Oil prices drop as rising US coronavirus cases stoke fears of weak fuel demand

News Network
June 15,2020

Jun 15: Oil prices fell on Monday, with U.S. oil dropping more than 2%, as a spike in new coronavirus cases in the United States raised concerns over a second wave of the virus which would weigh on the pace of fuel demand recovery.

Brent crude futures fell 66 cents, or 1.7%, at $38.07 a barrel as of 0016 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 81 cents, or 2.2%, to $35.45 a barrel.

Both benchmarks ended down about 8% last week, their first weekly declines since April, hit by the U.S. coronavirus concerns: More than 25,000 new cases were reported on Saturday alone as more states, including Florida and Texas, reported record new infection highs.

"Concerns about the recent uptick in COVID-19 infections in the U.S. and a potential 'second wave' are weighing on oil at the moment," said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at AxiCorp.

Meanwhile, an OPEC-led monitoring panel will meet on Thursday to discuss ongoing record production cuts to see whether countries have delivered their share of the reductions, but will not make any decision, according to five OPEC+ sources.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, have been reducing supplies by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd), about 10% of pre-pandemic demand, and agreed in early June to extend the cuts for a month until end-July.

Iraq, one of the laggards in complying with the curbs, agreed with its major oil companies to cut crude production further in June, Iraqi officials working at the fields told Reuters on Sunday.

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Trump abruptly escorted from briefing after shooting near White House

News Network
August 11,2020

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Washington, Aug 11: President Donald Trump was abruptly escorted by a U.S. Secret Service agent out of the White House briefing room as he was beginning a coronavirus briefing Monday afternoon. He returned minutes later, saying there was a “shooting” outside the White House that was “under control.”

“There was an actual shooting and somebody’s been taken to the hospital,” Trump said. The president said the shots were fired by law enforcement, saying he believed the individual who was shot was armed. “It was the suspect who was shot,” Trump said.

Trump said he was escorted to the Oval Office by the agent. The White House was placed on lockdown following the incident.

The shooting took place near 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue just blocks from the White House, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly about it. Law enforcement officials were still trying to determine the suspect's motive.

The suspect was transferred to a local hospital, and the District of Columbia fire department said the man suffered serious or possibly critical injuries. Authorities were investigating whether the individual has a history of mental illness.

Trump praised the work of Secret Service personnel for their work in keeping him safe. Asked if he was shaken by the incident, Trump asked reporters: “I don’t know. Do I seem rattled?”

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Global COVID-19 cases top 15.4 million: Johns Hopkins

Agencies
July 24,2020

The total number of global coronavirus cases has topped 15.4 million, while the deaths have increased to over 631,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Friday morning, the total number of cases stood at 15,439,456, while the fatalities rose to 631,926, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US accounted for the world's highest number of infections and fatalities at 4,034,831 and 144,242, respectively, according to the CSSE.

Brazil came in the second place with 2,287,475 infections and 84,082 deaths.

In terms of cases, India ranks third (1,238,798), and is followed by Russia (793,720), South Africa (408,052), Peru (371,096), Mexico (370,712), Chile (334,683), the UK (298,721), Iran (284,034), Spain (270,166), Pakistan (269,191), Saudi Arabia (260,394), Italy (245,338), Turkey (223,315), Colombia (218,428), France (216,667), Bangladesh (216,110), Germany (204,881), Argentina (148,027), Canada (114,398), Qatar (108,244) and Iraq (102,226), the CSSE figures showed.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are the UK (45,639), Mexico (41,908), Italy (35,092), France (30,185), India (29,861), Spain (28,429), Iran (15,074), Peru (17,654) and Russia (12,873).

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Russia to register first covid-19 vaccine on Aug 12

Agencies
August 7,2020

Moscow, Aug 7: Russia will register its first vaccine against the coronavirus on August 12, Deputy Health Minister Oleg Gridnev said on Friday.

The vaccine has been developed jointly by the Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry.

"The vaccine developed by the Gamaleya centre will be registered on August 12. At the moment, the last, third, stage is underway. The trials are extremely important. We have to understand that the vaccine must be safe. Medical professionals and senior citizens will be the first to get vaccinated," Gridnev told reporters at the opening of a cancer centre building in the city of Ufa.

According to the minister, the effectiveness of the vaccine will be judged when the population immunity has formed.

Clinical trials of the vaccine began on June 18 and included 38 volunteers. All of the participants developed immunity. 

The first group was discharged on July 15 and the second group on July 20.

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