Recent Articles

Oil rallies after huge selloff, outlook weak

Filed in Prices by on 7 July 2015

Oil prices rallied on Tuesday, after one of their biggest selloffs this year, but looked vulnerable to further falls after China’s stock market took another tumble and Greece moved closer to leaving the euro zone. Investors also kept a close eye on talks in Vienna over Tehran’s nuclear programme that could lead to increased exports of Iranian crude at a time of global oversupply. Brent crude for August LCOc1 was up 70 cents at $57.24 a barrel by 0810 GMT (4.10 a.m. EDT), following a more than 6 percent drop in the previous session. On Monday, Brent briefly touched $56.38, its lowest since April 10. U.S. crude CLc1 traded at $53.10 a barrel, up 57 cents from the settlement on Monday, when it reached levels last seen in mid-April. Despite the rally, most analysts were bearish. “Macroeconomic headwinds are rising — be it in the form of the […]

Crude Creeps Higher After Downturn

Filed in Prices by on 7 July 2015

Crude oil prices rose in European trade on Tuesday, clawing back some ground after steep overnight declines , but the persistent glut in global markets is likely to keep prices under pressure. The overnight selloff in oil prices was much sharper than in other commodities, almost rivaling the price decline in the aftermath of OPEC’s decision to not intervene in oil markets last year. Nymex crude lost 7.7% on Monday, its largest one-day dollar and percentage decline since Feb. 4, while Brent crude lost 6.3%, its largest one-day dollar decline since Nov. 27, data showed. On Tuesday, light, sweet crude futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange for delivery in August traded at $52.92 a barrel at 0352 GMT, up $0.39 in the Globex electronic session. August Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose $0.52 to $57.06 a barrel. Worries over Greek debt and Iranian nuclear talks were […]

China, Greece, Iran Upend Oil’s World

Filed in Prices by on 7 July 2015

Fret not, oil bulls: Once again China is riding to the rescue. Or maybe fret even more because of that. PetroChina PTR -1.74 % saw its mainland-listed A-shares jump almost 10% Monday. What explained this stellar performance? Certainly not a jump in the price of the company’s main product: Brent crude dropped more than 3% to around $58 a barrel, its lowest level since April. Instead, investors can thank Beijing’s break-glass responses this weekend to slumping Chinese stocks, jamming funds into domestic shares, especially those of large-capitalization stocks like PetroChina. But while the Chinese authorities’ panic gave its oil champion’s shares a boost, it has the opposite effect on oil itself. China’s appetite for oil was the biggest factor keeping prices high over the past decade or so—and it is still forecast by the International Energy Agency to account for 29% of global demand growth this year. So any […]

Oil Prices Tumble Nearly 8%

Filed in Prices by on 7 July 2015

Oil prices on Monday skidded to their biggest single-day declines in more than three months, as gyrations in Chinese stocks and the prospect of more crude from the U.S. and Iran revived worries about the global supply glut. China’s stock markets have plunged in recent weeks, which sparked worries among investors about oil demand in the world’s second-largest consumer. Iranian officials also have signaled they want to export even more crude than traders had expected if diplomats can hammer out a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program in the coming days. These elements have taken on major importance as investors try to sort out whether the global oil market has rebalanced from a historic collapse. Prices fell nearly 60% after rapidly growing production from the U.S. shale boom overwhelmed the market. They rebounded by a third and stabilized throughout the spring as some investors bet that […]

Oil falls on Greece vote, China stock market turmoil

Filed in Prices by on 7 July 2015

Oil prices fell sharply on Monday after Greece rejected debt bailout terms and as China rolled out emergency measures to prevent a full-blown stock market crash, adding to worries about poor demand growth at a time of global oversupply. The result of Greece’s referendum has put in doubt its membership in the euro, pulling down the single currency EUR= against the dollar. A strong dollar tends to pressure commodities as it makes fuel more expensive for holders of other currencies. Commodities were also sucked into market turmoil that has seen Chinese shares .CSI300 fall as much as 30 percent since June due in part to an economy that is growing at its slowest pace in a generation. Chinese brokerages and fund managers have agreed to buy massive amounts of stocks to support markets, helped by China’s state-backed margin finance company, which in turn would be aided by a […]

Natural Gas Sinks on Heavy Production

Filed in Prices by on 7 July 2015

Natural gas fell to its lowest settlement in more than a week as heavy production keeps a lid on prices. The front-month August contract settled down 6.6 cents, or 2.3%, to $2.756 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Most of the session’s losses came in limited electronic trading on the Friday holiday, which were included in Monday’s settlement. Prices were nearly unchanged since electronic trading reopened Sunday evening. Late Thursday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration warned that record production from several states in the middle of the shale-drilling boom had the potential to bring hub prices down even further. Much of the new production coming from eastern states including Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia is still trapped by pipeline bottlenecks, but a series of new pipelines is going to be carrying that production out of the region soon. Many regional spot […]

Iran Says Nuclear Deal Must Include Lifting of U.N. Arms Embargo

Filed in Iran by on 7 July 2015

Iran is pushing for the United Nations’ arms embargo on the country to be completely lifted, as part of a final agreement to curb its nuclear program, a senior Iranian diplomat said on Monday. Tehran’s demand is among the final issues still being negotiated between Iran and six world powers—Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.S.—in an effort to reach a final agreement in the Austrian capital. The Obama administration has cited Tuesday as the deadline for concluding the talks. But U.S. and Iranian officials have suggested privately in recent days that the negotiations could extend to later in the week. “What has been the reason for the inclusion of the arms embargo in the first place? This is one of the important issues we are discussing,” a senior Iranian negotiator said on the sidelines of the negotiations on Monday. “There should not be a place for the […]

Israeli Gas Boon Blocks Out Solar Industry Hopes

Filed in Israel, Solar by on 7 July 2015

The residents of this village in the Negev desert have everything they need to build a solar-panel field: construction permits and loans, a contract with a company to build the field, and plenty of sun. But Tarabin village doesn’t yet have permission from the government to sell its solar power to the national grid—a crucial prerequisite for making the project economical. Dozens of communities across Israel are in the same situation, and executives and backers of the solar industry here are blaming an unlikely culprit: natural gas. Two big offshore gas finds in 2009 and 2010 shifted priorities and resources away from solar projects, they say. Shortly after, the government stopped approving the hookup of new solar projects to the grid. That has left villages like Tarabin waiting. It has also devastated the small, once-promising solar-power industry here. The proposed site for the field outside of town here […]

Iranians Divided Over Nuclear Talks

Filed in Iran by on 7 July 2015

Inside Tehran’s Mosalla mosque, a handful of prostrate worshipers were chanting “Death to America” in between prayers—a phrase that has come to epitomize Iran’s relationship with the West since its 1979 revolution. But outside Tehran’s main mosque recently, an argument erupted over the headline of a hard-line newspaper, the Martyrs of Islam, that read–“Mullahs Sign Agreement With Unbelievers.” “You can’t say that,” one worshiper said. He argued that the nation’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supported talks with world powers to lift sanctions in exchange for curbs on the country’s nuclear program. “You’ll have to complain to the editor,” the newspaper seller responded. A woman walks in front the compound of the Mosalla mosque in Tehran.. A robust debate has unfolded in the cloistered Islamic Republic as negotiators in Vienna close in on a sanctions deal this week and the country veers toward an agreement that could unlock billions […]

Saudi Arabia to Invest up to $10 Billion in Russia

Filed in Russia, Saudi Arabia by on 7 July 2015

Saudi Arabia has signed a commitment to invest up to $10 billion in Russia, the Russian Direct Investment Fund said Monday. Russia’s latest pact with its closest oil-producing rival marks Moscow’s efforts to replace Western funding, which has been hit by sanctions , just a few days before a summit of five major emerging economies, known by the acronym of Brics, to be held in Russia’s town of Ufa. The majority of the $10 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund, Public Investment Fund, will be spent on Russia’s agricultural projects, as well as on medicine, logistics, and the country’s retail and real estate sectors, RDIF chief Kirill Dmitriev told The Wall Street Journal. The agreement was reached after a “great” contribution from Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who met Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during an annual economic forum in Saint Petersburg in June, […]

U.S. Seeks Mideast Shift to Follow Iran Deal

Filed in Iran by on 7 July 2015

The White House is crafting a Middle East strategy for the remaining 18 months of President Barack Obama ’s term that would more forcefully address conflicts in Iraq, Yemen and Syria amid tensions over the conclusion of talks with Iran. U.S. and Iranian negotiators narrowed some key differences for completing a deal that would scale back Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. The talks face a Tuesday diplomatic deadline, but the two sides remained at odds on Monday over several critical elements. Any reorientation of Mr. Obama’s Middle East strategy would test the durability of his broader foreign-policy doctrine, and senior administration officials said the president is intent on cleaning up leftover messes in the region before leaving office in 2017, including relations with key allies that have been strained by the Iran talks. White House officials see the conclusion of Iran talks as a gateway […]

Iraqi Forces Plan Offensive to Retake Ramadi From ISIS

Filed in Iraq by on 7 July 2015

Seven weeks after their frenetic retreat from Ramadi, Iraqi security forces are preparing to mount a counteroffensive in the coming weeks to try to reclaim the pivotal western Iraqi city from the Islamic State, American and Iraqi officials say. Since the Islamic State seized Ramadi in May, about 2,000 militant fighters have been building up defenses — including rigging empty buildings with explosives. Struggling to regain the momentum in its campaign to “degrade” and ultimately defeat the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL, the Obama administration wants the Iraqis to retake the city before the militants dig in even more. At the Pentagon on Monday, President Obama said the fall of Ramadi was a setback that had “galvanized” the Iraqi government and accelerated an American effort that […]

Dana Gas claims headway in legal fight with KRG

Filed in Iraq by on 7 July 2015

 A multi-billion dollar dispute between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and its largest gas sector investor continues, as an international arbitration court issued a second, partial ruling on July 2.The ruling itself remains confidential, and the two sides have offered vastly different characterizations of its contents. But the stakes are high, with claims and counter-claims worth billions of dollars, and the fate of Kurdistan’s most prospective gas assets hanging in the balance.I…

Uganda: Country Fails to Lure Majors Into Oil Industry

Filed in Uganda by on 7 July 2015

Last week, the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development released a list of 19 multinational companies that expressed interest in taking up licenses to explore for oil in the Albertine graben. However, the list reveals one glaring reality: Uganda has failed to attract a major company into its oil industry. By most measures, all the companies that have expressed interest are what one would call junior firms, which are more willing to take risks with exploring for oil in wildcat wells. Many of the firms are from Nigeria, South Africa, United Arab Emirates (EAE), and USA. Petroleum directorate officials had said global oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and Shell had shown interest in coming to Uganda, after it had been de-risked with success stories from companies such as Heritage Oil and Tullow Oil. Releasing the list of companies on Wednesday, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Energy, […]

Nigeria: Oil Crash, Dwindling Revenue Threaten Nigeria’s 2015 Budget

Filed in Nigeria by on 7 July 2015

One of the first major tasks the administration of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari will have to contend with will be how to finance the 2015 budget in the wake of low oil price and rising threats from declining revenue. This becomes very critical when viewed against the backdrop of the tough economic conditions witnessed over the last couple of months in the country, especially in the area of declining crude oil and gas receipts and Federal Government’s inability to meet some of its financial obligations. Budget highlights It was bad enough that the 2015 budget was being passed more than four months into the year, and was passed by the House of Representatives some days ago at a higher spend rate. The House increased the budget to N4.493 trillion from the N4.358 trillion proposed by the Executive, without taking into consideration the prevailing volatility in crude oil prices. The House […]

Nigeria’s Government to Run Down Oil Savings Account to Pay Debt

Filed in Nigeria by on 7 July 2015

Nigeria’s government plans to run down its oil savings to offset revenue shortfalls and pay debt, such as salaries for state workers. The Excess Crude Account, which has a balance of about $2 billion, will be drawn down by $1.7 billion to allocate to the federal, state and local arms of the government, Accountant-General Ahmed Idris told reporters on Monday in the capital, Abuja. Nigeria accumulates revenue in the ECA when the oil price exceeds the benchmark estimated in the budget. Those savings have dwindled from $21 billion in 2008, according to estimates from the International Monetary Fund. A lack of savings and an almost 50 percent slump in oil prices in the past year is putting pressure on the government of Muhammadu Buhari to deliver on promises that helped to sweep him into office on May 29. Buhari, 72, said last month his government is facing severe financial […]

‘Perfect storm’ causing gasoline shortages in Mexico: analyst

Filed in Mexico by on 7 July 2015

Pemex said Monday it has planned “additional volumes of gasoline imports in order to regularize supplies” in several states following what one analyst described as a “perfect storm” of shortages involving red tape and crime. The state company traditionally prides itself in ensuring supplies of all fuels to industry and consumers. But long lines have formed in recent weeks at the pumps of the service stations that still have gasoline on sale. The problems have arisen in at least half a dozen states, though not in Mexico City, with its population of 20 million. Pemex cited several factors for the shortages, including a new billing system that has failed to register the orders made by service stations for new supplies. Another reason, in the area around the northern industrial capital of Monterrey, is that the Cadereyta refinery there is undergoing major maintenance. And in northern border states as Coahuila, […]

Report: Brazil’s Petrobras wading dark waters

Filed in Brazil by on 7 July 2015

British energy consultant Douglas-Westwood said the prospects of turning 16 billion barrels of potential Brazilian barrels of oil into reality may be dubious. Douglas-Westwood said it was questioning whether Brazilian energy company Petrobras can turn ambition into reality in deepwater prospects. “Brazil’s huge deepwater potential remains constrained with Petrobras having to revise their production target for 2020, which now forecasts domestic oil output to increase to 2.8 million barrels per day – 40 percent lower than its projection 12 months ago,” a forecast published Monday read. Petrobras last week published a management plan through 2019 that reflects the downturn in crude oil prices. The Brazilian company cut overall spending plans by 40 percent, but allocated 84 percent of that to exploration and production, […]

Eni starts production at giant Venezuelan gas field

Filed in Italy, Venezuela by on 7 July 2015

Italian energy company Eni said Monday it started production at the Perla gas field, the largest field of its kind found off the coast of Venezuela. “Perla was for Eni one of the most significant start-up projects of 2015, and the today result confirms the validity of our development model that allowed us to reach production in an industry-leading time to market,” Eni Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi said in a statement. Considered among some of the largest gas discoveries in the world, Eni said the Perla field off the coast of Venezuela holds an estimated 17 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It’s situated about 30 miles offshore in the Cardon IV reserve area, […]

China Woes Sink Commodities

Filed in China by on 7 July 2015

Commodities are on track for their worst day since November as a steep sell off in China’s stock market takes a toll on investors outlook for raw-materials demand. The S&P GSCI, an index that tracks a broad basket of commodities, was recently down 4.3% at 415.42 with oil and copper futures leading the declines. The losses come after China’s government halted new companies from selling shares to the public and announced plans to establish a fund to stabilize the country’s stock market over the weekend. The Shanghai Composite has lost more than a quarter of its value since setting a high on June 12. China’s crumbling stock market is another symptom of the transformation that is underway in the country’s economy. Beijing spent years tightening access to credit and cutting government spending in an effort to reform China’s economy away from export-led growth to internally-driven demand. But China’s economy […]

China sell-off threatens party credibility

Filed in China by on 7 July 2015

An uneven recovery of Chinese stocks following official measures to halt a three-week sell-off has prompted warnings that government credibility is at stake in the performance of the market.  Economists say that while the direct spillover from the stock market to the real economy is limited, any perceived failure of government moves could dent already slowing confidence in the broader economy.  “With authorities throwing a wide range of unprecedented tools (including pensioners’ funds) at the equity market in order to prop it up, the stakes are now significantly higher,” Andrew Wood, head of Asia country risk at BMI Research, a unit of rating agency Fitch, wrote on Monday.

Click here to view full article at www.ft.com

China stocks fall again despite support measures

Filed in China by on 7 July 2015

Chinese stocks fell on Tuesday, taking little comfort from a slew of support measures unleashed by Beijing in recent days, and unnerved by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s failure to mention the market chaos in a statement on the economy. Before the market opened, Li said in comments posted on a government website that China had the confidence and ability to deal with challenges faced by its economy, but had nothing to say on the three-week plunge that has knocked around 30 percent off Chinese shares since mid-June. After a brief pause in the slide on Monday, the CSI300 index .CSI300 of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen ended down 1.8 percent on Tuesday, while the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC lost 1.3 percent. [.SS] The ChiNext growth board .CHINEXTC, home to some of China’s giddiest small-cap valuations, fell 5.1 percent. Qi Yifeng, analyst at consultancy CEBM, said […]

CNOOC’s new output to lift China’s oil production from 2014 record

Filed in China by on 7 July 2015

China’s crude oil output looks set to rise this year from a record in 2014 as new production from third largest producer CNOOC helps to counter reductions from its two bigger rivals. Output growth from China would add to a global glut even as exporters such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia produce at near record highs and U.S. shale producers keep ramping up output. With the global oversupply as much as 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd), international crude prices have been nearly cut in half over the past year. While there is no official Chinese production outlook, information from the biggest state oil companies indicates the nation’s output will rise slightly in 2015, largely due to increased production from CNOOC Ltd, the listed unit of state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation. “What we have spent in the last few years has […]

Loonie Storm Alert Is Sounded With Oil Poised to Swamp Demand

Filed in Canada by on 7 July 2015

One of Wall Street’s favorite short bets looks ready for a comeback after the Canadian dollar plunged to its lowest point in more than two months. The currency’s fall Monday undoes all its gains since the Bank of Canada first expressed hope at its April interest-rate decision the economic fallout from crude oil’s price collapse would be short-lived. Crude prices had stabilized in recent months and helped the currency recover, but Brent crude fell below $60 a barrel Monday for the first time since April. The renewed pressure on crude prices comes after signs the fallout from their first leg down wasn’t as short-lived as the Bank of Canada thought. A report last week showed the economy contracted for a fourth straight month in April, bringing annualized growth to the slowest in two years. That’s raised doubts about the central bank’s forecasts for a strong rebound in the second […]

Refracking Is the New Fracking

Filed in Shale Oil by on 7 July 2015

The technique itself is nothing new. Oil crews across the world have been schooled on its simple principles for generations: Identify aging, low-output wells and hit them with a blast of sand and water to bolster the flow of crude. The idea originated somewhere in the plains of the American Midwest, back in the 1950s. But as today’s engineers start applying the procedure to the horizontal wells that went up during the fracking boom that swept across U.S. shale fields over the past decade, something more powerful, more financially rewarding is happening. The short life span of these wells, long thought to be perhaps the single biggest weakness of the shale industry, is being stretched out. Early evidence of the effects of restimulation suggests that the fields could actually contain enough reserves to last about 50 years, according to a calculation based on Wood Mackenzie Ltd and ITG Investment […]

Oil Shock Models with Different Ultimately Recoverable Resources of Crude plus Condensate (3100 Gb to 3700 Gb)

Filed in Oil Supply by on 7 July 2015

The post that follows relies heavily on the previous work of both Paul Pukite (aka Webhubbletelescope) and Jean Laherrere and I thank them both for sharing their knowledge, any mistakes are my responsibility. In a previous post I presented a simplified Oil Shock model that closely followed a 2013 estimate of World C+C Ultimately Recoverable Resources (URR) by Jean Laherrere of 2700 Gb, where 2200 Gb was from crude plus condensate less extra heavy oil (C+C-XH) and 500 Gb was from extra heavy (XH) oil resources in the Canadian and Venezuelan oil sands. In the analysis here I use the Hubbert Linearization (HL) method to estimate World C+C-XH URR to be about 2500 Gb. The creaming curve method preferred by Jean Laherrere suggests […]

California grid expected to maintain reliability despite drought

Filed in Climate, USA by on 7 July 2015

According to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) , the bulk power system in California is not expected to lose grid reliability this summer, despite a drought that has lowered hydroelectric generation . Overall, NERC expects more than 72 gigawatts (GW) of electric generating capacity to be available this summer in the part of the electric grid covering much of California. Summer electricity demand is expected to peak at nearly 53 GW, resulting in a reserve margin of 38% for the region. California’s hydroelectric generation varies seasonally. From January 2014 to April 2015, hydroelectricity accounted for 6% to 14% of the state’s monthly generation , averaging near 9%. graph of 2014 coal production at mines with mountaintop removal permits, as explained in the article text Since early 2014, much of California has […]

Baker Hughes wins Johan Sverdrup contract

Filed in Norway by on 7 July 2015

The Norwegian arm of oil services company Baker Hughes received a $187 million contract for onshore services supporting the Johan Sverdrup field, Statoil said. “Drilling will commence in 2016,” Oivind Reinertsen, Statoil’s senior vice president for Johan Sverdrup development, said in a statement. “Together with Baker Hughes we will quickly establish an integrated operations team, working closely with the [Norwegian] drilling and rig contractor Odfjell to plan and optimize well deliveries.” The contract for Baker Hughes runs for six years and includes four-year options for the life of field, one of the largest discoveries ever made on the Norwegian continental shelf. There was no statement on the contract from Baker Hughes, […]

In Greece, ATM Lines, Bank Transfer Limits Enter Second Week

Filed in Greece by on 7 July 2015

Many Greeks went to bed Sunday night jubilant after the runaway success of a referendum urging the government to push back in negotiations with its eurozone creditors. On Monday, they woke up to the start of a second week of restrictions on money transfers and lines outside ATMs. The capital controls, which limit withdrawals to €60 ($66) a day and forbid electronic transfers outside of Greece, are fast choking the economy. The head of the country’s banking association said banks would remain closed through Wednesday; few expect them to open soon after that. The European Central Bank tightened the screws Monday, demanding that Greek banks put up more assets as collateral to secure the emergency lending that is keeping them alive, if not fully functioning. The move doesn’t directly affect the amount of emergency loans they receive. It is unclear when they might run out of cash. There are […]

Germany Stays Tough on Debt Relief for Greece

Filed in Germany, Greece by on 7 July 2015

Germany stood firm against debt relief for Greece the day after the country’s voters issued a resounding “no” to more austerity, signaling a tough fight ahead on one of the few opportunities for compromise on any potential bailout for Athens. About 61% of Greek voters cast their referendum ballots on Sunday in support of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s stance against the pension cuts and tax increases that Greece’s creditors—the rest of the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund— say are necessary to get Greece’s economy going again. That leaves cutting debt as a possible make-or-break element of any deal to keep Europe’s currency union intact. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande, whose country has emerged as one of the few friendly voices for Greece in the eurozone, made no mention of the debt issue at a joint news conference in Paris. But opposing comments from their […]

Oil falls on Greece vote, China stock market turmoil

Filed in Prices by on 6 July 2015

Oil prices fell sharply on Monday after Greece rejected debt bailout terms and as China rolled out emergency measures to prevent a full-blown stock market crash, adding to worries about poor demand growth at a time of global oversupply. The result of Greece’s referendum has put in doubt its membership in the euro, pulling down the single currency EUR= against the dollar. A strong dollar tends to pressure commodities as it makes fuel more expensive for holders of other currencies. Commodities were also sucked into market turmoil that has seen Chinese shares .CSI300 fall as much as 30 percent since June due in part to an economy that is growing at its slowest pace in a generation. Chinese brokerages and fund managers have agreed to buy massive amounts of stocks to support markets, helped by China’s state-backed margin finance company, which in turn would be aided by a […]

Oil, Commodities Tumble as Investors React to Greek Vote

Filed in Prices by on 6 July 2015

Risk aversion dominated energy and commodity markets in Asian trade Monday as prices fell sharply, led by oil and industrial metals, on heightened fears of Greece’s exit from the eurozone. Even gold, traditionally viewed as a safe-haven by investors, failed to live up to that epithet as a broad-based selloff hit the markets. On Sunday, Greeks overwhelmingly voted against their international creditors’ conditions for further bailout aid , adding to uncertainty around the country’s eurozone membership and heightening risks of market contagion. “Markets are due for a bumpy ride as the face-off ensues,” Singapore-based Phillip Futures said. Nymex crude-oil futures for August delivery fell as much 4% in early Asian hours, before paring some losses to trade $1.83 lower at $55.05 a barrel in the Globex electronic session. ICE Brent crude fell $0.51 to $59.81 a barrel. Asian investors are also reacting to the sharp fall in oil prices […]

Stocks, euro fall but no rout after Greek ‘No’

Filed in Prices by on 6 July 2015

Shares fell in Europe and Asia, the euro stumbled and yields on weaker euro zone economies’ bonds rose after Greece overwhelmingly voted against conditions for a rescue package, but there was no rout and contagion was limited. Investors sought low-risk assets including Bunds, but the yield premium of Italian 10-year debt over Germany remained below last Monday’s eight-month highs. The euro EUR= lost half a percent to $1.1064 and 0.6 percent against the safe-haven Japanese yen EURJPY=. It fell as low as $1.0967 in Asia before rebounding, taking some support from the resignation of Greece’s outspoken finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis. Some bankers, including JPMorgan, said the vote made it more likely that Greece would leave the single currency. Other investors said the European Central Bank’s response would be key to the extent of contagion. “The market is, rightly or wrongly, taking a great deal of credence of the […]

Kerry Says Difficult Issues Still to Be Resolved for an Iran Deal

Filed in Iran by on 6 July 2015

Key elements of a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers were falling into place Sunday, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned there were important sticking points that may yet scuttle the deal. Mr. Kerry said the Obama administration could walk away from the negotiations if Iran proves “intransigent” on the remaining issues by Tuesday. That is the new deadline for a comprehensive agreement aimed at blocking Iran’s ability to move swiftly toward nuclear weapons in exchange for easing tight international sanctions. Senior U.S. and Iranian officials said advances have been made on two of the thorniest issues: the pace of sanctions relief for Iran and a United Nations investigation into charges that Tehran has secretly developed nuclear weapons technologies in recent decades. European Union foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini said late Sunday that a final agreement, which has taken more than a decade of diplomacy, […]

Kerry Warns Iran That U.S. Will Not Accept an Unsound Nuclear Deal

Filed in Iran by on 6 July 2015

Secretary of State John Kerry warned Iran on Sunday that hard choices were still needed to seal a landmark nuclear accord, and that the United States was prepared to walk away if a sound agreement could not be reached. “We are not yet where we need to be on several of the most difficult issues,” Mr. Kerry said in a statement in front of the Palais Coburg, the Vienna hotel where the talks are being held. “This negotiation could go either way.” Mr. Kerry’s remarks came two days before a target date for wrapping up the agreement and as foreign ministers from the other world powers involved in the talks are heading here for what is intended to be […]

Iran Deal Seen Imminent After Atomic Agency Breakthrough

Filed in Iran by on 6 July 2015

A nuclear deal with Iran looks imminent after a logjam over monitoring was broken and with foreign ministers set to rejoin U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a record ninth-straight day of talks later on Sunday. Kerry began morning meetings at Vienna’s Palais Coburg with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, a U.S. administration official said. The impending agreement could be announced as early as Monday, according to two Western officials who asked not to be named in line with rules. “The extension of negotiations is not a desired alternative for any of the parties,” Zarif’s deputy, Abbas Araghchi, said Saturday on state television. “All parties involved are determined to come to a conclusive end.” This is the 20th round of high-level talks since U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani opened negotiations nearly two years ago. After Kerry negotiated for eight straight days at the […]

Iran Wants to Double Oil Exports After Sanctions Lifted

Filed in Iran by on 6 July 2015

Iran wants to double its crude exports soon after sanctions are lifted and is pushing other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to renew the cartel’s quota system, a top Iranian official said. Both developments could set up a clash with Saudi Arabia, which is scrambling to raise its own export numbers and has opposed the return of production limits on individual OPEC members. Iran’s efforts underscore how the country’s full return to the export market would upend the status quo among leading producers if Tehran clinches a deal with six world powers that would lift sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear activities. The latest deadline for a deal is Tuesday and officials said the elements of an agreement were falling into place over the weekend, though there were still important sticking points that could scuttle it . Should sanctions be lifted, Iran’s deputy […]

Nuclear Inspectors Await Chance to Use Modern Tools in Iran

Filed in Iran by on 6 July 2015

On the outskirts of this graceful city, the Iran Task Force of the International Atomic Energy Agency is preparing to move quickly if American and Iranian negotiators here manage to cut a deal on Iran’s nuclear program in the coming days. The 50 or so members of the agency’s most elite inspection unit are readying an array of new surveillance gear that is far more sophisticated than anything used before in Iran. It includes laser sensors, smart cameras and encrypted networks that would let the inspectors closely monitor Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, in real time, from their command post overlooking the Danube. In many corners of the world, the agency’s nuclear sleuths went digital […]

Bomb attacks on Shiite districts kill 15 people in Iraq

Filed in Iraq by on 6 July 2015

Authorities in Iraq say bombings targeting Shiite districts have killed 15 people in and around Baghdad. Police officials say a bomb exploded Sunday night near a cafe in the Shiite district of al-Obeidi on the eastern edge of Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 14 others. Another evening bomb blast near a small restaurant killed four people and wounded 11 others in the southeastern suburb of Jisr Diyala. Earlier, a bomb went off at a bus stop in the northeastern suburbs of the capital, killing four people and wounding nine. Another bombing near a bus stop killed three people in Baghdad’s northwestern district of Shulla. Hospital officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to reporters.

Islamic State suicide bombers strike in Iraqi refinery town

Filed in Iraq by on 6 July 2015

Islamic State suicide bombers and fighters attacked the center of Iraq’s northern oil refinery town of Baiji overnight, forcing the army and Shi’ite fighters to pull back, military sources and the local mayor said on Sunday. The town of Baiji and its refinery – Iraq’s largest – have been a battlefront for more than a year. The hardline Islamists seized the town in June 2014 as they swept through much of northern Iraq towards the capital Baghdad. Control of Baiji neighborhoods has changed hands many times during the conflict. The latest Islamic State offensive comes after authorities said they controlled nearly the whole town and expected to drive insurgents from the refinery within days. The militants attacked around 8 pm (1300 EDT) on Saturday with two suicide car bombings. The blasts were followed by fierce clashes that lasted until midnight and drove the army and mainly Shi’ite Hashd […]

China stocks rise as Beijing’s emergency moves brings some relief

Filed in China by on 6 July 2015

Chinese stocks rose on Monday, as an unprecedented series of support measures unleashed by Beijing brought some relief to a market whose headlong slide over the past three weeks had raised fears about the stability of the world’s second-biggest economy. In an extraordinary weekend of policy moves, brokerages and fund managers vowed to buy massive amounts of stocks, helped by China’s state-backed margin finance company, which in turn would be aided by a direct line of liquidity from the central bank. The CSI300 index .CSI300 of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen closed up 2.9 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC gained 2.4 percent. [.SS] That represented a significant pullback, however, from an initial burst of euphoria that pushed both indexes up around 8 percent when trading began, raising questions about whether the rebound can be sustained. Oliver Barron, China policy research analyst at NSBO, […]

China’s Market Rout Is a Double Threat

Filed in China by on 6 July 2015

The Chinese stock market has lost about $2.7 trillion in value since its peak on June 12. Government measures to bolster share prices have faltered, threatening the air of invincibility surrounding the administration of China’s president, Xi Jinping. Credit European Pressphoto Agency HONG KONG — For nearly three years, President Xi Jinping of China has crushed opposition by silencing and often locking up anyone who dares defy the government. But that aura of invincibility has been shaken by stock market speculators who have made a mockery of efforts to halt a steep slide in share prices. The losses — Chinese shares have shed more than a quarter of their value in three weeks — pose an added risk, and possibly greater danger, to a global economy grappling with Greece’s difficulties in repaying foreign loans and its possible exit from […]

China’s ZTE pushing ahead with high-power wireless charging vehicle test deployment

Filed in China, Transportation by on 6 July 2015

ZTE Corporation, China’s largest listed telecommunications equipment company, is developing high-power wireless charging systems and services for electric vehicles, with a focus on public charging infrastructure. At a China-US workshop on electric vehicle standardization held in June ( earlier post ), Academus Tian, VP of ZTE New Energy Vehicle Co., presented an overview of ZTE’s efforts in wireless power transfer (WPT). Tian said that ZTE’s inductive charging WPT module has a potential capacity of up to 30 kW, with a gap of 20 cm and efficiency of up to 90%. The footprint of the device is less than 1 m 2 ; frequency is 85 kHz. ZTE, which has aggressively partnered with a number of passenger and commercial vehicles makers over the past few years, has recently launched a series of commercial vehicle (bus) WPT trials. In September, in a joint R&D project between ZTE and Dongfeng Automobile, the […]

Shell Arctic oil drilling to commence within weeks

Filed in Arctic by on 6 July 2015

Arctic oil rig Oil and gas giant Shell is expected to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic within the next two weeks. Thirty ships left Dutch Harbor in Alaska on Thursday for the Arctic to support two initial exploratory wells. The company has already committed about $7bn (£4.5bn) to the controversial project, and is confident it will find huge quantities of oil in the region. But if the initial wells do not find oil, Shell will contemplate walking away from the region entirely. The US Department of the Interior gave the green light to Shell to commence Arctic oil exploration in May this year, and the Anglo-Dutch group clearly believes it will get the remaining necessary permits in the next week or two. The initial two wells will be in relatively shallow water of about 40 to 50m deep, off the coast of Alaska, and they will use […]

Russia Seen as Biggest Oil-Market Loser When Iran Comes Back

Filed in Iran, Russia by on 6 July 2015

In Iran’s push for a nuclear deal, it’s had few better allies than Moscow. But if an agreement is reached this week, President Vladimir Putin’s regime will have at least one reason to reflect on its support. Russia, which vies with Saudi Arabia and the U.S. to be the world’s largest oil producer, has the most to lose when Iran returns to the global energy market, according to a dozen analysts and executives at oil companies, banks and trading houses interviewed by Bloomberg. “Iran is going to be competing in Europe head-on with Russia,” said Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citigroup Inc. Iran has been barred from selling oil in Europe since 2012 when the European Union imposed a ban on crude imports. Coupled with tougher U.S. sanctions making it more difficult to buy Iranian oil with […]

Russia mulls new sanctions against Western countries, Finland a possible target

Filed in Russia by on 6 July 2015

Russia will consider new selective retaliatory measures against some specific Western countries, the nation’s security chief said Friday, pointing at Finland as a possible target. The tough statement appears to herald a new round in spiraling Russia-West confrontation over Ukraine. It followed a session of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, who vowed to firmly resist Western pressure and ordered to draft a new response. Russia may, for example, revise favourable conditions for Finnish timber traders in response to Helsinki’s refusal to issue a visa to the Russian lower house speaker, the council’s secretary, Nikolai Patrushev said. He added in televised remarks that Russia wouldn’t necessarily make the move, but wants to consider this and other retaliatory measures. Finland has […]

With ‘No’ Greek Vote, Tsipras Wins a Victory That Could Carry a Steep Price

Filed in Greece by on 6 July 2015

Now comes the hard part. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras may have won a victory at home on Sunday as the Greek people dealt a resounding “no” to European austerity policies. But Greece risks paying a high price for that decision. While the vote sharply consolidated Mr. Tsipras’s popularity, that could fade quickly if he leads the country deeper into bankruptcy and financial chaos, creating a new round of instability with consequences for Greece and the broader European project. If anything, Mr. Tsipras is likely to find it harder, rather than easier, to strike a new financing deal quickly with European creditors, heightening the risk that Greece will careen out of the eurozone unless Europe decides to give Mr. Tsipras and his defiant nation […]

Yanis Varoufakis Abruptly Resigns as Greek Finance Minister

Filed in Greece by on 6 July 2015

Greece’s combative finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, who took a strong stand in demanding that creditors write off some of his country’s debts, abruptly resigned on Monday morning. Mr. Varoufakis had played a central role in rallying votes for a resounding no on a referendum on Sunday that asked Greeks whether they were willing to accept an arrangement with creditors that would require considerable further austerity, such as pension cuts. Mr. Varoufakis had threatened last week to resign in the event of a yes vote, and his decision to step down after he and his allies prevailed in the referendum was unexpected. His resignation appeared to be the first move at conciliation toward Greece’s creditors […]

Eurozone Central Bank Now Controls Destiny of Greece’s Battered Banks

Filed in Greece by on 6 July 2015

Now that Greek voters have said no to the economic demands of its international creditors, the fate of the country’s struggling banks is in the hands of the European Central Bank . Greece ’s banks, closed since last Monday because they are perilously low on cash, have been kept alive in recent weeks by emergency loans from the European Central Bank. On Monday, the central bank’s policy makers plan to convene to determine how much longer they are willing to prop up the Greek banks, now that the country has essentially said no to the unpopular dictates of the other eurozone countries. No economy can function properly without banks; if they topple, so would the Greek […]

Greek bank closures may deplete supermarket shelves

Filed in Greece by on 6 July 2015

A halt to international payments from Greek bank accounts is hurting Greek businesses and their foreign partners and threatening supplies of vital goods like food and clothing into the debt-crippled country. With banks closed, people limited to withdrawing 60 euros ($66.62) per day and Greece’s future in the euro possibly hinging on a referendum on Sunday, Greek shoppers have been stocking up on essentials like sugar, flour, pasta, rice, beans, canned and paper goods. Shelves remain full for now as retailers have inventories in storage. But capital controls put in place after Greece defaulted on a loan to international creditors have essentially frozen companies’ cash flows and credit. This has severely […]