Crude drops as trade war rumbles on and output swells

An oil terminal in Novorossiysk, Russia. Oil prices fell by 2 percent on Tuesday, weighed down by rising OPEC and Russian oil output. (Reuters)
Updated 04 September 2019

Crude drops as trade war rumbles on and output swells

LONDON: Oil prices fell by 2 percent on Tuesday, weighed down by rising OPEC and Russian oil output as well as the protracted US-China trade dispute that has dragged on the global economy. US crude was down $1.26 at $53.84 a barrel while Brent crude was down 96 cents at $57.70 in
afternoon trade.

The US this week imposed 15 percent tariffs on Chinese goods and China began to impose new duties on a $75 billion target list in a trade war that has rumbled on for more than a year. Though the trade conflict has intensified, US President Donald Trump said both sides would meet for talks this month.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s economy expanded less than expected in the second quarter, with exports revised down in the face of the US-China dispute, central bank data showed on Tuesday.

FASTFACT

Russian oil production in August rose to 11.294 million barrels per day (bpd) hitting its highest since March.

A move on Sunday by Argentina to impose capital controls also cast a spotlight on emerging market risks. “Oil will struggle to make substantial headway topside this week with no progress on trade talks or meetings even, soft data from Asia and a possible cracking of OPEC’s resolve to control production,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Output OPEC rose in August for the first month this year as higher supply from Iraq and Nigeria outweighed restraint by Saudi Arabia and losses caused by US sanctions on Iran. Russian oil production in August rose to 11.294 million barrels per day (bpd), topping the rate cap pledged by Moscow in a pact with other producers and hitting its highest since March, data showed on Monday.

“What’s bad for the outlook for global growth is bad for oil at the moment and only big draws in inventories can delay that drift lower,” said Greg McKenna, strategist at McKenna Macro.


New emissions blow for VW as German court backs damages claims

Updated 26 May 2020

New emissions blow for VW as German court backs damages claims

  • Scandal has already cost firm more than €30 billion; ruling serves as template for about 60,000 cases

KARLSRUHE, Germany: Volkswagen must pay compensation to owners of vehicles with rigged diesel engines in Germany, a court ruled on Monday, dealing a fresh blow to the automaker almost 5 years after its emissions scandal erupted.

The ruling by Germany’s highest court for civil disputes, which will allow owners to return vehicles for a partial refund of the purchase price, serves as a template for about 60,000 lawsuits that are still pending with lower German courts.

Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 to cheating in emissions tests on diesel engines, a scandal which has already cost it more than €30 billion ($33 billion) in regulatory fines and vehicle refits, mostly in the US.

US authorities banned the affected cars after the cheat software was discovered, triggering claims for compensation.

But in Europe vehicles remained on the roads, leading Volkswagen to argue compensation claims there were without merit. European authorities instead forced the company to update its engine control software and fined it for fraud and administrative lapses.

Volkswagen said on Monday it would work urgently with motorists on an agreement that would see them hold on to the vehicles for a one-off compensation payment.

It did not give an estimate of how much the ruling by the German federal court, the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), might cost it.

Volkswagen shares were 0.5 percent lower. The BGH’s presiding judge had signaled earlier this month he saw grounds for compensation.

Costs mount

“The verdict by the BGH draws a final line. It creates clarity on the BGH’s views on the underlying questions in the diesel proceedings for most of the 60,000 cases still pending,” Volkswagen said.

A lower court in the city of Koblenz had previously ruled the owner of a VW Sharan minivan had suffered pre-meditated damage, entitling him to reimbursement minus a discount for the mileage the motorist had already
benefited from.

The court at the time said he should be awarded €25,600 for the used-car purchase he made for €31,500 in 2014.

“We have in principle confirmed the verdict from the Koblenz upper regional court,” said BGH presiding federal judge Stephan Seiters.

Volkswagen had petitioned for the ruling to be quashed altogether by the higher court, while the plaintiff had appealed to have the deduction removed.

A Volkswagen spokesman said that outside Germany, more than 100,000 claims for damages were still pending, of which 90,000 cases were in Britain.

The carmaker also said it had paid out a total of €750 million to more than 200,000 separate claimants in Germany who had opted against individual claims and instead joined a class action lawsuit brought by a German consumer group.

The carmaker said last month it would set aside a total of 830 million for that deal.

In a separate court, Volkswagen agreed last week to pay €9 million to end proceedings against its chairman and chief executive, who were accused of withholding market-moving information before the emissions scandal came to light.