WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Breaking through $40 oil

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Updated 05 July 2020

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Breaking through $40 oil

  • The second half of the year may witness an even higher average price

Brent crude oil rebounded to a near 20-week high at $42.80 per barrel as WTI also rose to $40.32 per barrel.

Brent averaged $40 per barrel for the month of June, almost the same as for the entire first half of the year.

Oil prices have moved in a narrow band for most of the past two months as OPEC+ output cuts achieved the desired goal of bringing stability to a market threatened by volatility.

Now that another price plunge of the kind seen in April appears unlikely, the second half of the year may witness an even higher average price.

The second half of 2020 got off to a positive start for oil exporters as global demand started to recover and floating storage also began to deplete. Moreover, positive economic and jobs data from the US added to the upward momentum, more than offsetting worries about the surge in coronavirus cases in the world’s largest economy and largest consumer of crude oil.

The US Energy Information Administration reported the first drop in crude oil inventory data in four weeks. However, stocks still stand at 15 percent above the five-year average for this time of the year at 533.5 million barrels. US refineries continue to operate at a low capacity of 75.5 percent despite the supposedly “high” demand summer for gasoline.

China crude oil imports reflected an increase in buying which coincided with an improvement in the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which followed the easing of lockdowns.

Such positive global manufacturing data was made possible by the OPEC+ output cuts which helped to balance the market.

Saudi Arabia has led from the front in making good on its commitments to cut output. It all bodes well for the second half of 2020.


Trump advisers urge delisting of US-listed Chinese companies that fail to meet audit standards

Updated 3 min 41 sec ago

Trump advisers urge delisting of US-listed Chinese companies that fail to meet audit standards

  • Growing pressure to crack down on Chinese companies that avail themselves of US capital markets but do not comply with rules
WASHINGTON: Trump administration officials have urged the president to delist Chinese companies that trade on US exchanges and fail to meet US auditing requirements by January 2022, Securities and Exchange Commission and Treasury officials said on Thursday.
The remarks came after President Donald Trump tasked a group of key advisers, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, with drafting a report with recommendations to protect US investors from Chinese companies whose audit documents have long been kept from US regulators.
It also comes amid growing pressure from Congress to crack down on Chinese companies that avail themselves of US capital markets but do not comply with US rules faced by American rivals.
“We are simply leveling the playing field, holding Chinese firms listed in the US to the same standards as everyone else,” a Treasury official told reporters in a briefing call about the report.
The US Senate unanimously passed legislation in May that could prevent some Chinese companies from listing their shares on US exchanges unless they follow standards for US audits and regulations.
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, who sponsored the bill described the recommendations as “an important first step,” but said that “without the added teeth of our bill, this report alone does not implement the requirements necessary to protect everyday American investors.”
The administration’s recommendations, if implemented via an SEC rulemaking process, would give Chinese companies already listed in the United States until Jan. 1, 2022, to ensure the US auditing watchdog, known as the PCAOB, has access to their audit documents.
They can also provide a “co-audit,” for example, performed by a US parent company of the China-based affiliate tasked with auditing the Chinese firm. However, companies seeking to list in the United States for the first time will need to comply immediately, the officials said.
A State Department official told Reuters the administration plans soon to scrap a 2013 agreement between US and Chinese auditing authorities to set up a process for the PCAOB to seek documents in enforcement cases against Chinese auditors.
China said on Friday that the two countries have “good cooperation” in monitoring publicly listed firms.
“The current situation is that some US monitoring authorities are failing to comply with their obligations, and what they are doing is political manipulation — they are trying to force Chinese companies to delist from US markets,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing.
The PCAOB has long complained of China’s failure to grant requests, giving it scant insight on audits of Chinese firms that trade on US exchanges.
The report also recommends requiring greater disclosure by issuers and registered funds of the risk of investing in China, as well as mandating more due diligence by funds that track indexes and issuing guidance to investment advisers about fiduciary obligations surrounding investments in China.
The moves come amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over China’s handling of the coronavirus and its moves to curb freedoms in Hong Kong, among other issues.