Despite having made its bond payment due last week, Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA, remains in fire financial straits, with virtually no funds or liquidity, and regardless of the close Russia-Venezuela ties, a Russian state-run shipping company has taken a tanker of PDVSA crude "hostage" in the Caribbean over $30 million worth of unpaid shipping fees.
China is the world’s largest net importer of crude oil, and in recent years, China’s crude oil imports have increasingly come from countries outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). While OPEC countries still made up most (57%) of China’s 7.6 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil imports in 2016, crude oil from non-OPEC countries made up 65% of the growth in China’s imports between 2012 and 2016.
A viral video showing an army of robots - which work 24/7, cut worker costs by half and are 30% more efficient - sorting packages in a warehouse in eastern China is the latest example of how machines are increasingly taking over menial factory work in China.
In this holiday-shortened week (markets closed for Good Friday), focus turns to several inflation prints in G10 in the week ahead, with US and UK inflation data likely to get the most attention. In addition, there are a few scheduled speaking engagements by Fed officials, including a speech by Fed Chair Yellen on Monday.
"What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well."
In an ironic twist given that many consider Trump's actions a symblic show of strength to China's Xi, Reuters reports that North Korea said on Saturday U.S. missile strikes against a Syrian airfield on Friday were "an unforgivable act of aggression" that showed its decision to develop nuclear weapons was "the right choice a million times over."
Just a week ago we warned of China's record glut of Iron Ore (enough to build 13,000 Eiffel Towers), and following warnings from Barclays and RBA of a likely pullback, futures in Dalian sank to lowest since November as steel sags.
Mexico’s oil and gas regulator said last week that the country’s proved hydrocarbon reserves will drop by 10.6 percent in 2017. This forecast, coupled with the lower oil production that state company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) reported for yet another year in 2016, is painting a rather bleak picture of Mexico’s reserves.
Brazil – which is not part of the non-OPEC group that signed up to OPEC’s concerted efforts to cut global supply – had said that it planned to increase its oil production in the coming years, even before the cartel decided to commit to cuts.