Oct 15, 2018

Oil market weighs U.S.-Saudi rift

Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naeimi. Photo: Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images

Crude oil prices are up Monday after the weekend's escalating rhetoric between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia over the disappearance — and apparent killing — of Jamal Khashoggi.

Between the lines: Traders don't appear convinced at this point that the rupture will cause major upheaval in oil flows. Prices for the benchmark Brent crude are higher but they're not soaring.

  • At the time of publishing, prices were up 44 cents for WTI and 81 cents for Brent.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia is the world's largest crude oil exporter and, along with the U.S. and Russia, one of the world's biggest producers. Any Saudi effort to use oil as a geopolitical weapon would rattle global oil markets and put sharp upward pressure on prices that are already near four-year-highs.

Driving the news: Over the weekend President Trump said there would be "severe punishment" if the Saudis killed Khashoggi.

  • In response, the Saudi's released a statement warning, "if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the Kingdom's economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy."
  • And on Sunday, the general manager of Saudi-owned Al Arabiya News Channel, Turki Aldakhil, published a column warning that U.S. sanctions could send oil prices to $100 per barrel, $200 or even higher.

The latest: In remarks in India this morning, Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih emphasized the kingdom's role as a reliable global supplier.

  • However, he also said that absent the Saudis' development and deployment of their spare production capacity, prices would be in the triple digits.
  • “We expect and demand that Saudi Arabia’s efforts be appreciated and acknowledged,” al-Falih said at an livestreamed energy conference there.

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Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been taken to the intensive care unit of St. Thomas Hospital in London due to increasingly severe coronavirus symptoms.

The backdrop: Johnson was admitted to the hospital on Sunday for what Downing Street called "routine tests" because his condition had not improved ten days after he tested positive for the virus. His condition has since "worsened," according to a statement, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will step into his place "where necessary."

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,309,439 — Total deaths: 73,703 — Total recoveries: 273,546Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 352,546 — Total deaths: 10,389 — Total recoveries: 18,953Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin governor issues executive order to delay in-person primary voting until June.
  4. Public health latest: Asymptomatic children could play important role in coronavirus spread, new data from the CDC shows.
  5. States' latest: West coast states send ventilators to New York and other states experiencing a more immediate need — Data suggests coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. Jobs latest: Unemployment could already be at 13% "and moving higher," per former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Wisconsin governor issues order to delay in-person primary voting until June

Tony Evers. Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order Monday delaying in-person voting for the state's primary election — currently scheduled for Tuesday — until June 9.

Why it matters: Wisconsin was slated to be the only state to vote on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic, despite having a stay-at-home order in place.