WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: A demand rebound?

The sun sets behind a crude oil storage facility on May 4, 2020 in Cushing, Oklahoma. (AFP / Johannes Eisele)
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Updated 10 May 2020

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: A demand rebound?

Brent crude prices rose for the second consecutive week, finishing above $30 per barrel. We saw the impact of the latest OPEC+ production cut deal as May barrels started loading and helped to re-balance the market. It means that prices almost doubled in the space of two weeks as the market probed a solid floor for settlement as it slowly edged higher.

The upward movement came despite grim economic news from the US, which lost a staggering 20.5 million jobs in April, pushing the unemployment rate to 14.7 percent — the highest since the Great Depression.

As global supply and demand started to realign, physical prices have improved, helped by signs of a Chinese economic recovery. At the same time, the easing of lockdowns in the US has also improved the demand outlook. US drivers consume about 10 percent of global gasoline supplies daily so the easing of restrictions there is a significant development for the crude market — especially as it coincided with a massive drop in US crude production, that fell to 11.9 million barrels a day.

Baker Hughes has reported that the number of oil and gas rigs in the US fell to their lowest level since 1940. 

Oil and gas rigs fell to 374, with the total tally sitting at 614 fewer than this time last year.

The period of the “super contango” in the Asian oil benchmark could also be over as more countries ease lockdown measures.









Former Wirecard COO Marsalek’s entry into Philippines forged, justice minister says

Updated 04 July 2020

Former Wirecard COO Marsalek’s entry into Philippines forged, justice minister says

  • Immigration officers who inputted the fictitious entries have been relieved of their duties and face administrative sanctions

MANILA: Immigration records showing Wirecard’s former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek arrived in the Philippines on June 23 and departed for China the next day were falsified, Philippines Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Saturday.
Guevarra said the immigration officers who inputted the fictitious entries have been relieved of their duties and face administrative sanctions.
“The investigation has now turned to persons who made the false entries in the database, their motives and their cohorts,” Guevarra told reporters.
Marsalek, 40, was fired as COO of the German firm on June 18 after auditor EY refused to sign off on Wirecard’s accounts. The company, once one of the hottest fintech companies in Europe, collapsed a week later owing creditors almost $4 billion after disclosing a $2.1 billion hole in its accounts that auditor EY said was the result of a sophisticated global fraud.
The missing money was purportedly held in escrow accounts at two Philippine banks, which have denied any links with the Wirecard.
Guevarra said it was possible Marsalek could be in the country, telling Reuters, “Notwithstanding the Bureau of Immigration report, I do not totally discount the possibility that Marsalek may be in the Philippines.”
“We are an island country, and there are backdoors through which undocumented foreigners may slip through,” he said.
Munich prosecutors obtained arrest warrants against ex-CEO Markus Braun and Marsalek on June 22. Braun turned himself in that day, but Marsalek has disappeared and his mobile number is no longer in service.
Both are suspected of market manipulation, false accounting and fraud, while the circle of suspects has widened to the entire management board of Wirecard.
Marsalek’s lawyer has declined all requests for comment.
Marsalek had oversight of Wirecard’s Asian operations, which are at the center of suspicion by auditors and prosecutors of attempts to falsely inflate cash balances, turnover and profit.
Guevarra said earlier immigration records had shown that Marsalek had been in the Philippines from March 3 to 5.