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Tishwash: Oil prices jump above $65 a barrel

Oil prices rose, on Thursday, to continue this week’s gains to 13-month highs, as the severe cold spell closed texas and surrounding areas.

Brent crude jumped 93 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $65.27 a barrel by 0219 GMT, hitting its highest level since January 1. West Texas Intermediate futures rose 76 cents, or 1.2%, to $61.90 a barrel, their highest level since January 1. 8 ، 2020.  link

Harambe:  CNBC: Oil gains more than 1% as Texas weather prompts U.S. production drop … Brent Crude to $65.11

(2/17/21)

Oil rose on Wednesday, buoyed by frigid Texas temperatures that curtailed production in the largest U.S. producing state, offset somewhat by reports that Saudi Arabia plans to increase output in the coming months.

Benchmark Brent crude gained 99 cents, or 1.56%, to settle at $64.34 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) cruderose $1.09, or 1.82%, to settle at $61.14 per barrel.

Oil has been supported by OPEC+ supply curbs, Saudi Arabia’s additional cuts and hopes of a demand rebound due to COVID-19 vaccinations. Historic cold weather in Texas, which supplies the bulk of U.S. crude, has propelled prices higher in recent days.

“This has just sent us to the next level,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “Crude oil WTI will probably max out somewhere pretty close to $65.65, refinery utilization rate will probably slide to somewhere around 76%,” Yawger said.

The U.S. deep freeze should disrupt production for several days if not weeks, industry experts said, as wellheads have frozen and refineries have been shut.

Brent and WTI rose more than $1 during the session, hitting their highest level since January 2020. Prices pared gains after the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia was expected to announce plans to raise output when OPEC and allied oil producers meet next month.

But Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious”.

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious,” he told an energy industry event.

The stronger price environment has put more attention on OPEC+, which groups OPEC, Russia and allied producers. It meets to set policy on March 4.

OPEC+ sources told Reuters that the group’s producers are likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices.

U.S. oil inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will be released on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, a one-day delay for each after this week’s U.S. holiday.

Analysts polled by Reuters estimated, on average, that crude stocks fell 2.2 million barrels in the week to Feb. 12.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/17/oil-markets-us-supply-disruptions-opec.html

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Tishwash:  Al-Halbousi bloc: 48 hours to decide the region’s share in the budget

Abdul Khaleq al-Azzawi, a member of the Iraqi Forces Bloc, said Thursday that discussions and political dialogues will continue to resolve the share of Kurdistan region by budget law, while pointing out that the next 48 hours will determine the share of the region.

“The parliamentary finance committee has resolved all the outstanding issues with the draft budget law and only the share of Kurdistan province remains, but discussions and political dialogues are continuing after a percentage of the region’s dues file has been resolved,” al-Azzawi told Shafq News.

“The budget law cannot be ignored in light of the current repercussions, the economic situation and the health crisis, especially after taking a series of preventive measures and imposing a curfew in the country,” he said.

“The next 48 hours will be enough to reach a political agreement and resolve the share of Kurdistan region by budget law,” said Mohammed al-Halbousi, a member of the Iraqi Forces Bloc, who is also expected to vote on the law next week.

Last December, Baghdad and Erbil reached an agreement on the budget, which provides for the region to hand over 250,000 barrels of oil per day, half of the revenues of border crossings and others to the federal government, in exchange for a budget share of 12.6 percent.

The agreement was included in the draft budget, but Shiite blocs in parliament reject the agreement, which hinders its passage in parliament.   link

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Tishwash:  The “most severe economic crisis” is coming “quickly” to Iraq: it will lead to “rebellion” and measures will not be followed t deal with it

The economic expert, Rasim Al-Aqidi, said, Tuesday, February 16, 2021, that the country is heading towards an economic crisis more ferocious than its predecessors, especially in light of the new measures and restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Health against the background of the increasing number of Coronavirus infections in the country, as he put it.

In a statement followed by Yass Iraq, Al-Aqidi said, “Indicators of the possibility of an upcoming economic deterioration in Iraq are in force and there is concern among people after the curfew measures, from the accumulation of financial and economic damages in a way that led to the loss of large segments of their savings.”

He added that “the Iraq crisis is a complex one that began with Corona and then was followed by a financial crisis as a result of the increase in the price of the dollar, so that the Corona crisis reappeared again in light of fluctuating solutions, in addition to the fact that Iraq is the only country in the region that the Corona vaccine has not yet reached,” indicating that “a step towards A comprehensive closure will be difficult to implement in Iraq because people have reached a state of insurgency even if they use force or fines. ”

And the economic expert indicated that “Iraq is heading towards an economic crisis more ferocious than the crisis that appeared with the emergence of the Corona virus,” noting that “the country is facing a difficult and dangerous situation at the same time and may lead to greater financial collapses.”

Today, Iraq recorded a significant increase in the number of Corona injuries, which reached 3,332.

Yesterday, Monday, the Minister of Health, Hassan Al-Tamimi, confirmed that the medical teams affiliated with the Ministry of Health will be deployed on the street starting today, Tuesday, and impose fines on those violating the conditions for preventing the Corona virus.

Al-Tamimi said during a press conference, “The laboratory tests that our laboratories conducted during the past hours showed that infections with the mutated strain of the Corona virus were recorded.”

He added, “This strain is rapidly spreading and requires everyone to adhere to the preventive measures and instructions of the Supreme Health and Safety Committee to prevent the spread of the strain.”

Al-Tamimi explained, “The new strain of Corona virus affects children, and we have recorded a number of infections among children.”

He pointed out that “the Ministry of Health has provided all the capabilities and requirements to limit the rapid spread of the mutated virus among citizens.”

The Minister of Health confirmed, “A decision has been taken to go to the regions and streets of the health teams, affiliated with the ministry, to impose fines on those not complying with the preventive measures.”

He pointed out that “the teams will impose a fine of 25 thousand dinars on anyone who does not wear masks, and five million dinars on mourning councils and commercial complexes.”

Al-Tamimi assured, saying: “The Ministry of Health has the capabilities to confront the mutated virus, and we hope that the citizens and concerned parties will support to control this epidemic.”

Tishwash:   Global companies contribute to the prosperity of digital assets

After electric car maker Tesla boosted bitcoin by buying about $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency, Mastercard will begin allowing its cardholders to deal with certain cryptocurrencies on its network, becoming the latest company to adopt digital assets after PayPal and others.

Partnerships

MasterCard has already partnered with some of the largest cryptocurrency companies, including Wirex and BitPay, but the e-card giant has requested a specific date for converting cryptocurrencies into paper currencies before processing payments for transactions on its network.

The company is actively engaged with central banks around the world on its plans to launch new digital currencies, according to mastercard blog last week, raj Damudharan, executive vice president of digital assets, blockchain products and partnerships, said, “The company will prioritize consumer protection and compliance in its own plans.”

Stable currencies

MasterCard will not guarantee all cryptocurrencies in the new policy, but it has allocated so-called “stable currencies,” which often link their value to other assets, such as the U.S. dollar.

“Many of the hundreds of digital assets in circulation still need to tighten their compliance procedures, so they won’t meet our requirements,” Damoudharan said, adding that “we expect consumers and the ecosystem as a whole to begin to circumvent encryption assets that provide reliability and security.”

MasterCard shares rose 2 percent to $341 at 8:28 a.m. at the start of Wall Street trading in New York earlier this week.

The MasterCard announcement comes after Tesla said it was a “very good” announcement. It invested $1.5 billion in Bitcoin Digital this week, sending the cryptocurrency to a new record high of $48,000 per piece, which was worth only a few cents in 2009.

Digital value transfer

“Our change to directly support digital assets will allow many traders to accept encryption, a capability currently constrained by the unique ownership methods of each digital asset,” said Raj Damudhar, noting that “this change will also reduce shortcomings, allowing both consumers and traders to avoid having to switch back and forth between cryptocurrencies and traditional currencies to make purchases.”

“MasterCard’s philosophy on cryptocurrencies is (choice),” said MasterCard’s Executive Vice President of Digital Assets and Blockchain Products. MasterCard is not here to recommend the introduction of cryptocurrencies or to provide investment advice, but we are here to enable customers, traders and companies to transfer digital value.”

Implicit confession

For its part, rival Visa told MasterCard that if the digital currency becomes a recognized exchange, there is no reason why the company should not add it to its network, which already supports 160 currencies.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. said it will retain, transfer and issue bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, which is an explicit recognition of the power and leadership of these cryptocurrencies.   link