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Venezuela can no loger pay its debts; oil could be seized

  (FinancialPress) — Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro finally admitted, during a Thursday televised speech, that his government can no longer keep up with the payments of its piling debt. Venezuela is now officially working towards restructuring its debt payments, as is PDVSA – the state-run oil company. Considering that the country has only $10 billion left in the bank, the $1.1 billion payment made by the oil company on Thursday is very substantial to the country‘s reserves. Maduro said in the speech that “After this payment, starting today, I decree a refinancing and a restructuring of the external debt.“ A deep humanitarian crisis is already whipping the embattled South American nation, as people experience deep shortages of food and medical supplies. Basic items ar...

Crackdown coming for TMX cannabis stocks with US interests

(FinancialPress) — Canadian cannabis companies were threatened with a potential delisting by the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX.V) yesterday, which could lead to a possible exodus to more accepting exchanges sooner than later. The news travelled swiftly among those in the cannabis sector, as the exchange put its foot down regarding activities in the United States. Citing that while many states have legalized cannabis for medicinal and recreational consumption, the TSX.V pointed to the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the U.S. federal Controlled Substances Act. “The Exchange is aware that a number of U.S. states have legalized the cultivation, distribution or possession of marijuana to various degrees and subject to various conditions. Nevertheless, marijuana remains a Sche...

Fed‘s Fischer: Pace of rate hikes is “OK“; Inflation will pick up

(FinancialPress) — The 2nd-in-command at the U.S. central bank stated that inflation will pick up shortly. In a Wednesday interview with Bloomberg TV, Stanley Fischer stated: “I still believe we will have higher inflation.” As unemployment continues to decline, he expects wages to go up “at some stage“. Fischer‘s statement is in line with what Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said recently, as she also expressed that inflation should be expected to gradually go higher. With unemployment declining, wages will go up “at some stage,” Fischer said. “You have to wait a long time, usually longer than you expected to wait for something to happen, but then, if it is a very basic force… it will show up,” Fischer said. Fischer said he was satisfied with the gradual pace of rate hikes the Fed has en...

OpEd: Where were you when Gazprom dethroned ExxonMobil?

(FinancialPress) — Isn’t this a day to remember not unlike the lunar landing or the day Kennedy was shot? Well, perhaps not that significant or is it? I’m talking about that point in time where ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) was dethroned. Dethroned you say? Well yes according to an article published in Oilprice.com. ExxonMobil has been a mainstay in that space. Who you say slayed the king?  Well that is Russian Gazprom (MCX: GAZP).  This the state sponsored energy giant which dominates Europe and is making inroads in China. Since the seventies (the rise of OPEC) we have seen where state owned, or controlled, entities have been muscling their way to gain a significantly larger voice in energy.  They have now risen to where we have little choice, but take them into account. Russia has nudged, shove...

LEAK: Huawei‘s new flagship Mate 10 flaunts 3 cameras; “real AI“

(FinancialPress)  — October 16th is marked as the date when Huawei unveils its new flagship product: the Mate 10. And ahead of their big date, the company‘s been making some bold statements that seem to be warranted, as per newly leaked info. Notorious leakster Evan Blass has gotten his hands on a new picture of the Mate 10 Pro – part of trio that will be announced with the launch. The picture showcases the 3 camera setup that had previously only been rumored, and also gives a subtle hint at the AI capabilities they have been peacocking about with their new hashtag: #TheRealAIPhone. The phone, which comes with a sleek edge-to-edge display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, is highlighted by its 3-camera build – a dual back-camera setup comprised of a 20mpx/12mpx combo, and a frontal 8mpx “selfie c...

Int‘l Coffee Day: brewing your own lattè could add to your wealth, bigly

(FinancialPress) — A computer science major from University of Oxford has laid out your way to moderate wealth: cut the lattès. It‘s a well-known fact that store-bought coffee sets you back a pretty penny over an extended period of time. Beth McMillan, a Ph.D. student in the aforementioned faculty, decided to do the actual math on the subject. Your average latte, she found, sets you back $3.19 on average. If you were to invest that, every day, into an account that pays 6% interest, for a span of 50 years, you‘d wind up with a healthy $337,942.69. In conclusion, she demonstrated that the lattè millionaire concept is a fallacy, but that‘s still a number that will get most people to reconsider their Starbucks habit. However, the computer science savant is none too impressed with the results, ...

OpEd: Oil producers gambling on price shifts and prudence

(FinancialPress) — Gambling is an interesting study of the mathematics of determining chance and the study of human psychology. The drama of self-preservation unfolding in front of us— as we watch a group act reflexively to provide for their own people and at least protect their status quo. We are today watching Saudi Arabia’s attempts to manipulate oil prices.  Saudi desires to keep their position as the “Swing Producer” of oil ,while keeping domestic issues in check. A tough, tough job indeed. All of this while trying to divest of a small share of ownership in state-owned Aramco  to keep social programs alive, and ultimately stem civil unrest. This effort is running against a push by U.S. companies compelled to drill more wells in the tight shale plays in the States, all while driv...

Kurdistan and South Sudan: A Tale of Two Breakaway Oil-Rich Nations

(FinancialPress)—A new oil-rich nation is on the verge of existence in the Middle East, after an important referendum in Kurdistan took place on Monday. A new independent state of Kurdistan could possibly be the first new nation since South Sudan’s international recognition of independence was granted in 2011. The results of the referendum for Kurdish Independence from Iraq held by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), showed overwhelming support to split from Baghdad—with nearly 93% in favour of independence. Voters answered a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question, “Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the administration of the Region to become an independent state?” Turnout for the vote was quite high, with estimates of 72% of the 8.4 million population takin...

OpEd: Oil money moves where it wants

(FinancialPress)—In the international arena of oil and gas, governments are learning a hard lesson.  Investment is fluid and very mobile.  Yesterday’s darling is tomorrows pooch.  Oh it is not sudden, but you see it happening all of the time. Only four or five years ago, the Canadian oil patch was a buzz with announcements about who was getting into the Alberta Oil Sands—Money could not move fast enough or big enough it seemed. Names like Statoil (OSL), Nexen (A wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited – Chinese Corporation), and Total SA (FP:EP) were making news.  Bold, and pricey entries into the business arena were announced with regularity.  Canada looked bright and the future was filled with very good things. As often happens, the bloom comes off of the rose. Statoil’s foray found the...

OpEd: Oil supply/demand imbalance a wild ride

(FinancialPress)—As the drama in the oil patch continues with OPEC and Non-OPEC producers trying to balance supply, demand and their own domestic issues, we get to see some things unfold. Some things are obvious as the group tries to keep supply reined in. Some things are not so obvious, like how the devastation brought on by hurricanes impacts global supply. China’s thirst for crude seems to be a good barometer. A couple of clues come to light in the last few days. Firstly, a drawdown of supplies stored at one of the large supply hubs is occurring. Total SA (FP:EP), Vitol Group and Mercuria Energy Ltd. are drawing down and selling from their stored volumes at Saldanha Bay, South Africa. The sale is suspected to be made to China. Secondly, China reported that the second of two pipelines fr...

OpEd: OPEC coalition still playing production cut poker

(FinancialPress)—OpEd—In high stakes poker, the ability to read your opponent decides who may win or who may lose. In the game that oil producing nations play today that high stakes game is being played. Kuwait is the player we focus on today. In an article published in Platts today Kuwait’s oil minister Essam al-Marzoug stated they are not ready to discuss extending its production cut agreement beyond its March expiry. Each of the Middle Eastern countries has spending they incur supported by oil exports and any reduction puts their economies at risk. Economies at risk means possible long term pain to the population. Let the game ratchet up as the balance between cheating and being caught cheating is being played. Kuwait’s economy has done well by reports on the matter. The issue was repor...

Valero refinery fire forces second shutdown in weeks

(FinancialPress) — Fire forced a shutdown of Valero Energy’s (NYSE:VLO) refinery in Port Arthur, Texas yesterday. The incident marked the second shutdown in the last three weeks, after severe damage along the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Harvey recently caused a two-week shutdown. The fire at the 335,000 barrel-per-day refinery began around midday. It’s not immediately clear whether the blaze was related to the restart process or effects caused weeks prior by the storm. Company officials assert that its emergency response team is on the scene, and that there’s been cooperation with local authorities and relevant agencies. The Port Arthur Fire Department is assisting with fighting the fire at the Valero plant, according to municipal updates. All employees have been accounted for, and there hav...

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