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Oil tanks on fears of US, Mexico trade war

Oil prices are on track for their largest monthly decline in six months. The Trump administration exacerbated the selloff with another threat of trade escalation.

Trump threatens Mexico with 5 percent tariffs. President Trump threatened to slap a 5 percent tariff on all goods imported from Mexico beginning on June 10. In a tweet, he said that the tariff would gradually increase over time unless illegal immigration stopped. The announcement is also a serious blow to attempts to pass the NAFTA 2.0 agreement, which needs be ratified in the national legislatures of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. “The decision, understandably, is sending shivers down investors’ spines,” PVM said in a note. “U.S. refiners import roughly 680,000 barrels per day of Mexican crude. The 5% tariff adds an extra $2 million to the cost of their daily purchases.”

Fed under pressure to cut rates. The escalating trade war, which may now include Mexico, has led bond investors to bet that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates. If the trade war is not resolved soon, “the patience needed to keep from easing will be severely tested sometime in the months ahead,” Steven Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard, told the Wall Street Journal. For now, the central bank is not making any moves.

Trump to lift summer E15 ban. The Trump administration has approved the sale of higher concentrations of ethanol in summer months, a move that will be welcomed by ethanol producers and American farmers, already battered by the trade war. Until now, the 15 percent ethanol mix was only allowed to be sold eight months out of the year over concerns about smog in summer months. The oil and refining industries oppose the move and will likely launch legal challenges.

OPEC output falls by 60,000 bpd in May. A Reuters survey puts OPEC’s production at 30.17 million barrels per day in May, down 60,000 bpd from April and the lowest figure in nearly four years. Saudi Arabia increased output by 200,000 bpd, but Iran lost 400,000 bpd.

U.S. delays petrochemical sanctions on Iran. In what is being interpreted as an attempt to dial back tensions, the Trump administration has delayed sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical sector.

Oil majors won’t bailout struggling Permian drillers. The oil majors have said that they will not overpay for indebted and struggling drillers in the Permian. There is “not always alignment among buyers and sellers,” ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) CEO Darren Woods said Wednesday, a diplomatic way of saying that smaller companies are demanding too much. He suggested that these companies will be squeezed over time and will lower their expectations.

U.S. cities aiming for 100% renewables could quadruple. The number of people living in cities that have 100 percent renewable energy is set to quadruple this year.

U.S. aims for Arctic lease sale this year. The U.S. Department of Interior said that it is determined to sell oil leases for the first time in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this year. Interior is trying to move quickly through the process. But environmental groups promise legal challenges. “If they really stick with that timeline, then they’re likely going to be violating several environmental laws,” said Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, according to Reuters. “This is being rushed faster than any area we’ve ever seen in the American Arctic and almost any area in the United States. It’s about meeting a political clock.”

Exxon and Chevron shareholders reject climate resolutions. Shareholders of ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX) rejected resolutions at their annual general meetings that would call for more climate change oversight as well as corporate governance changes.

Bulgaria to buy U.S. LNG. Bulgaria has agreed to buy LNG from the U.S. for the first time.

Democratic candidates take no fossil fuel money pledge. A growing number of Democratic candidates for president are pledging to take no money from fossil fuel companies.

U.S. CO2 emissions grew by 2.7 percent in 2018. U.S. CO2 emissions jumped by 2.7 percent last year, the second largest annual increase since 2000. The increase shows how U.S. climate efforts are falling short.

The top 10 energy companies plan $1 trillion in investment. The top 10 energy companies are planning $1 trillion in investment through 2030, according to Bloomberg. Some of those investments could be at risk as governments tighten the screws on climate policy.

Devon Energy to sells off Canadian assets. Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN) sold off its $2.8 billion Canadian portfolio to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (NYSE: CNQ).

Renewable energy to beat most fossil fuels on price. Onshore wind and solar PV will be consistently cheaper than from any fossil fuel source as soon as 2020, even without subsidies.

Chevron sells North Sea stakes. Chevron (NYSE: CVX) is largely pulling out of the North Sea in order to focus on U.S. shale. The oil major agreed to sell most of its North Sea assets to Delek for $2 billion.

White Star Petroleum to file for bankruptcy. White Star Petroleum will file for bankruptcy protection. The latest casualty in the shale patch fell victim to the oil price collapse in late 2018, forcing it to stop drilling new wells this year.

ExxonMobil to return staff to Iraq. After evacuated staff from southern Iraq a few weeks ago, ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) said it would return workers to the field following security guarantees.

-OilPrice.com

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