helped line up stars to make and star in its videos, including Reese Witherspoon, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Lopez. There was a short version of “60 Minutes” and reality shows. The shows never achieved big name recognition, although the platform scored some Emmys earlier this year.

      Why did it fail? “Likely for one of two reasons: because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing,” Katzenberg and Whitman wrote. “Unfortunately, we will never know but we suspect it’s been a combination of the two.”

      Quibi doesn’t release subscriber figures. Mobile research firm Sensor Tower estimates 9.6 million installations of Quibi’s mobile app since its launch; that doesn’t mean those are actually users. Other streaming services have benefited from having customers stuck at home during the pandemic. One of the most successful new services, Disney Plus, has more than 60 million subscribers. Netflix has had a blockbuster year.

      “While we have enough capital to continue operating for a significant period of time, we made the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our talented colleagues with grace,” Whitman, the CEO, said in a statement.

      The company said that money from the sale of its assets will go toward paying off liabilities and whatever remains will be returned to investors.

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      Quibi app to shut down – Entertainment News – Castanet.net

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      Movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile streaming service, Quibi, is shutting down, six months after it launched with original series and films featuring Anna Kendrick and Sophie Turner.

      Katzenberg and his partner Meg Whitman are expected to confirm their decision to wind down the short-form video service this week after speaking with investors, according to Deadline.

      The service launched in April just after COVID-19 shut down Hollywood.

      Initial pay-to-view items on the service included projects directed by heavyweights Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, and Antoine Fuqua, while Kendrick’s series Dummy and Kiefer Sutherland’s remake of The Fugitive became quick hits. The service also produced the Emmy-winning series #FreeRayshawn.

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      Quibi is shutting down just six months after launching – MobileSyrup

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      Surprise: Quibi is dead.

      Quibi, a short form mobile-focused video streaming service that struggled to find an audience amid a global pandemic where many people are working from home, is shutting down, according to The Wall Street Journal.

      Given the platform was available for only six months, this makes it one of the shortest-lived streaming services ever.

      Several factors likely played into Quibi’s untimely demise, including that a mobile-focused streaming service doesn’t make sense when people are home, that none of its content was really compelling enough to attract returning subscribers, and the fact that you can watch short-form video content on platforms like YouTube and TikTok entirely for free.

      It’s unclear what will happen to Quibi’s lineup of celebrity-filled content. The Information initially reported co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is also the former Walt Disney Studios chairman, attempted to sell Quibi’s content to Facebook and NBCUniversal, but ultimately failed.

      Quibi launched in Canada on April 6th for $6.99 per month for a subscription tier that featured ads and $9.99 per month to remove ads. The platform forged a partnership with Bell that included exclusive sports and news content from CTV News and TSN. Bell’s Quibi initiatives will likely be cancelled entirely. MobileSyrup has reached out to Bell for more information.

      It’s also worth noting the report of Quibi’s shutdown comes just two days after Bell Media president Randy Lennox announced that he’s departing the company. Lennox was reportedly the driving force behind Bell’s investment in Quibi.

      Quibi allowed viewers to watch content in both landscape and portrait mode. While the platform was initially off to a strong start, it struggled to keep subscribers around after it’s free trial ended. Some reports indicated that Quibi lost 92 percent of its early users following the end of the platform’s free trial.

      The service eventually launched apps for Apple TV, Android TV and Apple TV, moving beyond its mobile-focused Android and iOS apps.

      Notable content included Let’s Roll with Tony Greenhand, a show about a man that rolls ornate marijuana spliffs for celebrities, Bad Ideas with Adam Devine, 50 States of Fright, Chrissy’s Court with Chrissy Teigen and several more.

      For a complete list of Quibi’s content, follow this link.

      It remains unclear when Quibi will remain operational until or what will happen to users that have paid a subscription fee. MobileSyrup has reached out for more information from Quibi.

      Update 10/21/2020 6:43pm: Quibi has confirmed that it’s shutting down in a press release. It says that “following the company’s wind down and satisfaction of all liabilities, the remaining funds will be returned to its investors as specified in the company’s operating agreement. ”

      “We have assembled a world-class creative and engineering team that has created an original platform fueled by groundbreaking technology and IP, enabling consumers to view premium content in a whole new way. The world has changed dramatically since Quibi launched and our standalone business model is no longer viable. I am deeply grateful to our employees, investors, talent, studio partners and advertisers for their partnership in bringing Quibi to millions of mobile devices,” said Katzenberg in the press release.

      Quibi says that it’s working with “legal and financial advisors” to “identify a suitable buyer or buyers for its assets.”

      Regarding subscribers, Quibi says that it’s sending out notifications regarding the final date they will be able to access the platform.

      Further, Bell says that it’s “in touch with Quibi management and discussing next steps.”

      Source: The Wall Street Journal 

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