OPEC and Other Oil Producers Strike a Deal to Raise Output: Live Updates

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Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, has argued that increasing oil production too quickly would be risky. Credit… via Reuters.

OPEC and its allies, including Russia, announced Thursday that they have agreed to gradually increase oil production over the next three months.

By agreeing to a modest increase in production, Saudi Arabia appears to have succumbed to pressure from Russia and other producers to increase production to take advantage of what they see as a likely global thirst for oil.

The phone call that the new US Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, had Wednesday with Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, may also have had some influence.

We have reaffirmed the importance of international cooperation to provide consumers with affordable and reliable energy sources, Granholm wrote on Twitter.

Prince Abdulaziz has been one of the main advocates of restraint in ramping up production, warning of the risks of flooding a still weak market. Some analysts also say the Saudis are looking for higher prices.

In his remarks at the start of the meeting, Prinz appeared to favor maintaining existing production limits, which prevent about 8 million barrels of oil a day, or about 9 percent of global consumption, from reaching the market.

The reality is that the world situation is far from balanced and the recovery is far from complete, said Prince, who chairs a meeting of the group known as OPEC Plus.

As long as there are no clear signs of recovery, we should maintain this cautious stance, he added.

France’s reinstatement of a nationwide blockade, announced Wednesday, underscores lingering doubts about the speed of recovery from the pandemic, as well as the rise in the number of cases in the United States.

After a modest rise when the Suez Canal was blocked by a cargo ship recently, oil prices are losing momentum. Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was trading around $59.50 a barrel on Thursday.

But other producers, including Russia and the United Arab Emirates, are pushing to increase production.

К : Ella Coese-Data delayed by at least 15 minutes – Source: FactSet

The rally on Wall Street continued Thursday as technology stocks extended their gains. Shares in Europe and Asia also rose as traders focused on optimism about the economic recovery.

Around noon, the S&P 500 was up 0.9% at a record high, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.5%.

Bond yields have continued to fall from their recent 14-month highs. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond fell to 1.69%.

According to the Institute for Supply Management, industrial activity reached its highest level since 1983, contributing to economic optimism.

New data released on Thursday showed a slight increase in jobless claims, although data from the previous week showed the number of jobless claims was at its lowest level since the start of the pandemic. On Friday, the Department of Labor will release its monthly labor market report for March.

Biden infrastructure plan

  • On Wednesday, President Biden outlined a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that provides funding for a range of measures, including repairing roads and bridges, building affordable housing and long-term care facilities, and expanding broadband Internet access. That will be paid for by raising corporate taxes, reversing some of the cuts made by his predecessor, President Donald J. Trump. Trump.
  • The infrastructure plan also includes about $50 billion for the semiconductor sector, where a global chip shortage has disrupted the auto industry. Shares of Idaho-based chipmaker Micron Technology rose about 3.5 percent.
  • The plan provides $174 billion to encourage the production and purchase of electric vehicles. Shares of Tesla rose as much as 2.4 percent before falling into negative territory, while ChargePoint Holdings, which operates an extensive network of charging stations for electric vehicles, jumped more than 5 percent to record a gain of 19 percent on Wednesday.

Elsewhere on markets

  • Most European stock market indexes were trading higher, although more closures were announced in the region. In France, the restrictions have been extended to other regions and schools will remain closed for several weeks. In Italy, the closure will last until the end of April. However, a series of reports published Thursday showed that manufacturing activity in Europe is recovering.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 index and the French CAC 40 gained 0.6%, while the German Dax 100 rose 1%.
  • QuantumScape, a California-based startup working on technology that could make batteries cheaper, said it has met a technical condition that paves the way for Volkswagen’s $100 million investment. QuantumScape’s shares rose nearly 10%.
  • On Friday, markets in the United States, Europe and some other countries will be closed for Good Friday.

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Elliott Management has tried to evict Twitter boss Jack Dorsey from the company he co-founded.Credit…U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, via Reuters.

The activist investor who last year pushed for the removal of Jack Dorsey as Twitter CEO will step down from Twitter’s board, marking the end of a campaign to pressure the social media company.

The rule change was announced on Twitter on Thursday, adding that the board change will occur after a new candidate for the position is found. Elliott Management, the hedge fund that led the campaign, will join the search for a candidate.

Early last year, Elliott Management, which has successfully shaken up many companies, quietly acquired a significant stake in Twitter. This culminated in an attempt to evict Mr. Dorsey from the company he helped build. Elliott’s criticisms included that Twitter’s share price was too slow and that Dorsey was distracted by his management of a second company, Square, a financial services company.

Last March, Elliott Management entered into a truce with Twitter, allowing Dorsey to remain with the company. Silver Lake, a major investor in technology companies, has invested in Twitter and helped negotiate for Mr. Dorsey. As part of the deal, Jesse Cohn, the Elliott chief who oversaw the Twitter campaign, took a seat on Twitter’s board of directors.

Cohn will step down once a new independent director is appointed, he said in a statement on Twitter. Since Mr. Kohn joined the board last year, the company has launched numerous new products and nearly doubled its stock price.

Elliott Management and Twitter declined to comment following the announcement.

The Ministry of Finance is working with global partners to reallocate $650 billion in International Monetary Fund special drawing rights. She said Thursday that she had set aside $500,000 as a reserve to help poor countries fight the pandemic.

Support for this plan is a reversal of the Trump administration’s position. Steven Mnuchin, former Treasury secretary under President Trump, opposed the deduction as an inefficient way to increase liquidity for poor countries, since most of the reserves go to developed economies.

But Janet L. Yellen, the Treasury Secretary, earlier this year expressed her support for the expansion as a way to help poorer countries.

Containing a global pandemic is critical to a robust economic recovery, the Treasury Department said Thursday in a press release. To that end, the Treasury is working with the leadership of the I.M.F. and other members to distribute a total of $650 billion in reserves.

Special drawing rights, also known as SDRs, are reserve assets whose value is based on a basket of currencies – the US dollar, the euro, the Chinese yuan, the Japanese yen and the British pound. They can supplement deficit reserves, which are readily available assets that countries can use to meet their balance of payments, foreign borrowing and foreign exchange needs.

The global recession has weighed on the foreign exchange reserves of many countries’ central banks, according to a Finance Ministry fact sheet published Thursday. The allocations will provide buffers and support governments’ efforts to cope with health and economic crises.

The Treasury Department said the increase would provide about $21 billion in funding. In addition, the United States has provided approximately $212 billion in cash assistance to low-income countries.

We are working with our international partners to find ways for advanced economies to allocate some of their spending to low-income countries, the report said.

The Ministry of Finance also stressed the importance of increased transparency as a necessary part of the package and said it would work with the IMF and other member countries to maximize the benefits of the distribution and mitigate its potential drawbacks by improving transparency, accountability and fair burden sharing.

The new administration’s approach has raised fears among some Republicans that the US is in fact spending money to help adversaries such as China and Russia, something Treasury Department officials have opposed.

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Shoppers at Alexanderplatz in Berlin. Germany and other countries have lowered their value-added taxes to stimulate consumption.

The European Central Bank’s chief economist said Thursday that fears of a sharp rise in inflation were exaggerated, a sign that those who control interest rates in the euro zone are likely to keep them very low for some time to come.

The comments by Philip Lane, an influential member of the Board whose job it is to keep other members informed of the economic outlook, are an attempt to reassure bond investors who fear that the end of the pandemic will lead to high inflation.

Eurozone inflation rose to 1.3% year-on-year in March from 0.9% in February, official data released Wednesday showed.

Market interest rates are rising as investors fear that President Biden’s $2 trillion stimulus package will trigger a general rise in prices over the next few years. The interest rates that dominate the bond markets spill over into the financial system and can make mortgages and other forms of borrowing more expensive, stifling economic growth.

Despite large monthly swings in inflation over the past year, the average has remained remarkably steady at around 1 percent a year, Lane wrote Thursday in a blog post on the central bank’s website. This is well below the 2% target set by the European Central Bank.

The volatility in inflation in 2020 and 2021 can be attributed to a number of temporary factors that should not affect inflation dynamics over the medium term, Lane writes.

This is another way of saying that the European Central Bank will not panic at short-term fluctuations in inflation and will not slow down the eurozone economy quickly.

On the other hand, Lane’s analysis suggests that the European Central Bank will continue to try to push inflation toward the 2% mark. In March, the central bank said it would increase its purchases of government and corporate bonds to try to keep market interest rates low.

Lane said it is not surprising to see large swings in inflation during a pandemic. He attributed the ups and downs to strange factors that are unlikely to be repeated.

Germany and some other countries lowered their VAT to stimulate consumption, and then raised it again. The price of fuel has fluctuated sharply. People spent almost nothing on travel, but increased their spending on home fitness equipment or food needed to work from home. That affected the calculation of inflation and increased the annual figure, Lane said.

The medium-term outlook for inflation remains subdued, he wrote, and reducing the deviation from our inflation target will be the Board’s agenda for the coming years.

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Nursing home occupancy rates fell 11 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter, but there are still barriers to retention. Credit…Amr Alfiki/The New York Times

The pandemic has brought attention to long-standing questions about how communities can better serve seniors who need care but want to live outside a nursing home.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the coronavirus killed 181,000 people in nursing homes, retirement homes and other long-term care facilities in the United States last weekend, accounting for 33 percent of deaths nationwide.

According to the research group National Investment Center for Elderly Housing and Care, nursing home occupancy in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 75 percent, 11 percentage points lower than in the first quarter. This change may not be permanent, but it is understandable: As the aging population increases, most communities need to do much more to become more user-friendly, said Jennifer Molinsky, a researcher at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

It’s about all the services people have access to, whether it’s affordability and accessibility of housing or transport and support that can be provided at home, she said.

But there are obstacles for those who want to stay away, Mark Miller reports for the New York Times:

  • The severe shortage of senior housing in the United States will create problems for seniors who want to stay in their homes. According to the Harvard Center, by 2034, 34% of farms will be run by people over 65. However, the latest Harvard estimates show that in 2011, only 3.5 percent of housing units had walk-in apartments, floor plans and extra-wide hallways and doors for wheelchair accessibility.
  • Medicare does not pay for most long-term care, regardless of where it is provided; reimbursement is limited to the first 100 days a person spends in a nursing facility. Medicaid, which only covers people with very low incomes, has long been the largest sponsor of long-term care in the country. From the beginning, the program was intended to cover institutional care, but not home or community-based care. There is an institutional bias, said Judith Solomon, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities who specializes in health care.

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Adam Buchmad, second from right, has helped low-income families in Baltimore gain affordable Internet access through his Waves.Credit project…. Jared Soares for The New York Times.

A year after the pandemic made the country’s digital divide an education emergency, President Biden is making affordable broadband a top priority, comparing it to efforts to spread electricity across the country. Its $2 trillion infrastructure plan, announced Wednesday, includes $100 billion to give every home access to high-speed Internet.

This money is intended to improve the economy by enabling all Americans to work, receive health care, and receive an education, regardless of where they live. Although the government has spent billions of dollars in the past to bridge the digital divide, these efforts have not been successful, in part because people in different regions face different challenges. Accessibility is a major issue in urban and suburban areas. Internet service is not available in many rural areas due to high installation costs.

We will ensure that every American has access to high-quality, affordable broadband, Biden said Wednesday in a speech. And when I say accessible, I mean it. Americans pay too much for the Internet. We will reduce the price for families who already have service.

Longtime advocates of universal broadband access say a plan submitted to Congress for approval may finally help close the digital divide, a persistent problem first identified and named by regulators during the Clinton administration. The plight of unaffiliated students during the pandemic made the matter even more urgent.

It’s a vision document that says every American should have access to affordable broadband, said Blair Levin, who led the 2010 National Broadband Plan at the Federal Communications Commission. And I haven’t heard that from the White House yet.

Some advocates of broadband expansion have warned that Mr. Biden’s plan may not fully close the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

The plan promises to give priority to municipal and nonprofit broadband providers, but continues to rely on private companies to lay cable and install transmission towers in remote areas of the country. One fear is that companies will not find the effort worthwhile, even if they spend a lot of money on these projects. During the wave of electrification in the 1920s, private suppliers were reluctant to erect poles and run lines hundreds of miles long in sparsely populated areas.

Taxpayers who received unemployment benefits last year but filed a federal tax return before the new tax credits became available can receive an automatic refund as early as May, the Internal Revenue Service said Wednesday.

Under the recent Pandemic Assistance Act, passed on 11. In March, the first $10,200 of the Pandemic Relief Act was signed, in the middle of the fiscal season. For individuals with modified adjusted income of less than $150,000, the $500,000 unemployment benefit was exempt in 2020. (Married taxpayers filing jointly can deduct up to $20,400).

But some Americans have already filed their March tax returns and are waiting for official guidance from authorities. Millions of American workers filed for unemployment benefits last year, but the Internal Revenue Service says it is still checking to see how many of those affected by the tax change have already filed their tax returns.

On Wednesday, the IRS confirmed that it will automatically recalculate the correct amount of taxable benefits – and that overpayments will be refunded or offset against other unpaid taxes. The first repayment is expected in May and will continue throughout the summer.

The Internal Revenue Service said it would process the simplest returns first, or those eligible for excluded benefits up to $10,200.

Individuals do not have to file an amended tax return unless the calculations make the taxpayer eligible for additional federal credits and deductions that were not included in the original tax return, the agency said. According to the IRS, these taxpayers should also review their state tax returns.

Those who have not yet filed their tax returns and plan to do so electronically can suffice with answering the questions from their online tax preparer, who will take the new tax credit into account when filing. In March, the agency provided an updated worksheet and additional guidance for taxpayers who prefer paper.

  • The UPS service joined other companies like Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola in making a statement about voting rights. UPS believes election laws and legislation should make it easier for Americans to vote, not harder, the company said in a statement. But Atlanta-based UPS has refrained from criticizing Georgia’s sweeping law to restrict voters. A group of prominent black executives on Wednesday called on businesses to publicly oppose a wave of similar restrictive voting laws proposed by Republicans in nearly every state.
  • Microsoft said it will begin producing more than 120,000 augmented reality headsets for Army soldiers in a contract that could cost up to $21.9 billion. The HoloLens headsets use a technology called the Integrated Visual Enhancement System, which will provide night vision, thermal vision and audio connectivity to soldiers who wear them. These devices are also equipped with sensors that help the soldiers hit the enemy in battle. The deal is likely to make waves within Microsoft, where some employees are opposed to working with the Pentagon.

frequently asked questions

What was the OPEC agreement?

OPEC producers and their allies have reached a record agreement on oil, which will reduce global output by about 10% after demand fell due to the curtailment of the corona virus. The agreement, reached Sunday via video conference, is the largest oil production cut ever. … The big OPEC Plus deal is over.

What is OPEC and what is its influence on the oil market?

Since its first meeting in Baghdad in September 1960, OPEC has maintained its mission to coordinate and integrate the oil policies of its member countries and to stabilize oil markets in order to ensure an efficient, economic and regular supply of oil to consumers, stable revenues …..

Is OPEC increasing its production?

OPEC+ first agreed to cut oil production to a record 9.7 million barrels per day last year, before reducing it to 7.7 million barrels per day and finally to 7.2 million barrels in January. … We expect OPEC+ to increase production by 1 to 1.5 million barrels per day in April 2021.

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