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Biden Sell’s Off Emergency Oil Reserves Ahead of Nov 8 Elections

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Biden is to blame for high gas prices

On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a plan to sell off the remainder of his pre-release from the U.S. emergency oil reserve by the end of 2022 and begin replenishing the stockpile to reduce high gasoline prices ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

Biden’s goal is to increase supply sufficiently to prevent near-term oil price rises that would penalize Americans and reassure U.S. drillers that the U.S. government would enter the oil market as a buyer if prices fall too low.

He said 15 million barrels of oil would be offered from the emergency Oil Reserve as part of a record 180 million barrel release that began in May and that the U.S. is ready to tap supplies again early next year to keep prices under control.

“It’s what we’re calling a prepare and release plan,” Joe Biden said at a White House event. “This enables us to respond rapidly to world events and avert oil price rises.”

Joe Biden’s use of the federal government’s Oil reserves to manage oil price surges and attempts to enhance U.S. output demonstrate how the Ukraine crisis and inflation have altered the policies of a president who campaigned to reduce the country’s reliance on the fossil fuel industry.

The White House felt an increased sense of urgency after the Saudi-led Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries irritated Biden, sided with Russia and agreed to a production cut, prompting Biden to remark that the US-Saudi relationship has to be revalued.

“With today’s statement, we’re going to continue to stabilize markets and lower prices at a time when other countries’ actions have produced such instability,” Biden said.

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Biden blamed rising crude and gasoline costs on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, adding that prices had plummeted 30% from their peak earlier this year.

He also reminded U.S. energy corporations, gasoline merchants, and refiners to stop using record profits to buy back stock and instead invest in production.

Prices aren’t lowering fast enough, he claims.

“Families are hurting,” he says, and rising gasoline prices strain their finances.

Faced with criticism from Republicans who claim he is using the SPR for political reasons rather than an emergency, the president also stated that the nation’s stockpiles would be replenished in the coming years.

He stated that his goal is to replenish supplies when U.S. crude is about $70 per barrel, a price he believes will allow firms to profit while still being a good value for taxpayers. On Wednesday, the U.S. benchmark was around $85 per barrel.

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According to Biden, the SPR, already at its lowest point since 1984, is more than half empty with more than 400 million barrels of oil.

The administration intended to stop selling the 180 million barrels in November. Purchases by businesses such as Marathon Petroleum Corp (MPC.N), Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), and Valero Energy Corp (VLO.N) were, however, slower than expected over the summer, with approximately 15 million barrels remaining unsold.

Presidents in the United States have limited influence over fuel prices, but given the country’s vast gasoline consumption – the largest in the world – high costs at the pump can be political poison. Retail gasoline prices have decreased from a high in June, but they remain higher than historical averages and significantly contribute to inflation.

The disparity between wholesale and retail prices has also risen, prompting the White House to issue cautions against price gouging.

 

With the new SPR repurchase guarantee, Biden believes oil companies will be more confident in investing in production and stop pushing stock buybacks.

“So, to all businesses, I say, “You’re sitting on record profits, and we’re offering you more confidence.” So you may take action right now to improve oil production, “He stated.

Companies “You should not use your profits to repurchase stock or pay dividends. Not now, not while there is a war raging, “He asked them to lower the prices they charge at the pump.

In recent weeks, the oil sector has grown increasingly apprehensive that the administration may take the dramatic step of prohibiting or limiting gasoline or diesel exports to replenish dwindling U.S. supplies.

They have urged the government to withdraw the option, which officials are unwilling to do.

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Biden is to Blame for High Gas Prices

When President Biden began office, a gallon of normal gas cost an average of $2.38. It now costs $3.92.

Mr. Biden has attempted to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine for the rising cost, referring to it as “Putin’s price hike, and now he’s blaming Saudi Arabia.

” However, gasoline had already reached $3.53 per gallon when the red megalomaniac invaded. As a result, Mr. Putin was not to blame.

The president has taken numerous attempts to reduce the price but to no avail. He released millions of barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), but practically every analyst believes this is only a temporary solution.

By the end of March, a gallon of gas cost $4.23, so he drew on the vast emergency reserve, allowing the discharge of 125 million barrels of oil. However, the United States consumes approximately 20 million barrels of oil daily, so Mr. Biden’s release was brief.

Prices levelled off for roughly five weeks, hovering just above $4. Then it all started over: $4.62 at the end of May and even $5.00 by mid-June.

However, economists argue that the SPR release is not the cause of declining prices. Prices had risen so far that many had just stopped buying.

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Prices began to rise again after 99 days of decline. Reporters questioned White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about it all last Tuesday.

“You stated that the president was to blame for the drop in gas prices. “Is the president to blame for rising petrol prices?” a reporter inquired.

“It’s far more sophisticated than that,” Ms. Jean-Pierre explained. “You are aware of this. There have been global challenges to which we have all responded. When I say ‘all,’ I mean that other countries have had to deal with it since the pandemic.

There was the pandemic, and then there was Putin’s war. In addition, Putin’s war has raised petrol costs at the pump. “We’ve seen that over the last few months,” she remarked.

As prices began to climb again, Mr. Biden began to blame oil firms, despite taking credit for reducing costs.

According to the letter acquired by The Wall Street Journal from Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to seven major refiners, the Biden administration has gone so far as to advise them to limit fuel exports.

“Given the historic level of U.S. refined product exports,” Ms. Granholm said in an August letter to seven U.S. refiners, “I again advise you to focus in the near term on growing inventories in the United States rather than selling down present stockpiles and boosting exports.”

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However, the refiners retaliated. “Banning or restricting the export of refined products would certainly lower inventory levels, reduce domestic refining capacity, raise consumer fuel costs, and alienate U.S. friends during a time of conflict,” business leaders said in response to Ms. Granholm.

Mr. Biden also halted much of the oil production growth in the United States.

“Recall that the United States imported 10.1 million barrels per day (BPD) of crude oil in 2005, with OPEC accounting for 4.8 million BPD (48%) of that total. The SPR held 685 million barrels. With the United States buying 10.1 million BPD of crude oil at the time, there was enough oil to last 68 days,” Forbes noted.

Mr. Biden even went to Saudi Arabia to ask for more oil (remember the fist bump with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?). He almost went empty-handed, save for a vague agreement in which Saudi Arabia stated that it would “help global oil market balancing for continued economic growth” but never specified how much petroleum would be delivered.

Mr. Biden stated that he was not there for oil but that he and the prince “privately agreed that oil-producing states would agree to increase output at an Aug. 3 summit,” according to The New York Times.

While the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) declared an increase in output in August — 100,000 barrels per day — it didn’t last long. OPEC stated this month that it would cut oil production by two million barrels a day due to a glut in the global crude oil market.

In the end, Mr. Biden deserves none of the credit — and all of the blame — for rising gas costs.

Source: VOR News, Reuters

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Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

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LONDON ROTHSCHILD — his family announced that Jacob Rothschild, 87, a financier and philanthropist from the legendary Rothschild banking line, died on Monday.

Jacob began his career in 1963 at the family bank, NM Rothschild & Sons, before branching out to develop enterprises and charity organisations. His family paid tribute to him in a statement.

“Our father Jacob was a towering presence in many people’s lives, a superbly accomplished financier, a champion of the arts and culture, a devoted public servant, a passionate supporter of charitable causes in Israel and Jewish culture, a keen environmentalist and much-loved friend, father and grandfather,” a statement from his family stated.

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Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

“He will be buried in accordance with Jewish custom in a small family ceremony, and there will be a memorial at a later date to celebrate his life,” they continued, without revealing any other information.

According to last year’s Sunday Times Rich List, the Rothschild family is worth approximately 825 million pounds ($1 billion). It donates millions of pounds to Jewish interests, education, and art.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was one of the political and cultural heavyweights who paid tribute to Rothschild. Blair lauded him as a “towering figure in Britain’s Jewish community” and praised his efforts to promote Middle East peace.

Jacob was born in Berkshire, west of London. He attended Eton College and studied history at Christ Church College, Oxford University.

rothschild

Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

After leaving the Rothschild Bank, he took over Rothschild Investment Trust, now RIT Capital Partners. He served as chairman of the business, one of the largest investment trusts on the London Stock Exchange, until 2019.

He also co-founded the then-J Rothschild Assurance Group, now St James’s Place, with Mark Weinberg in 1980 and served as deputy chairman of what was then BSkyB Television, among other duties.

In the cultural sector, he served as chairman of the National Gallery of London’s board of trustees and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

rothschild

Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

The Rothschild Foundation, which manages the family’s former home, the country house Waddesdon Manor, announced that Jacob Rothschild’s daughter Hannah will follow him as chair.

Jacob was married to Serena for over 50 years until she died in 2019. They have four children (Hannah, Beth, Emily, and Nat) and several grandchildren.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

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Sony said on Tuesday that it will lose 900 jobs, or 8% of PlayStation’s global workforce.

According to a PlayStation news statement, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s layoffs will affect all regions, with its in-house London studio, which is responsible for the competitive singing video game “Singstar,” closing entirely.

“These are incredibly talented people who have contributed to our success, and we are very grateful,” said Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. “However, the industry has changed immensely, and we need to future ready ourselves to set the business up for what lies ahead.”

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

According to Bloomberg, the personnel cut comes after the business lowered its sales expectations for the year and Naomi Matsuouka, Sony’s senior vice president, stated that the PlayStation 5 console was nearing the end of its lifecycle.

Ryan stated in September that he would resign as president of Sony Group Corporation in March. Hiroki Totoki, the COO and CFO, will serve as interim CEO.

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

The incoming CEO will face an entire tech sector in turmoil, with industry giants laying off 5,500 staff in the first two weeks of 2024 alone.

Specifically, the video gaming industry has seen employment losses from 2023 into this year, with Epic Games slashing 830 workers last September and Tencent’s Riot Games laying off 11% of its workforce in January.

sony

Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

In his email to employees, Ryan echoed the leadership of those other game firms, saying, “We had to step back, look at our business holistically, and move forward focusing on the company’s long-term sustainability and delivering the best experiences possible for our community.”

Sony Group Corporation’s (SONY) stock declined less than 1% after the announcement on Tuesday.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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NASCAR Teams Have Hired A Top Antitrust Attorney In Their Revenue Dispute. Here’s What It Means

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The NASCAR season has begun, with 38 races to select another stock car racing champion in the 76th season of the main motorsports series in the United States.

There is a significant issue for NASCAR and its teams: negotiations on a new revenue-sharing plan have stalled. In mid-February, officials from five teams notified The Associated Press that they had recruited renowned antitrust sports lawyer Jeffrey Kessler as an adviser.

The action was a power play by the 15 teams with the 36 charters that ensured entry into every race, sending a message that they would not be intimidated in negotiations. Here’s what you need to know about this off-track battle worth millions:

Charters are comparable to NASCAR franchises, but the series can withdraw them at any time. The current market rate determines their worth, but the specifics are not publicised. Live Fast Motorsports reportedly paid $40 million for a charter that Spire Motorsports bought last year, a significant increase from the $6 million Spire Motorsports paid in 2018 when it became the first team to purchase a charter from another team.

NASCAR chose which teams were granted charters in 2016. Four charters have yet to be offered for sale and are being held by NASCAR for use if a fourth manufacturer joins the Cup Series.

The present pact expires after the season, and teams have been negotiating with NASCAR for two years to get a better deal, including making the charters permanent.

NASCAR stated it needed to finish a new media rights package first, and a new $7.7 billion broadcast rights agreement was revealed in December. NASCAR’s economic offer to the teams arrived shortly after that.

The five-person negotiation committee for the race teams told the Associated Press that NASCAR was clear: “We’ve been informed, ‘This is all there is; there is no flexibility.’ “That is not a negotiation,” said Curtis Polk, co-owner of 23XI Racing with Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.

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NASCAR’s Financial Health

NASCAR’s stability has ebbed and flowed for years, with significant emphasis on empty seats in the bleachers and viewing figures from season to season. The series has been through it all, and the TV contract is deemed significant.

According to a recent S&P Global Ratings report, NASCAR will continue to see strong growth in live attendance, sponsorship, and advertising-related revenue this year, and the new rights deal “provides good revenue visibility” until 2031.

The report also raised its credit rating for NASCAR, highlighting the series’ capacity to pay down debt while increasing revenue. This year, NASCAR’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation are expected to climb by 6% to 8%, according to Standard & Poor’s.

S&P also anticipates a positive cash flow of $135 million to $145 million, which could be lowered to $85 million following infrastructure repairs and utilised to reduce debt further.

Polk stated that the data demonstrates that NASCAR is financially solid and has had minimal difficulty repaying the almost $1.5 billion borrowed in 2019 to take its racetracks private.

“The rating agencies have upped NASCAR to a better rating based on the health of NASCAR,” Polk said in a statement. “NASCAR’s debt is now reduced to around $400 million. They repaid $1 billion in debt in less than five years.

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WHAT IS THE ISSUE?

The teams seek more than simply a bigger financial stake.

In addition to a rise in the proportion of the television rights deal, the teams want the charters to be permanent, as they are in other leagues. With so many of NASCAR’s top team owners in their 70s (Roger Penske turned 87 this week), they want their investments to be legacies for their families.

NASCAR has declined to contemplate making the charters permanent.

The teams also want to have a say in governance and foster a collaborative environment to generate new revenue prospects.

WHAT CAN TEAMS DO?
The teams are unaffiliated with NASCAR, which regulates the 38 races each year and provides payouts and cash from licencing, merchandise, and other sources. It also owns several top-tier tracks.

The teams wish to refrain from launching their breakaway series, noting CART’s downfall when Tony George removed the Indianapolis 500 and founded a competing league. Two open-wheel racing series could not be sustained. Thus, they merged in 2008 to form IndyCar. However, the damage had already been done: NASCAR bypassed what was formerly the leading US motorsports series during the split.

Currently, the teams do not intend to promote a race outside of NASCAR’s supervision. They want to strike a deal.

Teams could legally go on strike and cease turning up at the track, but it makes no financial sense, and NASCAR would most likely fill a field with teams from a stock car league it does not currently own.

Who is Jeffrey Kessler?
The attorney specialises in sports labour and antitrust conflicts. In 2021, he helped obtain a 9-0 victory at the United States Supreme Court in NCAA v. Alston, a significant issue on athlete remuneration. He also led the United States women’s soccer team in its winning fight for equal pay and lawsuits against the NBA and NFL’s current free agent rules.

Although employing Kessler could imply that the teams are considering litigation, the negotiating representatives said the attorney was hired to advise them during discussions.

The Race Team Alliance convened at Daytona International Speedway; NASCAR failed to attend, and the teams say NASCAR is no longer negotiating with them collectively. Instead, they feel NASCAR is attempting to communicate with teams individually to create division among what is now a unified front.

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WHAT IF A DEAL IS NOT ACHIEVED?

NASCAR could completely overhaul the eligibility system and develop its income distribution guidelines. NASCAR does not have a collective bargaining agreement for teams, and the RTA, founded to fight this struggle, is not a union.

The teams might file an antitrust lawsuit challenging NASCAR’s market dominance, arguing that NASCAR operates stock car racing as a monopoly.

But NASCAR has already won legal battles, including a 2009 case in which Kentucky Speedway failed to demonstrate that its refusal to host a Cup Series race constituted an illegal monopoly.

SOURCE – (AP)

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