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Amin Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco. Photo: -/AFP via Getty Images

Saudi Aramco plans to cut 2020 spending by billions of dollars below last year's levels as the spread of the novel coronavirus craters global oil consumption and pushes down prices.

Why it matters: Aramco is the world's largest oil-producing company. Sunday's announcement underscores how COVID-19 and the oil market's upheaval is affecting the energy landscape.

The big picture: The company said capital spending this year would range from $25 billion to $30 billion. That's down from almost $33 billion last year and, as Bloomberg notes, a sharp revision from prior plans to spend $35 billion–$40 billion in 2020.

  • “The recent COVID-19 outbreak and its rapid spread illustrate the importance of agility and adaptability in an ever-changing global landscape," president and CEO Amin Nasser said in a statement alongside Aramco's 2019 financial results.

By the numbers: Aramco on Sunday said its full-year profit in 2018 was $88 billion, compared to $111 billion the previous year.

  • That's "primarily due to lower crude oil prices and production volumes," though declining margins in its refining and chemicals business played a role too, the company said.
  • Nonetheless, Reuters points out that Aramco "remains the world’s most profitable company, beating Western oil majors such as Exxon Mobil Corp, and Apple Inc, which made $55 billion in its last financial year that ended in September."

What's next: Aramco, which began selling shares on the Saudi's domestic stock exchange last year, is cutting prices and planning to boost oil supplies to the market this year.

  • Those plans follow this month's collapse of OPEC's joint production-limiting agreement with Russia, which is prompting a push for market share at lower prices.

Go deeper: Saudi Aramco’s profits slip as oil prices Fall (New York Times)

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  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 7 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Ina Fried, author of Login
9 hours ago - Technology

Federal judge halts Trump administration limit on TikTok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction preventing the Trump administration from imposing limits on the distribution of TikTok, Bloomberg reports. The injunction request came as part of a suit brought by creators who make a living on the video service.

Why it matters: The administration has been seeking to force a sale of, or block, the Chinese-owned service. It also moved to ban the service from operating in the U.S. as of Nov. 12, a move which was put on hold by Friday's injunction.