News Roundups

Coronavirus projected to sap more oil demand than expected, Senate breaks for August recess with no coronavirus deal in sight, and more

Daily stimulus and recovery news headlines from August 14, 2020.

Coronavirus Projected to Sap More Oil Demand Than Expected

High coronavirus case numbers in several major economies will blunt the recovery of an oil market already beleaguered by low demand, the International Energy Agency said Thursday.

In its monthly oil market report, the IEA forecast a sharper contraction in global demand for 2020 for the first time in several months. The agency expects global demand to contract by 8.1 million barrels this year, 140,000 barrels more than in last month’s report.

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The coronavirus pandemic is debunking some long-held myths of the energy industry

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed some hard truths to the world’s largest oil and gas majors, energy analysts have told CNBC, with many reeling after historic second-quarter losses laid bare the financial frailty of the industry.

“Big Oil” companies, referring to the world’s largest oil and gas firms, posted huge losses in the three-month period through to June as coronavirus lockdown measures coincided with an unprecedented demand shock.

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How a Texas shale supplier's founders made fortunes as the firm failed

On July 7, the board of directors at Texas fracking sand supplier Hi-Crush granted nearly $3 million in bonuses to four top executives, including $1.35 million for CEO and founder Robert Rasmus.

Five days later, the company declared bankruptcy.

The payout marked the latest in a series of board decisions that allowed the oilfield supplier’s top executives and founders to rake in tens of millions of dollars as shareholders saw the stock price plummet to pennies.

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Senate breaks for August recess with no coronavirus deal in sight

The Senate has given up on its August legislative session without any agreement on a new COVID-19 relief bill as jet fumes — leaving town in Senate parlance — have overtaken any hope for a bipartisan deal.

“If the speaker of the House and the minority leader of the Senate decide to finally let another rescue package move forward for workers and for families, it would take bipartisan consent to meet for legislative business sooner than scheduled,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday.

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Congress Can’t Reach a Stimulus Deal. That Means Uncertainty for the Treasury Market.

Congress’s struggle to pass a stimulus bill comes with a range of obvious consequences. Pandemic unemployment aid has expired, for example, and state and local government budgets will come under more pressure.

But the uncertainty could also create volatility in a key part of financial markets. Money markets could end up dealing with a feast-or-famine supply of Treasury bills, a dynamic that could affect rates.

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Few oil and gas companies are grabbing for the Fed’s Main Street lifeline

It was once seen as a potential lifeline to oil and gas companies struck hard by the coronavirus pandemic. But not many of them are grabbing it.

Neither banks nor businesses involved in the oil and gas industry have much appetite for money from the Federal Reserve’s $600 billion Main Street lending program. 

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Legendary investor George Soros says the stock market is trapped in a Fed-fueled liquidity bubble

The Federal Reserve's monetary relief flooded markets with liquidity, but prices now rest on shaky foundations, according to the billionaire investor George Soros.

Stocks' lofty valuations are underpinned by hopes for another round of fiscal stimulus and the expectation that President Donald Trump will announce a reliable coronavirus vaccine before the presidential election, Soros said in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica published on Tuesday. The next spending bill would need to eclipse the $2.2 trillion Cares Act to meet investors' expectations, he added.

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Solar is surprising itself with a rebound

After staring into the abyss during the coronavirus lockdowns earlier this year, the solar industry is a bit startled to find itself thriving again.

Many rooftop installers have hired back most of the people they furloughed. Stock prices are through the roof. The phones are ringing again with customers who want solar, this time with a side of batteries.

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