Crude oil prices fall 1% on fears for global economy

The oil supertanker Grace 1, that was on suspicion of carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria, sits anchored in waters of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. (Reuters)
Updated 05 July 2019
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Crude oil prices fall 1% on fears for global economy

SYDNEY: Crude oil prices fell on Friday as concerns over the outlook for global economic growth outweighed elevated tensions in the Middle East that could disrupt supply routes and send prices higher.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 1.1 percent at $56.72 per barrel by 0310 GMT. There was no settlement price on Thursday because of the Independence Day holiday in the United States.
Front-month Brent crude futures were down 0.1 percent at $63.25 per barrel, after closing down 0.8 percent on Thursday.
Analysts said oil was under pressure because fears over future demand amid trade disputes threatening global economic growth. But losses were checked by commitment to cut production from the world’s largest exporters — including members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers such as Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+.
“Global growth remains the main factor holding back crude prices,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior analyst at OANDA. “The OPEC+ deal will keep prices from falling too hard, but there must be an end to trade protectionism to assure the demand for energy products recovers.”
New orders for US factory goods fell for a second straight month in May, government data showed on Wednesday, stoking economic concerns.
The US Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported a weekly decline of 1.1 million barrels in crude stocks, much smaller than the 5-million-barrel draw reported by the American Petroleum Institute earlier in the week.
That suggests oil demand in the United States, the world’s biggest crude consumer, could be slowing amid signs of a weakening economy.
Countering the downward pressure, ongoing tensions in the Middle East also offered some support.
British Royal Marines seized a giant Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar on Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions, a dramatic step that drew Tehran’s fury and could escalate its confrontation with the West.


Huawei secretly helped North Korea build, maintain wireless network: Washington Post

Updated 22 July 2019
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Huawei secretly helped North Korea build, maintain wireless network: Washington Post

WASHINGTON: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., the Chinese company put on a US black list because of national security concerns, secretly helped North Korea build and maintain its commercial wireless network, the Washington Post reported on Monday, citing sources and internal documents.
The Chinese telecommunications giant partnered with a state-owned Chinese firm, Panda International Information Technology Co. Ltd., on a number of projects in North Korea over at least eight years, the Post reported.
Such a move would raise questions of whether Huawei, which has used US technology in its components, violated American export controls to furnish North Korea with equipment, according to the Post.
The United States put Huawei on a blacklist in May, citing national security concerns. The move banned US companies from selling most US parts and components to Huawei without special licenses but President Donald Trump said last month American firms could resume sales in a bid to restart trade talks with Beijing.
Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but said in a statement to the Washington Post it had “no business presence” in North Korea. It was not immediately possible to reach the Panda Group.
The Commerce Department, which also did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has investigated possible links between Huawei and North Korea since 2016 but has not publicly connected the two, the Post said.
Huawei and Panda vacated their Pyongyang office in the first half of 2016, the newspaper reported.