Business

U.S. crude output at new record with oil at lowest price since March

The U.S. stockpile of commercial crude oil continued to rise with the country’s record oil production estimated at 11.6 million barrels a day, and domestic oil prices are now down to their lowest levels since March. The U.S. Energy Department said commercial crude inventories rose by 5.8 million barrels last week and gasoline stocks jumped by 1.9 million barrels. Total petroleum inventories increased by 4.8 million barrels, offset partially by a dip in distillate fuel oil, which is used to make diesel fuel and heating oils. Another rise in total stockpiles coincides with the recent free fall in U.S. oil prices from more than $76 a barrel in early October to below $62 a barrel Wednesday morning. The last time the U.S. oil benchmark settled below $62 per barrel was March 15. The rise in crude outputs from the world’s top three producers — the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia — has pushed oil prices lower, and the decline was compounded by the Trump administration’s recent decision to soften sanctions on Iran by allowing waivers for several of the top buyers of Iranian oil, including China.

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Energy Department Says U.S. Is Now World’s Top Oil Producer

The United States is pumping record amounts of oil, vaulting over Russia to become the world’s biggest producer of crude. The Energy Information Administration said Thursday that the U.S. produced more than 11.3 million barrels a day in August, a 4 percent increase over the old record set in July. Russia’s energy ministry estimates that country pumped 11.2 million barrels a day in August. OPEC reports Saudi Arabia pumped 10.4 million barrels a day. It’s the first time since 1973 that the U.S. leads the world in oil production. Several states hit record production in August including Texas, which accounts for about 40 percent of U.S. crude. The energy agency says pipeline bottlenecks in Texas and New Mexico are causing more use of trucks and rail cars to haul oil.

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U.S. Is World’s Most Competitive Economy for First Time in a Decade

The U.S. is back on top as the most competitive country in the world, regaining the No. 1 spot for the first time since 2008 in an index produced by the World Economic Forum, which said the country could still do better on social issues. America climbed one place in the rankings of 140 countries, with the top five rounded out by Singapore, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. All five countries’ scores rose from 2017, with the U.S. notching the second-biggest gain after Japan’s. The top spot hasn’t gone to the U.S. since the financial crisis stalled output and triggered a global economic slowdown. “Economic recovery is well underway, with the global economy projected to grow almost 4% in 2018 and 2019,” said the report, published Tuesday by the organization that produces the Davos conference on global politics and economics.

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US unemployment rate lowest since 1969

The U.S. economy added 134,000 jobs in September below analysts’ expectations while the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, the lowest since 1969. Analysts polled by Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters) forecast that the U.S. economy would add 185,000 jobs in September with the unemployment rate ticking down to 3.8 percent. In August, the unemployment rate was 3.9 percent. Wages increased by 0.3 percent in September, taking the 12-month wage growth to 2.8 percent. “Another solid jobs report; not too hot and not too cold ,” Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones told FOX Business. Warne is not concerned about the lower-than-expected number of jobs created in September, noting revisions within the past two months, which in total put the number of jobs created, in line with expectations. The number of Americans active in the workforce was steady, with the labor participation rate coming in at 62.7 percent. Manufacturing, construction and health care sectors added jobs in September, while retail, leisure and hospitality lost jobs. With retail, leisure and hospitality susceptible to bad weather – it is possible Hurricane Florence is behind the lower-than-expected number. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note climbed following the jobs report, and was hovering around a 7-year high.

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Canada, US confirm new deal with Mexico updating NAFTA

The United States and Canada confirmed Sunday they had reached a deal on a “new, modernized trade agreement,” which is designed to replace the 1994 NAFTA pact. In a joint statement the two nations said the new deal would be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said following a cabinet meeting, “It’s a good day for Canada.” Trudeau plans to address the media on the deal on Monday. President Trump tweeted about the deal on Monday morning, calling it a “great deal for all three countries” and that it will open markets to farmers and manufacturers. “Late last night, our deadline, we reached a wonderful new Trade Deal with Canada, to be added into the deal already reached with Mexico,” Trump tweeted. “The new name will be The United States Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It is a great deal for all three countries, solves the many deficiencies and mistakes in NAFTA, greatly opens markets to our Farmers and Manufacturers, reduce Trade Barriers to the U.S. and will bring all three Great Nations closer together in competition with the rest of the world. The USMCA is a historic transaction!” The agreements reportedly will boost U.S. access to Canada’s dairy market and protect Canada from possible U.S. autos tariffs. Trump’s administration has said Canada must sign on to the text of the updated NAFTA by a midnight Sunday deadline or face exclusion from the pact. Washington has already reached a bilateral deal with Mexico, the third NAFTA member. If Canada did not sign a new deal, Trump had threatened to impose steep tariffs on all automotive imports. In late August, the U.S. and Mexico negotiated a new pact to replace NAFTA, snubbing Canada in the process. President Trump has also repeatedly suggested that he might leave Canada out of the new agreement — which would be called the “United States-Mexico Trade Agreement.” Trump blames NAFTA for the loss of American manufacturing jobs and wants major changes to the pact, which underpins $1.2 trillion in annual trade. Markets fear its demise would cause major economic disruption. Negotiators from both sides spent two days talking by phone as they tried to settle a range of difficult issues such as access to Canada’s dairy market and U.S. tariffs. As part of any agreement, Canada looks set to offer increased access to its highly protected dairy market, as it did in separate pacts with the European Union and Pacific nations. Officials have blown through several deadlines since the talks started in August 2017.

Comcast tops Fox with $38.8 billion offer for Sky

The battle for ownership of British broadcaster Sky ended on Saturday with Comcast outbidding 21st Century Fox with a $38.8 billion bid through a U.K. auction. Comcast’s offer of about £17.28 per share beat Fox’s highest bid of £15.67 in a three round bidding battle that began on Friday. The results were announced by The Takeover Panel. Following the auction 21st Century Fox, which owns 39% of Sky, said they are “considering options” regarding their share. “We note the increased cash offer for the fully diluted share capital of Sky by Comcast, and that it has been recommended by the Independent Committee of Sky,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement. “Sky is a remarkable story and we are proud to have played such a significant role in building the incredible value reflected today in Comcast’s offer.” It is unusual for an auction to be used for a corporate deal and is rare for settling a takeover of a public company the size of Sky, which has a market capitalization of more than $35 billion. The auction pitted Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, which owns 39% of Sky, against Comcast and CEO Brian Roberts. The Walt Disney company is buying Fox’s entertainment assets for $71 billion. 21st Century Fox is the parent company of FOX Business and Fox News.

Dow jumps 250 points to record high as Apple rises and trade-war fears simmer down

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit its first record high since January on Thursday as gains in Apple and a decrease in trade fears lifted the 30-stock index. The Dow rose 250 points as Boeing, Caterpillar and Apple outperformed. The S&P 500 also rose 0.7 percent to an all-time high, its first since late August, as materials and tech outperformed. President Donald Trump touted the S&P 500’s record in a tweet, saying, “S&P 500 HITS ALL-TIME HIGH Congratulations USA!” Art Cashin, director of floor operations for UBS, said the Dow’s record should be a bullish confirmation of the high reached by the Dow Transports last week. “That should be a Dow theory buy signal,” Cashin said. “According to the theory, the economy is supposed to be improving and therefore you have six to nine months of a higher stock market.” The Nasdaq Composite also rose 0.9 percent as Amazon gained 1.1 percent ahead of an event where they are expected to unveil new Alexa-powered devices. Apple, meanwhile, jumped 1.6 percent. Boeing and Caterpillar, two bellwethers for trade, rose 1.1 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

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