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Oil Rallies Despite String Of Bearish News –



Oil Rallies Despite String Of Bearish News |

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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    On Monday, OPEC’s relaxation of its historic production cuts began—and oil prices responded by falling as the market braced for more oil. Monday morning’s price slide highlights the power of OPEC, even as U.S. shale production pushed the country’s total output higher and higher over the last couple of years, causing some to debate the influence of OPEC on global oil markets. 

    OPEC+ agreed in April this year to slash its combined production by a record 9.7 million barrels daily until economies emerged from their coronavirus lockdowns in the hope that this would go hand in hand with an improvement in oil demand. Data from China gave some cause for optimism in this department, but the latest news has been discouraging, with traders having to discount their crude to sell it in the world’s largest importer of oil.

    India is not faring much better. Reuters reported this week that fuel demand in Asia’s other powerhouse was down 21 percent in July year on year and 13 percent compared to June last year. The country has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with more than 1.8 million people infected and more than 38,000 deaths. This has prompted new lockdowns, sparking fears that this could happen elsewhere as well, weighing on prices.

    Imports of crude oil into India dropped to a five-year low in June, Reuters reported this month. Before, that was okay because China’s imports of crude that month jumped to a record 12.9 million bpd. But now, with indications that China is becoming saturated with oil with demand not rebounding as fast or strong as many hoped, the Indian data becomes all the more relevant.

    “Speculators appear to be getting more nervous about the demand recovery, with the path much more gradual than market expectations coming into the second half of the year,” ING strategists Warren Patterson and Wenyu Yao said on Monday.

    Related: Oil Prices Jump On Significant Crude Draw

    “As OPEC+ begins to raise its production, the economic outlook is still uncertain and largely tied to the evolution of the Covid-19 virus,” BNP Paribas’ head of commodity strategy Harry Tchilingurian told Bloomberg. “Concerns appear to be developing that a rise in OPEC+ production will coincide with an uneven recovery in oil demand.”

    OPEC+ itself does not seem all too concerned. Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said two weeks ago that he expected a significant rebound in oil demand this month, to within 10 percent of pre-crisis levels. But Novak did not elaborate on how exactly this would happen. OPEC, for its part, began raising its production in July ahead of the expiry of the deepest cuts. According to Reuters, the cartel’s total in July was 970,000 bpd higher than it was in June, when output hit a historic low.

    And yet Saudi Arabia has said it will not increase its exports this month, suggesting that there is still a sense of caution in the group. Not without a good reason, either.

    “I think we’re witnessing kind of a high-wire … balancing act that OPEC+ is trying to execute here,” the chief strategist of JTD Energy Services, John Driscoll, told CNBC earlier this week. “Now they’ve restored the balance, prices have recovered, but they have to be very careful because they don’t want to be the victim of their own success,” he added.

    It is indeed a precarious situation and not just for OPEC. Nobody knows where demand will go in the immediate term, and there are doubts for the medium and long term as well. Uncertainty is the new normal, and this new normal is keeping prices around $40 a barrel. It will be a while before the effects of OPEC+’s relaxed cuts show up in data on demand and supply, but when they do, they are likely to be negative as the coronavirus continues raging in all of the biggest importers of oil with no end to it in sight.

    By Irina Slav for

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      Fourth patient dies as Foothills hospital outbreaks continue to grow – Calgary Herald



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      A fourth patient has died as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks in three units of Foothills Medical Centre.

      Alberta Health Services confirmed the death of the patient at the northwest Calgary hospital Saturday, the latest development in Alberta’s largest active outbreak.

      The outbreaks continued to grow Saturday, as two more patients and one more health-care worker tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In total, 20 patients and 18 hospital staff have been infected amid the outbreaks.

      COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at three units of Foothills: one in the general medicine ward as well as two cardiac units.

      As well, AHS confirmed to Postmedia Friday three additional units had been placed on “outbreak watch,” meaning they were being monitored for potential COVID-19 cases. Those units on watch include one cardiac unit and two in the general medicine ward.

      AHS did not provide an update Saturday on the number of staff members forced to isolate as a result of the outbreaks. On Friday, they said 136 staff members had been asked to quarantine.

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      COVID-19 causing stress, depression and obsessive behaviour: survey – CTV News



      EDMONTON —
      An online survey of Albertans who have reached out for help during the COVID-19 crisis suggests the pandemic is taking a toll on mental health, with increased signs of obsessive behaviour, stress and depression.

      “We did not expect people to be experiencing this level of anxiety, depression or stress,” said Vincent Agyapong, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Alberta and co-author of a newly published paper.

      Agyapong’s research has focused on the lingering mental-health effects of public traumas such as the Fort McMurray wildfire. He and his colleagues have been asked by provincial and private agencies to help design a public mental-health response to COVID-19.

      The paper, published in Environmental Research and Public Health, is an attempt to assess those needs.

      “We thought it would be useful to collect baseline data,” Agyapong said.

      In late March, the researchers contacted about 33,000 Albertans who subscribed to Text4Hope — a government initiative that sends out a daily supportive text message written by mental health professionals. They asked subscribers to complete a survey that contained standard measures of anxiety, depression and obsessive behaviour.

      About 6,000 people responded.

      The survey, funded by a group of Alberta charitable health foundations, found that about 60 per cent of respondents had become worried about dirt, germs and viruses since the COVID-19 outbreak. About 54 per cent had begun washing their hands “very often or in a special way” that could be considered a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder.

      Nearly 50 per cent were considered probable candidates for anxiety disorders and more than 40 per cent were likely to be clinically depressed. Almost 85 per cent of respondents reported moderate to high stress.

      The results were consistent between men and women. Symptoms and anxiety levels tended to increase with age and education levels.

      Agyapong is cautious about the results. The survey sample isn’t representative of the Alberta population. And some level of stress and unusual behaviour is understandable when people are losing their jobs and seeing society shut down around them.

      But something is going on, he said.

      “It’s not diagnostic, but it is indicative,” said Agyapong. “It doesn’t necessarily mean (the results) aren’t representative of what’s going on.”

      Although research suggests about one-quarter of the general population will show some obsessive compulsive symptoms at some point in life, the incidence of the actual condition is only about two per cent — much lower than the figure in Agyapong’s survey.

      Agyapong points out his findings are consistent with studies done in other countries such as China.

      He said simple measures can help — even the daily reassurance provided by Text4Hope. Preliminary results suggest that in six weeks, anxiety levels in subscribers fell by 20 per cent.

      “It may not work for everybody, but if you can get it to work for even half of those who are struggling, then it means that you don’t need more (expensive) resources at a population level,” Agyapong said.

      This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2020

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      How nine people beat Sault Ste. Marie parking tickets – SooToday



      Sault Ste. Marie City Council will be asked Monday to make last year’s Toys for Tickets campaign a permanent, annual thing.

      From Nov. 1 to Dec. 1 last year, the city conducted a pilot program in which parking fines (excluding accessible parking tickets) could be paid by providing new toys of equal or greater value to Sault Transit’s annual Stuff-a-Bus fundraiser.

      Brent Lamming, the city’s director of community services, says nine bad parkers paid tickets worth $130, providing $180 worth of toys.

      That wasn’t a stellar response, compared to other communities with similar programs.

      The City of Orillia has provided more than $35,000 in toys since it started its campaign in 2006.

      Bradford West Gwillimbury raises about $3,000 in toys each year, with 15 per cent of its tickets paid this way.

      But City of Sault Ste. Marie staff are hopeful the idea will catch on here and Lamming is recommending it be continued permanently.

      Meanwhile, on the nastier side of parking enforcement, city councillors will also be asked Monday to:

      • extend a one-year pilot for third party bylaw enforcement with Norpro Security and Investigations
      • permit a more proactive enforcement approach by the proponent to increase the service level
      • issue a request for proposal in 2021 for a three-year timeframe contingent on satisfactory results as measured by staff. If a budget increase is required, it will be brought back to council as part of the 2022 budgeting process

      Monday’s City Council meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.

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